Best Solar Eclipse Glasses – Top Reviews in 2019

You probably don’t have a pair of solar eclipse glasses. Unless you travel specifically for this reason, there’s a good chance that you’ll only ever see a couple of total solar eclipses (or totalities) during your lifetime. As such, when you do find yourself staring at the moon-covered sun in pitch darkness, the event can be a fantastic experience. But only if you have some solar eclipse glasses.

In all the excitement, you mustn’t forget to protect your eyes. Solar eclipse glasses are a convenient way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe while enjoying the magnificent sights of a totality. Of course, not all eclipse glasses are created equal. To help you choose the best eyewear, we’ve put together a list of reviews, followed by additional useful information on where to buy eclipse glasses and how to assess them.

American Paper Optics Eclipse Glasses

Thousand Oaks Optical Solar Filter Sheet

Soluna Solar Eclipse Glasses

Solar Eclipse Glasses: The Best of 2019

Solar eclipse glasses are designed to keep you safe, so the single most important thing to consider when buying yours is how good they are at protecting your eyes during a totality. If you’re wondering where to buy the best solar eclipse glasses that are safe, look no further. And if you’re trying to find out how to protect your camera lenses, click that link.

Below, we have reviewed only eclipse glasses that are certified by NASA and that are guaranteed to work. For your safety, if you opt for something that is not on our list, make sure that the glasses of your choice are produced by a NASA-approved, ISO-certified manufacturer.

American Paper Optics Eclipse Glasses

Editor's Pick

These eclipse glasses by American Paper Optics take the top spot on our list because they offer excellent quality for an affordable price. Each set comes with 10 pairs for an overall low cost and in order to ensure that everyone gets a front-row seat during the eclipse. Even after you equip the entire family or group of friends, you’ll still likely have a few pieces to spare in case any of them are damaged before the big event.

Like with most such eyewear, the frames for these glasses are made of paperboard with a nose cut for comfort. The glasses come in up to five different models, including one model featuring the flag of the United States and several others depicting various stages of a solar eclipse. Colors generally range from black to red and yellow.

Unlike most welding goggles, these lenses are CE- and ISO-certified, which means that, so long as they are intact, they are safe for eclipse viewing. The manufacturer, American Paper Optics, is approved by NASA. To ensure that the glasses you receive are authentic, however, consult the text written on the inside face. There, you should be able to find an ISO code that you can verify online as pertaining to American Paper Optics.

In addition to authentication information, you’ll also find instructions on the back side of these eclipse viewing glasses. By reading the text and advising everyone else to do so as well, you can ensure a safe experience with minimal effort. You’ll be sure to enjoy the best solar eclipse glasses the market has to offer.

PROS:

  • CE- and ISO-certified, manufacturer approved by NASA
  • Each set comes with 10 pairs of glasses at an advantageous overall cost
  • The pictures on the paperboard frames vary according to five different models
  • Handy instructions for safe eclipse viewing are included on the back side of each pair

CONS:

  • Like most solar eclipse glasses, they can easily be damaged if not handled or stored properly

Celestron Certified Deluxe Solar Observing & Imaging Kit

This eclipse viewing kit by Celestron, a NASA-approved manufacturer, is definitely more expensive than other, simpler options, but it comes with significant advantages. Each set includes a pair of solar eclipse glasses, which are much safer than welding goggles for an eclipse, a photo filter, and an information brochure.

The wrap-around eclipse viewing glasses feature a premium hard frame that is comfortable and convenient, as well as lenses using the ISO-certified “Solar Safe” filter technology. Also approved by NASA, these glasses are guaranteed to work during a totality, provided that the lenses are not damaged in any way prior to the event.

The compliant photo filter included in the set can be used for both still images and videos when applied to a point-and-shoot camera, a DSLR camera, but also a smartphone. Simply tape the filter onto the desired recording device following instructions and your camera will safely capture the big event without being damaged by the bright light.

