Best Work Gloves: Protect Your Hands While Working
Protect your hands from work-related injuries with these high-quality work gloves
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BY Norah Tarichia / LAST UPDATED 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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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
- 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.