Best Work Gloves

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There are poems written about the texture of a tradesman's hands. After years of toil and work, they can become like leather gloves; able to endure a beating that would send the rest of us running for a bandage. For some it is a badge of honor. But, most of us would like to protect our hands from these ravages and the right set of work gloves will do that and more.

What was once just a protective barrier between your fingers and the work has now expanded into a whole family of specialized gear with functions including electrical insulation, grip improvement, cut resistance, waterproofing, heat protection and many more. Whether you are working in the garden, welding a shelf together or hand carving the finishing touches on a cabinet, slipping on a pair of gloves designed for the job will make everything easier and safer.

I've torn through my fair share of gloves and now I’m putting my beaten hands to good work writing these lists and reviews to help get your hands in the right pair.

Best All-Purpose Work Gloves:

My old job slinging steel required a helmet, steel toe boots and work gloves to even step foot on the site. Try showing up without your gear and you better hope someone has extras or you're not going to be working that day. Bottom line, safety equipment is just as important as any other tool on your belt.

No matter the line of work, a good set of work gloves should be part of any work safety ensemble. Each of these best all-purpose work gloves we've included on this list are durable for long lasting use, allow a degree of dexterous hand movement and affordable. They don’t offer a lot of bells and whistles but these gloves all offer a good degree of protection from abrasion, piercing and cutting without sacrificing your grip on the project. Best of all, you don't need to spend a ton of money to get good gloves and these selections prove that.

Wells Lamont 551 Cut Resistant Work Gloves

A set of work gloves which provide great protection from cuts and abrasion. These cut-resistant gloves offer great grip, high flexibility and tactile sensitivity to keep the tools in your hands for greater control over your work. Read Full Review

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    Wells Lamont 551 Cut Resistant Work Gloves

    Ansell Power Flex T 80-400 Work Glove

    While these work gloves won’t win any fashion shows, their highly visible color ensures you won’t lose them. These gloves are very durable and insulated for outdoor work in colder climates. Read Full Review

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      Ansell Power Flex T 80-400 Work Glove

      Wells Lamont 7691XL Grips Gold Ultra-Comfort Work Glove

      These durable and reasonably priced work gloves are made for use on knuckle buster-level jobs. The manual dexterity is definitely reduced but less expected for the level of protection you’re getting. Read Full Review

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        Wells Lamont 7691XL Grips Gold Ultra-Comfort Work Glove

        Carhartt Men's Ranch Glove

        The fabric finger tips on these gloves offer better handling for detail-oriented tasks but offer less durability than leather. These gloves breathe nicely but aren’t really suitable for the dirty work one finds on a real ranch. Read Full Review

        Carhartt Men's Ranch Glove

        Tillman 1489 TrueFit Ultra Gloves

        The addition of light vibration dampening is a nice feature on an otherwise solid set of work gloves. I would prefer to see leather finger caps for greater durability but these still hold up well to a multitude of jobs. Read Full Review

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          Tillman 1489 TrueFit Ultra Gloves

          Best Leather Work Gloves:

          Leather has a long history as an effective and comfortable way to protect yourself from injury. From boiled-leather Viking armor to the leather jackets worn by motorcycle riders, leather equals protection.

          Many different hides are used in the construction of leather work gloves with cow being the heaviest and most resistant to damage but offering the least flexibility. Deer, pig and goat leather are all lighter than cow and perfect for jobs when manual dexterity is a must. The thinner leather doesn’t mute your sense of touch as much and is great for detail-oriented work.

          Remember there is a difference between full grain leather and suede. Both are used for making gloves but have very different properties. Suede has a bit of texture and touch which can improve grip on some materials, while grain leather improves grip but has a slicker surface. Full grain leather naturally offers a bit of water resistance, but shouldn’t be soaked through or you risk ruining the glove. Suede without any kind of protective coating will be ruined by water. The fibers of the suede will stiffen and eventually crack if allowed to soak.

          The following best leather work gloves feature tanned hides for good flexibility and decent protection from abrasions, cut resistance many other materials just can't match, and extremely durable for long lasting protection without sacrificing comfort. These gloves meet these standards to varying degrees and I would be happy to work with any one of them.

          Husqvarna Heavy Duty Leather Work Gloves

          Heavy duty and built to stand up to tough jobs, these are great gloves for hauling lumber and working with tools. They’re a little bulky for detail work but they offer good puncture resistance. Read Full Review

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            Husqvarna Heavy Duty Leather Work Gloves

            Wells Lamont Work Gloves with Timber Grain Cowhide

            This is a classic leather work glove with a few modern improvements. Full grain leather with suede reinforcements on top ensures durability and are great for keeping a handle on tools and projects. The adjustable wrist cinches ensure these gloves don’t go anywhere. Read Full Review

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              Wells Lamont Work Gloves with Timber Grain Cowhide

              Magid DuraMaster 1274DE Goatskin Leather Palm Gloves

              Combining jersey material and goat leather produces a durable glove which won't break the bank. Comfort and dexterity are high while damage resistance is medium. Tough enough for most jobs, these comfortable gloves breathe well. Read Full Review

              Magid DuraMaster 1274DE Goatskin Leather Palm Gloves

              Custom Leathercraft 2058XL Top Grain Cowhide Work Gloves

              Top grain cowhide with suede reinforcement on the palm makes these gloves very durable and versatile. The price is right and the comfort level is high with an adjustable and comfortable wrist strap. Read Full Review

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                Custom Leathercraft 2058XL Top Grain Cowhide Work Gloves

                Carhartt Men's Leather Fencer Work Glove

                These gloves are perfect for dry yard work and rope handling thanks to the reinforcement on the palms as well as between the fingers and thumbs. Suede isn't as damage or water resistant as full-grain leather but sufficient for light-medium duty work. Good damage resistance with very high dexterity. Read Full Review

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                  Carhartt Men's Leather Fencer Work Glove

                  Best Garden Work Gloves:

                  While working in the garden is very different than working in the shop, both environments can be made safer with the addition of work gloves. The work gloves you bought for shop work probably aren't ideal for mucking about in the mud which is why we've compiled this list of specialized gardening gloves for the outdoorsy folks among us.

