The Best Winter Work Gloves of 2023, According to Testing

Don’t drop the ball on tough chores when the temperature plummets. These winter work gloves will help you get the job done while protecting your hands from the elements.

Best Overall

The Wells Lamont Deerskin Leather Winter Work Gloves on a white background.

Wells Lamont Deerskin Leather Winter Work Gloves

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Runner-Up

The Wells Lamont HydraHyde Insulated Leather Gloves on a white background.

Wells Lamont HydraHyde Insulated Leather Gloves

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Best Bang for the Buck

The G&F Products 1628 Waterproof Winter Work Gloves on a white background.

Gu0026amp;F Products 1628 Waterproof Winter Work Gloves

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Work doesn’t stop just because the temperature drops, but getting jobs done in the cold can be downright painful without the right pair of gloves. We tested some of the best winter work gloves to find out how well their special features such as insulated layers and waterproof coating could keep our fingers toasty.

In all, we put these gloves through six different tests, one of which involved submerging our hands in a 33-degree Fahrenheit cooler, to determine which sets would best withstand a variety of uses in harsh winter conditions. We then listed them by category and presented our findings in detail, including the pros and cons of each set of winter work gloves.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Wells Lamont Deerskin Leather Winter Work Gloves
  2. RUNNER-UP: Wells Lamont HydraHyde Insulated Leather Gloves
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: G&F Products 1628 Waterproof Winter Work Gloves
  4. BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Wells Lamont Heavy-Duty Leather Palm Work Gloves
  5. BEST MULTILAYER: Carhartt Waterproof Insulated Gloves
  6. BEST DEXTERITY: Mechanix Wear Coldwork Original Winter Work Gloves
  7. BEST-LOOKING: Ozero Suede Leather Insulated Warm Winter Work Gloves
  8. ALSO CONSIDER: CLC Work Gear Flex Grip Handyman Work Gloves
A person wearing the best winter work gloves while collecting firewood outdoors.
Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila

How We Tested the Best Winter Work Gloves

To help guide our decision-making for our list of recommendations, we spoke with professionals who use work gloves when temperatures drop. One such expert was George Matusyan, the owner and operational manager of United Windows Pro, a window repair company based around Denver and Chicago (places that certainly gets cold enough to warrant a pair of work gloves!). His advice was to strike a balance between insulation and dexterity. “Consider gloves that employ a layered approach; opt for ones boasting removable liners or those engineered to offer an optimal balance between insulation and tactile sensitivity.”

With this expert advice in mind, we wanted to ensure that we were recommending only the best winter work gloves, so we put these pairs through a series of tests to prove their worthiness. We used them for various winter-related activities, such as splitting and gathering wood, driving nails with a hammer, and general yard cleanup. We also wanted to test their dexterity, so we opened and used a pocket knife and picked up screws off the tailgate of a truck to ensure we could do these tasks while wearing each glove. Some gloves allowed us to do these tasks, while others couldn’t, but we needed to know more about how each glove performed.

We filled a cooler full of ice. For a day, we donned a pair of winter work gloves, placed our hands on top of the ice, and handled loose ice in our palms. While far from scientific, we assessed how quickly our hands started to chill and whether water was able to penetrate the glove. At that point, we had a clearer picture of how well these gloves would work over the winter (along with some chapped digits).

A person getting a handful of ice from a commercial ice maker while wearing the best winter work gloves.
Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila

Our Top Picks

These winter work gloves will keep hands warm and dry, and there’s an option for almost any situation or project. Read on for in-depth information about each carefully selected product and opinions from our hands-on testing.

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Product Specs

  • Material: Leather and Thinsulate
  • Waterproof: No
  • Touch screen: No

Pros

  • Very soft and breathe well, allowing users to wear them all day comfortably
  • Thin enough to manipulate a pocket knife but durable enough to not wear down
  • 100-grams insulation keeps hands warm in very cold weather

Cons

  • Does not have a waterproof construction; may not be suitable for some winter activities

Made from traditional materials and with a classic look, the Wells Lamont Deerskin Leather Winter Work Gloves offer ample abrasion resistance and multiple layers of protection from the cold to keep hands warm and safe.

