If you’re looking into buying gardening equipment, then gardening gloves might not be top of your list. In fact, few first-time gardeners think about gloves, they’re too busy considering tools and plants. Spend more than an afternoon gardening though, and you’ll find that great gloves are suddenly a priority. So, how do you go about choosing the right gloves? What should you be looking for? We’ve got everything you need to know, as well as some great recommendations!
Table of Contents
Why Gardening Gloves?
There are really two reasons that you’re going to need gardening gloves. The first, and most obvious, is for protection. Good gloves will help protect your skin from thorns and other sharp things. They’ll also keep your skin in good shape since soil tends to suck moisture out of the skin. They’ll help prevent blisters from tool use, and they’ll even keep your fingernails clean. We'd even recommend them when putting together your new wheelie bin store.
The second reason is maybe a little less obvious. Gardening gloves should give you a better grip on both tools and whatever plants or rocks you’re working with. One (or more) great pair of gardening gloves can not only improve your physical experience in the garden but also make you more efficient and effective.
What Are My Options?
There are tons of different glove options on the market, and knowing which ones to go for can be tough. But basically, we can divide gardening gloves into four categories:
Everyday gloves are light to medium weight and generally made from a thin material. Expensive ones will be made from goatskin or leather, whilst more affordable alternatives are generally cotton and polyester or even bamboo.
Pros: Flexible and easy to work in, as well as lightweight and not as hot as thicker gloves.
Cons: Won’t provide protection for really rough tasks, not suitable for things like tree pruning or chemical spraying.
Best For: Someone looking for a general pair of gloves to wear whilst doing light gardening or regular maintenance.
Heavy Duty Gloves
These gloves are usually heavier and built from sturdier materials. Hard leather, Kevlar and Spectra are often used. These gloves may be cut resistant to protect against injuries from pruning shears or knives and may feature additional length or stiff cuffs to help protect further up the arm.
Pros: Improves safety when performing rough tasks.
Cons: Heavy and often hot, these gloves really aren’t flexible enough for everyday work.
Best For: Those looking to perform big jobs such as tree pruning, bramble cutting, or moving large rocks and stones.
These gloves are designed for working with garden chemicals and fertilisers and are almost always waterproof. They are often made from rubber, neoprene, or nitrile, keeping them flexible enough to be able to fit nozzles and take off bottle caps.
Pros: Will protect your skin against possibly harmful garden chemicals.
Cons: They do tend to be quite hot and hands get sweaty quickly, so not really suitable for everyday gardening.
Best For: Those who want to avoid being exposed to chemicals when spraying or fertilising.
Finally, water or “bog” gloves are usually lightweight cotton gloves that have been dipped into latex or PVC. This means that they’re light and flexible, whilst still being fairly waterproof. Few are completely waterproof, however.
Pros: Keep hands drier than regular everyday gloves are more flexible than rubber gloves.
Cons: Since water gloves aren’t as flexible as everyday gloves, they’re not great for delicate tasks.
Best For: Working around the edges of ponds or water features, or working early in the morning when dew will make plants damp.
What Should I Think About Before Buying?
Before you start looking at models and specific recommendations, there are a few things that you’ll need to consider:
As you probably noticed above, there are plenty of material choices. Which material you go for depends on what you will be doing most often in your gloves. Rubber gloves are great for working with chemicals or lots of water but unsuited to normal gardening activity. So why do you need gloves?
Something you might not have considered is allergies. Many people have allergies to rubber, PVC, neoprene and other materials used in more specialised gloves. This may not affect you, but it something worth keeping in mind.
The fit is important. Gloves that are too small will give you blisters, whilst those that are too big will create extra bulk meaning you have less touch sensitivity. Ideally, gardening gloves should be snug, but not so tight that they impede the flexibility of your fingers. Be aware that many manufacturers make gloves specifically for men and specifically for women. In most cases, it’s best to go with those designed for your sex to get a better fit.
Flexibility, or being able to move your fingers and squeeze your hand into a fist, is important in most gloves. A glove that is too inflexible will make it difficult to work. But do be aware that many materials (leather, for example) can take a while to break in. Leather gloves tend to become more flexible over time.
