Top 3 beekeeping Veils: what to get & what to avoid

When it comes to protective clothing for beekeepers, any veil is better than no veil at all. Especially when inspecting one of your ‘hot’ hives, if you know what I mean.

But not all veils are created equal. I’m going to show you the top three with all their pros and cons so that you can decide what might work best for you. At the end, I will share my favorite.

The links on this website may contain affiliate links. This means that I may receive a commission if you decide to make any purchases using my affiliate links. Read Disclaimer.


jonathan hargus, local beekeeper without a veil on
Sometimes wearing a veil is not necessary. But it only takes one zap on the nose to change that. Photo by Jonathan Hargus©

The 3 Beekeeping Veil styles

I’m going to score each veil based on the following criteria:

  1. Visibility
  2. Comfort & Fit
  3. Screening
  4. Affordability

Note: There are links throughout this post that lead to more information about a product or to Amazon.com where the product can be purchased. This helps to support my blog with small percentages of each purchase. Thanks!


Fencing Veil

This is by far the most popular veil and widely used veil. Just about every beekeeper I know uses this style. But I don’t know why; it really sucks.

Visibility

First of all, its Visibility is poor. While wearing the veil, it hangs forward to give you a straight-down-view to see the frame or hive you’re working with. That’s great but the lack of forward visibility and poor peripheral vision are annoying and distracting. The Visibility Score is Poor.

fencing veil line of sight
The yellow lines indicate the range of my line of sight. The red lines indicate my forward sight which is blocked by the veil supports. The lower right picture show me having to hold up the veil with one hand in order to see in front of me, which also brings the screening closer to my face and increases the chance of getting stung on the nose.
Photo by Jonathan Hargus©

Comfort & Fit

Fortunately this veil takes up the slack in Comfort & Fit. The hood sits directly on your head without any need for adjustment for sizing. So it’s basically a one-size-fits-all. Plus, it’s extremely lightweight and airy on those hot summer days. The Comfort & Fit Score is Great.

Screening

When it comes to screening, veils are made from one of two materials. One is very sturdy wire mesh that can last for years while the other is more like window screening.

Since this is the part of the veil that keeps the bees out, it should be sturdy. Unfortunately, the Fencing Veil uses the latter and as a result, it does not hold up to long-term wear and tear, literally. The Screening Score is Poor.

three, fencing style veils with ripped screening
These Fencing veils not only have ripped screening but their form support pockets have ripped as well. Photo by Jonathan Hargus©

Affordability

To determine cost, I am comparing prices between four of the leading Beekeeping Supply Companies listed here: Mann Lake, Dadant, Betterbee and Walter T. Kelley.

From what I found available, it looks like the Fencing Veil is more expensive than the Round or Folding Veils but still affordable. The Affordability Score is Satisfactory.

Fencing veil: overall score

So using a highly sophisticated scoring system that I just now invented, I have taken the scores given above and broken it down to a grading scale between 1-3 Bee Stings, 3 being the best.

The Fencing Veil Scores 1.75 bee stings.


Round Veil

Another very popular veil but not as much as the previous one. This is the one I have the most experience with for a lot of the following reasons:

round beekeeping veil
The guy in this veil (me) has an uninterrupted view forward and to the sides. When need to look down, the veil moves with my head which is good. The Fencing veil does not; when you move your head in that, the veil stays put. Photo by Jonathan Hargus©

Visibility

This veil is structured in such a away that the screen offers a full, unblocked view around your, straight ahead, and downward. Peripheral vision is excellent and there’s plenty of airflow too. The Visibility Score is Great.

round beekeeper veil
Side view showing range of view from top to bottom. Notice the lower material hanging free. It is mesh and see through as well. Photo by Jonathan Hargus©

Comfort & Fit

This veil has a built in hat. The ones that I have used usually has an internal, adjustable band. After a lot of use however, mine has worn out and the hat falls around my ears. But if you have a normal sized to larger head, you should be okay. The Comfort & Fit Score is Satisfactory.

inside view of round beekeeper veil
Here’s the sweaty, inside view of the built in hat. Notice the button with adjustable button holes in the elastic band. The elastic eventually wear out and the hat falls around my ears. Photo by Jonathan Hargus©

Screening

The screening on this veil is the really sturdy one that I mentioned earlier. I have had mine for years without any damage, wear or tear. The only disadvantage this may have is its inability to fold down to take up less space like the Fencing veil and the Folding veil. But because of its durability, the Screening Score is Great.

closeup view of round veil
This is the sturdy type of wire screening that you want in a veil. This has lasted me years and years. When I take it off, I turn it upside down and fold my attached jacket suit down in the hood. The Fencing veil is not made with this screening. Photo by Jonathan Hargus©

Affordability

Referring back to the four beekeeping supply manufacturers, I have to say that in comparison to the other veils, the Round veil is incredibly cost effective and the most ‘bang for your buck.’ The Affordability Score is Great.

Round veil: overall score

Again, using my bee sting scoring chart, the Round veil gets 2.75 bee stings.

Note: I did not find the Round veil with the sturdy screening on Amazon.com. The screening on there was the same as the Fencing veil; sucky. I highly recommend that you buy your Round veil directly from one of the manufacturers listed above.


Folding veil

The Folding veil was the very first type of veil I ever had. I actually really miss it’s versatility, light weight and fold away features. I am seriously considering getting this one again soon.

This style is usually found among hobbyists who aren’t out in the bees long hours like commercial beekeepers. It’s also not a great veil style should you have overly aggressive honey bees.

I do not currently have a Folding veil so I have included a picture of the one that I bought years ago and that I highly recommend.

Note– The picture does link to Amazon.com and the veil is made by Mann Lake; the same manufacturer of the one I owned.

Visibility

You’re going to find that the visibility of this veil is very much like the Round veil. You still have good forward and peripheral viewing. The only difference is the two binders that square the veil off for folding. I do not find them annoying or distracting to my vision. The Visibility Score is Great.

Comfort & Fit

Perhaps the only weakness of this style is that it requires a completely separate hat in order to use. The advantage of this however is that you can choose the right size hat for your head.

There is an integrated pull string that cinches around and over the brim of your hat. The hat must have a brim all the way around in order to work properly in keeping the bees out. The Comfort & Fit Score is Great.

Screening

The screening on this veil is the same as the durable kind used on the Round veil. It’s going to last and will not rip like the Fencing veil. The Screening Score is Great.

Affordability

Comparing the same four companies on price, the Folding veil is just as affordable as the Round veil which is still less expensive as the Fencing veil. Totally worth it. The Affordability Score is Great.

Folding veil: overall score

I have to give this one 3 bee stings. Just keep in mind: this veil is extremely versatile but IF you know that you have especially aggressive beehives, DO NOT go with this veil. It is simply not closed off enough to give you the most protection.


What do I prefer?

The answer is simple: either the Round or Folding veil works for me and my beekeeping practices. The Fencing veil, in my opinion, should have never been born.

picture of an apiary
Which ever style you choose, I hope you are having fun with your beehives or will be soon. This picture is when my Georgia hives were brand new. Aren’t they pretty? Photo by Jonathan Hargus©

Which style do you prefer?

I hope that you have a better sense of which veil you prefer after having weighed the pros and cons. If so, click on any of the Amazon.com links provided here today. They lead to brands that I recommend; and though I’m not personally a fan of the Fencing veil, I have still included links just in case.

Thanks again for following along and remember until next time,

~Weeds are Wildflowers, let them Bee!~

Jonathan Hargus/Beekeeper Extraordinaire

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.