Anyone who’s ever had a stuffy nose understands the human capacity to take our physical faculties for granted. Something about choking down tasteless meals and struggling to sleep really inspires admiration for the relief of free, unrestricted breath. Hands are nearly as essential as air to our human identity. Thumbs are one of the largest forces that helped our species excel. As you’re going through your everyday modern life of yard work and oil changes, far from the travails of the hunter gatherer era, work gloves help keep you safe through the parts of your day that feel more like our perilous animal past.
Leather is famously great for avoiding scrapes, but you’ll want something coated and sealed like nitrile if you’re handling dangerous chemicals.
Work gloves aren’t just for specialized experts like welders or mechanics—they also offer assistance in the garden or in the attic, anywhere you’re subjected to rough surfaces, heavy loads, or other difficult conditions. They protect from dirt and chemicals and offer impact absorption. Whatever your modern everyday routine holds in store, slip on a pair of work gloves to enhance the experience and keep you safe just like you’d don work boots before taking on a big job. Because we take so much for granted so often, it could be possible you’ve accepted inconvenience or discomfort where it’s not really necessary. Whether you’re adding to your glove collection or just getting started, let’s get to work.
What to Consider When Buying Work Gloves
First and foremost, make sure your work gloves size fits properly on your hands and also your wrists. No use buying a new pair of work gloves if you can’t squeeze your paws in them. Beyond practicality, there’s a little wiggle room for your personal preference, depending on if you like a looser or tighter fit during your activities.
Next, consider the precise activities you’d like to use your work gloves for. This decision will narrow down the materials at your disposal. Work gloves are crafted from countless kinds of natural and synthetic fibers. Leather is famously great for avoiding scrapes, but you’ll want something coated and sealed like nitrile if you’re handling dangerous chemicals. Airy cotton works best for gardening. You see where we’re going with this.
After making sure the material you’ve selected works with what you plan to use your gloves for, narrow down even further if possible by considering that fabric’s flexibility. If you’re using your work gloves for a task that requires nimble hands, flexibility will become your major focus. Oftentimes, this factor faces an inverse relationship with durability, but with more and more high tech innovations on the textile market, that problem’s been dwindling.
Beyond the material’s ability to withstand whatever conditions you’re subjecting your work gloves to, make sure the actual construction of your new work gloves is also properly durable. Family-owned glove manufactured Kinco (more on their work later!) has outlined an excellent Glove 101 guide to understanding the craftsmanship behind work gloves that can set winners apart from the rest. Look for strong stitching that’s fortified around your gloves’ stress points.
No matter what jobs you’re working with, temperature will always prove a consideration. The warmer your conditions, the more important breathable material and proper aeration will prove. No one wants sweaty hands in the garden! More intense scenarios will place higher pressure on this factor, but fortunately there’s a wide range of gloves made specifically for hot conditions like metalwork and extreme cold like working in the snow.
While the highest quality work gloves can fetch a respectable sum, most work gloves are relatively affordable. That means more wiggle room to play with your budget. For your budget’s sake, honestly assess how often you’ll be using these work gloves. How much will you depend on them to really, truly save your life? Move from here, keeping sustainability in mind. It is always better to buy one pair of gloves that will last a long time than a cheap pack of many gloves that’ll become waste when you wear through them quickly.
With so many glove manufacturers and retailers on the market, you can stack countless customizations on your work gloves that’ll offer niche avenues for protection. Some come with reinforced finger or palm pads while others resound in ultra vibrant colors to maximize visibility. Brainstorm what you want and watch how easy it’ll be to find!
Best Work Gloves For Every Job
The Original by Mechanix Wear
Best All Around: Tried and true heavy duty outfitter Mechanix Wear launched their empire with this glove back in 1991. To this day, The Original stands an industry staple with staying power. These work gloves fit with a comfortable snugness on the hand, lending a sense of safety with adjustable thermoplastic rubber wrist closures and form-fitting TrekDry material to keep hands cool and comfortable. The Original work gloves pair TrekDry with carbon-infused touchscreen capable synthetic leather throughout their construction to offer hands-on workers of all varieties a comfortable, reliable set of gloves to provide safety, flexibility, and durability.
