Best Work Gloves: Protect Your Hands While Working
Protect your hands from work-related injuries with these high-quality work gloves.
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON July 19, 2021
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 woodshop or an auto repair shop. Not just any gloves will do; you need a set of professional gloves that are guaranteed to promote safety in your work environment. Our buying guide below will help you get the best work gloves.
A pair of well-engineered gloves that are suitable for all work environments.
- Durable construction
- Resists tears
- Absorbs high-impact energy
- Includes fingertip reinforcements
- Machine washable
- May have an unpleasant smell if your hands get sweaty
- Can feel too thick for small detail jobs
Six pairs of gloves with twin material construction at an affordable price.
- Offers maximum flexibility
- Feels light on the hands
- Made of breathable material
- Promotes full hand movement while protecting against minor injuries
- No extra padding for comfort
- No cold weather protection
- Contain bug repellent smells
A pair of synthetic leather gloves that make it easy for your hands to pick up small objects.
- Lightweight and flexible
- Great dexterity, excellent grip
- Warm in cold weather
- Can be used on touchscreens
- May feel tight during the first use
- Inadequate knuckle padding
- May have poor stitching at the palms
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Work Gloves
- Protective. First and foremost, work gloves protect your hands. And that’s a benefit that you simply can’t ignore. Sliding on a pair of gloves allows you to cover your hands with a shield of thick material. No matter what kind of gloves you choose, any good pair of work gloves will keep you protected from potential dangers like cuts, burns, and a loss of grip. They can protect in a variety of temperatures, and they can also offer critical grip that keeps your hands and the rest of you safe while at work.
- Secure grip. Like we mentioned above, work gloves offer great grip. This is especially beneficial if you’ve been struggling to get a secure, comfortable hold on the items you work with most often. Work gloves can provide grippy palms, fingers, and fingertips (depending on the kind you buy) that’ll help you get a better hold on all types of items and materials.
- All-weather comfort. Whether you’re working outdoors in the heat of summer or in a chilly garage during the freezing winter, a good pair of work gloves can keep you and your hands comfortable. Available in a variety of different materials for different types of weather, you can find gloves that wick away sweat to keep you cool when it’s hot and gloves that offer layers of thermal protection for increased warmth. Year-round, in any and every season, your gloves will keep you at just the right level of comfort.
Types of Work Gloves
Light-duty work gloves are lightweight and made from relatively thin, flexible material. These gloves aren’t meant to be used in seriously rugged or rough settings, but they’re perfect for tasks that require good dexterity. If you need to keep your fingers as close to glove-free performance as possible, light-duty gloves are just the right pick. Their thin construction makes it easier to move, grip, and flex naturally, and they’re also a good choice for more detail-oriented work settings.
If you need extra protection, more warmth, or serious outdoor rugged-ready construction, then you’ll want to opt for a pair of heavy-duty work gloves. These gloves are thicker, sturdier, and built for seriously heavy-duty use cases. They’re often made from tough material with extra-tough details like reinforced stitching and grip pads that are strategically located. These work gloves are best for situations where you’re concerned about potential injuries or where you’ll be working with items that could rip or create problems with light-duty gloves.
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 located 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, Mich., in 1889, Carhartt began as a small sewing company with two sewing machines and five employees. The company has grown to be 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.
Dexterity and Flexibility
If you can’t grab onto objects, move your fingers, or open and close your hands easily in a pair of gloves, they’re pretty much useless. Your work gloves should move like you move — and they should feel more like a second layer of skin than a loose, bulky covering. That’s why it’s important to choose gloves that offer dexterity and flexibility.
Dexterity gives you the freedom to move and use your hands normally. A high level of dexterity means your hands feel pretty natural inside your gloves. And flexibility, whether achieved through stretchy material or a close-to-skin fit that moves with you, will also help ensure you have just as much range of motion with your work gloves on as when they’re off.
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.
- Material. Work gloves come in all kinds of different materials. The most common are leather, synthetic material, and rubber (or PVC). The right material for your needs depends on how, exactly, you’ll be using your gloves. Leather, for example, is a traditional choice that’s nicely thick and protective; however, this material isn’t able to get wet. Synthetic work gloves can be even more durable, as well as breathable yet warm; however, they aren’t always well-suited to every type of work. Rubber or PVC gloves are really best for extra grip, though they can crack and peel as they see wear and tear.
- Uses and Applications. Before you settle on any pair of work gloves, make sure you consider your most common uses and applications. Not every pair of gloves is suited for every situation or type of work. Leather, for example, will pose problems if you work in wet environments. However, rubber can prevent slipping and is perfect for damp environments. If you’re in need of protection, synthetic materials with added protective perks or features might be the best choice. Think about how you’ll use your gloves most often to decide.
Best Work Gloves Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- 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?
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?
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?
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.
Q: What are high dexterity gloves?
High dexterity work gloves are designed to give you as much flexibility and functionality as possible. Your dexterity is your ability to move your fingers and hands, flexing and gripping like you normally would. A pair of gloves with high dexterity means you’ll face less restriction or reduced functionality than you would in an average pair of gloves.
Q: What are the most durable work gloves?
While plenty of work gloves made in all kinds of materials claim to be durable, leather work gloves are typically the winners in this category. With proper care, leather gloves tend to last longer than synthetic materials and rubber or PVC. Just make sure you’re maintaining your leather gloves regularly, and they’ll be in your life for the long haul.
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.