The Best Work Gloves of 2022

Ahead, read our top tips and recommendations for choosing the right work gloves for your needs, and get the details on our favorite picks among the best work gloves available.

By Michelle Ullman and Bob Beacham | Updated Mar 18, 2022 4:00 PM

BobVila.com and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

The Best Work Gloves for DIYers

Photo: istockphoto.com

A good pair of work gloves will help you get tough jobs done without having to suffer through those painful reminders of your day’s labor. So whether your task is as simple as moving snow and soggy leaves off your walkway or as complex as building a new deck, don’t get started without protecting your hands.

Choosing the right work gloves can be challenging—hence this handy (pun intended!) guide outlining everything you need to know about finding the right pair. Also included are details highlighting our favorite picks for the best work gloves below.

  1. BEST OVERALL FOR MEN: Custom Leathercraft Handyman Flex-Grip Work Gloves
  2. BEST OVERALL FOR WOMEN: Wells Lamont Women’s Hybrid Work/Gardening Gloves
  3. BEST BUDGET: Wells Lamont Waterproof Work Gloves with Latex
  4. BEST LEATHER: OZERO Flex-Grip Leather Work Gloves
  5. BEST INSULATED: Wells Lamont Men’s Deerskin Winter Work Gloves
  6. BEST WATERPROOF: Carhartt Men’s Wb Suede Leather Waterproof Work Glove
  7. BEST WINTER WATERPROOF: G&F Products 100% Waterproof Winter Gloves
  8. BEST FOR MECHANICS: Mechanix Wear Black And Gray M-Pact Synthetic Leather
  9. BEST FOR GARDENING: SHOWA Atlas NT370 Nitrile Garden Gloves
The Best Work Gloves Options

Photo: amazon.com

Types of Work Gloves

Work gloves come in a variety of different materials and styles, each suited to different tasks. In fact, it’s often worth owning a variety of work gloves, so you can tackle all kinds of projects around the house and yard. Here’s how the options stack up.

All Leather

When it comes to heavy-duty jobs, such as metalworking, cutting lumber, handling very hot or very cold items, or tackling electrical repairs or installations, hands need the protection of work gloves made entirely of leather. All-leather gloves provide excellent insulation against temperature extremes, absorb minor electrical shocks, resist punctures, protect against abrasions and cuts, and keep paint, oil, and chemicals off your skin.

They’re most often made of cowhide, although you’ll find pig and sheepskin gloves as well. There are also two basic categories of leather gloves. There’s split leather, the heaviest duty and the most resistant to water and other liquids, and there’s grain leather, which is softer and smoother, giving you a bit more dexterity.

Leather Palm

These gloves have natural or synthetic leather across the palm and fingers, but heavy fabric around the back of the hand. They allow your hands to move more easily than all-leather gloves do, but you’ll still get good protection from blisters, temperature extremes, and abrasions during less-demanding tasks such as moving wood, doing yard work, using power tools, or simple construction jobs.

Knit

Lightweight knit work gloves, generally made from cotton or a cotton/poly blend, are very stretchy for comfortable wear. These gloves are useful while painting, doing light yard work, and carrying out simple household repairs. They’ll help prevent blisters or minor scrapes, but don’t offer the rugged protection of leather or canvas gloves.

Latex and Nitrile

Latex and its synthetic version, nitrile (suitable for those with latex allergies), are very lightweight and allow easy movement of fingers and palms. Both materials also offer a slightly tacky grip that makes it easier to hold onto wet or smooth surfaces. However, neither offers very good protection against blisters or scrapes, so they are best suited to messy but easy-on-the-hands chores like painting, pulling weeds, potting plants, or working with potentially irritating cleaning chemicals.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Work Gloves

Work gloves must meet a whole set of requirements to prevent discomfort and injury during landscaping, DIY projects, and everyday tasks. Here are some important things to consider when shopping for the best work gloves.

Women’s vs Men’s Work Gloves

No matter the task at hand, there is no difference between men’s and women’s work gloves other than size and fit. As usual, women’s sizes are traditionally smaller, whereas men’s sizes run slightly larger. With most brands, women’s glove sizes come in sizes S to L, while men’s sizes typically come in S to 3XL sizes.

However, when it comes to unisex sizing, it can be hard to know what size is optimal for you. Most brands that offer unisex sizing will size their gloves slightly larger to accomodate men’s sizes, so women should often size down to make sure their gloves fit properly. Kids’ sizes are also something to consider, as most brands offer one size for children under 8 years of age.

Size Options

Work gloves that are too tight are uncomfortable and don’t allow for a full range of motion. Gloves that are too loose slip and slide, which can be dangerous, in addition to being annoying. Ideally, your gloves should fit snugly around the fingers and the palm without squeezing, rubbing, or pinching.

