LAST UPDATED: October 7, 2019
Best Work Gloves: Protect Your Hands While Working
Protect your hands from work-related injuries with these high-quality work gloves
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON October 7, 2019
It's important to protect your hands from dirt and injuries, especially if you spend a lot of time working on your vehicle in the garage or have a wood shop or an auto repair shop. Not just any gloves will do; you need professional gloves that are guaranteed to promote safety in your work environment. Our buying guide will help you get the best work gloves currently available.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Work Gloves
- Protection. Wearing gloves while you’re working with your hands provides you with a thick layer of material over your skin. This could be with leather, synthetic materials, or rubber. You’ll be able to lift heavy objects better and perform activities that would injure your skin without the gloves.
- Better grip. Many work gloves have extra material on the palm and fingers to provide you with a better grip. This could be with suede leather or rubberized material. This extra material will make it less likely for your hands to slip while carrying heavy objects.
- Warmth. Wearing work gloves provides your hands with an extra layer of insulation. In cold weather, this can keep your hands warmer. Some work gloves even have insulation to keep your hands even warmer.
Types of Work Gloves
Traditionally, work gloves are made out of leather. You’ll find modern work gloves that are made completely out of leather and others that only have leather on the palm of the glove. Several types of leather are used to make gloves. They include cowhide, goatskin, sheepskin, and even kangaroo skin.
The best leather gloves use leather that is thick enough to be protective, but not too thick so they can retain flexibility and dexterity. You’ll also want to be careful and look out for leather that can become stiff when wet.
Modern work gloves use synthetic materials for the construction of the gloves. They may include polyester, nylon, PVC, and rubber. These synthetic materials can provide you with increased durability, breathability, and warmth.
Be careful with synthetic materials as they are designed to work in specific applications. While they’ll excel during their intended purpose, they’ll let you down in other applications.
Some gloves are mainly rubber or a PVC type of material. Most work gloves use these materials for the palm, though. If you need extra grip, then these materials are a smart choice. Look for a high-quality set, as both rubber and PVC can age, crack, and peel. This will render the gloves useless.
Founded in 1991, Mechanix is a leader in producing hand protection for tactical, industrial, construction, and automotive industries. Based in California, the company distributes its products worldwide. The Mechanix Wear - Original Work Gloves are a great example of the company’s durable gloves.
This performance wear company was founded in California in 1998. Today, the company has its headquarters in Texas. The company focuses on producing innovative gloves for industrial and consumer applications. Check out the IRONCLAD Work Gloves Impact Protection Gloves for a protective pair of tactical gloves.
Founded in Dearborn, Michigan, in 1889, Carhartt began as a small sewing company with two sewing machines and five employees. The company has grown into a world leader in producing durable work clothes, fire-resistant clothing, and hunting gear. The Carhartt Men's System 5 Work Glove with Safety Cuff is both durable and protective.
Work Gloves Pricing
- Under $20: These are affordable gloves that tend to have a simple construction and lack features. They work well if you need a basic pair of gloves for occasional work.
- $20 to $45: Most work gloves fall into this price category. They’ll use quality materials and have a few nice features. If you regularly wear work gloves, you’ll be happy with a pair from this price range.
- $45 and up: These are high-end gloves that are full of features, use the finest materials, and are often meant for specific uses.
The gloves you buy need to fit your hands. Otherwise, there’s no point in buying them because you won’t be able to get them on. Most gloves come in a basic set of sizes, such as small, medium, and large. You’ll want to look at the manufacturer’s size chart to determine your size.
Most gloves have you measure across your palm to determine what your glove size is. It’s smart to read the reviews before you buy the gloves as some run small or large.
The material of the glove you choose will depend on the level of grip, warmth, and dexterity you’re looking for. Leather is one of the most durable materials, but you’ll lack in dexterity. Synthetic materials will give you dexterity, but they tend to lack durability.
Some gloves use multiple types of materials in a single glove to give you the benefit of all of them. That way, you can have the durability of leather on the palm, breathability of cotton on the back, and terrycloth on the thumb for a sweat wipe.
Palm grips range from being a roughed-up material to provide extra friction to full padded patches for impact protection. The amount of palm protection and grip you need will depend on your intended activities.
Suede is the most common material used to line work glove palms. It’s both durable and improves grip. Rubberized material works well for providing grip in wet environments. Tactical gloves will have additional patches that provide impact protection.
- Stitching. The stitching on your gloves needs to be durable. This tends to be a weak point for work gloves. Pay attention to the stitching that extends the length of each finger. You should also look at the stitching across the palm. Hidden and double stitching are the most durable.
- Durability. Not all leather and synthetic materials are the same. You need to pay attention to the durability of the material used for the main construction of the gloves. If the material is too thin, it will wear through. If the material is thick, it will protect your hands, but also reduce your dexterity. Look for reinforcement in the stress points of the glove.