These gloves’ deerskin exterior is tough but flexible and relatively lightweight compared to rawhide gloves. They feature 100-gram 3M Thinsulate to help retain body heat and resist the cold. There’s also a comfortable fleece lining and an elastic wristband to promote optimal fit and keep out wind and snow.

While these Wells Lamont gloves are not waterproof, our hands stayed dry for quite a while when resting them on ice and handling the ice. Also, the insulation kept our fingers warm throughout the test, despite the 33-degree Fahrenheit temps inside the cooler. They were thin enough that we could manipulate a pocket knife but also durable enough that they didn’t wear down when swinging the axe or hammer, partly thanks to the double layer of leather at the base of the thumb. They were also the softest in testing and breathed well, making them very comfortable for all-day wear or even driving to the job site on cold mornings.

Get the Wells Lamont Deerskin winter work gloves at Amazon or Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

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Product Specs

  • Material: Leather and Thinsulate
  • Waterproof: Water-resistant
  • Touch screen: No

Pros

  • Water-resistant treatment works well for keeping fingers dry in cold weather
  • 100-gram insulation retains body heat and keeps fingertips comfortable
  • Reinforced, textured palm allows for better grip in slippery conditions

Cons

  • Not all users may like the faux stitching on the back of the glove
  • A bit bulky, so picking up small items can be a bit more difficult

For folks who like the feel of leather gloves but need enhanced performance, the Wells Lamont HydraHyde Leather Winter Work Gloves might be the way to go. Made of cowhide, they feature a patented water-resistant treatment to keep snow and rain from penetrating.

Inside these gloves is a 100-gram 3M Thinsulate insulation and a fleece lining. A thick elastic wristband keeps heat in and moisture out, while a reinforced leather patch in the palm promotes better grip on slippery surfaces and provides abrasion resistance and protection.

There is a lot to like about these gloves from Wells Lamont. First, we appreciated the doubled palm pad with the rough side out, as it boosted grip and durability. Also, the elastic wristband kept the cold out, but more importantly, the water-resistant treatment kept our fingers bone-dry when working with the ice during testing. We did find the faux stitching on the back of the glove a little cheesy, but the durable construction and soft leather make up for it. Also, this pair was a little bulky, which made picking up small items a little more challenging than our best overall pick.

Get the Wells Lamont HydraHyde insulated leather gloves at Amazon or Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

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Product Specs

  • Material: Latex, nylon, acrylic
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Touch screen: No

Pros

  • Latex coating makes these exceptionally waterproof; suitable for working outdoors
  • The grip texture on the palm and fingers offers plenty of traction, even when they’re wet
  • Good stretch to support range of motion; the knit cuff keeps them in place

Cons

  • Synthetic materials don’t allow the gloves to breathe well

Shoveling snow may never be fun, but it could be easier on the digits with these G&F Products gloves. They boast high-quality waterproofing, thanks to a nylon shell with multiple layers of waterproof latex. The orange latex coating protects the entire glove, and the black foam layer creates plenty of grip and a durable surface—suitable for just about any

outside project

.

It’s not just the outside that makes these gloves winter-ready. Inside the glove is a layer of acrylic terry material to help retain body heat and protect skin. They come in several different sizes, so most folks should be able to find a proper fit.

It was really hard not to choose these gloves as the best overall. First, they proved to be waterproof during the ice test, thanks to the rubberized latex coating all around the glove. The textured fingers could get a grip on almost any surface, including the wet bags of ice and the cooler, even when the gloves themselves were wet. These gloves have some stretch to them, but we found they stayed in place nicely while swinging the hammer. They did get a little hot inside, however, as that latex prevents them from breathing at all.

Get the G&F winter work gloves at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

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Product Specs

  • Material: Leather and fabric
  • Waterproof: Water-resistant
  • Touch screen: No

Pros

  • Durable rough-out palm to improve grip and durability
  • Natural water resistance keeps hands dry during most jobs
  • Thick cuff locks glove in place, preventing the glove from slipping off during work

Cons

  • Water can penetrate the fabric backing; may not be ideal in some professional areas

Whatever project is at hand, the Wells Lamont Heavy-Duty Winter Leather Palm Work Gloves likely can handle it. These pigskin gloves are naturally water-resistant while also being extremely tough and abrasion-resistant.

