Behind every beautiful, bountiful garden is a great deal of dirty work. Fortunately, a pair of rugged, reliable gloves makes yard tasks faster, safer, and more manageable. Whether you’re planting seeds, pruning thorny bushes, pulling stubborn weeds, or spreading chemicals, such as herbicides, pesticides, or synthetic fertilizers, gardening gloves may make these tasks simpler, cleaner, and more pleasant.
Gardening gloves of all sizes and styles line the shelves of garden centers, and they are widely available online—but how much do they actually help? We wanted to know the real benefit of the most popular gardening gloves, and the only way to find out was to personally test each pair. We got them wet, dug with them, pulled weeds, and truly gave them a proper workout.
Not all gardening gloves are alike—some are designed to provide a nonslip grip on tools, while others serve to protect fingers and hands from poking thorns and wires. Still others feature clawlike fingertips that allow the user to dig without the benefit of a hand trowel. Keep reading to learn what to look for when shopping for the best gardening gloves, and check out how each of the following pairs earned a spot in this lineup.
- BEST OVERALL: Showa 300L-09 Atlas Fit 300 Rubber-Coated Gloves
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Gardening Gloves
- BEST FOR THORNS: Handylandy Rose Pruning Gloves Long Thorn Proof
- BEST LIGHT-DUTY: Cooljob Gardening Gloves for Women
- BEST INSULATED: Wells Lamont Women’s Latex-Coated Grip Winter Gloves
- BEST WITH CLAWS: Famoy Claw Gardening Gloves for Planting
- BEST FOR PLANTING: Amazing Stuff For You! Garden Gloves, Super Grippy
- BEST FOR DIGGING: Wells Lamont Women’s HydraHyde Gardening Gloves
- BEST TO APPLY PESTICIDE: Showa Nitrile Cotton Chemical Resistant Glove
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Gardening Gloves
There are a lot of choices when it comes to garden gloves. Finding the best pair depends on various factors, including hand size, tasks on the gardening to-do list, and comfort. Shopping online for gardening gloves can be a guessing game, so we wanted to test some popular sellers to give our readers an idea of what to expect. The following factors all play a role in how well the gloves will serve their intended purposes.
Size will obviously affect comfort and productivity, so consider avoiding one-size-fits-all gloves. To determine your correct size, wrap a measuring tape around your hand (excluding your thumb) just below the knuckle. Find the glove size corresponding to your hand measurement in the size chart on the package or manufacturer’s website. Not all brands offer this benefit, but it’s well worth taking advantage of it if they do.
A well-fitting glove should leave no more than ¼ inch between your fingertips and the top of the glove—less space is even better. The glove should be comfortably spacious around the knuckles yet fit snugly but not restrictively around the wrist to keep dirt, twigs, and small rocks from getting in and onto the hands.
Gardening gloves are available in multiple materials, and choosing the most suitable type often comes down to the tasks to be done. There are glove materials that may be necessary to keep skin safe while applying chemicals, but those aren’t needed while weeding. Indeed, some gardeners rely on a wardrobe of gloves.
- Cotton gloves are generally the least expensive option. They’re conveniently machine washable and designed to keep hands clean. Cotton gloves lack durability and provide little protection, but they’re breathable and keep hands cool in warm weather.
- Nylon offers superior resistance against moisture-related warping. These synthetic gloves are best suited for wet tasks like irrigation.
- Leather work gloves, typically goatskin, pigskin, or cowhide, are thick and sturdy. This material offers the best protection against thorns, branches, and other sharp objects while pruning or trimming bushes, hedges, and trees.
- Bamboo is a thin and breathable material, and it’s another excellent choice for hot temperatures. Bamboo gloves offer the most flexibility and control during detail-oriented tasks like planting seeds and delicate seedlings.
Protection and Grip
A secure glove grip will allow you to keep a firm hold when performing gardening tasks, using tools and machinery, and moving heavy pots. A flexible rubberized coating—at least in the palm and finger areas—is desirable for many gardening and yard tasks.