Cut Resistant Dipped Work Gloves by Milwaukee
Best Coated Gloves: If you’re handling chemicals or need especially slim fitting work gloves for maximum dexterity while handling small parts, you’ll need a completely sealed set of gloves rather than a porous pair built from something like leather or cloth. Latex works, but it’s not ideal. Nitrile is a far more prolific option across the market. This set by Milwaukee Tools is made from a nylon/lycra blend and coated with cut resistant nitrile. The combination allows you to move while keeping your hands safe from chemicals and puncture wounds alike. Textured palms enhance the gloves’ grip, while the index finger pads are equipped with touchpad capabilities. There’s even three pairs in one pack!
Flex Grip Leather Work Gloves by Ozero
Best Leather Gloves: Compared to its colleagues, no material can match the abrasion protection offered by leather. Animal skins are self healing to a degree, made to withstand scrapes against rough materials by virtue of their original function. As such, it’s the best choice for a wide range of activities from wood cutting and yard work to carpentry and operating machinery. Ozero settles only for the best with their versatile work gloves, crafted with leather imported from rural France and Italy, two places famed for their exports. Ozero offers a handy (sorry) guide to sizing in the product description, and flexible return policy so you can get the fit absolutely right.
K2979 Traditional MIG/Stick Welding Gloves by Lincoln Electric
Best for Hot Heads: At $162, these gloves rank amongst the most expensive option out there, but with good reason. Lincoln Electric’s highly heat resistant work gloves are made for welders and other professionals who work under extreme conditions and flames. If you fall into this category, then you know just how crucial proper protection surely proves. Built from heat and flame resistant shoulder split cowhide, the K2979 pairs heat protection with the prerequisite abrasion defense you’ll need from any solid set of work gloves. They’re even complete with a spicy red and black flame pattern that manages to read as fiery rather than cheesy. Like you, they’re hot!
Lined Premium Grain Pigskin Palm Gloves by Kinco
Best for Cold Hearts: While these durable pigskin gloves function across numerous environments, they’re most helpful in arctic-type climates. As the product description states, “High-performance signature Heatkeep® thermal insulation, laminated with a soft TR2 inner lining, provides superior heat-retention by trapping heat, repelling the cold, & wicking away moisture.” They trap heat even further with a snug polyester elastic knit wrist that rests on your pulse point to retain body warmth where it’s not only most effective, but also most liable to escape. Winter work just got that much cozier.
The Tailgating Glove by StoneBreaker
Best for the Weekend: StoneBreaker has built an outfitting legacy encapsulated in their slogan: Fit to Work. Their gear is no joke, but this set of work gloves is a little fun. StoneBreaker has crafted the Tailgating Glove specifically for weekends spent following your favorite team across town or even in a new state. “To be the king of your tailgate, you need to man a hot grill and crack cold beers,” the product description explains. “How about a glove that does both.” On the outside, these work gloves are made from 100% leather with extra padding on the inside. Like this, they match up to any heavy duty set of work gloves on the market. And yes, I’m pretty sure that is a bottle opener on the palm.
Insulated System 5 Work Glove with Safety Cuff by Carhartt
Best for the Garden: Looking for something a little lighter so you can stay safe while still enjoying the fresh air? Cultural phenomenon Carhartt built their business’s foundation on gear for every active individual. Gear to live life in. These work gloves are no different. Unlike many of their colleagues, they’re made from 70% cotton, 21% polyester. 5% leather, and 4% polyurethane. Those stats add up to a sturdy pair of work gloves that can still breathe thanks to the large proportion of cotton throughout their construction. “Great for yard work,” writes one review, “I would recommend to anyone looking for durable gloves that you like to be able to take off quick and easy.” Out in nature, close to our most human roots, versatility is always the greatest asset.