Most work gloves come in a range of sizes—typically small, medium, large, and extra-large. These sizes correspond to the measurement across your palm at the base of your fingers, without including the thumb. Sizes aren’t standard, however, so be sure to measure your hand and double-check the manufacturer’s description of its sizing practices.

Protection

Whether you are doing yard work, plowing snow, or cleaning out the garage, having work gloves that are durable enough to protect your hands should always be a top priority. In most cases, heavy-duty tasks will require gloves that will not wear-and-tear easily and cushion your hands enough to prevent abrasions, vibration, harmful materials, and cuts. For example, mechanics’ gloves are typically resistant to water, cuts, tears, scratches, oils, gasoline, and other corrosive materials. Plus, they protect you from extreme heat or provide insulation for winter work.

To protect your hands, most work gloves come with nitrile latex exteriors, real and faux-leather constructions, protective shells for waterproofing, reinforced palms and fingers, and double-stitching in the seams.

Dexterity and Comfort

You want the best fit possible for comfort and functionality. Trying to complete a project wearing gloves that are too large is often a fumbling exercise in futility. And, because most insulation traps your 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 you choose the best work gloves for your hand size. This is helpful since sizes can change drastically from manufacturer to manufacturer. You may be a large in one brand and a medium in another. You can use the various size charts available to measure your hand and decide whether a small, medium, or large size is best for you in a particular brand.

Grip

Keeping your hands protected is about more than just covering them in thick, durable materials. Gloves need to be functional, allowing hands to move around freely instead of getting caught on sharp edges and dropping tools.

Flexibility helps you grip tools, large objects, and other items because your hands are better able to move as they would without a glove. The material also affects the grip on the fingers and palm of the glove. Some gloves include a specialized layer to help increase your control and dexterity and may even allow you to operate a touch screen without removing your gloves.

Additional Features

Now that you understand the most important material matters, consider the following other features when choosing work gloves.

  • Cuffs: Most canvas work gloves have a knit or rubbery fitted cuff that helps keep out moisture and dirt. Heavy-duty leather work gloves often have an open cuff, which makes it easy to slip the gloves on and off. Lighter leather gloves typically have an open cuff with a bit of elastic running around the base of the palm, which provides protection from moisture, sawdust, dirt, and other grime while still allowing you to easily remove the gloves.
  • Coating: Fabric gloves with a coating of nitrile or polyurethane across the palm and fingers are excellent for muddy gardening projects, painting, and light landscaping.
  • Padding: Leather gloves with extra padding in the palms are a must for jobs that include a lot of vibration or shock to the hands, such as extended periods of hammering, using a chainsaw, digging through hard or rocky soil, or using a jackhammer or similar tool. The padding helps absorb shockwaves that otherwise could lead to wrist or hand injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome.

Our Top Picks

Chosen in accordance with the shopping considerations detailed above, the following list contains a selection of work gloves in a range of categories. These are some of the best gloves on the market that help make your to-do list of projects easier and safe.

Best Overall for Men

The Best Work Gloves Option: Custom Leathercraft Handyman Flex-Grip Work Gloves
Photo: amazon.com

Offering sturdy protection, comfort, and flexibility, the Custom Leathercraft Handyman Flex-Grip Work Gloves can help you accomplish a host of yard work, carpentry, and automotive projects.

Considered to be some of the best leather work gloves, the palms are made of heavy-duty faux leather and provide excellent protection without becoming stiff or shrinking when wet. The backs of these top-quality gloves are spandex with extra padding across the knuckles, and the fingertips have touchscreen-compatible faux leather patches so you can use your gadget as needed. Wing-strap cuff closures keep the gloves on securely, even in wet or dirty conditions.

Product Specs

  • Type: Faux Leather
  • Fit: Men’s
  • Sizes Offered: S to XXL

Pros

  • Spandex backings and extra-padded knuckles
  • Touchscreen-compatible faux leather fingertips
  • Wing-strap closures built-in
  • Affordable price point

Cons

  • Some users report poor quality

Best Overall for Women

Photo: amazon.com

Made in women’s sizes small to large, these Wells Lamont Women’s Hybrid Work/Gardening Gloves are perfect for landscaping, gardening, and other everyday tasks. Made with water-resistant, HydraHyde leather, spandex, and neoprene, these breathable gloves have a heavy-duty, cowhide leather palm and reinforced leather fingertips for added durability.

Plus, these puncture- and abrasion-resistant gloves have a comfort closure velcro wrist for a perfect fit that keeps dirt, materials, and other beris out of the glove. Lightly padded neoprene knuckles also make these bright blue gloves suitable for ranch work, DIY home projects, and housework.