What About Features?
You might not think of gloves as something that are particular feature laden. But there are some extra features that you might want to keep an eye out for:
- Padded Palms: Padded palms can be more comfortable, especially when carrying or working with heavier objects.
- Gel Fingers: Again, this can help prevent blisters and make you more comfortable. Just be sure that the gel doesn’t stop you flexing your fingers.
- Finger Construction: Not a feature as such, but gloves that have fingers as one-piece constructions (meaning no seams on the fingers) do give you extra flexibility and better control. Not a must, but it could be nice to have.
- Wrist Closures: A velcro closure around the wrists means that dirt and dust can’t get inside the gloves. Again, not a must, but it could be convenient.
- Attachments: Look out for gloves that come with clips that allow you to easily attach them to your clothes when you remove them. This helps prevent your new gloves getting lost and keeps them within easy reach.
- UV Protection: Fabrics that have UV protection will last longer and therefore be a better investment as a whole.
Maintaining Your Gardening Gloves
Garden glove maintenance really depends on what kind of material your gloves are made of. Most gloves can be washed in the machine on a cool setting. However, always check the manufacturer’s instructions or the label inside the gloves for detailed care instructions. Do not put away gloves wet. Hang them out to dry, or keep them on a warm surface (a window ledge above a radiator, for example) to allow them to dry. Do NOT place gloves directly on a heat source such as a radiator, since many materials will melt.
How We Selected Our Top Choices
Just before we get to those recommendations though, let’s first talk about how we chose our top picks. We looked at tons of gardening gloves, and at first, disregarded the ones that were too specialised. We were looking for good “all-around” gloves as opposed to ones that were only good for one specific activity. Then we looked at affordability, as well as the features offered and build quality.
We checked out plenty of reviews, looking for good, positive customer reviews and buyer feedback. And though we do mostly sell bin stores, we spend lots of our time around landscapers, gardeners, and other gardening professionals, so we got lots of pro feedback from the kinds of people who use gardening gloves every day.
Now, it’s time to get to those model recommendations. Which gardening gloves are the ones for you? Check out our top picks below.
The Top Gardening Gloves
You should now have a better idea of the kind of gloves that you’re looking for. But which ones should you actually buy? Don’t worry, we’ve got some great model recommendations for you.
Showa Floreo 370 Lightweight Gardening Gloves (Light)
If you’re looking for great everyday gardening gloves, then look no further. These Showa Florea gloves are the ideal combination of durability plus low weight and flexibility. They’re nitrile coated, making them more robust than many other lightweight gloves, and breathable too, so you won’t be getting sweaty.
Maintenance is easy here too. Just pop the gloves into the washing machine on cool and you’re good to go. And they come in three sizes too, so you’re more likely to find the fit that you need. For everyday tasks, these gloves are thin enough to be ideal.
The only real negative here is that these gloves aren’t going to be great for rougher tasks like tree pruning and the like, they’re really too thin for that. Other than that though, these are an excellent choice for the everyday gardener.
Light and breathable
Nitrile coating makes them durable
Not suitable for heavy duty work
Gold Leaf Tough Touch Gloves (Medium)
Okay, these Gold Leaf gloves don’t come cheap, but they are amazing. In fact, they’re the only gardening gloves endorsed by the Royal Horticultural society, so you know that they’re going to be great. The gloves themselves are made from soft, waterproof deerskin leather, meaning that they’re thin for great flexibility.
You’ll notice the long cuff which protects your wrist and lower arm when putting your hand into shrubbery or pruning roses, for example. And they come in a variety of both men’s and women’s sizes, so you’ll get a perfect fit.
On the downside, they’re a little pricey. And that extended cuff can be awkward when you’re performing some tasks. On the whole though, these are some luxurious and highly effective gardening gloves, a pair that any gardener would be proud to own.
Lightweight and flexible
Extended cuff to protect wrists and forearms
Extended cuff can be awkward at times
Oregon Protective Chainsaw Gloves (Heavy)
You don’t have to be using a chainsaw to use these gloves! They do make excellent heavy duty gloves for all kinds of gardening, for several reasons. The wrists can be closed, and the palms are padded. But cleverly, the left hand (the one that generally holds the chainsaw or another tool) is more padded, with the right glove thinner for better flexibility and dexterity. The best of both worlds.
