The Dirt on the Best Work Gloves of 2021
For those who work with their hands, work gloves are a must. They protect your hands from hot and cold surfaces, abrasions, splinters, chemicals, and more. Depending on what you do, you need a different type of glove and specific features. From light gardening to metalworking and woodworking, we’ve done the research, tested, and taken a deep dive into the world of work gloves to provide you a comprehensive list and buying guide to the best work gloves.
- Best Heavy-Duty: Ironclad General Utility Work Gloves GUG
- Best Medium-Duty: Carhartt Men’s System 5 Work Glove with Safety Cuff
- Most Impact-Resistant: Mechanix Wear: M-Pact Leather Work Gloves
- Best for Cold Weather: Youngstown Work Glove 03-3450-80-L
- Most Budget-Friendly: KAYGO KG11PB Work Gloves, 12 Pairs
- Best Light-Duty: Carhartt Men’s Work Flex Spandex Work Glove
- Most Versatile: Dewalt DPG20M All Purpose Glove
- Best for Gardening: Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Working Gloves
- Best All-Leather: OZERO Flex Grip Leather Work Gloves
- Most Durable: Ironclad Ranchworx Work Gloves RWG2
The Best Work Gloves
For an all-around heavy-duty glove for any job, look no further than the Ironclad General Utility Work Gloves GUG. I usually use work gloves to move debris, build frames, mount paintings, install hardware, and accomplish other projects both at home and outdoors. These became my go-to gloves, and when I put holes in them, I will hands-down get another pair.
Spandex makes this glove stretchy and breathable, while leather reinforcements and patches protect your hands from abrasions, cuts, and impact. Knuckle reinforcements also line the back of the hand, which was great for me when working outdoors. Lastly, the fit of this glove was perfect. It’s hard for me to find gloves that provide a snug fit, but Ironclad’s extra small size fits my hands perfectly. Read the in-depth review here.
Leather palm patches
- Weight3.2 ounces
When it comes to a glove for construction and medium-duty work, the Carhartt Men’s Safety 5 Work Glove with Safety Cuff beats all competition. While testing this glove, I moved wood and tree limbs, rocks, and other debris after a storm.
With most all-leather gloves, dexterity is limited, and I found that to be the case for this glove as well. This style runs a bit large, so order a size down for a snug fit — Carhartt’s small sizing was still a bit large for me. Otherwise, this is a solid, hardworking pair of all-leather gloves. The leather keeps your hands warm on cooler days, and the safety cuff protects your wrist when working with wood and other materials. Read the in-depth review here.
Suede palm patches
- Weight4.8 ounces
A crowd-favorite for impact resistance is the Mechanix Wear: M-Pact Leather Work Gloves. These are some of the best impact-resistant, heavy-duty work gloves on today’s market. Whether you’re working with a jackhammer, a chainsaw, or other tools, these gloves will help keep your hands from tiring.
The M-Pact glove’s palm is leather, giving you grip and protecting your hands from hot or cold, abrasion and chemicals. We all know leather gets hot, though, so the back of the glove is a breathable fabric to help keep your hands cool.
Breathable TrekDry on the back of the hand
Plastic safety cuff
Impact protection throughout the glove
- BrandMechanix Wear
- Weight5.6 ounces
Winter weather often affects our hands. Trying to work with fingers you can’t feel just isn’t going to cut it.
The Youngstown Glove 03-3450-80-L is a versatile winter work glove for cold days and hard work. On the exterior, you’ll find a terrycloth brow wiper on top of the thumb for getting sweat off your face, a cuff for keeping out dirt, and a palm reinforced with non-slip material.
Within the glove, you’ll find a microfleece liner for exceptional warmth, a layer of Thinsulate with a waterproof membrane to keep out moisture and wind. This waterproof work glove is versatile and capable of accompanying you to most heavy-duty, cold, or wet jobs. Our only word of caution is that they lack impact resistance, which could become an issue for jobs with repetitive shock loading. Here are some of the top anti-vibration gloves on the market. Be sure to check them out, as well.
Non-slip reinforced palm
Terrycloth brow wipe on the thumb
- BrandYoungstown Glove Company
- Weight4 ounces
When it comes to affordability, the KAYGO KG11PB shines. This set of 12 polyester gloves is excellent for gardening and general home improvement. The polyester construction gives you superior grip in wet or oily conditions. Additionally, the polyurethane coating across the palm and fingers increase that grip.
KAYGO’s work and gardening gloves are not for big jobs, nor are they cut-resistant. That said, rarely will you find such a budget-friendly pair, much less one that offers versatility in light-duty jobs. If you’re purchasing gloves for a whole team, this set is an excellent choice.
- Weight1.04 ounces
When it comes to workwear, one of the first brands that come to mind is Carhartt. Carhartt is well-loved and rightfully so for crafting thoughtful, durable workwear for men and women. For light-duty jobs and gardening, the Carhartt Men’s Work Flex Spandex Work Glove is a great choice.