                  A set of gardening gloves needs to cover more bases than you might think. They need to protect your hands from damage, offer enough flexibility to perform delicate work and durable enough to take on the elements from fall to summer. Each of these gloves we've selected will offer good abrasion protection and at least moderate puncture resistance to help with thorns or splinters. All of these garden gloves have been chosen for their flexibility and exceptional manual dexterity. Lastly, each pair is manufactured with a tight wrist to keep out debris and dirt for comfortable, all-day wear.

                  Bionic Men's Elite Gardening Gloves

                  These are expensive for gardening gloves but are wonderfully fit to the hands and are comfortable for hours of detail work. The light color will get dirty and they’re definitely not machine washable. Do not use these for wet work. Read Full Review

                  Bionic Men's Elite Gardening Gloves

                  Garden PRO Hybrid 2-in-1 Rose Tender Gloves

                  Built for puncture, cut and abrasion resistance, these rose gloves are great for all kinds of work. They’re machine washable but not waterproof, so don’t work in the mud with these if you want to keep your hands dry. Read Full Review

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                    Garden PRO Hybrid 2-in-1 Rose Tender Gloves

                    West County 018OL Men's Waterproof Glove

                    Waterproofing and a good level of damage resistance make these gloves a great choice for gardening in rainy areas. Reinforced panels hold up well to wear without hindering movement. They’re just as useful in the winter for snowy/rainy conditions as they are for work during the dry season. Read Full Review

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                      West County 018OL Men's Waterproof Glove

                      West County Gardener The Grip Glove

                      The textured nitrile coating on these gloves improves grip in both dry and wet conditions while offering waterproofing on the fingers and palms. Good abrasion and puncture resistance ensures your hands will stay protected throughout the day. Read Full Review

                      West County Gardener The Grip Glove

                      Atlas Thorn-Proof 350R Gardening Gloves

                      Definitely not "thorn-proof" but their puncture resistance and great dexterity offset this fact. These gardening gloves are best used with medium to short thorn roses or splintery wood. For the price you pay, there’s a decent level of protection you get in return. Read Full Review

                      Atlas Thorn-Proof 350R Gardening Gloves

                      Best Cut Resistant Work Gloves:

                      The majority of work projects invariably involve a lot of sharp objects. From lathe tools to pocket knives, a little protection goes a long way. A normal set of work gloves is pretty easy to cut through with a properly sharpened blade, but cut resistant work gloves are built with specialized materials to help prevent this.

                      These specialized materials range from Kevlar to steel and are amazingly effective when utilized properly. Don't be fooled by gloves that say cut-resistant, but offer no information about the cut-resistance rating. The ANSI system of cut-resistance rates gloves between 0 and 5. A rating of zero means that it takes less than 200 grams of pressure with a 25mm blade to go straight through the glove while a rating of 5 will resist a cut from the same blade with over 3500 grams bearing down on it. A glove with a rating of 5 is pretty much impossible to cut through with a normal blade.

                      The following gloves will all have an ANSI rating of at least 4, offer good grip and provide high dexterity. The grip comes from a textured dip in most often nitrile or latex that is flexible enough as to not reduce manual dexterity much at all. No one enjoys wearing gloves that feel like catcher's mitts when handling sharp objects.

                      Showa Best Aegis HP54 Work Gloves

                      Rated 4 out of 5 on the ANSI cut resistance scale, these gloves are perfect for handling sheet metal, fresh milled steel or glass. The balance between grip, comfort and protection is truly top notch. Read Full Review

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                        Showa Best Aegis HP54 Work Gloves

                        Wells Lamont 551 Cut Resistant Work Gloves

                        The nitrile adds a nice grip to these gloves, but that's enhanced by the textured surface and ANSI rating of 4 out of 5. These gloves are very flexible meaning they won't be fighting your hands and causing fatigue. Read Full Review

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                          Wells Lamont 551 Cut Resistant Work Gloves

                          HEX Armor 2000 Series 2081

                          These gloves are 3/4 dipped for improved comfort and grip in wet conditions. High cut resistance and moderate dexterity make this a good pair but the natural latex is not suitable for working with oil or for allergy sufferers. Read Full Review

                          HEX Armor 2000 Series 2081

                          Dexterity Composite Cut-Resistant Glove with Foam Nitrile Coating

                          These gloves are wonderfully versatile with high dexterity and sporting a 3/4 dip in foam nitrile,. The oil resistant nitrile and extra deep dip makes them great for all kinds of wet work without sacrificing flexibility or grip. Read Full Review

                          Dexterity Composite Cut-Resistant Glove with  Foam Nitrile Coating

                          Showa Best Hagane Coil Hi Tech Cut Resist Level 4 Glove

                          Providing high cut resistance while remaining surprisingly light and flexible thanks to a polyurethane dip, these gloves are a joy to work with. They feel deceptively light on the hands for how much protection they actually offer. Read Full Review

                          Showa Best Hagane Coil Hi Tech Cut Resist Level 4 Glove
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                          1 comments
                          • Work Supplies Work Supplies

                          This is great information, very helpful! Thanks!

                          Posted on 6/22/2010 10:49 am | Reply