The Best Work Gloves of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

By Michelle Ullman and Bob Beacham and Glenda Taylor | Updated Dec 12, 2023 1:30 PM

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more. Mcr Safety Gloves

The Best Work Gloves of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

A good pair of work gloves can help DIYers get tough jobs done without suffering through painful reminders of the day’s labor. Whether shoveling snow off a walkway or building a new deck, many DIYers are more comfortable during the project—and afterward—when protecting their hands with a high-quality pair of gloves.

Dozens of brands of work gloves are available from various retailers, but we don’t want to settle for just any pair of work gloves. We wanted to find the real standouts. After researching the most popular brands, we tested them for durability, quality construction, hand protection, and more.

Choosing the right work gloves can be challenging, as there are gloves designed for specific tasks. This handy (pun intended!) guide outlines what you need to know about finding the right pair. Ahead, learn what it took to qualify for this lineup of the best work gloves and how to find the right pair for a user’s needs.

Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

When we decided to test work gloves, we wanted to try various glove types for outdoor tasks. We selected the products for testing based on several criteria. We looked at well-known manufacturers such as Wells Lamont and Carhartt, but we didn’t automatically exclude gloves from smaller or niche manufacturers if they offered any desired features.

To ensure our list offered something for everyone, we included options suitable for men and women and gloves made with leather or faux leather, cowhide, deerskin, latex, nitrile, and spandex for durability and flexibility.

We inspected the gloves to determine the quality of the materials and construction. We graded each pair of gloves using a rubric and awarded points for durability, function, comfort, and overall quality. Each pair of gloves was tested to determine whether it lived up to the manufacturer’s specific claims. For example, if the gloves were advertised as “touch-screen capable,” we tested them to determine whether they would activate smartphones with a swipe. If they were advertised as water-resistant or puncture-resistant, we wet them down or used them while pruning rose bushes.

After testing, we added the points for each pair of gloves and used the results to determine the best category and award.

To earn a spot on our lineup, the work gloves we tested had to be durable enough to complete the jobs they were designed for without tearing. They had to fit well, and they had to be comfortable. The following list features the best gloves from our hands-on tests—find out the pros and cons each pair offers to determine which pair suits various project needs.

The Ironclad Ranchworx Work Gloves were impressive right out of the package. They come with a lot of little extras, such as multiple rows of overstitching for durability. We pulled on the Ironclad gloves, and they fit well, although the fingers seemed slightly narrow compared with other gloves of the same size. Overall, they were comfortable, especially at the tips of the fingers, because they do not feature interior seams as some gloves do. As a result, there were no seams to irritate our fingertips.

We really liked the Kevlar strip sewn in the web between the index finger and the thumb—this is a stressor spot on work gloves, especially when they’re used for gripping and pulling. The Ranchworx gloves didn’t stretch or tear. We also appreciated the rubber-reinforced knuckle and finger-top insets that offered impact and scrape protection for our knuckles. We wore the gloves while performing a variety of construction and outdoor farm tasks, and they held up well. The black terry-cloth strips on the back of the thumbs came in handy for wiping away forehead sweat as we conducted our tests in temperatures greater than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Get the Ironclad Ranchworx work gloves at Amazon or Lowe’s. 

The women’s version of our best overall pick comes with many of the same features, but Ironclad Tuff Chix gloves are designed for smaller hands and don’t offer knuckle guards or Kevlar strips. However, they offer a padded leather palm and an absorbent terry-cloth thumb strip to wipe away forehead perspiration on hot days. Plus, the breathable nylon fabric on the back of the gloves kept our hands from getting sweaty.

We found that the Tuff Chix ran pretty much true to size, and overall they’re relatively comfortable, but we weren’t thrilled with the inside finger seams, which were slightly irritating. We found the gloves well suited to performing a variety of outdoor tasks, including raking, mowing, digging with a shovel, and hammering. They held up well and didn’t stretch out or tear, although they’re not suitable for pruning plants such as roses because the backs of the gloves (and side finger gussets) are fabric, allowing the thorns to poke right through. We rate them as moderate-duty work gloves.

Get the Ironclad Tuff Chix work gloves at Amazon or Ironclad.

Those looking for light-duty gloves that improve grip but don’t cost a fortune may want to consider Wells Lamont’s Gripper work gloves. Our first impression of these gloves (they come in a set of three) is that they are nearly as lightweight as air. They’re made of a flexible polyester fabric, and the palms and sides of the fingers are coated with thin polyurethane that creates a nonslip surface.

We pulled the gloves on—they were very comfortable and slightly roomy, but not so much that we felt they were too big. Their polyurethane-coated palms allowed us to grasp poles, bars, and rods without slipping. The gloves are not waterproof, but we wet them down anyway to determine whether the palms would still grip well when wet. They did. These gloves have no seams in the fingers. These aren’t heavy-duty gloves but are well-suited for basic gardening and cleanup tasks. Best of all, they’re affordable.