Garden glove coating most often contains nitrile, a water- and chemical-resistant synthetic polymer with a rubbery texture. This coating is the best option for tasks involving contact with water, like irrigation, or chemicals, including herbicide, pesticides, or fungicides. Rubber-coated gloves offer similar protection, but hands can get hot and sweaty within just a few minutes.
Textured material—such as goatskin leather or silicone—sewn over the palm and/or fingers provides a pain-free grip on sharp or abrasive objects. This is a good option when working among thorns, branches, or rough materials (e.g., concrete blocks for a garden wall) and friction-producing tasks, like pulling weeds.
Gardening can be a time to relax and be in the moment while enjoying nature. Comfort is key to ensuring your gloves don’t fall off, squeeze, irritate, allow prickly thorns to come through, cause blisters, or let hands become too cold to work. Some features that enhance comfort include:
- Extra padding on the knuckles, fingertips, palms, and wrists can provide increased protection for heavy-duty manual tasks.
- Lined gloves help keep fingers toasty in colder weather.
- Ergonomic padding helps relieve pressure and even out the surface of a hand.
- Flexibility is critical with all gardening gloves. The user must be able to get a firm grasp on rake or shovel handles without the gloves binding or pinching.
Some gloves include additional specialized features that make yard work more pleasant.
- Elasticized wrists can help keep out dirt, debris, and bugs.
- Fingerless gloves can make it easier to sow seeds.
- Touch-screen sensitivity on glove fingertips lets users check off electronic to-do lists or answer the smartphone while working.
- Attractive patterns and colors can brighten up the day and match gardening tools.
- Built-in claws on the fingertips can help with digging and loosening soil.
- Hanging loops allow for easy and quick storage.
Our Top Picks
To earn a spot in this lineup of the best gardening gloves, each pair had to meet some pretty high standards. We tested all of the following gloves for durability, comfort, and usability. We found that the sizes sometimes varied from what we expected, so while we noted that for our readers we didn’t necessarily subtract the discrepancy from the gloves’ score since there is no accepted standard for glove size.
We put these gloves through their paces, and in the end, the ones that made this lineup not only survived, they passed with flying colors. Don’t miss the pros and cons of each of the following pairs of gardening gloves.
These Showa rubber-coated gardening gloves earned the top spot in the lineup thanks to their nonslip coating and comfortable fit. We tested these gloves in a large size and felt they were true to size. After slipping them on, we found we could easily flex our fingers and make a tight fist without the gloves pinching anywhere. Then we got busy!
We wore the Showa gloves while shoveling compost, mowing, and raking. The rubberized coating made it easy to grip tool handles without slipping. In addition, the woven cotton backing acts to ventilate the gloves, so we didn’t end up with sweaty hands.
Next, we dipped our hands in water to soak the gloves and then repeated our tool tests to see if they performed as well as they did when dry. While they still gripped well, the comfort level was slightly lower, as expected. We dried the gloves in the sun and then pulled them back on: The rubber was just as flexible as before, although the elasticized cotton was a bit stretched out—still highly usable, however.
These gloves proved to be just the ticket for most outdoor gardening chores. But the cotton backing makes them porous, so they’re not suitable for handling chemicals.
- Material(s): Woven cotton with rubberized finger and palm coating
- Durability: Good
- Comfort level: Very comfortable
- Nonslip rubber coating
- Lightweight but durable
- No potentially irritating inner finger seams
- Ventilated backing to keep hands from sweating
- Elasticized cotton at the wrist stretched out slightly after getting wet
Get the Showa gardening gloves on Amazon or at Walmart.
This pair of Pine Tree Tools gardening gloves reminded us that these outdoor work essentials can be both affordable and hardworking. These thin, lightweight gloves fit like a second skin and are super flexible, allowing us to grip small items, including the safety lock on pruning shears, as efficiently as we could grasp larger tool handles. The slip-resistant nitrile coating on the palm and fingers provided a secure grip and offered enough traction to pull wet weeds as quickly as dry ones.
