No matter what kind of work you’re doing, you’re going to need work gloves. And of course, you want the best work gloves for your specific task.
But it can be difficult to determine what kinds of gloves you need to get, because there’s thousands of variations out there depending on the job that needs to be done. Rubberized-palm gloves are great for some tasks but not all; heavily-reinforced gloves may be too much for more delicate work. How do you choose?
Today, I’m going to break down the different styles of work gloves a bit for you and help you to make the right choice for what you’re doing. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get to it!
Best Job-Oriented Work Gloves On Amazon:
- Best Work Gloves For Construction: Kinco Unlined Foreman Glove
- Best Work Gloves For Carpenters: Ironclad Framer Gloves
- Best Work Gloves For Electricians: CLC Custom Leathercraft Handyman Flex Grip Work Gloves
- Best Mechanic Gloves: DeWalt High Performance Mechanics Work Gloves
- Best Gloves For Warehouse Work: Maxiflex Ultimate Nitrile Grip Work Gloves
Best Work Gloves For Particular Needs On Amazon:
- Best Mens Work Gloves: CLC Custom Leathercraft 160L Contractor Flex Grip Work Gloves
- Best Womens Work Gloves: Bionic Woman’s Relief Grip Gardening Gloves
- Best Work Gloves For Small Hands: Youngstown Glove Women’s Garden Gloves
- Best Work Gloves For Big Hands: Ironclad General Utility Gloves GUG-06
- Best Leather Work Gloves: Wells Lamont Leather Work Gloves
- Best Heavy Duty Work Gloves: Ironclad RWG2-04-L Ranchworx Glove
Best Work Gloves For Specific Tasks On Amazon:
- Best Waterproof Work Gloves: FrogWear 8490 Insulated & Waterproof Triple Dipped Work Gloves
- Best Gardening Gloves: Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Working Gloves
- Best Puncture Resistant Work Gloves: Rose Pruning Thorn Proof Gloves
- Best Cut Resistant Work Gloves: NoCry Cut Resistant Gloves
- Best Fingerless Work Gloves: Wells Lamont Men’s Hi-Viz Fingerless Synthetic Leather Work Gloves
What Do You Want Your Gloves To Do?
While this may sound like a deceptively easy question to answer, the reality is that it’s not. Depending on the task you’re doing, different gloves have different purposes.
We all know that gloves are meant to protect your hands. But before you can decide what gloves are best for you, you need to determine what you’re protecting your hands from – because that’s the key to picking the right gloves.
Tasks that require these: kitchen prep, yard work, landscaping, carpentry, cutting or sharp tool-related jobs, metal working
Before we get too deeply into this, let’s be clear: no glove is going to protect your hand from all dangers. If you get even the most cut-resistant glove in front of a sharp, moving tool blade, you’re at risk of injury.
What cut resistance is meant to do is to reduce the likelihood that we’re going to nick or slice our hands up while we’re working. Chefs love their cut-resistant gloves because they’re less likely to get that hairline cut while doing prepwork. Someone who’s doing industrial metal stamping relies on their heavily cut-resistant gloves to keep them from injury when picking up sheet metal.
There are varying levels of cut resistance. Often, this makes the fabric of the work gloves thicker, and reduces the ability to do more detailed tasks. The chef mentioned above isn’t going to need the same thickness of gloves as the person who’s handling raw sheet metal edges, but both are going to want cut resistant gloves.
Abrasive surfaces can also cause cutting injuries. Whether it’s abrasion from an accidental bump on the brick wall or from bumping your knuckle on the belt sander, it’s something you’ll want to avoid.
There are different levels of abrasion resistance. Higher levels often are paired with added padding to help reduce damage to the skin. Lower levels will protect against incidental abrasion, but not constant damage.
Our skin is surprisingly easy to puncture. While puncturing can still occur through gloves, it’s a lot less likely with a pair of gloves constructed to reduce puncturing ability.
These can be very simple (a leather work glove that will catch splinters so they don’t go into your hands). More complex varieties can include internal Kevlar layers, reinforced palms or fingers, and even hard plastic fingertips or knuckle guards.
Water or Chemical Resistance
Tasks that require these: gardening, pesticide/fungicide spraying, shoveling snow, plumbing, carpentry (staining/painting wood), crafts, painting, changing motor oil
Spraying pesticides can be a dangerous task, and you really don’t want that stuff to get on your skin. Wood or leather stains will as easily stain your skin as the surface you’re applying them to.
A good pair of gloves will help protect your skin from contact with chemicals. Usually, you will want a glove which is not too porous for tasks like this, but which still allows you to have high range of movement. Thinner gloves that have exterior treatments like nitrile or PVC work extremely well for most purposes. Latex gloves of the sort that are used for food preparation are also an option if you don’t need other protections.
