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Home Improvement

Best Work Gloves

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.

Wells Lamont Cut Resistant Work Gloves

Some may say having gloves with such a high cut resistance as your normal, all-purpose work gloves is overkill but isn't that what we want in our work gloves? These gloves from Wells Lamont are flexible, lightweight and comfortable while offering a lab tested rating of 4/5 cut resistance. They don't offer much padding, but I prefer to have higher glove dexterity rather than feeling like a hockey goalie trying to crack an egg.

Ansell Power Flex T 80-400 Work Glove

Dipped gloves have really taken over the market because they’re cheap, easy to produce, offer great grip and manufactured to last. The ANSI rating of 3 makes these quite cut resistant which matters for individuals working in environments with a lot of edged tools. These gloves are also insulated, perfect for chilly workplaces and comfortable enough to double as winter gloves even when you’re not on the job. These gloves are brightly colored to make them much easier to find so if you throw these down on the work bench or fall out of your pocket while walking across a field you won’t be left stressing.

Wells Lamont 7691XL Grips Gold Ultra-Comfort Work Glove

The balance between protection and comfort offered by this set of gloves is pretty close to perfect. They’re a combination of materials offering the benefits of a multi-layered leather palm and the breath-ability of synthetic fabric. The addition of padding along the back of the fingers offers light impact resistance while the inside grip grants protection from all while maintaining a fair level of manual dexterity. Overall you’re getting a lot of functionality for a reasonable price.

Carhartt Men's Ranch Glove

Carhartt Men's Ranch Glove

The Carhartt Men's Ranch Gloves fit wonderfully and offer a decent amount of protection. The finger tips are fabric giving you the advantage of improved handling with small items but ultimately less durable than the rest of the glove. Similar in design to the Wells Lamont Grips Gold Utlra included on this list, I found the synthetic webbing on these gloves to be somewhat less durable. They may be called "Ranch Gloves" but I don’t suggest them for yard work as splinters will wear on the fabric portions pretty quickly.

Tillman 1489 TrueFit Ultra Gloves

The comfort and feel of these Tillman 1489 TrueFit Ultra gloves are great but I do wish the leather wrapped up over the tips of the fingers for added durability. However, these gloves are more than capable of standing up well to a bit of abuse. The anti-vibration components do work fairly well but it's not the highest level of dampening available. You may never notice this particular feature until you switch to a pair of normal gloves but there’s definitely a difference to be felt. These gloves run a bit snug but fit nicely and move easily when you find the right size.

Bionic Men's Elite Gardening Gloves

These gloves are built for flexibility and dexterity, which means they won't be fighting against your stiff fingers. I wouldn't suggest these gloves for heavy duty work but they’re great for delicate to moderate work because they don’t reduce tactile sensation much. The light color of these gloves might upset those of us who worry about them looking dirty and discoloring, but you shouldn't be afraid of a little dirt when working in the garden. It’s important to note these gloves aren’t waterproof and shouldn’t be used for wet work. They’re made with light leather and will soak through easily which could damage the gloves over time.

Garden PRO Hybrid 2-in-1 Rose Tender Gloves

Roses are the pride of many gardens and these heavy gloves provide extra protection for your hands and arms. One of the nicest features of these work gloves is the detachable gauntlet cuff which lets you transition between reaching into thorny bushes and general labor without being encumbered by the extra bulk and stiffness. Because they’re designed for work with roses, these are a great set of gloves for clearing bramble, carrying dry, splintery wood, and digging through mulch.

These Garden PRO gloves were meant for digging in the dirt without worrying about messing them up thanks to dark colors and and option for machine washing. They breathe nicely so you’ll avoid sweaty hands but keep in mind like Bionic Men's Elite Gardening Gloves they aren’t waterproof and not ideal for muddy work.

West County 018OL Men's Waterproof Glove

The ability to stand up to wear and tear is extremely important in a pair of gardening gloves but it won't mean much once it starts raining. The waterproof membrane in these gloves means you can work in the rain and mud without getting bogged down. They’re just as useful in the winter when shoveling snow as they are during summer landscaping. Reinforced in the right places to offer a fair amount of protection without sacrificing much flexibility, these gloves stand up well to outdoor abuse. Not my first choice for thorn handling but they have the right balance of attributes to make them useful for light to medium work in the garden.

West County Gardener The Grip Glove

You can wear all the protective gear you want but the most important factor in tool safety is a solid grip. These gloves offer good protection from abrasion and moderate puncture protection but the textured, nitrile coating on the palms and fingers improves grip even in wet conditions. Flexibility isn't an issue as I've found these fit well, allowing free movement of the fingers for more detailed work. They also afford a certain degree of water resistance but these aren’t completely waterproof. The earth-loving part of your brain will appreciate the use of 30% recycled materials while the frugal portion will love the affordable price.

Atlas Thorn-Proof 350R Gardening Gloves

Atlas Thorn-Proof 350R Gardening Gloves

The name of the product is a little misleading as they aren’t completely thorn-proof however, the extra-thick nitrile coating does make them very puncture resistant, more so than standard dipped gloves. What makes these gloves stand out from our other picks is that they’re fairly affordable for the level of protection they offer. Don’t go off grabbing long thorns with all your might, but they will offer you easy material handling without feeling bulky.