The gloves feature 100-gram 3M Thinsulate insulation and fleece-lined interior layers to keep hands toasty. The knit wrist is extra long to keep the gloves in place yet can also fit nicely under a work coat’s sleeves. The gloves’ backside is made of a breathable fabric with a leather knuckle strap, allowing a bit of breathability to reduce sweating and overheating.

These gloves are tough, making them great for heavy-duty use. Our hands stayed dry throughout most of the icy cooler test, though water did get through the fabric back. However, that fabric allowed for breathability while the knuckle strap across the top protected knuckles. The rough-out palm provided grip, even when holding wet objects, but it also didn’t show any wear during our test, including when splitting and picking up wood.

The size that we received was pretty large, but the thickly knit cuff locked the glove into place on our wrists. Finer movements like picking up small objects or opening a knife were totally out of the question, though, since the gloves were so thick (and, in our case, oversized).

Get the Wells Lamont leather palm work gloves at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

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Product Specs

  • Material: Polyester and polyurethane
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Touch screen: No

Pros

  • Tough polytex exterior is light and free-moving, making these gloves very comfortable
  • Waterproof interior layer keeps hands dry; fleece lining keeps hands warm, even in icy conditions
  • Polyurethane palm and fingertips are more durable than a traditional ski glove

Cons

  • Very little dexterity to offer due to the layers

Carhartt’s Waterproof Insulated Winter Work Gloves offer three layers of cold-weather protection, including a durable polytex exterior shell, a waterproof layer, and a FastDry fleece lining. (While Carhartt describes the waterproof layer as an insert, it is not removable, as we noticed in testing.) On the exterior, the polyurethane palm and fingers add plenty of grip. These work gloves also feature long fleece cuffs to keep wrists warm and dry. They come in a wide range of sizes and four colors.

In testing, these gloves were very warm and did an excellent job of keeping our hands dry. They’re more like ski-style gloves, but they’d be great for shoveling or snow blowing, and their waterproof polyurethane palm and fingers held up well during testing. Also, the polytex feels durable enough for light-duty work, but the range of movement is unrestricted. That said, we found that the insulation and layers made fine movements, such as picking up smaller items or opening pocket knives, too difficult.

Get the Carhartt waterproof insulated gloves at Amazon or Boot Barn.

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Product Specs

  • Material: SoftShell, synthetic leather, Thinsulate
  • Waterproof: Water-resistant
  • Touch screen: Yes

Pros

  • Enough grip for picking up small items, opening a pocket knife, tying boots, answering calls
  • Thin layer of fleece keeps hands warm without making gloves too bulky to use
  • Durable synthetic leather can handle hard-wearing tasks without showing any wear

Cons

  • Unable to send a coherent text message with these gloves on

Anyone shopping for a pair of winter work gloves that lets them operate a smartphone while keeping their hands warm should consider these winter work gloves by Mechanix Wear. These gloves use a wind-resistant softshell exterior to provide flexibility and dexterity, as well as a C40 3M Thinsulate and an inner micro-fleece lining.

The synthetic leather palm and fingers on these gloves provide plenty of gripping power for most projects—with double layering for some of the most heavily used areas of the palm. The fingertips are carbon-infused so a smartphone can recognize the user’s touch without removing their gloves. There’s even a Velcro cuff to secure these gloves in place.

This glove provided so much range of movement and the ability to grip small items that it ranked as the best for dexterity. The Work Gear gloves maintained their warmth despite their dexterity. While the glove is insulated with a layer of fleece, it proved thin enough to handle a variety of tasks, from opening a knife to picking up small objects—even tying boots and using a cell phone (though unfortunately, texting was out of the question).

The synthetic leather appears to be extremely tough as well, taking everything we threw at it without showing wear. These weren’t the warmest gloves in the test, but they did keep the water at bay for a while during the test.