For tasks that require maximum water resistance, the best waterproof work gloves are those constructed of materials that allow no water through at all – fabric that has been rubberized on the exterior, or work gloves which are made of waterproof materials.
However, there are waterproof leather gloves out there which have been treated with a coating that helps to shed water. If you take these gloves and submerge them in water for a period of time, the water will eventually make its way through to your skin. These are more water-resistant than waterproof, but for lighter tasks that’s fine.
Waterproofing can sometimes cause unexpected results. If something is truly waterproof on the outside, that means that any water that does make it inside the glove will stay there, including your own sweat. There are glove types that take this into consideration by making only the fingertips and palms of the gloves waterproof, while leaving breathable fabric across the back of the hand.
Protection from Bruising/Blistering/Impact
Tasks that require these: Heavy yard work (like tree trimming or digging trenches), construction, woodworking, using power tools.
Most bruise or impact-resistant gloves are meant for heavy-duty work applications, such as industrial work or the construction industry. These tend to have extra padding in strategic areas of the hand, and are designed for a specific type of work. Some of these also include knuckle protection, which can be really good if something hits the back of your hand.
However, a simple pair of leather gloves can offer you protection against blistering or other rubbing-induced injuries. I’ve got a pair of half-finger gloves that are padded and reinforced on the palms that prevent damage to my hands when I’m using hand tools.
Some gloves will also protect your hands against vibration from heavy tools like impact drivers. These often have gel pads which will absorb some of the vibration, keeping it from harming your hands.
Protection from Electricity
Tasks that require these: Anything having to do with electricity
Nobody wants to get an electrical shock! While this would seem like a no-brainer, it might not be. Materials that allow you to use touchscreens with your fingertips may also allow electric shocks through, and those are becoming more common, even in heavy-duty work gloves.
Products made from insulating materials like leather and rubber are important if you’re going to be doing work anywhere where there’s likely to be live wires. Avoiding any metal or conductive materials is also key, here… anything that is conductive on these gloves can pose a risk.
Protection from Heat/Cold
Tasks that require these: welding, grinding, cutting metal, as well as shoveling snow or working outdoors in cold weather
Whether you’re welding or shoveling snow, protection from the elements is a great reason to wear gloves.
Heat-resistant gloves are often protective against sparks that might be generated by grinding metal. Many of these also include fire retardant to reduce the chance of the gloves actually igniting from stray sparks or embers.
Cold-resistant ones are usually lined to provide heat insulation and keep the chill outside from reaching your fingers.
While these are more specialized additions than most, you should still consider whether your gloves require these features when determining which to get.
Protection from Dirt/Grime
Tasks that require these: muddy gardening/yardwork, plumbing, cleaning up after livestock, other dirty applications
Doing some concrete work? Or are you going to be digging in the mud, or shoveling manure? Chances are that you’re not going to want that gunk on your hands. While most gloves will provide some measure of protection against dirt and grime, some are better than others.
If you’re going to be doing a lot of dirty work, you may also want to consider if your gloves are washable, because you don’t want to buy new ones all the time. A good pair of canvas or synthetic-fiber gloves can protect your hands from liquid concrete or concrete dust, and can be easily hosed off to remove most of the muck. But cowhide or other leathers may stiffen after getting wet, so they can’t be as easily cleaned.
Work Glove Reviews
Best Work Gloves For Construction
Kinco Unlined Foreman Glove
Designed to cover the hand in a durable, snug protective layer, these Kinco gloves do the job perfectly. A double layer of artificial leather across the palms offers added protection against tool damage. TPR armoring on the back of the hand and down the fingers guards against impact damage and a layer of rigidity. These are designed to be worn for long periods of time, using a polyester stretch-fit fabric to help wick moisture away from the hands during work.
These gloves will ensure the hands are kept safe whether one is using a hammer or a power tool, and are comfortable and breathable. For people who work day in and day out with their hands to build things, these are truly the best construction gloves you can buy.
Best Work Gloves For Carpenters
Ironclad Framer Gloves
Framer’s gloves offer protection to the majority of the hand while still keeping a few fingertips exposed for ease of fine work. It’s hard to hang onto a nail or screw with your fingertips covered, and the Ironclad work gloves take that into account.
The palms are covered in a double-layer of abrasion-resistant fabric. The same fabric provides a top cut protection layer over those exposed fingertips. Designed to be breathable during long work hours, these carpenter gloves give open-finger dexterity while still providing thorough protection to the rest of the hand. Even the Ironclad logo on the back of the hand is a protective element, constructed of a thermoplastic rubber that gives impact resistance. As woodworking gloves, these can’t be beat.