Product Specs

  • Type: Leather
  • Fit: Women’s
  • Sizes Offered: S to L

Pros

  • Water-resistant HydraHyde leather
  • Reinforced fingertips and velcro wrist closure
  • Lightly padded neoprene knuckles
  • Comes in multiple sizes

Cons

  • Limited water resistance

Best Budget

The Best Work Gloves Option: Wells Lamont Waterproof Work Gloves with Latex
Photo: amazon.com

For simple, affordable waterproof gloves, Wells Lamont’s Waterproof Work Gloves are worth some consideration. These flexible gloves are constructed of a polyester shell dipped in a double layer of nitrile latex coating—one coating for the whole hand, and the other across the palm and fingers—for maximum grip and durability. This method of waterproofing makes them highly resistant to punctures and tears, too.

Although the gloves’ cuffs are not coated in latex and are therefore not waterproof, the cuffs are incredibly stretchy and make a snug, close seal around the wrist. The gloves’ main disadvantages are that they’re not insulated, so they’re not well suited for winter applications. The latex coating means the gloves don’t breathe particularly well either, but their competitive price may make up for these drawbacks.

Product Specs

  • Type: Nitrile latex
  • Fit: Men’s
  • Sizes Offered: M to XL

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Stretchy and functional
  • Ample grip
  • Resistant to punctures and cuts

Cons

  • No small sizes offered
  • No insulation built-in
  • Cuffs are not waterproof

Best Leather

The Best Work Gloves Option: OZERO Flex-Grip Leather Work Gloves
Photo: amazon.com

Made from 100 percent genuine grain cowhide, OZERO Flex-Grip Leather Work Gloves protect hands and are well-suited for use as landscaping, metalworking, electrical or woodworking gloves. An extra leather patch across the palm provides superior grip while absorbing shock and vibration.

All the seams—double-stitched for durability—are set away from the palm to reduce rubbing and skin irritation. Meanwhile, the cuffs feature a strip of elastic to maintain a snug but comfortable fit, with no slipping or sliding. These rugged wear work gloves are puncture-, cut-, and tear-resistant, and provide moderate resistance to oil or other liquids.

Product Specs

  • Type: Leather
  • Fit: Unisex
  • Sizes Offered: M to XL

Pros

  • Extra leather patch for grip and shock absorption
  • Double-stitched seams
  • Elasticized cuffs
  • Resists punctures, cuts, and tears

Cons

  • No small sizes offered
  • Not fully protectant from oil or liquids

Best Insulated

The Best Work Gloves Option: Wells Lamont Men’s Deerskin Winter Work Gloves
Photo: amazon.com

Made from traditional materials and with a classic look, the Wells Lamont Deerskin Winter Work Gloves offer ample abrasion resistance and multiple layers of protection from the cold, making them the warmest work gloves on this list. The deerskin exterior is tough but flexible and relatively lightweight compared to rawhide gloves.

Inside, you’ll enjoy 100 grams of 3M Thinsulate to help retain body heat and resist the cold. There’s also a comfortable fleece lining and an elastic wristband to promote optimum fit and keep out wind and snow. The only downside of these gloves is that sizes are limited to large and extra large.

Product Specs

  • Type: Leather/deerskin
  • Fit: Men’s
  • Sizes Offered: L and XL

Pros

  • Abrasion resistant; multiple layers of protection
  • Tough and flexible construction
  • Elasticized wristband
  • 3M Thinsulate and fleece interior; keeps warmth in

Cons

  • Pricey compared to similar options

Best Waterproof

The Best Work Gloves Option: Carhartt Men's Wb Suede Leather Waterproof Work Glove
Photo: amazon.com

While it’s rare that a leather work glove is also waterproof, the Carhartt WB work gloves are indeed both. Their heavy-duty suede, leather, and cotton duck exterior is incredibly durable; suede cowhide-reinforced palms and a leather band across the back of the hand provide extra protection while working with tools and building materials.

On the interior of the WB gloves is Carhartt’s moisture-wicking, breathable Storm Defender insert, which makes them as windproof and waterproof as leather gloves can be. It helps keep the inside of these gloves dry no matter how hard the wearer is working. Thick knit cuffs seal the gloves off nicely and protect the wearer from coming in contact with work debris.

Product Specs

  • Type: Leather
  • Fit: Men’s
  • Sizes Offered: S to XXL

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Duck exterior and suede for added durability
  • Cowhide-reinforced palms
  • Knit cuff seal

Cons

  • Not machine-washable
  • Pricey

Best Winter Waterproof

The Best Work Gloves Option: G&F Products 100% Waterproof Winter Gloves
Photo: amazon.com

Shoveling snow may never be fun, but you’ll make it look easy in these G&F gloves. They boast some of the best waterproofing money can buy, thanks to a nylon shell with multiple layers of waterproof latex.