Husqvarna Heavy Duty Leather Work Gloves

These heavy duty gloves from Husqvarna are a good option for a day spent hauling gear and lumber. These gloves are a combination of grain leather and split leather/suede with the palms and fingers wrapped in grain leather for added puncture protection and durability. The backs of the hands and the wrist cuffs are suede which is harder to clean and damaged easier by water than grain leather. They’re not the supplest or flexible gloves so they’re less than ideal for detail work but great for reducing wear and tear on your hands. Use these gloves for their recommended purpose and you'll be very happy with them for a long time.

Wells Lamont Work Gloves with Timber Grain Cowhide

A simple glove with a classic design, these gloves from Wells Lamont feature full grain leather and a wrist cinch which allows you to secure the gloves to your hand without them pinching. Elastic wrists are common, but I find them to always be too loose or too tight so you’ll definitely want the adjustable cinch for a perfect fit. These gloves include a suede pad on the palm which doubles up your palm protection while adding grip. Full grain leather offers the best protection but it can be a little slick on some surfaces. The addition of the suede pad help secure full hand, non-slip grips. I only wish the fingers were reinforced with suede as well to add grip for more detailed-oriented jobs.

Magid DuraMaster 1274DE Goatskin Leather Palm Gloves

While these gloves are a bit of a cheat since they’re not 100% leather, the jersey back allows for easier breathing and reduces the accumulation of moisture on hard work days. These gloves also stand up well to damage thanks to the goat leather covering the fingers and palms making this pick durable and affordable. Comfortable and sleek with very little reduction in finger mobility and dexterity, these are ideal medium-duty gloves which will serve you well in the shop and backyard alike.

Custom Leathercraft 2058XL Top Grain Cowhide Work Gloves

These are some of the best designed leather gloves I've come across. CustomLeatherCraft uses a tough, moderately thick cowhide with these gloves but not so heavy it feels bulky on your hands. The addition of suede reinforcement on the palm not only increases damage resistance but improves grip by a great deal. The adjustable strap is much nicer on the wrists than elastic varieties which can cut into the skin, so these gloves are a pleasure to wear. The price for a pair is reasonable, around what I’d pay for a quality pair of leather work gloves.

Carhartt Men's Leather Fencer Work Glove

You may not be an Olympic fencer but you'll love the dexterity these gloves offer. Durable and flexible,  Carhartt added reinforcements across the palm and between the thumb and forefinger, perfect for handling rope, bailing twine, and even dry, splintery lumber. These are made entirely from suede which has less damage resistance than full grain leather but adequate for light to medium duty work and moderate cut resistance. The elastic is light and doesn't cut into your wrists much but might be uncomfortable if your arms are particularly thick.

Showa Best Aegis HP54 Work Gloves

Aegis is the name given to the shield or breastplate worn by Zeus in the Greek pantheon and was an impervious piece of armor bearing the image of Medusa's face. That's quite the standard to hold yourself to but these gloves offer some serious protection from cuts at an ANSI rating of 4. As with all nitrile gloves, they offer good grip thanks to the sponge nitrile dipped fingers and palms as well as decent flexibility for this level of protection.

A great aspect of these gloves is the oil resistance that many other dipped gloves don't offer. If you're using cutting oils and handling sharp metal edges then you don't want your gloves breaking down on you. All in all, these are great gloves that will protect you nicely while being very comfortable to wear.

Wells Lamont Cut Resistant Work Gloves

Some may say having gloves with such a high cut resistance as your normal, all-purpose work gloves is overkill but isn't that what we want in our work gloves? These gloves from Wells Lamont are flexible, lightweight and comfortable while offering a lab tested rating of 4/5 cut resistance. They don't offer much padding, but I prefer to have higher glove dexterity rather than feeling like a hockey goalie trying to crack an egg.

HEX Armor 2000 Series 2081

HEX Armor 2000 Series 2081

The 3/4 dip on these HEX Armor gloves means extra comfort and improved grip in wet conditions. It also offers increased abrasion resistance as the latex protects the cut resistant fibers and improves the overall life of the gloves. Flexibility is slightly reduced as the dip impedes the movement of the fibers but these are still plenty flexible for my tastes as latex moves more easily than nitrile. The only real downside is natural latex won't stand up to oil and is a possible allergen.

Dexterity Composite Cut-Resistant Glove with ¾ Foam Nitrile Coating

The dexterity these gloves provide while sporting a 3/4 nitrile dip is impressive. Nitrile tends to be a bit stiffer than latex but these seem to offer similar flexibility. The foam nitrile improves puncture resistance over flat nitrile and offers great grip in a multitude of situations.

The 3/4 dip means you can really get into your work in wet conditions without worrying about flooding your gloves, which is a moment nobody loves. Nitrile won't cause a reaction in allergy sufferers and is oil resistant making it the preferred dip for many workers.

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Showa Best Hagane Coil Hi Tech Cut Resist Level 4 Glove

Polyurethane is not the material I usually expect when looking at dipped gloves but I may be a convert soon. The dip is durable and surprisingly flexible while remaining light and offering good grip. The price on this pair of gloves is what I would consider more than reasonable for the level of protection they provide.

I can't speak to the claim that these gloves reduce hand fatigue but they move beautifully and you don't feel like you’re fighting with them while working. I didn't have full confidence in their cut resistance at first because of how light they were but that assumption has been proven wrong multiple times over.

Paul Joseph Morin
I grew up breathing sawdust and dirt. Now I'm back in the shop after an overly long break. This time I remembered my respirator. I have my father to thank for setting me on the path of the DIY guru and he didn't waste a day that could be spent with a trowel or hammer in hand. Now I use these skills to grow my own vegetables and fruit, craft wooden toys and tools, and keep my home running smoothly.
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