We wonder if Jake Wadsworth also invented the Reese’s Peanut Butter cup, because the combination of ear and eye protection available in the Combo Glasses makes so much sense, we’re surprised it hasn’t been tried before. With a product like this you’d expect there to be some debilitating compromise in either the wearability of the glasses, or the usability of the ear plugs. After much testing and use, we’d have to say that the Combo Glasses come through smelling pretty clean on both counts. On top of that, the glasses are usable in any combination of modes: eye-only, ear-only, or in combination.
The glasses arrived in a simple box and were individually wrapped in protective plastic. None of the three pairs we received (Clear, Smoke and Amber) had any damage and all came with the Moldex earplugs already affixed and ready for use. The three lens colors we received represent the three options you get when you order them online. The ear plugs will always be a brilliant green and the frames themselves are black. Another option that Combo Glasses offers is their Clear Bi-focal Combo Glasses which, for only $7 more ($19.99) can be ordered in 1.5, 2 and 2.5 strengths.
Now, there’s nothing profound abut the Combo Glasses, at least not from the bridge of the nose to the adjustable 4-position telescoping temples. At that point things take a decided turn. No, literally, they turn… on a hinge. The glasses include ear protection in the form of a Moldex ear plug – held in place by a simple molded ball that fits inside. This is a standard ear plug and you can find them online in boxes of 200 or more for around $25. The plugs are of the soft foam variety that conform to the shape of just about any ear. They’re also removable, leaving the remaining ball to be folded up into the retaining portion of the Combo Glasses arm, and allowing the glasses to be worn plainly.
The build quality of the glasses is about average, which is to say they aren’t particularly amazing, but neither are they less quality than what you can expect to see in other safety glasses of the same price range. It’s really the Combo nature of ear and eye protection that truly sets them apart.
Testing and Use
So how do you test safety glasses? Well, in the past we’ve shot them with a rifle. Since Combo Glasses didn’t brag about their glasses being bullet-proof, we decided to nix that phase of our testing. No, in our opinion, we figure safety glasses should be comfortable, and ear protection should be comfortable as well. Put them together and you have the same parameters, but you also add “ergonomic” to the list of desirable features. If mixing the two results in a product that is much more difficult to use, then you’ve failed. On the other hand, if the glasses offer a level of protection in both areas, and does it effectively and easily, then you have a solution that will appeal to the masses. That’s what we set out to find.
So how do you fit and wear the Combo Glasses? There are four basic steps. While it’s important to follow these steps for the best fit, they also make a lot of sense and so it’s not forcing the user to engage in anything that isn’t quite natural.
- Step 1: Ensure the plug is facing inward and locked at a right angle to the arm
- Step 2: Straighten the arms so that there is no bend and they extend lengthwise from the temple to the back of the part holding the ear plugs
- Step 3: Place the earplugs firmly into your ears. Rock gently back and forth if needed to seat them
- Step 4: Rotate glasses up to the eyes while allowing the flexible arm to bend at 90 degrees to accommodate the perfect fit
In the course of these steps you can play with the temple adjustment. To do this, you can extend the arms to one of four positions. We found the default length (smallest size) to be perfect, but those with larger heads may want to pull them out a notch or two… or three or four. Once this feature is set you won’t have to worry about it again – the setting is pretty secure and doesn’t drift without being forced. You may also want to pull upwards on the top of your ear to better seat the earplugs at this point, but we found them to expand and adjust nicely, filling our ear canal and offering roughly 20 dBSPL of noise reduction by our reckoning (you can get more if you get the ear plugs seated more deeply into your ear).
We wore the Combo Glasses for quite a significant amount of time and found them to be extremely comfortable. In fact, they really disappeared after a while and we noticed the lenses far more than the presence of the earplugs. In terms of adjustability, what we found was that you could easily reach back and change the angle of how the glasses interacted with the earplug arm. In this way you could make the Combo Glasses more snug or loose as you desired. This was great for me as I like a more tight fit – especially with a nice, soft bridge like the one found on these safety glasses.
We used these Combo Glasses while cutting and installing some trim around the top of a workshop base cabinet during the installation of a Rockwell Rubber Bench Mat. They stopped the damaging sound of the Bosch Axial Glide Miter Saw and worked great to tame the Milwaukee M18 Cordless Circular Saw – two tools that were integral in the making of the base cabinet trim pieces. We also used an Echo CS-400 chainsaw and mowed the lawn with a Toro 6.5HP Briggs & Stratton powered noise machine… All-in-all we found the Combo Glasses to be, well, quite good. I hate to say that we were surprised, but we were. In fact, I’d have to say that picking up a 200-pack box of disposable ear plugs makes this a very useful product indeed. The goal will be to take care of the glasses so they remain unscratched and ready for wear each time you need them.
The Combo Glasses are simply named, and they simply work. We enjoyed our time with them and feel they represent a new evolution in safety glasses – which is why they earned a 9/10 in terms of performance. They won’t be for everyone – and you’ll want a lighter solution for those times when you’re not particularly worried about protecting your hearing (what?!) but overall, the combination actually works quite well. We gave them high value marks as well for their innovation and cost effectiveness for long-term use when paired with bulk ear plugs. Comfortable, convenient, and inexpensive, the Combo Glasses can be purchased online for $12.99 each. Highly recommended.
About Combo Glasses
Combo Glasses offer eye and ear protection all in one. Endorsed by Bob Vila and seen on HSN, Combo Glasses give you the protection that you need when you need it. Combo Glasses owns and holds the patent on their design which gives users the most adjustment, making their safety glasses the most comfortable pair of glasses consumers will find. Combo Glasses is working hard to be a leader in developing products that do the job safer, faster, and just plain better.