Choosing the Radiation Safety Apron for You

You need a radiation safety apron. But with so many options- different materials, thicknesses, and apron styles- how do you make a decision about which apron is right for you? Here's a guide that will arm you with the knowledge and perspective you need to make an informed choice about your safety apron. We'll discuss the factors that go into making choices about your garment's thickness, and talk about the four types of aprons; how they serve the needs of medical professions in different ways, depending on their duties and risk factors.


Understanding your needs in the lab

It all starts with your role in the lab or office. There are many different positions within the medical field that involve radiation and x-ray technology- but they're not all the same. A lab that conducts x-rays on thinner parts of the body, like ankles and knees, will not be using as much radiation as a lab that regularly musters the powerful radiation needed to x-ray a person's chest. The decision you make about the thickness of your radiation apron should take into account the strength of the radiation you find yourself working with, as well as how closely you interact with radiation equipment. These concerns also have an impact on how you'll choose the thickness of your apron.

While it's true that a thicker apron means more protection, it can also mean a much heavier garment. And depending on your level of exposure, your gains in protection might be so marginal with a thicker apron that they become negligible. Knowing the specifications of your work environment, as well as your role-and related exposure level- will help you to make a decision about apron thickness that balances comfort with protection.

But which apron type is best for me?

All of these aprons are extremely useful in the right context- let's explore each one to see which one matches up best with your needs.


Front Aprons

Lightweight, protective, and very popular in operating rooms, Front Aprons are a type of radiation safety apron that offer frontal protection and can be put on quite easily. Like all other types of apron on this list, Front Aprons protect the wearer from neck to knees- but unlike some other options, front aprons don't offer protection for the wearer's back. While that may sound a bit alarming to some, many professionals working with radiation equipment are quite familiar with the benefits of these aprons, and understand their situational uses. Front aprons are best used in operating rooms and laboratories that use low-energy x-rays that produce less radiation splash, and where the wearer's duties don't involve turning their back to the x-ray target. Popular with professionals that work at a distance from radiation equipment, front aprons offer a user-friendly, lightweight garment with high-grade frontal protection. To help additionally with weight distribution, front aprons can be purchased with extra belts and supports as well.

Front Aprons are available through Rad Aprons with the following options:

  • Front Apron with Criss Cross Elastic Back - Elastic in the back for added back support with velcro front closure. Lightweight!
  • Front Apron with Criss Cross Back and Strap & Buckle - No elastic and No velcro! Great design using 2” strap and buckle closure in the front.
  • Front Apron with Wing Back and 6” Elastic Belt - Old school apron with 6” elastic belt attached to the apron side seam.


Vest and Skirt Aprons

Vest and Skirt aprons are a very popular safety garment because of their balance of comfort and protection. While Front Aprons offer frontal protection from neck to knees, Vest and Skirt Aprons give full-body protection- including back-shielding.

Naturally, these aprons with greater coverage naturally use more material, making them heavier than front aprons- but their design distributes weight in a way that keeps them comfortable. It's right in the name- a Vest and Skirt apron distributes weight not just on your shoulders (the vest), but also on your hips (the skirt). This allows you to keep your apron on comfortably for longer, without sacrificing protection.

If you're considering an apron, a Vest and Skirt might be the right choice if you work close to radiation equipment, and have your back turned at any point. Keeping yourself fully protected while maintaining comfort is the name of the game here.

Vest and Skirt Aprons are available through Rad Aprons with the following options:

  • Vest and Skirt Apron with Maxx Protection Front Closing - Full protection in each front panel and double protection in the overlap of the front panels.
  • Reverse Closing Vest & Skirt Apron - Elastic in the back provides lower back support! Full protection side seam to side seam.
  • Front Closing Vest & Skirt Apron - Lightweight and comfortable, quick and easy to put on. Our most popular V&S style! Full protection on the overlapped area.
  • Zipper Front Closing Vest & Skirt Apron - Lightweight and comfortable, quick and easy to put on. Full protection side seam to side seam.


One-Piece Wrap Aprons

One-Piece Wrap Aprons are another option that adds full body, 360 degree protection from neck to shoulders. Like Vest and Skirt aprons, these aprons are best for use in labs and work environments where wearers are working closely with powerful equipment, and where radiation splash could potentially come into contact with your back.

The great advantage of a One-Piece Wrap Apron is how easy it is to put on and take off. These aprons offer very complete protection while being very wearer friendly.

One Piece Wrap Aprons are available through Rad Aprons with the following options:

  • Reverse Closing One-Piece Wrap Apron - Comfortable design, closed in front with a 2” belt and buckle. Great staff apron!
  • Reverse Diamond Back One-Piece Wrap Apron - Comfortable design. Reverse closing one-piece wrap apron with a 2” belt and buckle. Another great staff apron!
  • Front Closing One-Piece Wrap Apron - Not unlike a vest going to the knees with a 6” elastic belt at the waist.


Surgical Front Aprons

Doctors and technicians performing and assisting in surgeries that involve radiation equipment will be very interested in Surgical Front Aprons, a type of apron designed specifically for easy removal during a surgical procedure.

If you find yourself working in surgeries where radiation x-ray equipment is used for part of the procedure, and later stowed away, this type of apron might be the perfect choice for you. Easy removal of the apron during surgery allows for the surgical team to get back to work quickly in an environment where time is often of great concern. Surgical Front Aprons could be thought of as the super-useful “breakaway pants” of radiation safety equipment— lightweight, easy to take off, and extremely stylish!

Surgical Front Aprons are available through Rad Aprons with the following options:

  • Surgery Side Drop Off Apron - Traditional surgery apron with side release velcro closure for easy removal during procedures.
  • Surgery Shoulder Release Apron - Just like the Criss Cross Elastic Back, but with velcro shoulder tabs for easy release.



Choosing your perfect apron takes a lot of work- you need to know the specifications and requirements of your workplace, the specificities of your role and possible contingencies, as well as thinking about your own preferences. But investing time in this process will be totally worthwhile, because, at the end of it, you'll have a safety garment that you feel safe and protected in. At Rad X-Ray, we know these garments are more than just something you put on every day- they are an expression of professionalism, dedication, and respect for yourself. That's why we make custom-tailored aprons that fit like a dream, with custom designs and text that add that extra personal touch. No matter what apron style you choose, we are ready to make a garment that protects you comfortably, and that you feel proud of.


Get Started Designing Your Apron!