Best Work Gloves For Electricians
CLC Custom Leathercraft Handyman Flex Grip Work Gloves
Electricians need to have dexterity to twist together fine wires and work in tight spaces, but they also require material which won’t conduct electricity. These CLC gloves provide precisely that. Whether working as a general handyman or as a fine detail electrician, these work gloves allow for a wide range of motion while not sacrificing any protectiveness.
While I usually won’t recommend any gloves that allow touchscreen use for electricians, in this case I’ll make an exception. The soft leather fingertips on the thumb and first two fingers of each hand actually provide a good guard layer that isn’t conductive, and which allow you to feel exactly what you’re doing despite having material in the way. And the form-fit design hides most of the stitching, preventing these gloves from getting snagged on loose wires or stray nails.
Best Mechanic Gloves
DeWalt High Performance Mechanics Work Gloves
People doing mechanical work often have their hands in awkward places, shifting around heavy machinery. Gloves that prevent crush damage are essential. With these, DeWalt offers TPR armoring along the fingers and back of the hand which resist impact or crushing injury. These hardy mechanics gloves have PVC patches on the palm and in the thumb crotch as well, giving more protective layers.
Tacky silicone grip fingertips offer the ability to hold on to smaller items even if the gloves have oils or fluids on them, and best of all, these work gloves are washable. After getting your hands deep into the HVAC system, you can hose off most of the gunk, then toss these into the washer to get them fully cleaned.
Best Gloves For Warehouse Work
Maxiflex Ultimate Nitrile Grip Work Gloves
When you’re stocking or carrying around boxes, you don’t want to lose your grip on them. It’s important to have high dexterity gloves that allow you to pick up smaller things, but also ensure your hands aren’t going to slide on the weighty big boxes. Enter these nitrile grip high dexterity work gloves. With a textured nitrile grip, even the slipperiest shrink-wrapped box isn’t going to slide from your fingers, and these are lightweight enough that it’s like you almost have bare hands.
However, these aren’t just the best box handler gloves. These nitrile grip gloves offer a little water resistance, but still breathe well, making them surprisingly good for many other purposes. I’ve used nitrile grip gloves for gardening before and loved it. Machine-washable and easy to care for, these Maxiflex work gloves are multipurpose light gloves that can be used in a wide variety of tasks.
Best Men’s Work Gloves
CLC Custom Leathercraft 160L Contractor Flex Grip Work Gloves
When trying to define the best men’s work gloves, I looked at a wide arrange of possible uses. After all, we’ve all used our gloves for everything from digging something out of the dusty attic to digging a hole in the yard. So I wanted gloves which could be used for a wide variety of purposes.
CLC’s Contractor Flex Grip work gloves offer that wide range of utility. With rubberized fingertips and palms and knuckle padding, these are protective when you’re doing manual work like digging an irrigation trench or shoveling compost. However, they will also work well in gentler applications where you simply just don’t want to get your hands dirty. These act much like an extra skin, making them useful in a range of tasks, and are great work gloves for men.
Best Women’s Work Gloves
Bionic Woman’s Relief Grip Gardening Gloves
These work gloves for women may be designed with gardening utility in mind, but they actually offer surprising flexibility over a wide range of tasks. Designed to be easily bent at the finger joints, these still offer fantastic double-layer protection over the palms to prevent blistering or injury from tool use. The silicone fingertips ensure you’ll have a secure grip on even the smallest of things.
While these don’t offer heavy-duty armoring that may be needed in the construction field, what these do work extremely well at is being a great all-around pair of women’s work gloves. And at the end of the day, these can get tossed in the washer and cleaned up before the next use.
Best Work Gloves For Small Hands
Youngstown Glove Women’s Garden Gloves
It can be surprisingly difficult to find a pair of gloves that works for people with smaller hands. Many of the more armored types of work gloves are very much size-reliant by design. After all, it’s hard to build impact-resistant finger armor without knowing how big the fingers are.
However, Youngstown Glove has created this pair of all-purpose work gloves. Intended for women, these will also work well for men with smaller hands. There’s internal knuckle protection built into the glove, providing extra padding, and the performance fabrics wick away sweat and heat. These are an all-around good pair of all-purpose gloves, and will handle most basic tasks with relative ease.
Best Work Gloves For Big Hands
Ironclad General Utility Gloves GUG-06
Much like it’s difficult to find gloves for small-handed people, people with big hands are often left out in the cold. Enter these Ironclad utility gloves. Available in XL and 2XL sizes as well as a standard range, now people with larger hands can have a layer of protection, too.
Padded inner palm protection is built in, as is knuckle protection. Double-stitched synthetic leather reinforcements are on the thumb and two most heavily used fingers, ensuring they’ll be guarded from risk, too. The flexible fabric upper allows your skin to breathe while still ensuring you’re fully covered. All in all, these are solid multi-purpose gloves and worth picking up.