Get the Mechanix Wear winter work gloves at Amazon, Acme Tools, or Mechanix.

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Product Specs

  • Material: Leather and artificial lambswool
  • Waterproof: Water-resistant
  • Touch screen: No

Pros

  • Good-looking design makes them great for work or even heading out in cold weather
  • Cowhide suede is extremely durable and shows little wear
  • Water resistance keeps hands dry yet helps wearers maintain grip

Cons

  • Wristband is not elastic and may let snow in

Folks searching for a good-looking pair of winter work gloves should consider Ozero’s Suede Leather Insulated Warm Winter Work Gloves. This pair features a cowhide-suede texture with an imitation lambswool lining to keep fingers warm while looking stylish.

These work gloves have a water-resistant cowhide, helping keep hands dry as well as blocking wind. They also feature an elastic band across the back half of the hand to promote a proper fit and keep water, snow, and ice out of the glove, and shoppers can find them in two colors: gold or brown.

We felt these were the best-looking gloves in the group, and if we needed to wear a pair out on the town this winter, we’d take these along. Also, the rough suede texture is durable, barely showing any sign of wear from testing. The water resistance kept hands dry for a while during the test as well, and they remained grippy even when the surface was wet, such as in the case of the cooler lid and handle.

The wristband did a good job of snugging the glove to the hand, but we suspect that without an elastic cuff, snow could make its way into the glove when shoveling or blowing snow. Otherwise, these were some of our favorite gloves in the test.

Get the Ozero winter work gloves at Amazon or Walmart.

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Product Specs

  • Material: Synthetic leather
  • Waterproof: No
  • Touch screen: Yes

Pros

  • Touch-screen compatible, allowing users to answer and make phone calls
  • Spandex allows stretch and range of movement while remaining snug on the hand
  • Affordable price point compared to other gloves of similar durability
  • Plenty of dexterity for picking up small items like screws or opening a pocket knife

Cons

  • Not insulated, making them less useful for outdoor work on colder days

The CLC Work Gear synthetic leather gloves are super flexible thanks to stretchable spandex and Lycra that lets them take the shape of the hand for ultimate dexterity. They won’t shrink or harden if they get wet, and they’re snag-resistant, as CLC sews the seams on the gloves’ interior.

Unfortunately, these gloves aren’t waterproof, and while they provide some cold-weather insulation, they’re not ideal for outdoor tasks in serious winter weather. Instead, make them the go-to gloves when working in the garage or outdoors on a dry, chilly (not freezing) day.

We’d appreciate it if CLC made a version of these gloves with some insulation because they performed well during the tests. While our fingers did get cold, they were able to activate our phone’s touch screen and make a call, though a text message was too difficult. They were also great for picking up small items or opening a pocket knife as their thinner construction provided plenty of dexterity for most jobs. We also appreciated the spandex material, which allowed for plenty of movement, but it felt relatively snug on the hand.

Get the CLC handyman gloves at Amazon or Walmart.

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What to Consider When Choosing Winter Work Gloves

Winter work gloves are different from the kinds typically used for landscaping and other warmer-weather jobs. They must meet a whole other set of requirements to prevent discomfort and injury. Here are some important things to consider when shopping for the best winter work gloves.

Type of Work

Winter work often means emergency mechanical repairs or snow removal, but it might also include all sorts of projects that there wasn’t enough time for during milder months. If mechanical repairs are on tap, work gloves should offer dexterity so fingertips can grasp small hardware easily. They also need to be thin enough to fit in tight places like restrictive engine bays. For snow removal and other less technical tasks, work gloves should be sturdy and waterproof to keep hands dry and warm. A cuff that keeps snow from making its way onto the wrists is an important feature.

Material

Materials used for mechanic-style and traditional work gloves tend to vary greatly. Synthetic materials such as nylon, spandex, and polyester are common in mechanic-style gloves. These materials are tough, waterproof, lightweight, and thin to provide dexterity and fit into tight places. For other projects, heavier gloves made from insulated leather trap body heat inside and keep cold temps and water outside; they may even be wool-lined for top heat retention. Thicker than mechanics’ gloves, they’re ideal for outdoor chores where dexterity is less of a concern.

