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Thread: Face shield: Bionix vs CSUSA bubble shield - a review PLUS a bonus

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Pendleton, KY

    Face shield: Bionix vs CSUSA bubble shield - a review PLUS a bonus

    Well, I received both the Bionix face shield (with anti-fog coating) and the CSUSA bubble shield last week and gave them a go. Here are my observations:

    Bionix: I purchased on Amazon for $35.14 + tax. It feels sturdy, has an adjustable headband , and the visor will adjust easily with several "stops" that allow it to be raised out of the way. The headband is reasonable comfortable, although I had to make some alterations to fit my pea-sized head. I attached a few bike helmet pads with velcro to make the fit "just right". The headband is adjusted by pushing in on the knob on the back and twisting, making adjustments very easy. It seems to provide full face and neck protection, and vision through the shield is unobstructed. The face shield feels fairly thin and flimsy as compared to the bubble visor and has a listed ANSI rating of Z87+. With the added support provided by the frame around the shield, I am comfortable with the protection it seems to provide. I liked it a lot.


    Bubble Visor from CSUSA: I purchased from Craft Supplies for $44.75 + tax. It feels sturdy, as well. The visor feels particularly sturdy compared to the Bionix and PROBABLY provides superior protection from flying objects. The ANSI rating is Z87.1 . There is not a frame surrounding the shield, but the shield seems to provide excellent protection. I found that the bubble shape of the shield caused a lot of reflection or glare with the lighting in my shop. This was not a deal-buster, and I may have become accustomed to it in time. The headband was not as nice as the Bionix. Whereas the headband adjustment knob on the Bionix, when depressed, allows a smooth, infinite adjustment, the knob on the Bubble Shield was a ratcheting adjustment and was much more difficult to adjust. I felt like I was going to twist the head band off of my head when trying to tighten the knob. The visor lifts up out of the way, but there are no "stops", as on the Bionix. I didn't see this as a problem, as the shield stayed up and out of the way. However, the shield had no "stop" in the downward position, and, in theory, could push down far enough to hit the neck. I felt like it provided full face and neck protection. If I were to keep the Bubble Visor, I would have to make similar adjustments to make a comfortable fit (pea-head). One additional observation is that the headband had an extra latch on each side, as if it were made for a different visor. Just an observation - not a performance issue.

    Bubble Shield

    Overall, I felt like both face shields would provide excellent protection for typical lathe use. As for protection from large objects, who knows? Although the visor on the Bubble Shield felt more sturdy, that was it's only potential advantage. The headband, in my opinion, is far inferior and is a deal-breaker for me. Both headbands were too round for my head. My head is not a sphere. So, in order to snug the sides of the headband against the sides of my head, I would have to tighten both until they were uncomfortable and would apply too much pressure on the front and back of my head. Since I will be keeping the Bionix, I added the cushions as previously mentioned.

    Bonus review: The face shield that I have been using is from HF and made by SAS. The visor needs to be replaced because of a build-up of gunk over the past year or so. That is what led me to look at the other options. It has a visor that feels more sturdy than the Bionix - more like the Bubble Shield. Now that I have tried the others, I have come to realize how comfortable the old one was. The headband adjustment is similar to the Bionix, which I like. It is not round like the others but is head-shaped and much more comfortable. The visor has a rating of Z87.1, as does the Bubble. The visor adjustment does not have the "stops" like the Bionix does, but it stays up out of the way and has one "stop" when the visor is lowered, so it will not hit the neck. One additional benefit of the HF face shield is that it cost $14.

    Harbor freight face shield

    If you are in the market for a face shield, my recommendation would be to purchase the HF shield. Coming in second in line would be the Bionix. I would not recommend the Bubble Shield simply because of the inferior and uncomfortable head band.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Escondido, CA
    I appreciate this review. Did you have any comparison of how easily they fogged up?
    Veni Vidi Vendi Vente! I came, I saw, I bought a large coffee!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Pendleton, KY
    Brian, I should have mentioned that. My shop is heated, so it is approx 68 degrees. None of the shields fogged up.

  4. #4
    After buying four different face shields with varying degrees of satisfaction/dissatisfaction, I have been thinking we should band together and design our own...
    CarveWright Model C
    Stratos Lathe
    Jet 1014

  5. Is it possible just to buy a replacement visor for the HF one?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Pendleton, KY

    According to the reviews for the HF face shield, replacements are hard to come by. One person posted that he found one online for $6 or $8. But, for $14 for the visor and headband together, there isn't much difference. At least that is the case for me, since we have a HF in town.

  7. #7
    I have a Bionix on the shelf and now wear a Craft Supplies bubble shield. The Bionix cracked after a bark hit while at the lathe, not a bit chunk of bark and lathe was not over 600 rpm. This is where quoting Z87.1 or other standard testing is a bit misleading, the standard covers a lot of ground and is used for eye protectors from safety glasses to face shields to welding helmets, etc. I do wear a hat (bill backwards) under the bubble shield and agree that it is not as comfortable but I firmly believe it offers better protection.

