The Best Work Gloves for DIYers and Pros
Purchase well-made work gloves made of the appropriate material for all your tough jobs around the house and yard.
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as the feeling you get after conquering projects around your home with your own two hands. What’s not so pleasant are hands dotted with blisters, scrapes, and splinters as souvenirs of your labors. A good pair of work gloves will help you get tough jobs done without those painful reminders, 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.
There are a lot of work gloves in a variety of material options available, which can make choosing the right pair challenging. Hence this handy (pun intended!) guide outlining everything you need to know about finding the best work gloves for your needs, plus our top picks in five material categories.
- BEST ALL-LEATHER WORK GLOVES: OZERO Flex-Grip Leather Work Glove
- BEST LEATHER-PALM WORK GLOVES: Custom Leathercraft Handyman Flex-Grip Work Gloves
- BEST NITRILE WORK GLOVES: G&F Seamless Nitrile-Coated Work Gloves
- BEST KNIT WORK GLOVES: G&F Brown Jersey Knit Gloves
- BEST WORK GLOVES FOR KIDS: G&F JustForKids Leather Work Gloves
Key Considerations for Choosing the Right Work Gloves
Material Is the Main Concern
Work gloves are made of different material options, each suited to specific chores. 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 these 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 also find pig and sheepskin gloves. There are also two basic categories of leather gloves: Split leather, which is the heaviest duty and the most resistant to water and other liquids, and grain leather, which is softer and smoother than split leather, thus allowing 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.
- Canvas: Made of heavy cotton or a blend of heavy cotton and polyester, canvas gloves let you easily flex and bend your fingers and palms while offering protection from blisters, minor abrasions, and hot or cold surfaces. They’re suited for yard work, mixing and pouring concrete, simple carpentry repairs, and raking leaves. Many canvas work gloves have small rubbery dots across the palms for extra grip.
- 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 also have a slightly tacky grip that makes it easy to hold onto wet tools. But they offer a little protection from blisters or scrapes, so are best suited to easy-on-the-hands but messy chores such as painting, pulling weeds, potting plants, applying pesticides, or working with potentially irritating cleaning chemicals.
Other Features to Factor in
Now that you understand 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.
Making the Right Size Selection
Work gloves that are too tight are uncomfortable and don’t allow full range of motion. Gloves that are too loose slip and slide, which can be dangerous if working with power tools. 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. Normally, 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 measure your hand and consult the package, which will indicate which size glove fits which size hand.
Our Top Picks for Work Gloves
Below, our five hands-down favorite work gloves, all highly rated by do-it-yourselfers like you.
1. BEST ALL-LEATHER WORK GLOVES: OZERO Flex-Grip Leather Work Glove ($12.99 for one pair)
Made from 100 percent genuine grain cowhide, the OZERO Flex-Grip Leather Work Gloves protect hands during such tough tasks as woodwork, major landscaping, metalwork, and electrical projects. An extra leather patch across the palm provides superior grip while absorbing a bit more shock and vibration. All the seams—double-stitched for durability—are set away from the palm, so there’s no rubbing or irritating your skin. Cuffs have a strip of elastic to maintain a snug but comfortable fit, with no slipping or sliding. With more than 750 Amazon reviews and an average rating of 4.4 stars, these gloves are puncture-, cut-, and tear-resistant, and provide moderate resistance to oil or other liquids. One happy customer comments, “I have been doing heavy-duty landscaping and tree cutting/trimming for many, many years. These are the best work gloves that I have ever had.” Available on Amazon.
2. BEST LEATHER-PALM WORK GLOVES: Custom Leathercraft Handyman Flex-Grip Work Gloves (starting at $11)
Offering sturdy protection, comfort, and flexibility, the Custom Leathercraft Handyman Flex-Grip Work Gloves will help you accomplish a host of general handyman, yard work, carpentry, and automotive projects. Palms made of heavy-duty faux leather provide excellent protection without becoming stiff or shrinking when wet. The backs of the 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. With more than 4,300 Amazon reviews and an average rating of four stars, the gloves lead one DIYer to rave: “The padding is thick enough to reduce vibrations from power tools, tractor, or mower, and prevents blisters from hand tools, but isn’t too thick to throw off your grip. Even covered in mud and sweat, they remain flexible.” Available on Amazon.
3. BEST NITRILE WORK GLOVES: G&F Seamless Nitrile-Coated Work Gloves (starting at $6.88 for six pairs)
When you’ve got wet and dirty work to do—such as potting plants, pulling weeds, applying liquid pesticides or fertilizers—reach for the G&F Seamless Nitrile-Coated Work Gloves. The backs of the gloves are stretchy nylon knit for freedom of finger movement, while the fronts are thickly coated with water- and chemical-resistant nitrile, providing a good grip in slick situations. G&Fs keep mud and other grunge away from your skin while offering moderate protection from scrapes, blisters, abrasions, and punctures. Like other lightweight gloves, they do stretch out at the wrist over time, but they’re reasonably priced for a pack of six. The gloves with more than 2,000 Amazon reviews and an average of 4.5 stars net real raves; as one fan says: “These are perfect for all I need to get done, protect as needed, and I couldn’t even tell I was wearing them!” Available on Amazon.
4. BEST KNIT WORK GLOVES: G&F Brown Jersey Knit Gloves (starting at $8.99 for 12 pairs)
Made from heavyweight cotton knit, the lightweight G&F Brown Jersey Knit Gloves offer basic protection from blisters and messy substances while working in the garden, painting, cleaning, or carrying out simple household repairs. They have a snug knit cuff to stay in place without limiting hand movement, and you can even wear them as a liner underneath heavier gloves when working outdoors in cold weather. Collecting more than 400 Amazon reviews and an average of 4.3 stars, these gloves earn glowing praise. As one happy DIYer puts it: “These gloves are nearly perfect.” Available on Amazon.
5. BEST WORK GLOVES FOR KIDS: G&F JustForKids Leather Work Gloves (starting at $6.77)
These child-sized suede work gloves will have little ones eager to help out around the house and yard. G&F JustForKids Leather Work Gloves feature smooth seams that won’t rub or irritate tender skin and elastic around the back of the wrists for a snug fit. Nearly 600 Amazon reviews and an average of 4.5 stars add up to a lot of pleased parents, as one happy customer sums up: “They are real leather work gloves, thick and a little stiff, as you’d expect, but not too rough. Really exactly what we were looking for.” Available on Amazon.