Fit

DIYers should look for the best fit possible for comfort and functionality. Trying to complete a winter project wearing gloves that are too large is often a fumbling exercise in futility. And, because most insulation traps body heat with pockets of air, gloves that are too small squeeze the air pockets, reducing heat retention.

Many manufacturers offer sizing charts to help shoppers choose the best winter gloves for their hand size. This is helpful since sizes can change drastically from manufacturer to manufacturer. Someone might be a large in one brand and a medium in another. They can use the various size charts available to measure their hand and decide whether a small, medium, or large size is best for them in that brand.

Layers

Gloves with only a single layer of material won’t protect hands in frigid temperatures or from wind-driven snow or rain. The best winter work gloves have multiple layers of material that function together to keep hands warm.

An outer shell of leather or synthetic material protects hands from abrasions and injuries while also keeping wind and water at bay. Inside, a layer of wool, fleece, or polyester insulation helps retain body heat and keep hands warm. Wool is by far one of the best insulators, as it continues to retain heat even when wet, meaning sweat won’t affect comfort. Fleece lining is second best, with similar properties to wool, but it is less effective when wet. Polyester fill inside the shell of the glove is the least effective of the three options, but it’s still a good insulator.

Breathability

If a hand gets soaked with sweat inside of a glove, that glove can lose all of its insulation value. A glove with a bit of breathability can keep hands from getting too hot, allowing hot air to escape but also maintaining a comfortable temperature. Natural fibers like wool are more breathable than synthetics. Leather or rawhide work gloves with nylon on the backs offer some breathability without exposing the entire hand to the elements.

Waterproofing

Winter work gloves must be waterproof. There’s no surer way to damage skin, fingers, nerve endings, and dexterity than to let hands get wet in frigid temperatures. Rubberized gloves keep water out, so while they aren’t very breathable, they’re an excellent choice when working in the rain and snow. Materials that aren’t inherently water-resistant (like leather and rawhide) can be treated with silicone sprays and additives to create a layer that sheds water so it can’t soak through.

Dexterity and Touch-Screen Compatibility

Need to check out social media while on the job site? Look for winter work gloves with touch-screen compatibility and enough dexterity to create a quick post or update. Many manufacturers now offer carbon-infused fingertip pads that a smartphone recognizes. If they get the right fit, users may have enough dexterity to take a photo, send a text, make a call, and check email without exposing their hands to the bitter cold.

FAQs 

A lot is going on between the layers of winter work gloves. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about these cold-weather necessities—but if you want even more specific info, reach out to the manufacturers.

Q. What material is warmest for work gloves?

Wool is by far the warmest material for gloves, but it isn’t as durable as others when it comes to working with your hands. Wool is easy to puncture and doesn’t hold up well to abrasions. Another reliable material to consider, especially for those who work on job sites outside, is Thinsulate. This material is typically thin and lightweight while offering a lot of warmth and insulation.

Q. Are leather gloves warmer than wool?

Nope, wool is warmer than leather, as it does the best job of trapping body heat and insulating, even when wet. However, for the best possible insulation, shoppers should consider gloves with a wool lining and a leather outer shell.

Q. How do I keep my fingers warm in work gloves?

Make sure your gloves aren’t too tight, so you’ll maintain blood flow to your fingers. Don’t squeeze your hands too tightly when using tools, and keep your hands and fingers as dry as possible.

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Meet the Tester

Tom Scalisi is a full-time DIY and construction writer for many of the largest websites in the industry, including BobVila.com, This Old House, Family Handyman, and Forbes. He also owns and operates a pest control blog, RiddaBugs.com. As a result of the years he spent working in the trades and industrial building maintenance, he has used a number of different types of work gloves.

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Tom Scalisi

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Tom Scalisi is a freelance writer for some of the largest DIY and construction-related websites in the world. He also runs his own blog, RiddaBugs.com, which is a pest-control website that helps homeowners and renters choose their best pest-control options. He has a passion for building: Whether it’s a DIY project or an entire website, Tom loves creating something from the ground up, stepping back, and admiring a job well done.

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