Best Work Gloves Reviewed for 2022
When we realized that, in all our years of writing, we never tackled the question of who makes the best work gloves, well…something had to be done. We quickly assembled the team and began discussing what made a pair of work gloves better than another. We wanted to cover every conceivable application as well. The best gloves for the trades. The best gloves for the money. Leather gloves. Gloves for using electronics. Honestly, this article took a long time to write.
Of course, we had to start with our favorite gloves—the best work gloves overall. After much deliberation amongst our office staff, there could be only one choice…and you may not like it.
After having tried every kind of work gloves imaginable, we came to a simple conclusion: Fancy, padded work gloves wear out just as quickly as cheap gloves. Plus, they often increase the bulk on your hands while removing the dexterity found in simple fabric nitrile-dipped gloves. For men working every day on the jobsite, the best work gloves turn out to be a pair of lightweight coated fabric gloves that you can buy in bulk.
We buy the Firm Grip Nitrile Coated Gloves in a 15-pack for about $9.88. We keep two boxes in our work truck—a clean box and a dirty box. When we get to the jobsite, we grab a clean pair. At the end of the day, when they get dirty, they go into the dirty box. At the end of the week, we take the dirty box, toss any ripped or torn pairs, and put the rest in the washing machine.
Not only do these gloves provide ample basic protection, but they also let you pick up stuff like screws. They also work really well with touchscreen devices like your smartphone. While other companies add this in as a feature—these cheap gloves do it out of the box…literally. And they do it for less than $1/pair. Trust us, you won’t go back. We have more picks, but they have to do with other applications that might require more than basic protection—so please read on!
We can’t help but like the same gloves as above for smart device use, but the GRX Palwick 733 gloves from Lowes offer even better performance. They also deliver ANSI A3 cut protection—which is a nice perk. Even when we messed up these gloves with dirt and sawdust, they continued to let us answer our phones and even send short text messages without major issues.
Honestly, these $9.98 gloves have performed better than some gloves which claim, specifically, to work well with touchscreens and smart devices!
Milwaukee Winter Performance Gloves place their focus on general protection and warmth. They include a reinforced layer between the thumb and index finger as well as a nylon pull loop for easy removal. With 60g of insulation, these gloves handle the cold better than most.
More than that, they don’t lose focus on the fact that when you work you also tend to sweat—even when the outside temps are low. For that, Milwaukee includes their terry cloth sweat wipe on the thumb. You also get a handy SmartSwipe section on the knuckle that lets you access your phone or tablet without having to take off your gloves. They run about $30 per pair.
We picked the Ironclad EXOT Series Tactical Operator Impact gloves as our best work gloves for hot weather for a number of reasons. Clearly, you can go with thinner, breathable materials for summer gloves if you don’t need much protection. However, if we’re talking regular protective work gloves that breathe—then Ironclad Tactical Operator gloves make a lot of sense.
These protective work gloves incorporate a breathable back that lets air flow through where it’s needed (and evacuates heat). You also get a handy terry cloth sweat wipe on the back of the thumb. The synthetic leather doesn’t shrink, so you can toss these gloves in the wash when needed. Finally, they offer this glove in a version with touchscreen capacitance capability (~$30) so you can use your smartphone.
And these tactical gloves also just look plain cool—plus they come in either black, green, or brown and cost about $25.
When it comes to picking the best work gloves for electricians, a couple of things come to mind. First off—are we talking about insulated gloves for linemen? In this case, not really. Those gloves possess very standardized specifications that limit conductivity and insulate against high voltage and current power lines. We want to focus on the residential and commercial electrician running lines in homes, warehouses, industrial buildings, etc.
Electricians need gloves that aren’t too thick and which can still pick up screws. You want protection, but not at the expense of being able to get your hands around tools and do the job. Real leather gloves also perform well when pulling cable, stripping wires, or simply using the hand tools of the trade. For that reason, we really like the Youngstown FR Fire-rated Leather Gloves with Kevlar cut protection. Wait—leather and Kevlar? Yes, please.
As an all-around glove, these provide everything from basic arc flash protection to cut resistance and general durability when working with cables and wire. A pair runs you about $49, but they seem to hold up well.
The best work gloves for handling wood should be good for splinters without losing the tactile feel needed for tools and fasteners. Around here, we love the Firm Grip Nitrile Coated Gloves for most general construction work. That includes handling lumber and most of our power and hand tool use.
Are we overdoing it by including these twice in our list? Nope. Once you jump on board with inexpensive nitrile-coated gloves we think you’ll get hooked. At $10 for the 15-pack, we sure did.
Editor’s Note: Don’t wear gloves when operating table and miter saws. Gloves can get snagged in a blade since they extend further than your hand. Once snagged, they can pull your hand into the blade and cause serious injury. It’s much better to operate these tools with your bare hands. Similarly, you also want to avoid wearing loose-fitting gloves while running circular saws.