The kit is completed with a 32-page booklet on safety precautions and tips for viewing the eclipse, as well as specific information about the latter. Currently, it focuses on the 2017 eclipse as observed in the United States, but it will likely be updated for the upcoming 2024 totality in due time.

PROS:

  • With this kit, you no longer have to worry about where to buy eclipse glasses or filters, since it includes everything you need to observe and record the event
  • Hard frame, premium glasses that are comfortable to wear and less prone to accidental damage
  • ISO-certified and NASA-approved lenses and photo filter
  • Handy booklet on safety precautions during a total solar eclipse, as well as tips for observation and recording

CONS:

  • More expensive than most other options
  • The booklet is designed for US viewers of the 2017 eclipse and has not yet been updated for the upcoming 2024 event

Eclipser HD Safe Solar Plastic Viewer

If you’re not a fan of paperboard eyewear and you’re wondering where to buy eclipse glasses with a hard frame, this model by American Paper Optics might be the right choice for you. Although more expensive than other options, these glasses are much safer than welding goggles for eclipse viewing, as well as more durable thanks to their plastic frames.

The plastic frame for the Eclipser HD guarantees that the glasses are more durable than paperboard alternatives, while the lenses are manufactured with black polymer material that is resistant to scratches for an optical density of 5 or more. The glasses can, as such, filter out all of the harmful UV and infrared light, together with 99.99% of the bright visible light of the sun during the eclipse.

Manufactured by the NASA-approved American Paper Optics, these eclipse viewing glasses are ISO-certified and guaranteed to work during the totality if intact. What you see through them is filtered in a natural, orange hue, while the images themselves remain sharp throughout the event, even as you look directly at the sun.

Finally, the solar eclipse glasses come with a simple pouch that you can use in order to store them safely. If you’re buying a pair for the upcoming eclipse in 2024, the pouch will definitely come in handy up to the big event.

PROS:

  • Hard frame and lenses made of scratch resistant polymer ensures that the glasses are more durable than paperboard alternatives
  • NASA-approved manufacturer of ISO-certified lenses with an optical density of 5 and greater
  • Will filter out all harmful UV and infrared light during an eclipse, while protecting your eyes from the bright visible light emitted by the sun
  • Handy storage pouch included

CONS:

  • More expensive than paperboard eclipse viewing glasses

Thousand Oaks Optical Solar Filter Sheet

Most Popular

For those of you who want to record the events of a total solar eclipse or observe them through binoculars or a telescope, neither glasses nor welding goggles for eclipse viewing are enough. Instead, you’ll need a solar filter that you can use to cover the lens on your device to protect both your eyes and your equipment. The solar filter sheet by Thousand Oaks Optical is ideal for such uses.

The sheet comes in 8×8 inches (or approximately 20x20cm) and consists largely of black polymer, a material commonly used to filter UV, infrared, and bright visible light. Thousand Oaks Optical is a NASA-approved manufacturer of ISO-certified solar filters. With more than 30 years of experience in making and selling these products, they guarantee only the highest industry standards.

To use one of their filters, you must cut it (with generous margins for taping) to fit your specific device. The material can be used to cover cameras, binoculars, and telescopes, while its cost is only a fraction of what you would otherwise pay for a factory-made filter. Just be careful to maintain its integrity and to tape it appropriately so that it does not fall off during the eclipse.

Once you’ve equipped your device with this solar filter, you’re ready to observe and record the big event. The image will appear in the orange hue that is specific to this type of black polymer. Finally, you can use this sheet to safely observe the sky using your telescope during the day, even outside of a solar eclipse.

PROS:

  • NASA-approved manufacturer of ISO-certified solar filter sheets
  • Can be taped to the lens of most devices, including cameras, binoculars, and telescopes in order to safely observe and record a solar eclipse
  • Can be used in the making of the very best solar eclipse glasses
  • Much more affordable than factory-made filters

CONS:

  • The solar filter sheet is made for specific purposes and, as such, it is not as useful as glasses for you if you only want to observe the eclipse (as opposed to recording or using a telescope)

Soluna Solar Eclipse Glasses

Best Value

A set of Soluna eclipse glasses by American Paper Optics is perhaps the best deal you can get on protective eyewear if you’re on a tight budget. The glasses come in sets of 10 pairs for a very affordable price, so you can equip everyone in the family with a pair and still have some to spare, in case of any unforeseen accident just before the event.

