We spent 56 hours testing out more than 20 different brands of work gloves to come up with this list of the top 5 best work gloves. We tested for protection, functionality, material, and fit. The outright winner was the Mechanix Wear Impact Pro because it ticked off every item on the checklist. This glove performs well for a variety of DIY tasks. The thermoplastic rubber guards ensure durability and maximum protection while the different size options and adjustable wrist closure ensure a good fit. These gloves are also reasonably priced considering the features and functionality.
Work Gloves Buying Guide
What are Work Gloves?
Work gloves are protective gear typically used when working on a project with a potential for injury. The gloves cover the entire hand from the finger tips to the wrist for maximum protection. Work gloves protect against a variety of injuries including cuts, skin punctures, chemical or heat burns, splinters and abrasions among others.
These gloves are designed primarily with protection in mind although other features such as fit and functionality are equally important.
Types of Work Gloves
There are a variety of work gloves available on the market. The best type largely depends on the kind of protection you are looking for.
These are typically used once before throwing away. These gloves are mostly used to protect against minor chemical irritants.
These gloves are specifically designed for working in extreme temperatures. They are constructed from an aluminized metal material and typically used for handling molten or hot materials.
These are versatile and one of the most popular options on the market. The gloves primarily protect against common injuries caused by rough or uneven surfaces. Leather gloves also offer good protection when working with electricity owing to the insulated liner. These gloves are typically made from cowhide, deerskin, goatskin, pigskin, or horsehide.
Cowhide is the most commonly used leather because it is versatile and easy to find. Other qualities include exceptional breathability, abrasion resistance, durability, and comfort.
Chemical Resistant Gloves
As the name suggests, these gloves are used to protect against harmful chemicals including oils, corrosives, and diluters. The gloves are typically made from natural rubber, polyvinyl chloride or PVC, Neoprene, Butyl, Norfoil or Polyvinyl Alcohol among others. These materials offer the best resistance to harmful chemicals.
These types of gloves are typically made from cotton or fabric blends. Their grip enhancing qualities make these perfect for working with power tools. These gloves also offer good protection from the hot or cold weather.
Cut Resistant Gloves
These gloves are made specifically for working with cutting tools and sharp instruments. These are typically made from Kevlar which has great cut resistant qualities.
What to Look for in Work Gloves
The main factor that determines what kind of work gloves you buy is the kind of tasks you expect to perform. The idea is to first identify the most likely hazard and then choose a glove that offers the best protection for the specific hazard. Common hazards include;
Electrical Power: There is always a risk of shock when working around electrical equipment and wires. A good pair of work gloves offers the necessary insulation to avoid electric shock.
Chemical: Certain chemicals may adversely affect the skin and even cause health issues with direct contact. Make sure that the gloves are specifically made for this purpose.
Temperature: A glove that offers temperature protection is necessary when exposed to extreme heat or cold.
Common Injuries: These are the most common at work sites and include abrasions, scratches, and cuts. Most work gloves are designed to protect against these injuries.
Once you have identified the threat, it is much easier to find a material that specifically protects against that threat.
Finally, sizing is important since you don’t want the gloves to get in the way of your work. Start by measuring your hand and checking for the corresponding sizes. The glove should indicate whether it is a Small, Large or Medium. Note that some gloves are only available in large sizes. It is also best to leave out the one-size-fits-all options to avoid disappointments and choose a glove that comes in the size that you are sure of.
The thumb construction affects comfort, dexterity and fits so you want to pay close attention here. Opt for wing thumb, keystone or single seam options.
Keystone Thumb: Is most common in gloves that prioritize on functionality and dexterity. The base of the thumb typically has a curved seam.
Wing Thumb: Is most common in welding gloves and other heavy duty gloves. The thumb extends at an angle on glove’s side.
The glove’s cut also plays are a role in its overall comfort. The Gunn and Clute are the most common types of cut. The cut basically refers to how the different parts are stitched together.
Gunn Cut: features one piece of material for the pinkie, index finger, and palm. The base of the fingers and palm are stitched separately to the two middle fingers. This cut is common with heavy duty gloves and is a good choice where dexterity is important.
Clute Cut: Is typically used on lightweight work gloves. The palms feature a seam-free design while each finger is stitched separately to the back of the glove.
This consideration is usually last on the list but it doesn’t hurt to have gloves that look good. Any of the options listed on this review looks good and is functional as well. Be sure not to give up any important features over looks alone.
Finally, a glove that is functional for a variety of tasks is preferable. The options we reviewed here cover a wide range of areas including wood work, DIY, automotive and farming. The only specialized glove here is the Epica Cut Resistant which might not perform as well outside of its intended use.
The most important bit in all this is to make sure you get nicely fitting gloves. The gloves might have all the right features and construction but won’t be useful if they don’t fit well. Be sure to measure your hand and check the sizing chart before buying to ensure you have the proper fit.
We have taken the liberty of reviewing the 5 best work gloves so you don’t have to go through the trouble yourself. We put the gloves to the test and are happy to recommend them.