Textured, breathable spandex comprises the entire glove for additional grip and the upper hand in slick environments. The synthetic material also provides impressive dexterity and some sensitivity. Additionally, the cuff keeps out dirt, so your hands stay clean, and the snug fit protects you from abrasions. For the fans of this trusted brand, we have prepared our list of top-rated Carhartt jackets. Be sure to browse them.
- Weight2.4 ounces
For a versatile and breathable glove for warmer weather, the Dewalt DPG20M All Purpose Glove is an excellent choice for medium-duty work. Starting from the bottom, the cuff provides a secure fit and keeps out debris as you work. An all-leather palm offers protection from abrasion and cuts, while the spandex back allows breathability and keeps your hands cool. Lastly, a terry cloth brow wipe will enable you to remove sweat as you get down to business.
On the palm, you will find additional padding for impact absorption. Between the fingers, neoprene allows for extra dexterity and working precisely. The Dewalt All Purpose is excellent for mid-grade, versatile work. This glove was made to serve many needs. If you need a pair suitable for winter outdoor adventures, check out our list of the most popular hiking gloves on the market right now.
Terrycloth brow wipe
- Weight1.6 ounces
When it comes to gardening, protection from weeds, thorns, and mud is a must. However, for delicate tasks like caring for plants, you still need dexterity and sensitivity. The Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Working Gloves are great for gardening because they provide excellent grip, movement, and sensitivity due to their bamboo construction.
These snug-fit gloves should feel like a second skin and also allow you to interact with your smartphone, unlike most other gloves available. While not ideal for heavy-duty jobs, they excel where dexterity and sensitivity are essential. They make an ideal gift for gardeners.
Great for gardening
- BrandPine Tree Tools
- Weight1.66 ounces
If your work demands an all-leather work glove, the OZERO Flex Grip Leather Work Gloves are an excellent 100% cowhide glove with a reinforced grip. The Gunn cut makes the product comfortable and dexterous. The reinforced palm provides additional grip when you need it.
This glove comes complete with an elastic cuff to keep dirt and debris out. And when it comes to abrasion and cut-resistant gloves, this pair from OZERO is the answer. Heavy-duty performance is what you get when you don the Flex Grip Leather Work Gloves. Combine them with your favorite work jacket and stay protected.
Reinforced palm patch
- Weight5.6 ounces
Durable is the Ironclad Ranchworx Work Gloves RWG2’s middle name. Okay, not technically true, but when you look at how well-constructed these gloves are, it’s easy to believe.
The glove starts with a mostly goatskin leather construction, providing water and abrasion resistance and durability. Next, padding provides impact protection. A terrycloth brow wipe lines the thumb for sweat management, and Kevlar reinforcements add unmatched durability. Additionally, a quick-adjust cuff ensures a snug fit and keeps out debris. If you need gloves that work as hard as you do and are built to last, look no further than the Ironclad Ranchworx Work Gloves RWG2.
Terrycloth brow wipe
- Weight1.76 ounces
Why Trust Us
I've been a farm kid and lived in rural towns most of my life. My father and his brothers were all handy and had ongoing projects. My uncle is a contractor and had us helping him build houses by age eight. I've never shied away from hard work and have always been one to make things by hand.
Thankfully, I got a head start and some early training from my family. I still work a lot outdoors, cleaning property for my family and helping my roommate prepare land for businesses. Additionally, I spend a significant amount of time preparing rock climbing areas for visitors.
All in all, I need a glove that works as hard as I do, and I've got a lifetime of experience putting holes in gloves.
Who This is For
This buying guide is for the casual gardener, the serious woodworker, those who wear gloves daily for work, and everyone in between. Whether you are in your gloves over 40 hours a week or a couple of times a year, you deserve a pair of comfortable and functional work gloves.
If you need work gloves, no matter the task at hand, this guide is for you.
How We Picked
Selecting our collection of work gloves involved market research, reading hundreds of reviews, and testing a few pairs out ourselves. When curating a list of items for our buying guides, we at Gear Hungry focus on ensuring there are products for everyone and every need.
When it comes to work gloves, there is a wide variety of needs, so we made sure there is something for woodworkers, construction workers, gardeners, and other users of gloves. Additionally, we try to ensure each product on our list is high-quality and durable.
How We Tested
When testing gloves, I initially used them to move debris and firewood outside as their first and primary test. I then tested each pair with time spent preparing rock climbing areas. The final tests included helping my roommate with some woodworking and mounting some of my paintings into their custom float frames.
The variety in testing allowed me to closely examine these gloves' agility, durability, water resistance, and impact resistance.
Features to Look for in Work Gloves
Materials - Work gloves are often of leather, canvas, or other durable materials. The material you choose should be based on what the primary use of your gloves will be. Check out the Types of Work Gloves section for a deeper dive into materials.
