Work gloves are a great tool to keep in your tool box, but are often overlooked. There are several types of gloves available that can protect your hands while you work on various projects. Different gloves are better suited for different jobs, so you may opt to keep more than one type on hand.
This buying guide highlights the different types of work and safety gloves available, along with the materials that comprise them, sizing and fit, and uses and safety.
Things to Know Before Buying Gloves
- Gloves can be made from a wide array of materials, each with different properties and uses.
- Common materials used to make gloves include leather, cotton, latex, canvas, metal mesh and more. Some are even disposable gloves.
- If you're allergic to latex and other materials that can cause irritation to your skin, be careful not to use gloves that contain those materials.
- Properly sized gloves allow for greater dexterity than oversized ones and are more comfortable than gloves that are too small.
- Poorly fitting gloves can also cause blisters that can potentially contribute to injuries.
- If you're working with chemicals or pesticides, it is important to clean your gloves or dispose of them properly afterward. Always be sure to use gloves that will protect your hands from hazardous chemicals.
Types of Gloves
Sizing and Fit
- Having gloves that fit is essential to comfort and, in many cases, safety.
- Poorly fitted gloves restrict motion and can cause muscle cramps, aches and blisters.
- Gloves with seams across the palm are often more comfortable, while gloves with seams across the back may provide more of an exact fit.
- Inside seams last longer, but may rub or chafe your skin. Outside seams are more comfortable, but tend to wear out more quickly.
Usage and Safety
- While working with prickly vines or thorns, it is best to have gloves with long cuffs to protect your arms.
- Gloves that come in contact with hazardous chemicals should be taken off inside out to avoid exposing your skin.
- Avoid wearing gloves near machines, such as grinders, drill presses and lathes, as they can get caught and cause injury.
- Tuck sleeves into your gloves to prevent chemicals from contacting your skin.
- Replace gloves when they become visibly worn out or frayed.
- Look for gloves with rubber dots on the palms and fingers for a better grip.
- If you work outdoors in the cold, look for gloves with heating system options.
Alternatives to Latex
Latex gloves are made of rubber, an all-natural material. They're comfortable, offer dexterity and are often used in the medical field. Because they're rubber, they do a good job of warding off infectious material. However, some people are allergic to latex. Nitrile and vinyl gloves are excellent alternatives.
Latex gloves are made of rubber, an all-natural material. They're comfortable, offer dexterity and are often used in the medical field. Because they're rubber, they do a good job of warding off infectious material.
Nitrile gloves are made of synthetic rubber, and are therefore latex free. They're also exceedingly puncture resistant, making them a favorite among those in the medical profession.
Vinyl gloves are latex free as well. They're popular in the food industry and less expensive than nitrile. Designed for short-term use, they're a low-risk, disposable option.