We tested the large size and found them slightly snug, so buyers may want to order one size up if their hand size is on the cusp. The soft, breathable, hypoallergenic bamboo fabric on the back helped keep our hands dry and cool even after wearing the gloves for 30 minutes.
The downside was the so-called touch-screen sensitivity. We tried numerous times on four different smartphones and two tablets and the fingertips could never successfully swipe screens to answer calls or activate our devices. That negative aside, we found these Pine Tree Tools gloves top-notch for performing gardening tasks at an attractive price.
- Material(s): Cotton, bamboo, and rubber
- Durability: Good
- Comfort level: Very comfortable but run a tad small
- Excellent gripping capability (wet and dry)
- No inner seams
- Bamboo fabric is soft and breathable
- Run slightly small
- Finger pads are not touch-screen sensitive
Get the Pine Tree Tools gardening gloves on Amazon.
The Rose Pruning Gloves made by Handylandy were slightly stiff straight out of the package, but that’s par for the course with most leather gloves, especially those designed for protection. We slipped them on, and while they fit well, we could feel the leather seams inside. That’s fairly common with unlined leather gloves, but fortunately leather usually softens with a bit of use, and in this case the inner seams soon stopped being bothersome.
We wore the pruning gloves to trim back the old growth on last year’s rose bushes and long thorny raspberry vines. While the thorns did catch on the leather, none poked through.
We dampened the gloves, which didn’t change their ability to thwart pokes, but they became pretty crisp after letting them dry in the sun. Fortunately, rubbing the dried gloves between our hands softened them up again, and they actually fit a little better after that. Oddly enough, although these gloves are not advertised as “touch-screen sensitive,” when they were slightly damp, we could successfully swipe our phone screens.
The gloves are made from pigskin—suede on the palm and wrist cuff and smooth on the back of the hand and fingers. The suede texture adds gripping power while still protecting from thorns. We tested a large size in these gloves and found them to run true to size.
- Material(s): Pigskin leather
- Durability: Extremely durable
- Comfort level: Stiff at first but soften nicely with wear
- Great thorn protection
- Long cuffs for extended forearm protection
- Reinforced palm enhances grip
- Seams can be felt inside
- Wet gloves dry to a crisp feel (but soften with rubbing)
Get the Handylandy gardening gloves on Amazon.
On first inspection, we questioned whether these light-as-air gardening gloves would hold up to everyday outdoor tasks. To our pleasant surprise, the Cooljob gardening gloves fit and performed well. They’re exceptionally comfortable, and the soft and supple nonslip latex coating on palms and fingertips made it possible to grasp hand tools, hoses, and pots firmly.
The product description notes that the woven fabric contains modal (from beech tree cellulose), combined with polyester and spandex, which stretches easily yet fits snugly. The gloves run true to size, the wrist fits well without binding or sagging, and the insides are smooth (no seams).
The fabric wicks away moisture and kept our hands from getting sweaty during testing. They grip just as well when wet as when dry, and after letting them dry in the sun, we found them nearly as soft and flexible as when we first put them on. All that said, these are strictly light-duty gloves and aren’t intended for such tasks as pruning rose bushes (they won’t stop thorns) or repetitive shoveling (the fabric simply won’t hold up).
- Material(s): Modal, polyester, spandex, latex
- Durability: Midrange
- Comfort level: Extremely comfortable
- True to size
- Very soft
- Breathable fabric
Get the Cooljob gardening gloves on Amazon.
Cold fingers and hands can make working outside in chilly weather miserable, but regular winter gloves typically aren’t suitable for gardening tasks. That’s why we were excited to test this pair from Wells Lamont, a brand known for gloves, boots, and other outerwear.
We tested these gloves in early spring when outdoor temperatures were in the high 30s. As we went about our gardening tasks, the Wells Lamont gloves not only gave us a nonslip grasp, but they also kept our fingers from getting cold.
The 13-gauge knit brushed shell with its warm acrylic liner kept our hands toasty while still allowing us the agility to get the job done. Plus, the textured finish provides a nonslip grip, which proved an asset while we were raking, pushing a lawnmower, and pulling weeds. The gloves run true to size, and the back of the hand features a woven cloth that wicks away moisture to stave off sweat.