American Paper Optics is a NASA-approved manufacturer, while the lenses used in the making of Soluna glasses are, unlike most welding goggles for eclipse viewing, CE- and ISO-certified. Each pair is subjected to individual tests to ensure the highest industry standards of quality. In other words, the glasses are guaranteed to work during the eclipse and keep your eyes safe.

Soluna glasses are manufactured in the USA and optimized for viewing pleasure. The lenses are made entirely of anti-scratch black polymer material, which means that even though the frame is made of paperboard, the glasses can survive for long periods of time – in case you already want to buy your pair for the 2024 eclipse. These glasses are fairly simple, with a black-and-white, eclipse-themed picture on the front side and instructions for optimal use on the back.

PROS:

  • Very affordable for a set of 10 pairs of eclipse viewing glasses
  • Although inexpensive, these glasses observe the highest industry standards: the manufacturer is NASA-approved and the lenses are CE- and ISO-certified
  • Lenses made of black polymer material for increased durability
  • Instructions for safe use inscribed on the back

CONS:

  • The frames for these glasses are made of paperboard, which can be easily damaged or ripped if not handled and stored carefully
  • The glasses come in only one pattern for the entire set

What Are Solar Eclipse Glasses?

Solar eclipse glasses are glasses designed to protect your eyes from powerful sunlight with solar filter sheets, particularly during a total solar eclipse. If made properly, they can block out 100% of UV and infrared light, as well as 99.99% of bright visible light. As such, they are much more powerful than sunglasses, which only filter out 60% of visible light and not much else. They are even stronger than welding goggles for eclipse, since only those goggles with an OSHA shade of 12 or higher are safe for viewing a totality.

Most eclipse glasses look just like good old-fashioned 3D eyewear. The pairs are usually made of a paperboard frame (sometimes, plastic) and two protective lenses (commonly obtained from black polymer). In addition, some people use black polymer material in the form of solar filter sheets to guard their eyes when viewing the eclipse with a telescope and binoculars. You can employ the same type of sheet to protect your point-and-click, as well as DSLR camera as you record the big event. (Looking for a solar telescope instead?)

Why Do You Need the Best Solar Eclipse Glasses?

Why Do You Need the Best Solar Eclipse Glasses

It’s generally not considered safe to stare straight at the sun even when an eclipse is not taking place. It is particularly dangerous to do this without protective eyewear during a totality, however, for a number of reasons.

For one, during a total solar eclipse, the sky grows increasingly dark and, as a result, your pupils dilate to let in more light and help you see better. It’s technically safe to look at the sun during the maximum eclipse, when it is completely covered by the moon. However, the moon gives no warning as it begins to strafe off the sun’s disc. The sun, on the other hand, outputs an intense, bright light as soon as the moon moves out of the way, and this will most certainly take you by surprise. (Looking for solar binoculars instead?)

Consider that as this happens, you’re staring directly at the sun with your pupils dilated due to the darkness around you. The sudden burst of light can literally burn your retina and because you have no nerve endings there, you won’t feel a thing until it is too late and your sight is permanently damaged. This is why eclipse glasses are absolutely essential for a safe experience.

Not All Eyewear Is Safe: Where to Buy the Best Eclipse Glasses

Some eclipse glasses are actually fake and will not protect your eyes during a totality. To avoid such terrible risks, you should only consider those eclipse glasses that are ISO-certified and approved by NASA. You’ll find them at most vendors and especially on online stores such as Amazon.

To verify whether a pair of glasses is safe, look for the manufacturer’s name and refer to the list put together by NASA for this specific purpose. If the manufacturer is on the list, they are approved. They should also display an ISO number on the glasses themselves in order to demonstrate that the lenses are ISO-certified. (Want to make a solar eclipse box instead?)

