Hydrophilic vs hydrophobic: What's best in anti-fog safety glasses


Understanding the difference between "hydrophilic" and "hydrophobic" is a big deal when it comes to anti-fog safety glasses.

Most workers in the industrial space are aware of the need for anti-fog lens coatings, but what they probably don’t know is the science behind these two kinds of anti-fog technology and how they work.

Simply put, 'hydrophobic' means water adverse, and 'hydrophilic' means water-loving.

    Hydro – water

    Phobic – having a fear or aversion to a specific thing

    Philic - having a fondness, especially an abnormal love, for a specified thing

Now, let's break down the differences.

Hydrophobic coatings

Most coatings in the North American market are hydrophobic.

Hydrophobic anti-fog coatings are soap-based and work by repelling and spreading the fog moisture as it hits the lens. As the moisture spreads, it eliminates the fogging on the lens.

While this is effective for a short period of time, environments with heavy fogging will end up causing severe visibility issues as the moisture builds up on the lens, compromising compliance.

What's more, this kind of coating will wash off over time due to its soap-based qualities.

Hydrophilic coatings

Moisture-loving coatings are known as hydrophilic.

Unlike hydrophobic coatings that repel water, hydrophilic coatings act like a microscopic sponge by interacting and absorbing moisture into the coating -eliminating fogging almost instantly.

The coating is able to hold a high amount of moisture and naturally releases that moisture at the edge of lenses, making hydrophilic lenses difficult to fog up.

Additionally, hydrophilic coatings are not soap-based, meaning they won’t wash off like hydrophobic coatings. That's because hydrophilic coatings are made with a proprietary chemistry that creates a polymer bond, permanently adhering the coating to the polycarbonate lens.

What anti-fog coating do you need?

Make sure before purchasing safety eyewear, you ask what kind of anti-fog coating will be on your lenses.

While both hydrophilic and hydrophobic coatings can be effective, remember that one coating remains permanently while the other washes off over time. Here are four things to consider before purchasing safety eyewear.

At HexArmor®, we believe coatings that last the lifetime of the eyewear help keep your safety glasses working effectively so you don’t have to take them off. Wearability = compliance.

HexArmor® can help

All of HexArmor’s anti-fog coatings are hydrophilic, so when fog hits the lens it absorbs into the coating – eliminating fog completely. Plus, they're four-times thicker than the competition and chemically engineered to not wash off. Meet our four completely unique coatings that outperform even the highest-performing competitors in the industry.

Plus, all of HexArmor's safety eyewear is Z87+ approved, so you know you're getting the best eye protection on the market - see our safety eyewear technology.

Let us know if you need help - our Solution Specialists are ready to work with you. Call 1-877-MY ARMOR or send us a message.

Browse all HexArmor® eye protection

Don’t forget to share this post!

You may also like:

Safety eyewear brochure

Safety eyewear brochure

Paper mill experiences fog-free vision in their most challenging environment
Case study

Paper mill experiences fog-free vision in their most challenging environment

What TruShield® anti-fog coating is right for your safety glasses?
Blog post

What TruShield® anti-fog coating is right for your safety glasses?

Reduce workforce injuries to zero

Regardless of your industry, we’ve got the PPE expertise that can help boost compliance, optimize productivity, save money, and most importantly – reduce injuries. See how today.