They’re easy to wash, just pop them in the washing machine. And that bright orange colour means that you won’t be losing them any time soon. And they come in a range of sizes as well, so there’s a pair for everyone.
On the downside, they’re not cut proof as are some other heavy duty gloves. And according to some customer feedback, even the smallest size is still too big for women with, particularly small hands.
Suitable for heavy duty work
Not cut proof
May be too large for women with smaller hands
Viridescent Leather Gardening Gloves (Light/Medium)
Another awesome choice for everyday gardening gloves are these leather gloves from Viridescent. The soft leather used on the palms and fingers keeps your hands dry and still gives you dexterity. And then the fabric used for the back of the gloves gives you breathability and a nice, snug fit. A great combo of materials for gloves that you might be wearing for hours at a time.
There are velcro wrist closures too, so you’ll keep the dirt out. There’s a variety of sizes for both women and men, and there’s even a 100% money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied, so there’s little to lose!
As for negatives, well, these aren’t really suitable for heavy duty work, but then, that’s not what they’re designed for. Plus, there’s no women’s large size for some reason, so if you’re female and have larger hands you might need to buy the men’s version.
Leather and fabric gives the best of both worlds
Wrist closures for added protection
Not suitable for heavy duty work
No women’s large sizes
Jayco Gold Leaf Winter Touch Gloves (Medium/Heavy)
Gardening in the winter? Okay, maybe in late autumn. But if temperatures are dropping then look no further than these Winter Touch gardening gloves. The outer layer is soft deerskin leather, then there’s a Ski-Dri waterproof layer, and then there’s a Thinsulate inner lining. All you need to keep yourself dry and warm if the weather isn’t as nice as you’d like.
The palms are reinforced her, making these a good choice for more heavy duty work. And they’re available in both men’s and women’s sizes, so you should be able to get a good fit. You can even stick them in the washing machine.
On the downside, they’re a little bulky for more delicate work. And there’s no real wrist closure, so you’ll need to make sure that you have snug sleeves are you’ll be getting chilly. Other than that though, these are a great choice for foul weather gardening gear.
Waterproof and insulated
Good range of sizes
Not suitable for delicate work
No wrist closure
Briers Advanced Grip and Protect Gloves (Heavy)
Looking to do some seriously heavy duty work in your garden? Then these are the gloves that you need. Whilst the back panel there is a breathable fabric, the front is all action. You get padded palms for comfort, as well as reinforced fingers. There are even silicon dots and anti-slip patches for supreme grip. These gloves can handle just about anything.
You get neoprene cuffs with velcro closure too, so you won’t be letting anything inside. And these gloves can be machine washed on a cold setting. There’s a range of sizes, and Briers also offers additional options such as anti-cut protection and warm lining (though these are not standard, you’ll need to add them to your order).
There are a couple of negatives though. These aren’t exactly thin, and really aren’t great for more delicate tasks. And all that padding and anti-slip stuff means that palms might get a little sweaty despite the breathable back panel.
Lightweight and extremely flexible
Seamless liner to prevent blisters
Not suitable for heavy duty work
Pine Tree Bamboo Working Gloves (Medium)
Finally, something a little bit different. You might not have considered gloves made from bamboo, but there are a few advantages here. Bamboo makes a good lightweight material that’s exceptionally breathable. These gloves soak in sweat, leaving palms dry, are cool in summer and warm in winter. And people with allergies or sensitive skin will find that bamboo gloves don’t provoke any reactions.
These are extremely flexible and dexterous gloves, giving you ultimate control. In fact, you can even use a touchscreen with these gloves on. The cuffs are nice and snug with elastic, and you get an excellent grip even in wet conditions. Add in that these gloves are environmentally friendly as well as machine washable and you’ve got a great pair of gardening gloves.
As for negatives, these aren’t super durable so they’re not going to be great for heavy duty work. They’re also not waterproof. But for everyday use, these are a fantastic pair of gardening gloves.
Very light and flexible
Snug cuff fitting
Not suitable for heavy duty work