- Warmth and Breathability. If you plan to wear your work gloves in hot or cold weather, then you’ll want gloves that will keep you comfortable. Warm weather work gloves will have breathable fabric. The sweat and moisture should get wicked away from your hands to help keep you dry. Cold weather gloves should have insulation to retain your body heat.
Best Work Gloves Reviews & Recommendations 2020
This rugged tactical glove comes in brown, black, and grey. You can choose from small through XX-large. The gloves have breathable material on the back and durable suede on the palm. There’s a thermoplastic guard on the back of the glove to protect your knuckles from impact and abrasion. The fingertips have an internal dual layer for extra protection. On the palm, there is a D30 protect pad to help dissipate energy throughout the palm. At the wrist, there’s a hook and loop closure for a secure fit.
This glove stands out because of the additional creature comfort features. The breathable TrekDry material conforms to your hand and keeps you cool. The synthetic leather on the palm is 0.8mm for dexterity and durability. There’s also an impact guard on the first knuckle that allows for easy trigger guard entry.
One problem with these gloves is their authenticity. Make sure the gloves you receive are the true product and not a cheaper quality knock-off. Pay attention to the shape of the knuckle guard, the structure of the palm padding, and the quality of the stitching. The gloves also run large, so if you have smaller or more feminine hands, these gloves won’t fit well.
You get six pairs of gloves in this package. They come in men’s medium, large, and X-large or women’s medium. This glove is lightweight and flexible. The construction of the glove is 100-percent nylon material, while the palm of the glove is coated with 100-percent microfoam. The gloves are light gray with black palms.
You’ll like wearing these gloves while working around the house because of their slim fit. This enables you to have dexterity in your fingers. The nylon material is breathable and keeps your hands cool when you're wearing the gloves all day long.
The downside of these gloves is their offensive odor that is reminiscent of pesticides. Not only do the chemicals smell bad, but they can also cause reactions for those with sensitive skin. The coating also makes it challenging to feel through the glove, which can make more detailed or technical work challenging.
These durable tactical gloves are black and grey with yellow accenting. You have a choice of small through XX-large. The material is shrink resistant, which helps when it comes to choosing an accurate size. The material is synthetic leather to give you durability and protection. The interior of the glove has insulation for warmth during cold weather. The wrist has a wing closure to prevent slippage when wearing the gloves in wet conditions.
What makes this glove stand out are the spandex and Lycra stretch panels. This makes the glove more flexible, comfortable, and increases your dexterity. Another standout feature is the concealed inner stitching. This prevents them from getting snagged on rough surfaces while you’re working. The pointer finger has a smartscreen tip to make using your devices easier while wearing the gloves.
Unfortunately, while the stitching may not get snagged, the material will. This will result in rips across the fingers and palm. This glove also lacks durability for heavy-duty use.
These cowhide leather gloves are the classic yellow work glove. They come in small, medium, large, and X-large. The palm is a grain cowhide leather, while the back is a split cowhide leather. The design of the gloves features a Gunn Cut and Keystone Thumb.
What makes these gloves stand out are the double thread stitching and elastic wrist. This gives the gloves increased durability and protection abilities. The gloves absorb sweat and are breathable.
The downside of these gloves is that they don’t have a lining. The fingers are also not sized properly and may feel too short and tight. The stitching can start to come undone with strenuous use.
This all-purpose utility work glove comes in black with bold yellow Ironclad branding across the back of the hand. It comes in a range of sizes from X-small through XX-large. There’s thermoplastic across the knuckles for protection from abrasion and impact. You can adjust the fit with the hook and loop closure on the wrist.
You’ll appreciate the terry cloth patch on the back of the thumb that acts as a sweat wipe. You’ll also like that these gloves are machine washable, which makes caring for them easy. They also fit your hands thanks to a 16-point application-driven measurement system.
Unfortunately, the stitching isn’t very durable, and the gloves can start to split while you’re wearing them. The material won't stand up to heavy-duty use. The grip on the palm could also be better and isn’t very grippy when picking up heavy objects.
This insulated work glove is made from 15-gauge nylon and is lined with soft fleece material. The palm and fingertips have a micropore PVC palm coating. It’s rated to keep your hands warm in temperatures as cold as negative five-degrees Celsius. The glove comes in a bold red color with the grip coating in black. Choose from sizes small through XX-large.
You’ll like wearing these gloves because they dry quickly and are lightweight. The grip coating on the palm is formulated to stay flexible in cold temperatures. This glove is also puncture-resistant and rated ANSI 2, and for abrasion resistance, it’s rated ANSI 3. This will keep your hands safe while working.
Unfortunately, the inside fleece lining can shrink, which makes the gloves uncomfortable or impossible to wear. The fleece won’t stretch back out either. The grip coating on the palm can crack and peel away from the nylon material. They also lack adequate insulation to really keep your hands warm.