Best Leather Work Gloves
Wells Lamont Leather Work Gloves
One of the things that’s most popular about leather gloves is that over time, they stretch and adapt to the precise shape of your hand. Literally fitting you as if they were a second skin, leather’s been a popular pick for years because of that. And these Wells Lamont work gloves are made to withstand some serious labor at the same time.
Reinforced palms give added padding for tool use, and the high-quality cowhide provides great abrasion resistance and puncture resistance. For chopping firewood or doing basic yard care tasks, these are durable and offer good padding and protection. There is going to be a wearing-in period when they’ll feel odd, but once these gloves shape to your hand, it’s as if they really are your second skin.
Best Heavy Duty Work Gloves
Ironclad RWG2-04-L Ranchworx Glove
If you want gloves that have a little of everything – impact resistance, cut resistance, comfort and support – but don’t want to give up your ability to do the hard jobs, these Ironclad work gloves are you. Made with hard labor in mind, these gloves provide maximum protection in a leather glove that will mold to the shape of your hand.
Impact and cut resistance is built in, using a mix of TPR armoring and Kevlar lining. Double-layered palms keep your hands from getting chewed up by tool handles. These gloves are designed to handle nearly everything you can throw at them, and still keep going. All things considered, these should be in your tool box for the rough stuff.
Best Waterproof Work Gloves
FrogWear 8490 Insulated & Waterproof Triple Dipped Work Gloves
I’m not a huge fan of fully-waterproof gloves, because while they keep water out, they tend to keep sweat in. But these FrogWear waterproof work gloves work well in a variety of both chemical and water-resistant applications. While these aren’t going to replace my heavy-duty gloves anytime soon, I can absolutely see the utility in keeping a pair of these around for working on a hydroponic or aquaponic setup.
These are suprisingly flexible for being triple-dipped in PVC coating. Some PVC-treated gloves can get a bit stiff, but not these. And since they’re lined with a terrycloth inner layer, your hands aren’t going to feel as soggy as they might in other types of gloves. These are definitely my pick for water resistant work gloves, and should be yours too.
Best Gardening Gloves
Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Working Gloves
Sometimes when I’m out in the garden doing basic things like picking weeds or pruning, the last thing I want on is a pair of gloves. You usually lose at least some dexterity with most types of gloves.
But not with these. Honestly, these bamboo working gloves from Pine Tree Tools are astonishing. I forget that I’m wearing a pair of gloves when I have these on. There’s almost no reduction in sensitivity at all, and the nitrile palms provide a great, grippy surface. If you find yourself working bare-handed all the time to avoid thick and bulky gloves, check these out. You’ll be really glad you did.
Best Puncture Resistant Work Gloves
Rose Pruning Thorn Proof Gloves
I almost left these off the list initially because these are very specific purpose. Puncture-resistant, these long-cuffed gloves are intended for protecting your hands and forearms from your rose bushes.
But at the same time, these also protect your hands and forearms from your cactus, or from the blackberry canes, or from those really irritating nettles that spring up in your yard. Sometimes, you just want something that will prevent your hands from being scraped by every single spiky thing you encounter in the garden. And these will do just that.
Best Cut Resistant Gloves
NoCry Cut Resistant Gloves
Initially, I was hesitant to put these on the list, too. After all, 99% of people use these NoCry cut resistant gloves for kitchen purposes — prepwork before cooking. Why should I consider these a work glove?
But as anyone who grows their own food can tell you, a good pair of kitchen prep gloves is a godsend. You don’t want to harvest your produce only to accidentally slice off your fingertip later. Then I started considering the other uses of these. Do you do a little carving? These will keep the blades off your hands. Carefully removing glass from a broken window to replace it? These will protect you. Etcetera, etcetera.
If you are at all concerned about doing something with a sharp implement, these are going to be of use to you. Just be aware that they’re still not going to protect you from your band saw.
Best Fingerless Work Gloves
Wells Lamont Men’s Hi-Viz Fingerless Synthetic Leather Work Gloves
And finally, we come to fingerless gloves. Why would you want fingerless gloves? Well, sometimes you just want your fingers exposed. You’re not worried about accidentally cutting yourself, nor about something heavy hitting your fingers. You’re just out pushing the lawnmower in midsummer and want a little padding on the palms to stop them from sliding around. Maybe you’re raking the yard, and you want just a hint more protection from the wood handle.
As far as fingerless gloves go, these hi-visibility synthetic work gloves are fantastic. They’re comfortable, allow for full dexterity, and still ensure your palms are fully guarded. If you just need to have a strong grip on what you’re working with, these will give it to you. And as a perk, they can double as exercise gloves.
So there you have it – a thorough breakdown of different types of task-specific and job-specific work gloves which should help you find the right type for your needs. Do you do a task which isn’t represented on this list, and have some insight? Share your thoughts with me below. I’d love to hear what your work gloves do for you!