The gloves also boast a water-resistant nitrile coating on the palm and fingers to protect hands from various solvents and chemicals. Water beads up on contact to keep hands warm and dry. The nitrile coating also resists cuts and abrasions, but it doesn’t cover the wrists. We didn’t wet down this pair during testing, as the interior lining is not meant to be saturated; the nitrile coating helps keep the inside dry.
- Material(s): Nylon, latex, acrylic, nitrile
- Durability: Good
- Comfort level: Very comfortable, though slightly short
- Water-resistant palm and fingers to help keep hands and interior lining dry
- Warm, soft interior lining
- True-to-size fit
- A bit too short to comfortably cover the entire wrist
Get the Wells Lamont gardening gloves on Amazon or at Kmart.
At first sight, the Famoy Claw Gardening Gloves looked like part of a Halloween costume, but once we tried them out, we learned they’re a lot more functional than frightening. Just don’t scratch an itch while wearing them!
The latex and polyester gloves boast 2½-inch-long plastic claws designed for digging, no trowel required. While they run true to size and fit well, they take some getting used to because the way the claws are attached creates a bump in the inside tip of each finger. Fortunately, this protrusion isn’t rough or jagged, so after a few minutes of wear we acclimated.
We were able to dig in a soft soil mix (the gloves’ primary purpose) and didn’t need to remove them even when planting tiny seedlings. Although the claws are rigid, they still offer a good degree of dexterity, and it’s relatively easy to hold delicate seedlings between the claws and the thumb. We also found the gloves useful to create a straight row when planting seeds, simply by dragging a clawed finger through the soil.
These gloves are not meant for digging in hard-packed ground, however. And while they are covered with a thin, flexible coating that helps when gripping hand tools, they’re not suitable for most other tasks, such as mowing or raking—the claws would be cumbersome and just get in the way.
- Material(s): Latex, polyester, plastic
- Durability: Midrange
- Comfort level: Good, though the fingers take some getting used to
- Sharp, hard claws for digging in soft soil
- Coated exterior to keep moisture out
- True to size
- Claw protrusions inside fingers take some getting used to
Get the Famoy gardening gloves on Amazon.
The soft fabric shell and thin, grippy coating on these gardening gloves provides enough flexibility to grasp tender seedlings yet is strong enough to hold and plant large root balls. The coating is also water-resistant, which we found a plus while planting. The grip was just as good in wet and muddy conditions as when the gloves were dry.
The gloves run true to size for the most part. They fit well around the wrist and hand and come with just a bit of extra length that would make them well suited to anyone with longer fingers.
These garden gloves also feature a woven nylon shell that helps to keep dirt and bugs out while adding breathability and dexterity. After wearing them for 30 minutes, our hands weren’t sweaty or hot. The gloves are described as machine washable, so we ran them through the washer, and they came out fine.
- Material(s): Nylon mesh fiber, nitrile coating
- Durability: Midrange
- Comfort level: Fairly comfortable, but fingers are slightly long
- No-slip grip
- Comfortable fit, no interior seams
- Machine washable
Get the Amazing Stuff For You! gardening gloves on Amazon.
Grab that shovel, spade, or scoop, and get digging with these Wells Lamont cowhide and spandex gardening gloves! We found these gloves well suited to working with shovels, pushing wheelbarrows, and performing other tasks that require a firm grasp.
The leather palm added reinforcement and provided ample padding to keep our hands from blistering, while the spandex helped keep the gloves flexible and snug. The materials are water-resistant, the ventilation helped keep our hands dry and comfortable, and the leather is soft. The only downside we detected was the tangible inside seams, a common issue with leather gloves, but after a brief breaking-in period, the leather seams softened up and were barely noticeable.
The hook-and-loop closure on the wrist is a plus that creates a customized fit while keeping the bugs and dirt out. The gloves feature reinforced fingertips and lightly padded neoprene knuckle inserts for added protection. The gloves run true to size, and they’re just as useful when wet as when dry.