This tough work glove is designed to fit snugly to give you full dexterity. It comes in sizes small through XXX-large. There are Kevlar reinforcements throughout the glove to reinforce the areas that experience high wear. The cuff has thermoplastic rubber to make the gloves secure as soon as you pull them on. The leather is goatskin and won’t dry out or shrink when it gets wet.
This glove stands out because it has patented rolltop seamless fingertips. This increases your dexterity and provides you with a double layer of protection. Another unique feature is the terry cloth sweat wipe on the back of the thumb. This makes it easy to wipe your brow while you're working.
The downside is that the leather isn’t very durable. It will start to wear through on the palm and fingertip pads. The sizing runs very small, so be sure to size up when ordering. The sizing is also off because the palm will fit your hand, but the fingers will be too big and long. If the fingers fit, then the palm may be too small.
These work gloves come in a pack of five pairs. They are made of 100-percent gray leather and have a 100-percent cotton material backing. The leather is made from 100-percent premium suede cowhide leather. The leather covers the entire palm and fingers, and the cuff is a rubberized safety cuff. You can choose from sizes large or XL. Glove packs come in sets of three, five, and 12.
The extra long cuff on this glove will give you extra protection and will cover the cuff of your sleeve. The high-quality leather covers the entire palm and fingers for full hand protection and grip. The cotton back helps to keep the glove breathable when working in warmer climates.
Unfortunately, the stitching isn’t very durable on these gloves and can come apart. The leather can also become stiff, which makes the gloves hard to wear and work in. You may also find that the gloves have a strange and unpleasant odor.
These work gloves are a combination of leather, polyester, and duck fabric. The shell and palm are 100-percent leather, the lining is 100-percent polyester, and the back is 100-percent cotton duck fabric. At the wrist, there is an elastic cuff. Inside of the gloves is G100 3M Thinsulate insulation to keep your hands warm. Choose from size small to XX-large.
What makes these gloves stand out is the suede cowhide palm patch for increased durability. The insulation will make these gloves useful during the winter when you're working outside.
Unfortunately, the stitching on these gloves isn’t durable and can come apart. When this happens, the insulation will come out. The suede material on the palm is thin. The insulation isn’t very effective at keeping your fingertips warm in cold weather.
These flexible microfiber work gloves are made from lightweight polyester material. They come in sizes small, medium, large, and x-large. You have the option of choosing between black or black and green. The palm and two of the fingers have anti-slip silicone particles to give you a better grip. The wrist has a hook and loop closure to provide a secure fit.
What’s nice about these gloves is that they have smartscreen capabilities, so you can work your phone or tablet without taking the gloves off. They also have stretch material on the back of the gloves to make them more comfortable. The palm is a reinforced single piece of synthetic leather for comfort.
Unfortunately, these gloves aren’t durable enough for heavy-duty daily use. You’ll find that the touchscreen tips aren't very effective and the seams can also give out.
- Consider washing your gloves at least twice every month. Dirt stains tend to weaken most gloves, which can expose you to more injuries.
- Wear other protective gear, including eye goggles, ear muffs, and a face mask for extra precaution when working on projects in your garage.
- If you plan on working with chemicals, ensure that the gloves can resist corrosion. Otherwise, the chemical will burn through the gloves and damage your skin.
- Inspect your gloves regularly for any signs of wear. If you notice any holes in the palms or fingertips, then it may be time to replace them.
- If you notice that your skin gets irritated or you experience a stinging sensation when using the gloves, discontinue use since you may be allergic to the material.
Q: What kind of hand injuries can you expect at a workplace?
A: Most work-related hand injuries include skin lacerations caused by blunt objects such as screwdrivers. Puncture and burn wounds are expected when you are working on your engine. You can prevent a worst-case scenario such as cutting your finger with a table saw by wearing heavy-duty work gloves.
Q: Are leather gloves machine washable?
A: Most aftermarket synthetic and genuine leather gloves are machine washable. If the leather gloves you buy aren’t machine washable, you can clean them with a wet cloth lathered in saddle soap. Massage the soap into the gloves, and wipe them dry with a clean towel. Then leave the gloves to air dry.
Q: Will my gloves weaken from constant washing?
A: If you can’t stand having dirty gloves, then you need to buy premium quality gloves with tough construction. Then all you have to do is follow the manufacturer's recommendations on cleaning the material and avoid using a scrubber to get rid of stains. Soaking them in soapy water overnight usually helps to lighten tough stains.
We chose the Mechanix Wear M-Pact Tactical Gloves as our top pick because of their highly durable and dexterous thermoplastic rubber construction. The gloves are also resistant to wear.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a pair of work gloves, consider the G&F Seamless Work Gloves.