The orange latex coating on these work gloves protects the entire glove, and the black foam layer creates an incomparable grip and a durable surface—suitable for just about any outside project. Inside the glove is a layer of acrylic terry material to help retain body heat and protect your skin. They come in several different sizes so you’ll be able to find a proper fit.

Product Specs

  • Type: Nylon and latex
  • Fit: Unisex
  • Sizes Offered: M to XXL

Pros

  • Waterproof construction
  • Foam layer included for grip and durability
  • Insulated design; acrylic terry material built-in

Cons

  • No small sizes available
  • May not be suitable for very cold conditions

Best for Mechanics

The Best Work Gloves Option: Mechanix Wear Black And Gray M-Pact Synthetic Leather
Photo: amazon.com

High-quality protection from cuts, abrasions, vibration, impact, and pinching is required for mechanical work. Which is why these cut-resistant synthetic-leather gloves are comfortable and ergonomically shaped for better mobility. The material is ideal when working with touch screen devices and eliminates the need to remove gloves to answer a call or return a text.

These mechanic gloves have several safety features to help protect hands, including anti-vibration palm padding that absorbs and dissipates high-impact energy. The gloves fasten with a hook-and-loop cuff that allows you to customize the fit to your hand. They also have thermoplastic rubber knuckle guards that keep hands safe from impact and pinching injuries.

Product Specs

  • Type: Synthetic leather
  • Fit: Unisex
  • Sizes Offered: S to 3XL

Pros

  • Ergonomically-shaped design
  • Durable, cut-proof materials; anti-vibration palm padding and thermoplastic rubber knuckle guards
  • Works with touch-screen devices
  • Hook-and-loop cuff included

Cons

  • Some users report poor quality

Best for Gardening

The Best Work Gloves Option: SHOWA Atlas NT370 Nitrile Garden Gloves
Photo: amazon.com

The SHOWA Atlas garden gloves are made for messy and damp jobs in the garden where dexterity and durability are important. A tough nitrile palm and finger coating provides durability, grip, and resistance to both water and chemicals. The toughness doesn’t make them stiff, and combined with the breathable and flexible nylon material, the gloves prevent hands from getting too warm or sweaty, making them the best outdoor work gloves.

Seamless and ergonomically shaped, these machine-washable gloves are sold six pairs per pack in a range of colors, with only medium-sized options available.

Product Specs

  • Type: Nitrile
  • Fit: Unisex
  • Sizes Offered: M

Pros

  • Ample grip
  • Breathable design
  • Durable and seamless
  • Machine-washable
  • Affordable price point

Cons

  • May not be suitable for heavy-duty tasks

Our Verdict

The Custom Leathercraft work gloves are our top pick for men with durable faux leather, spandex backings and extra-padded knuckles. For women, we recommend the Wells Lamont hybrid work/gardening gloves with water-resistant leather, reinforced fingertips, and lightly padded neoprene knuckles.

How We Chose the Best Work Gloves

When selecting the top picks, we considered work gloves offered by top brands. We researched gloves that are suitable for men and women made with leather, faux leather, cowhide, deerskin, latex, nitrile, and spandex for durability and flexibility. Depending on your needs, the above list includes men’s sizes S to 3XL, women’s sizes S to L, and unisex sizing.

Many of these gloves include safety features like velcro or wing-strap wrist closures and added layers that resist cuts and abrasion. We included designs with reinforced and touch-screen-friendly fingertips, as well as padded knuckles. Finally, select options are also waterproof or insulated for work in the cold or winter months.

FAQs

Work gloves have been around for decades, but they have become more popular as glove constructions have improved to incorporate better stitching, different materials, and cold weather protection like that found in insulated or heated gloves. Take a look below at some of the most commonly asked questions about work gloves when selecting a new pair.

Q: Which type of work gloves last the longest?

For their durable, thick constructions and ample safety features, leather work gloves are considered to last the longest out of all the types of work gloves available.

Q: What gloves do mechanics use?

The most common types of gloves that mechanics use are nitrile and some kinds of leather. Since these options are durable and flexible, they offer abrasion and vibration resistance while also providing enough dexterity to hold small tools and parts.

Q: What is the toughest material for work gloves?

For completing heavy-duty tasks, two of the toughest materials you can consider are nitrile latex and leather. These two materials are hard enough to resist abrasions, cuts, and punctures while also keeping out harmful materials and liquids.