- Material(s): Spandex, neoprene, leather
- Durability: Very durable
- Comfort level: Quite comfortable once finger seams soften up
- Protection against blisters
- Partial protection against thorns
- Wrist adjustment for good fit
- Inside finger seams are annoying at first
Get the Wells Lamont gardening gloves on Amazon, at Ace Hardware, or at Farm and Fleet.
Typical gardening gloves offer limited protection against chemicals, so we were excited to test a chemical-resistant pair that covered not just our hands but our forearms too. The gloves run slightly large, but the interior felt comfortable, and they offered enough flexibility to open and close our hands with ease.
We wore the Showa Nitrile Gloves when treating the lawn with herbicides. While many water-resistant gloves safeguard against chemicals, most can become sweaty after just a few minutes due to a lack of ventilation. The Showa gloves featured cotton-flocked lining that kept them from sticking to our hands and offered a bit of extra comfort. After finishing treating the lawn, our hands were a bit sweaty, but we felt that was a small price to pay for solid protection from chemical contact.
These gloves are 13 inches long from fingertip to cuff to cover about halfway up our forearms. They could also be worn to protect the skin during other chores around the house. We wore them when washing the car and bathing the dog, and they kept the detergents off our hands and forearms.
- Material(s): Nitrile, cotton interior flocking
- Durability: Chemical-resistant but not designed for tasks such as mowing or shoveling
- Comfort level: Good fit, but hands will invariably get sweaty
- Protects from chemicals and detergents
- 13 inches long for forearm protection
- Soft flocked lining adds comfort
- Not ventilated, so hands get sweaty
Get the Showa gardening gloves on Amazon or at Ace Hardware.
All the gardening gloves in our lineup are well suited to various outdoor tasks. Still, the Showa gardening gloves tick all the boxes—they’re comfortable, offer superior grip, and are ventilated to keep hands sweat-free. Our Best Bang for the Buck pick, Pine Tree Tools gardening gloves, offer comfort, a snug fit, and come with a nonslip grip—all at a very attractive price point.
How We Tested the Best Gardening Gloves
Hand protection is highly recommended for many gardening tasks, and the best gardening gloves should shield hands from dirt and abrasions while remaining comfortable. Our testing goal was to find out whether each pair provided the features necessary to complete a variety of outdoor chores. We used a rubric and awarded scores for durability, construction, overall comfort, and suitability.
We examined how the gloves were made, stretched them, pulled on them, and then wore each pair while performing garden and yard maintenance tasks. We tested them both wet and dry, except for the insulated and claw gloves, which are not designed to get wet. We noted how well the nonslip coating worked when pulling weeds and moving heavy garden pots.
At the end of the testing, we added up the scores and used them to award the gloves that best suited their strong points. While gardening gloves are simple accessories, when it comes to protecting hands, they should be able to do the job without fail. Each pair in this lineup earned its spot, and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any one of them.
There may be a few lingering questions now that you know more about some of the features and uses of garden gloves. Check out the answers below to some of the most common questions about garden gloves.
Q. Do you need gardening gloves?
No, not everyone needs gardening gloves. But the gardening process is a lot more enjoyable when your hands are protected and comfortable. Pregnant women especially should wear gloves because cats like to use flower beds and soil as litter boxes. Without gloves, there is an increased risk of contracting toxoplasmosis, a common parasite in cat feces that can harm a fetus.
Q. Are leather gloves good for gardening?
Yes, leather work gloves are thick and sturdy. This material offers the best protection against thorns, branches, and other sharp plant parts while pruning or trimming bushes, hedges, and trees. They’re not well suited to pulling wet weeds, however, as leather can become slick, making it difficult to get a good hold on the weeds.
Q. What should I look for in gardening gloves?
The garden gloves you purchase will depend on the gardening task you want to perform. For instance, if working with rose bushes, rose-pruning gloves are best. If working in warm weather, you might want cotton gloves. Also consider the size of your hands, the material and coating needed, and the additional features mentioned above. All of these factors will help you pick the perfect pair for you.