For landscaping, nothing beats a nice pair of leather gloves. You want something that can handle thorns—at least we do when we work near or around holly bushes. And don’t get us started about bougainvilleas! For this, we would normally recommend a standard gardening goatskin glove from any number of suppliers. They usually cost about $24. But then Milwaukee leather performance gloves came out. And, well, we’re tool guys—so why not have a glove that does double duty?
Perhaps the toughest leather (for gloves) comes from goats. Consequently, we love goatskin leather gloves. They maintain a less porous surface than most, and they resist abrasions and punctures. That makes them perfect for most gardening tasks.
They also feel good—and they let you feel what you’re working on. You also get built-in SmartSwipe touchscreen compatible knuckles and a built-in terry cloth sweat wipe. When these Milwaukee Leather gloves came out, we thought they’d cost a whole lot more. At around $26/pair, you really can’t go wrong.
At less than $14 for a three-pack, the Maxiflex 34-874 Ultimate Gloves provide ample protection for warehouse work. You don’t get significant cut protection for handling metal, however, we find that just having the simpler nitrile coating works wonders. These gloves also last a bit longer than some of the more disposable recommendations we’ve made so far.
If wearing gloves is a part of your job, these provide excellent dexterity, breathability, and protection, without overdoing it or breaking the bank. They also give you longer-than-normal wrist protection which helps when lifting materials like pallets. You can get 3 pairs for $20 or 12 pairs for around $55.
While we clearly favor our best work gloves pick at the top, I have to butt in and simply talk about a pair of gloves I really enjoy. While I definitely lean toward disposable gloves for saving money, I do enjoy the Klein Tools 60188 Leather Work Gloves. They fit really well, and I love the goatskin leather, They have a breathable back and a padded palm. You can also access your smartphone to take a call or navigate a website—even though Klein doesn’t advertise this as a feature.
At less than $20/pair, they aren’t the cheapest gloves you can buy, but mine have lasted for months. I love the fit and feel, and they function as my go-to gloves when I just want a bit more protection than my nitrile gloves provide.
When shopping for the best work gloves you need to look at several key areas. We always start with the big ones and work our way down.
Before you pick a pair of work gloves, figure out why you want them. It may be a job requirement, or it may be for protection. Then you have to figure out what you need protection from. Impacts? Cuts? What material are you handling? Do you need several pairs for different applications or a glove that serves multiple purposes?
Asking these questions helps set up the right work gloves for you. You can’t simply take someone’s recommendation. A glove that protects your palm from being crushed but lets your fingers get sliced by sheet metal does you no good! Consequently, cut protection on its own may not “cut it” either (pun intended).
We love the fact that work gloves now come in various materials. To include everything would require its own article. For now, realize that gloves come in various leathers, synthetic blends, woven fabrics, and other materials that include rubber, nitrile, latex, and vinyl. Some combine these materials to achieve various goals.
The material only natters insofar as it serves to provide the grip, protection, and feel that you need. Doctors don’t operate with leather gloves! In the same manner, you need a material that provides cut protection when handling certain materials. Nitrile (alone) doesn’t stop the sharp metal edge of AC ductwork from cutting you.
A great example is gardening. Leather rules the day here, but synthetic products now exist that offer similar puncture, tear, and cut protections that didn’t exist even 10 years ago. These bring a potential for more breathable gloves for when you need to work in hotter climates (like Florida!)
If you haven’t already, check out our article on ANSI cut ratings for an explanation on cut protection levels. When handling sheet metal, HVAC duct, roofing metals, or similar items, you need a glove that provides cut protection. Just how much depends on the job or the kind of work you do.
Newer gloves combine materials like Kevlar and similar products into woven fabrics to provide cut protection alongside breathability. We also see those gloves getting the nitrile-coating treatment so they deliver even more protection and grip.
One thing our top recommendation for best work glove doesn’t provide is much impact resistance. For that, you need to go with something that has PVD-reinforced padding on the back of the work glove. The best padded work gloves also tend to include reinforcements for the thumb and palm. These gloves work well when you need to deal with heavier items that might crush or otherwise impact your hand or fingers while working.
Ever check out a “review” site and you can’t tell if they actually tested the tools or if they’re just “recommending” the Amazon top sellers? That’s not us. We won’t recommend anything unless we’d actually use it ourselves and we don’t really care who the primary retailer is. It’s all about giving you a legitimate recommendation and our honest opinion of each product.
We’ve been in business since 2008 covering tools, writing reviews, and reporting on industry news in the construction, automotive, and lawn care industries. Our Pro reviewers work in the trades and have the skills and experience to know whether tools can perform well in the field.
Each year, we bring in and review more than 250 individual products. Our team will put our hands on hundreds of additional tools at media events and trade shows throughout the year.Editor’s Note: