How to Choose The Best Gardening Gloves

By Andy McIndoe

Gardening Gloves Review

If you don’t know what you are looking for when you go to choose a pair of gardening gloves, I sympathise. That bewildering array of gaudy, utilitarian, cheap and expensive, good, bad and ugly gloves that greets you in most garden centres takes some navigating! You’ll find a great block of them hanging on the wall, display bins promoting packs of three at a knock-down price, and hooks of them by the seeds, bulbs and bedding plants. I have a garage full of them, most of which I’ll never use because they don’t fit, are too thin, too thick and are just downright impractical. So here’s a few tips to make sure you buy the right gloves for you.

Never buy on price

Firstly never buy on price. There are good inexpensive gloves and very poor costly ones. Fashionable designer gloves make great gifts, they solve the problem of what to buy for someone vaguely interested in gardening. Of course they will never use them and their only purpose is as an unwanted prize in the next gardening club raffle. Bargain packs of gloves are mostly a waste of money. You’ll wear one pair for a while, decide they are useless and leave the other two as a home for spiders in the shed.

3 all sorts

Buy gloves that fit

Always buy a pair of gloves that fits you. If the packaging does not allow you to get your hand into a glove, don’t buy it. I’m always amused by the classification of “mens” and “ladies” on gardening gloves. All men do not have huge, broad hands with sausage fingers. All ladies do not have slender hands and long fingers. The worst offenders are those men’s rigger gloves which are usually guaranteed not to fit and give you blisters.

4 Rigger gloves

Beware internal seams

Look out for internal seams. Cheap leather or pvc gloves often have hard seams inside the fingers. These are agony, especially on a second wearing once the gloves are wet and a little ingrained with soil. If you want the thicker leather glove look for one that is lined or at least well made with fingers that fit yours.

5 Using leather gloves (1280x877)

Look for waterproof qualities

Nothing is colder and more uncomfortable than wet gardening gloves. Gloves with waterproof palms and finger tips are the best bet, especially if they are close fitting and stretchy. This would always be my choice, even over the thicker insulated winter weight gloves that are not waterproof.

6 Nitrile palms and waterproof tips (1280x899)

Can you feel what you are doing?

Close fitting, stretch gloves with nitrile palms and fingertips allow you to feel what you are doing. You can wear them for more delicate tasks as well as general protection. If I wear thicker gloves I find myself taking them off the do something I need to feel, then my hands get dirty and then find their way back into the gloves. The result: soil and grit in the fingertips.

7 Delicate tasks (1280x994)

Are they colour-fast?

If you are buying leather or fabric gloves which will be worn for long periods, look for either pale, natural or colour fast gloves. As your hands sweat in the gloves you will find the dye gets into your skin. This may result in bright yellow skin which can be hard to clean.

8 Stained hands from non-colourfast gloves

Do they grip?

Gardening gloves with grips or no-slip pads on the fingers and palms are a good choice, especially when working with spades, shovels, gardening tools and handling heavy objects. Combine these with a tight-fitting flexible glove and you won’t even notice you are wearing them.

9 A good grip (1280x838)

Do they protect you?

Most of us need more than 1 pair of gloves. You make want a more robust. Thicker pair of gloves that will protect your wrists and arms as well as your hands, especially if you are grubbing or brambles or pruning roses. Good quality gauntlet gloves are the ones to go for. You may think these are mostly for winter use, however they are an essential in summer when wearing short sleeves and are particularly useful if you have sensitive skin.

10 Gauntlet gloves

Andy McIndoe

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