Choosing the Right Work Gloves
There’s nothing as satisfying as completing a home project with your own hands. What’s not so great are hands covered in blisters, cuts, splinters, bruises, or worse. Skip the painful reminders of your hard work and invest in some gloves!
Whether your project is as easy as raking leaves or as complex as cutting a new trail, don’t get to work without protecting your hands. There are work gloves for every type of home activity, so there’s no reason not to use some. But, with the thousands of glove options out there, how do you choose?
Why Gloves are Important
You never know what can happen when working outside, so it’s always smart to take the proper precautions. Even if you’re just shoveling a front walkway or planting a few seeds, gloves should be worn to protect your hands from blisters, cuts, and infections.
Many people don’t realize that you can get fungal infections from plants and soils. Sporotrichosis, or rose picker’s disease, is a fungal disease that causes lesions and skin ulcers. You can contract this from infected rose thorns or sphagnum peat moss. This is just one of the many risks you can encounter when working outside without gloves.
Types of Work Gloves
Gardening gloves are lighter weight than standard work gloves. They are usually made from a flexible material that’s breathable and easy to clean. Many types of gardening gloves are waterproof and offer protection against invasive thorns or pesticide/fungicide chemicals.
Work gloves can range in all types of durability and offer extra padding, reinforced palms/knuckles, and protection from heat/cold. Many types are made from insulating materials like rubber and leather to provide extra protection against blistering, chemicals, and even electricity.
Factors to Consider
Material: The most important aspect of choosing work gloves is the material they’re made from. Depending on the type of work you’re doing, this can range from lightweight cotton to sturdier leather or rubber. Carefully consider what each material can offer, including if it’s breathable and resistant to chemicals.
Fit: Working outside can cause hand fatigue, and if your gloves are too big or too small, your hands won’t be protected from injury. Always pick the gloves that fit your palm, fingers, and wrists snugly. This is particularly important if you’re wearing gloves while using power equipment. Gloves that are too big can cause your hands to slip off the handlebar and lose control of the machine.
Durability: There’s a huge range in durable features that work gloves offer. If you’re going to be encountering all types of elements, consider gloves that are waterproof, puncture proof, flame resistant, and have impact-absorbing padding.
Temperature Control: It’s easy for hands to sweat or freeze if you don’t have the right combination of materials. Pick a pair of gloves that includes breathable fabric to prevent body heat getting trapped while also providing enough insulation to keep your hands warm.
Extra Features: Many types of work gloves are machine washable and have user-friendly features like adjustable wrist straps, touchscreen compatible fingers, and knuckle padding. Depending on the work you’re doing, these additions can make a huge difference.
Best Types of Work Gloves
- Cloth gloves: The most budget-friendly option and usually made from a breathable cotton or knit jersey. These are ideal for light yardwork.
- Stretchy gloves: A hybrid between cloth and synthetic, these feature cotton on the back with a strong palm. They’re great for added protection.
- Rubber gloves: Best for chemicals like herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides, but their downside is they can make hands sweat. Insulating rubber gloves can protect against electrical burns.
- Latex gloves: Ideal for protection against chemicals, latex is more breathable than leather or rubber but thorns can still puncture.
- Leather gloves: The best at protecting hands from thorns/cuts, leather offers excellent grip and is flexible at low temperatures. Make sure it has been treated against water as most leather isn’t waterproof.
- Synthetic (faux) leather gloves: Usually made from nylon, spandex, and polyester, some are waterproof and breathable while others aren’t. These are lighter weight than leather but are sensitive to environmental aging.
- Disposable gloves: Perfect for quick and low-risk projects, disposable gloves are made from latex, nitrile, vinyl, or polyethylene. If you’re working with chemicals, stick to latex or nitrile.
Whatever type of work gloves you choose, the key is to over-protect yourself. Make sure your gloves fit correctly, are made of the proper materials, and provide enough comfort and dexterity to get the job done safely. And always keep your gloves handy so you never have an excuse not to wear them!