Cuffs - Many gloves have cuffs that help keep dirt, grime, sawdust, or other particles out of your glove. This feature is a must for me. I spend a lot of time outside working around moss, dirt, and rocks, and a cuff helps keep my glove from becoming full of mud.
Coating - Coating on your outdoor work gloves is mainly a consideration with gardening and lightweight work gloves. These coatings are often nitrile or polyurethane and excellent for landscaping, gardening, or painting projects where you may need the extra grip or are likely to encounter mud or slippery substances.
Padding - Padded gloves are great for work that entails working with repetitive motion machinery or just repetitive motions like a jackhammer, hammer, digging, chainsaws and others. The shock absorption that comes with additional padding protects your hand and helps with exhaustion and tiring out. Additionally, consistent and repetitive motions could lead to hand or wrist injuries from overuse or carpal tunnel.
Size - Properly fitting gloves will make working and moving your hands much more effortless. Small gloves will limit your movement, and gloves that are too big won't allow you to grab tools and materials easily or work precisely. I have small hands, and the importance of finding a glove that will enable me to work with my fingers cannot be understated.
Palm Grip - Palm grips come with two primary purposes: adding additional protection from impact or adding extra grip. Based on the job at hand, you will want to decide which one you want. Suede is a common palm material for gloves as it is durable and provides extra grip. Rubberized materials provide the most grip.
Stitching - Stitching is the weakest part of a glove and the most common area to show signs of wear. Durable stitching is a must-have for longevity in your work glove. Hidden and double stitching are the strongest types of stitching.
Durability - If your work gloves aren't durable, are they really working? Durability is a must. Leather is arguably the most durable material, but that may not suit your needs. PVC and Rubber materials are the least durable but provide grip.
Warmth and Breathability - If you're working outdoors in the winter, warm gloves are a must. I spend a lot of time in the woods with my gloves in the wet winter, and I need warmth.
However, if you work in warm environments or indoors, breathability may be an asset to you.
Before purchasing a pair of gloves, consider the settings you will likely be using them in.
Protection - Your work glove's primary duty is to protect. That protection can come from an abrasion-resistant option, all-leather construction, or extra padding on the hand from shock.
When considering protection, first consider what you need protection from.
Comfort - If your gloves are not comfortable, you will not only be unhappy while wearing them, but you could end up with blisters or sores. If you need to be in work gloves for your profession or long periods, uncomfortable gloves could be extremely problematic.
Sizing your glove appropriately can make a massive difference in the comfort of your glove. For more sizing information, read above.
Types of Work Gloves
Leather - Leather gloves are ideal for heavy-duty jobs, including metalworking, cutting lumber, and any work involving incredibly hot or cold materials. Additionally, leather gloves provide protection from potentially harmful chemicals.
When looking through the available selection of work gloves, you will find all-leather and leather palm gloves. Leather palm gloves feature heavy-duty fabric on the back of the hand and the fingers, allowing you to move more easily and often offering more breathability than all-leather gloves.
Depending on the task at hand, you may consider which type of leather glove is more appropriate.
Synthetic materials - Synthetic materials in work gloves include polyester, nylon, PVC, and rubber. Generally, these materials are best for specific purposes.
Before opting for a particular synthetic material glove, be sure that the material can hold up to your particular needs.
Rubber/PVC - All rubber and PVC gloves are best for working with slippery substances and harsh chemicals.
Many gloves do use a form of rubber in the palm because of the additional grip it provides. Both PVC and rubber tend to fall apart as they age.
Work Gloves FAQ
Q: What do work gloves do?
A: Work gloves protect your hands from cuts, abrasions, splinters, and chemicals you might encounter while working.
Those who practice woodworking or metalworking, work in construction or outdoor professions, handle chemicals, or work with saws and other tools may opt to wear work gloves. Work gloves are also great for home improvement projects and gardening.
Anytime you wish to protect your hands, work gloves are a great choice.
Q: When should you not wear work gloves?
A: You should not wear gloves when working with machinery that has rotating and spinning parts. Gloves can get caught and draw hands and fingers into dangerous situations.
If you are working with machinery where your gloves could contact moving parts, you should exercise an abundance of caution.
Q: How long should work gloves last?
A: How long your work gloves last depends on how often you are using them. If you are wearing your gloves every day for a full day of work, three weeks isn't an abnormal amount of time to burn through a pair of gloves. However, a few months or longer is a great time frame for thorough wear with more infrequent use.
Q: What material gloves are the warmest?
A: What are the best work gloves for cold weather? Generally, all-leather gloves make for the warmest work gloves. These gloves lack breathability and some dexterity, but all-leather gloves will keep your hands toasty if you are working in chilly conditions.
If leather gloves are not an option for you, a winter-specific pair or suede are the next best options.
Q: What is the toughest leather for gloves?
A: Split Leather is the toughest leather and makes for the most durable work gloves. Split leather is also the most moisture-resistant and most durable option.
Furthermore, split leather provides the benefits of leather but provides some dexterity lacking in other leather constructions.