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FAQs about Work Gloves

What’s the difference between gardening gloves and 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.

I’m only doing some light gardening. Do I really need gloves?

Besides protecting your hands from cuts and chemicals, wearing gloves while gardening greatly reduces the risk of getting fungal infections caused by soils and plants. Sporotrichosis (rose picker’s disease) is a fungal disease that causes skin ulcers and lesions. You can contract this from infected rose thorns or sphagnum peat moss. Always wear gloves while gardening!

Which traits are important when choosing gloves?

The key aspect is the material the gloves are made from. A wide range of materials are popular depending on the type of work you’re doing. Be sure to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each material, including if it’s waterproof, puncture proof, breathable, and resistant to chemicals.

The fit of the gloves is another important factor. Working outdoors for long periods of time can cause hand fatigue and discomfort, and if your gloves are too big or too small, your hands won’t be protected from injury. Choose the gloves that best fit your palm, fingers, and wrists.

... Especially if you're working with power equipment, gloves that are too big can cause serious injuries!

Some additional traits that are beneficial include:

  • Breathable fabric to prevent sweating
  • Insulated layer to keep hands warm
  • Flame resistance or heat protection
  • Vibration-dampening pads on the palms and fingers
  • Impact-absorbing pads on the palms
  • Puncture resistance
  • Machine washable
  • Adjustable wrist straps
  • Touchscreen compatible fingers

What types of gloves are best for gardening?

Cloth gloves: The most common and inexpensive option, cloth gardening gloves are usually made from cotton or knit jersey and are machine washable. They’re breathable and keep hands clean, but don’t offer much puncture protection.

Stretchy gloves: Most frequently made from spandex or lycra, these feature cotton on the back with a flexible but strong palm. Stretchy gloves offer added protection and are usually waterproof but aren’t as strong as rubber or leather.

Rubber gloves: If you’re using chemicals like herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides, rubber gloves are the best choice. Their only downside is they can make hands hot and should be avoided if you have a latex allergy.

Neoprene or nitrile gloves: Made from a synthetic rubber, these protect hands from chemicals and cuts. They are usually more breathable and flexible, but big thorns can puncture through them.

Leather gloves: The more expensive option, leather gloves are the best at protecting hands from thorns/cuts. They are usually waterproof, but if not, they can be treated with a waterproof layer. Most rose gloves are made from leather.

... Gardening gloves serve lots of different purposes, so there are many types to choose from.

What type of gloves are best for working in cold weather?

Leather gloves: Beyond the benefits for gardening, leather gloves are ideal for working in cold weather because they remain flexible at low temperatures. They also offer excellent grip, are breathable, and protect against punctures. If you’re working in snow, make sure the leather has been treated against water.

Synthetic (faux) leather gloves: These can come in many forms including nylon, spandex, and polyester. Some kinds of synthetic leather are waterproof and breathable, while others are not and instead offer more abrasion resistance. Synthetic gloves are fairly lightweight to provide dexterity and fit into tight spots, but they are also sensitive to environmental aging.

Regardless of the material, always make sure your gloves provide some level of protection against the cold. This could include an insulated layer like wool or fleece to trap body heat inside and keep cold temperatures at bay.

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