Get the Wells Lamont Gripper work gloves at Amazon, Tractor Supply Co., or Blain’s Farm & Fleet. 

Carhartt’s Fencer work gloves come from a manufacturer well known for its rugged work clothing. We were impressed by the quality of these gloves—the leather is thick but flexible. The overstitching that reinforces the palm and connects the fingers is strong and we could find no snags.

We pulled the Carhartt gloves on and flexed our hands. The gloves fit true to size, but they were initially kind of stiff. The seams inside the fingertips were slightly irritating. The gloves come with a reinforced panel on the palm and also on the inside of the thumb—positioned in the web where gloves can wear out with repeated use.

We wore the gloves to perform tasks around the farm, including repairing broken barbed wire fencing, and the Carhartt gloves protected our hands from the barbs. We grabbed the stems of thorny roses and no thorns poked through. The gloves also protected us from blisters, and after a few hours, we found the synthetic suede was softening and forming to our hand shape. These are top-notch gloves for protecting hands from scuffs, scrapes, and thorns.

Get the Carhartt work gloves on Amazon or Tractor Supply Co.

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

We found these gloves super comfortable to wear because of their soft inner lining that’s designed to keep hands warm in the winter. Because we were testing all of the gloves in warm weather, we had to come up with some way to determine whether this pair would keep our hands warm. We froze flexible, gel-type ice packs and then wrapped them around the gloves. Every 15 minutes, we inserted our hands to see if the inside of the gloves were getting cool. We checked three times. Each time we checked, the gloves felt slightly cooler but not uncomfortably cold. We felt as though they would keep our hands warm enough to perform most outdoor tasks in cold weather.

We also tested them for durability by wearing them when digging with a shovel, raking, and pruning roses. The buttery-soft leather held up well to gripping and pulling tasks, but a thorn poked through while we were pruning, so we feel these gloves are better suited to light-to-moderate-duty winter tasks because they’re not as rugged as rawhide or suede.

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

The silky-soft lining inside the Wells Lamont Winter Grip Gloves was oh-so-nice, and the gloves fit relatively well, but they were just a touch on the snug side. They weren’t snug enough to make them uncomfortable, but we’d order a size larger if we were ordering again.

Like the other gloves we tested for cold resistance, we wrapped the HydraHyde gloves in frozen, gel-type ice packs and checked them three times, with 15 minutes between checks, to see how they felt inside. They did feel cooler each time we checked but not so cool as to be uncomfortable.

The HydraHyde gloves are specifically designed to protect hands from wet conditions, and they’re also among the warmest work gloves we tested. To test their water resistance, we put the gloves on and then dipped the fingers in ice water. We were careful not to dip them past the gray latex coating. After a full minute, we withdrew our hands from the water and checked for leaks inside the gloves—we found none. The interior remained dry. The latex coating is fairly thin, so the gloves are not suitable for heavy-duty use that might tear the coating.

We also tested the gripping ability of the gloves and found that the latex coating allowed us to get a firm grasp on shovel and rake handles. We feel the HydraHyde gloves would be a top pick for tasks such as scraping ice from car windows or the occasional snowball fight.

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

Offering protection, comfort, and flexibility, the Custom Leathercraft Flex Grip Handyman Work Gloves are suitable for a host of yard work, carpentry, and automotive projects. We found the construction of these gloves to be quite good, but we wished the leather would have been genuine rather than synthetic for durability purposes. Still, these gloves have a lot to offer, and this was the only pair with touch-screen tips on the thumb, index, and middle fingers that worked every time we swiped our smartphones.

The palms are made of smooth 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. We liked the wing-strap cuff closures that allowed us to adjust the fit to our wrist size.

The fingers have seams inside, but they’re small and not too annoying. After wearing them for a few minutes, we barely noticed them. The palm is padded, which we found beneficial for tasks such as mowing and shoveling as it added protection. These are light-to-medium-duty gloves, and we were able to poke a nail through the synthetic leather easily. Still, their touch-screen capability makes them desirable for anyone who wants to answer a smartphone call without removing their gloves.

Get the Custom Leathercraft work gloves at Amazon or CLC Work Gear.

High-quality protection from cuts, abrasions, vibration, impact, and pinching is often necessary for mechanical work. We found the Mechanix Wear M-Pact Gray Work Gloves comfortable and well-designed for working on automobiles, mowers, and other equipment. The rubber pads on the knuckles of the gloves protected our hands from the types of scrapes that can occur when working in tight spots on engines.

These mechanics gloves have several safety features to help protect hands, including vibration-absorbing pads on the palms. The gloves can be adjusted to fit individual wrist sizes via Velcro straps. We tested out the tips of the index finger and thumb, which are supposed to be sensitive to touch screens, but it often took 4 to 5 swipes to activate the screens. It was simpler to pull the gloves off and use our bare fingers.