    The Bionix passed the following Z87.1 tests and yet cracked so easily in real-world use that would not damage the CS bubble shield. Go with your gut on the safety issue not the standards rating unless the face protection is not certified at all.

    The current edition of the standard is Z87.1-2010. In the standard, eye protectors are either non-impact or impact rated devices. Impact rated protectors must meet the established high mass and high velocity tests, and defined, continuous lateral coverage. The following “high” impact tests apply to lenses, as well as to the frames or product housing:

    • A lens retention test is conducted via a “high mass” impact. A pointed 500 gm (1.1 lb) projectile is dropped 50 inches onto the complete protector mounted on a headform. No pieces can break free from the inside of the protector, the lens cannot fracture, and the lens must remain in the frame or product housing. This test is a good measure of the product’s strength, simulating a blow such as from a tool that slips from the work surface or when the lens collides with stationary objects.
    • A high velocity test is conducted, at 6 specified impact points, where the projectile is a inch steel ball traveling at specific speeds depending upon the type of protector. For spectacles, the velocity is 150 ft/sec or 102 mph. The pass/fail criteria are the same as for the high mass test, plus no contact with the eye of the headform is permitted through deflection of the lens. This is meant to simulate particles that would be encountered in grinding, chipping, machining or other such operations.

  8. #8
    I think some one needs to volunteer to wear them
    Let another person strike the shield with a 16 oz hammer

    I volunteer to do the swinging of the hammer
    Carpe Lignum

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Salisbury, NC
    I have that same HF face shield and I've been pleasantly surprised.

    1- It really is comfortable, had it fit and comfy in about 20 seconds from getting it out of the box. 2- It's lightweight, which means I actually do wear it all the time. 3- I have had a couple of minor incidents, bark flying off, 1 very small bowl (think tea light size) that whacked it right in the middle of where my eyes would have been, albeit fairly slow moving(still about messed my drawers) and of course a million chips, shavings, etc. Not a scratch on it, and even with the biggest impact it didn't move, ie. collapse against my face, hit my neck, whatever. It can fog up a little on occasion, but it's never really caused a vision issue, more just down in front of my mouth and pretty minor.

    Not the best of the best obviously, but for the price I sure can't complain any.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Harrisburg, NC
    Thanks for doing that comparison.
    The new ratings are:
    Z87+ will continue to indicate an Impact protectorZ87 will now mean a Non-Impact protector.

    If if has the Non-Impact rating it must only pass the "Drop Ball" test.
    If rated for Impact it must pass the High Mass Imact and High Velocity Impact
    John gave the basic data for the + rating. If it has a + rating the + must be embossed in the shield.

    If you go here and scroll down about half way to the Criteria Face Shield Requirements

    At one time Amazon sold both Z87+ and Z87. I'm a bit surprise that the + would break from bark hitting it. Did is have the + embossed? You have probably trashed it by now. Bark could well exceed the impact of a one inch steel ball dropped 50 inches which is the standard without the +.

    "I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity." - Edgar Allan Poe

  11. #11
    Uvex Bionic is listed as Z87.1 or Z87.1+ on various websites under the same model number S8500 or S8510 for anti-fog. Impact on my shield cracked at one of the attachment points. True that this isn't a penetration that will damage your face. Flexing to take the energy out of the strike is probably a good thing in many cases. It does probably mean paying for a new replacement lens more often, which I have yet to do. I don't doubt the testing I just have decided I would like a more robust face shield.

  12. #12

    I wonder if your face shield was faulty to begin with. I rough turn around 1500 to 2000 bowl blanks a year and have been hit with flying bark many times (I stand out of the line of fire for those that are wondering). My Bionic is holding up very well. Just something to consider.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Western Maryland
    I've had pieces (bark and otherwise) hit my Bionic shield without it cracking. Makes a heck of a noise that will make your heart skip a beat, but no cracks. I'm also thinking that, as Dale mentions, maybe it is supposed to give and crack...kinda like crumple zones in a car. Absorb the impact, deflect, and replace... Replacement shields for the Bionic aren't very expensive and install quite easily.

    BTW, thanks, Eric, for doing the review!
    I drink, therefore I am.

  14. #14
    My Bionic has been hit with a few LARGE pieces of bark and they just bounce off, I really like the face shield.
    Thanks for the review I appreciate all the work.
    Last edited by Harry Robinette; 01-07-2014 at 8:32 PM.
    Comments and Constructive Criticism Welcome

    Haste in every craft or business brings failures. Herodotus,450 B.C.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Spokane, Washington
    I have the Bionic shield, generally wear a 3M half mask respirator along with it, which provides an extra layer of cushioning in case something big comes at me. So far nothing has, but I do feel it provides protection from more than just dust. I also wear bifocal safety glasses with the shield.

    Eternity is an awfully long time, especially toward the end.

    -Woody Allen-

    Critiques on works posted are always welcome

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