Some of the most famous and reliable manufacturers include:

  • American Paper Optics
  • Baader Planetarium
  • Celestron
  • Rainbow Symphony
  • Thousand Oaks Optical
  • Solar Eclipse International
  • Explore Scientific, and several others.

Where to Find Eclipse Glasses for Free

It’s possible to obtain a pair of solar eclipse glasses for free from your local library or school up to one year before a total solar eclipse. This is particularly the case if your region is in the path of totality, but remember that vendors run out of these glasses fast as the event approaches. You can even make your own solar eclipse glasses!

In 2017, libraries in states across the path of the eclipse purchased more than 2 million pairs of eclipse glasses to hand out to locals. According to Thousand Oaks Optical, they and other companies produce and sell around 100 million pairs before a total solar eclipse, a fraction of which are distributed for free in schools and libraries.

If you can’t obtain free eclipse glasses in time and you don’t have enough funds to invest in a pair yourself, then you can still observe the eclipse using a DIY eclipse viewer. Several tutorials are available online, but if you opt for a DIY device, always make sure to follow instructions to the letter and test your eyewear before the event. (Click here for a complete solar eclipse guide!)

How to Protect Your Devices during the Eclipse

It’s not just your eyes that need protection during a total solar eclipse, but any type of camera you use to record the event, too. Otherwise, you risk ruining your equipment and potentially your sight.

To avoid this, all you need is an ISO-certified solar filter sheet that is big enough to customize to your camera lens. Once your filter arrives, measure the lens and cut the sheet with generous margins for taping. Make sure to properly secure the filter to your lens to avoid it falling during the eclipse. That’s it! The filter will do its work to protect your equipment and your eyes, while you will be able to see the sun in a beautiful, natural orange hue. (Feeling eccentric? Click here for some solar eclipse welding helmets!)

When Is the Next Total Solar Eclipse in the United States?

Following 2017, the next total solar eclipse to be observed in the United States will take place on April 8, 2024. Mexico, several states in the US, and Canada will all be in the path of totality, which will offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience for millions of people. It is expected that the weather will be cloudy, however, so the best spots to view the eclipse will be in Mexico and Texas.

To prepare for this event, it’s essential that you acquire protective eyewear and solar filters for your recording devices, binoculars, or telescope. It is true that 2024 is still quite a long way away at present, but eclipse glasses tend to run out fast around the eclipse itself. You don’t want to spend that morning wondering where to buy eclipse glasses or welding goggles for eclipse viewing, so make sure you plan ahead.

Before You Buy Solar Eclipse Glasses

Before You Buy Solar Eclipse Glasses

Solar eclipse glasses are an essential part of safely viewing an eclipse, but there aren’t too many things to consider when you buy your pair. Important questions to ask yourself include:

Are the eclipse glasses ISO-certified? Is the manufacturer approved by NASA? These are the two most significant details to bear in mind when making a choice regarding protective eyewear for the eclipse. You don’t want to risk permanent sight damage for you or your loved ones, so only take into account those glasses that are guaranteed to work.

Do you need only glasses for the big event or will you view the eclipse through a telescope? Do you intend to take pictures or record the moon’s crossing over the sun? If so, would an eclipse viewing set be more advantageous for you? These kits commonly include everything you need to observe and record a total solar eclipse, from glasses to solar filters and instructions.

How expensive are the eclipse glasses of your choice? How many pairs are included in a set? Which option you go for is also a matter of budget, so if you’re trying to spend less, consider affordable sets with upwards of 10 pieces (for friends and family).

All in all, so long as a pair of eclipse glasses is ISO-certified and approved by NASA, you should be able to enjoy the magical moments of the eclipse without concern for your safety. Other aspects pertaining to the purchase, including the customization of your solar eclipse glasses or any additional equipment, are a matter of preference.

4.5 rating
Based on 30 reviews

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