Small seams could be felt inside the fingertips, but the fingers have ample length, so the seams didn’t bother us too much. We tested the gloves by twisting bars, tightening and loosening knobs, and we even wore them when we changed oil. We like them for mechanic work, but because they don’t have a nonslip grip, they’re not well suited for shoveling, raking, and other outdoor tasks.

Get the Mechanix Wear work gloves at Amazon, Lowe’s, or AutoZone. 

Who said protective work gloves have to look dull? The Skydeer gardening gloves come in a host of pretty designs, yet they offer serious hand protection. The Skydeer gloves are made of flexible nylon and soft deerskin, and when we pulled them on, they fit perfectly. These gardening gloves feature reinforced stitching for durability, and although they do have seams inside the fingers, they’re so soft that they’re barely noticeable.

The gloves are advertised for gardening use, so we used them when we planted and weeded the flower beds. They’re also advertised as having a waterproof back—but they don’t. We poured a little water on the backs of the gloves while we were wearing them and while some of the water ran off, a good amount soaked through to our hands.

We liked the padded palms, which added some comfort for gripping hand trowels and rakes, and we enjoyed the lightweight feel of the gloves. They’re very flexible and do not constrict movement. However, they are light-duty gloves and will not prevent pricks from thorns.

Get the Skydeer work gloves on Amazon.

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.

Work gloves come in a variety of materials and styles, each suited to different tasks. In fact, it’s often worth owning an array of work gloves so the user can tackle a variety of projects around the house and yard. The best outdoor work gloves for each task protects hands from the elements, abrasions, and blisters. The following are the most common types of work gloves.

There’s no such thing as indestructible gloves, but when it comes to heavy-duty jobs such as metalworking, cutting lumber, or electrical repairs or installations, hands need the protection of leather. All-leather work gloves protect against temperature extremes, absorb minor electrical shocks, resist punctures, protect against abrasions and cuts, and keep paint, oil, and chemicals off the skin.

The best leather work gloves are often made of cowhide, although there also are pig and deerskin gloves. Plus, there are vegan and synthetic leather options, too. 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 users more dexterity.

Leather-palm gloves have natural or synthetic leather across the palm and fingers but heavy fabric around the back of the hand. They allow hands to move more easily than all-leather gloves do, yet they still provide 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.

Lightweight knit work gloves, generally made of 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 they don’t offer the rugged protection of leather or canvas gloves.

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 for messy but easy-on-the-hands chores such as painting, pulling weeds, potting plants, or working with potentially irritating cleaning chemicals.

No matter the task at hand, there is no difference between men’s and women’s work gloves other than size and fit. 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.

However, when it comes to unisex sizing, it can be hard to know what size is optimal. Most brands that offer unisex sizing will size their gloves slightly larger to accommodate 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 younger than 8.

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, gloves fit snugly around the fingers and the palm without squeezing, rubbing, or pinching.

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

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

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

The best fit possible is ideal for maximizing comfort and functionality. Trying to complete a project wearing gloves that are too large is often an exercise in futility. And because insulation can trap body heat, gloves that don’t breathe can cause hands to sweat, which can be uncomfortable or downright cold during winter.

Many manufacturers offer sizing charts to help shoppers choose the best work gloves for their hand size. This is helpful because sizes can vary among manufacturers. One person may need a large size in one brand and a medium in another. Use the various size charts available to measure hands and decide whether a small, medium, or large size is best for a particular brand.

Protecting hands is about more than just covering them in thick, durable materials. Gloves need to be functional, allowing hands to move freely instead of getting caught on sharp edges or causing the user to drop tools.

Flexibility helps users grip tools, large objects, and other items because 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 control and dexterity, and some gloves even allow users to operate a touch screen without removing the gloves.

In addition to the most essential material matters, consider the following other features when choosing work gloves.

Work gloves have been around for decades, but they have become more popular as glove design and construction have improved to incorporate better stitching, different materials, and cold-weather protection like that found in insulated or heated gloves. With so many options, there may be some lingering questions. Find answers below to some of the most commonly asked questions about work gloves when selecting a new pair.

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

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

For completing heavy-duty tasks, two of the toughest materials 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.

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

Glenda Taylor is a product tester and writer specializing in the construction, remodeling, and real estate industries. She and her husband own a general contracting company, and Taylor is experienced in both residential and commercial building applications. She tests a wide range of power tools as well as other home improvement, household, and lawn-and-garden products.

Additional research provided by Michelle Ullman and Bob Beachman.

Articles may contain affiliate links which enable us to share in the revenue of any purchases made.

Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service.

The Best Work Gloves of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Maxiflex Gloves Cut Level 4 © 2024 Recurrent. All rights reserved.