No matter what kind of work you're doing, every job deserves a pair of high-quality work gloves.
And of course, it's crucial that you find the right pair for your specific task. But finding your perfect fit isn't always easy.
These days, the options for work gloves are almost endless. Reinforced gloves might work well for some jobs, but they might be too clumsy for others. Rubber palm gloves work well for dexterous jobs, but they aren't always tough enough.
Different cuts, materials, and textures will appeal more to certain types of work than others. So how do you find the best work gloves for your job?
Here's a guide to the different features available in a work glove and what you should be looking for. We'll break down some of the different types of gloves available, as well as their materials, uses, and safety.
How to Choose the Best Work Gloves
Hard, back-breaking work is already tough enough. Why pile on cuts, burns, abrasions, or nerve damage to your work if you don't have to?
A little bit of skin protection can make a world of difference. Gloves can lower the odds of a hand injury on a worksite by up to 70%.
But the real challenge is picking the right kind of glove. You need to sort through all the different types of gloves to find one that fits your workplace needs and is comfortable to wear.
To help point you in the right direction, here are some steps you can take to narrow down the best work gloves for you.
Choosing the Material
The first step to finding a work glove is to choose the right material. Depending on your work, you'll need different types of materials to accommodate the different tasks.
Let's take a closer look at what you're protecting your hands from.
Cuts and Punctures
Tasks like gardening, landscaping, carpentry, cooking, metalworking, or other tool related jobs will need puncture resistant gloves.
While tough, cut resistant gloves won't protect you from all injury, they can help reduce the chance that you'll slice your hands while working.
Look for a material with the right thickness and padding for your job. This can mean something simple like a leather glove to protect you from splinters. It can also mean something a bit more complex, like reinforced palms, padded fingers, or knuckle guards.
Bruising and Blistering
If you're doing construction, heavy yard work, woodworking, or other jobs that use power tools, you'll need gloves that are impact resistant.
These gloves will have extra padding on the palm and knuckle of the hand. This will help absorb the shock of a heavy blow or the vibration from power tools, keeping your hands protected from chafing, blistering, or bruising.
Water and Chemicals
Jobs like gardening, plumbing, carpentry, painting, auto work, or the use of any chemicals will require liquid-resistant gloves.
You need to find a glove that's watertight but still allows for a range of movement. For maximum resistance, look for materials which allow no water at all--often coated in rubber on the exterior or made of a waterproof material.
If you don't need complete water resistance, you can also find materials that have been coated with a material that helps them shed water.
If you're looking for concrete gloves for an outdoor job or construction work, you can find a special rubber coating that will let you handle substances like concrete, tar, or mortar.
Heat and Cold
Tasks that involve heat, like welding and metalworking, or jobs like shoveling snow or working outdoors in cold weather require gloves that will give you protection from the elements.
Heat-resistant gloves are made of a durable, fire-resistant material that will protect your hands against sparks. Many metal working gloves also include a fire retardant to reduce the chance fo the gloves igniting.
Cold resistant gloves are lined with a material to provide insulation for your hands and trap heat inside the gloves.
Any job that involves electric work or hands-on engineering may give you an electric shock.
If you're doing any work that's likely to be near live wires, look for material like leather or rubber to reduce the chance of electric shock. Avoid any kind of metal and double check the materials to make sure that nothing is conductive.
Pick the Right Fit
Sizing and fit make a big difference in the comfort of your glove. If you're going to be using your work gloves during long days of hard work, making sure they fit comfortably is essential.
Here are some things to consider when it comes to the design of your glove:
- Outside seams are more comfortable, but they may wear out quickly
- Inside seams are durable, but they may irritate your skin
- Seams across the palm provide greater comfort
- Seams across the back may provide a better fit
Poorly fitting gloves cause more than just discomfort--they can restrict motion during your work, as well as cause long-term injuries like blisters and muscle cramps.
Be sure to try on a type of glove and test its comfort and fit before committing to buy it.
Add-Ons and Extras
There's more to a great work glove than just the material and cut. Check out some additional options you should look for to make sure your glove is perfect for the job.
If you want the protection of a work glove without losing the natural dexterity of your fingertips, getting fingerless or half-finger gloves is a great idea.
These gloves will keep your hand warm and protected while still allowing you to do more dexterous tasks like typing on a computer or handling delicate machinery.
While the fingerless gloves can provide greater dexterity, some tasks can't be done while exposing the skin.
Finding a glove with a textured rubber grip along the palm or fingers can help you handle detailed work without sacrificing protection.
Touch Screen Pads
If you're doing technology related work--or you just want to check your phone from time to time--look for a glove with touch-sensitive pads on the fingertips.
These pads will let you use a touchscreen device while still wearing your gloves. This means that no matter what you're doing, you can surf the internet all day long.
The Bottom Line
Finding the best work gloves for you isn't as simple as taking a one-size-fits-all pair off the shelf and calling it a day.
You need to find a work glove that fits your needs and preferences while on a job--whether you're looking for durability, dexterity, protection, or comfort.
Looking for more advice on finding the perfect work glove? Ready to buy a pair of your own? Contact us for more information!