How do you choose the best gardening gloves? They come in a wide range of styles, materials, and price points, each intended for different uses. With so many options to choose from in gardening gloves, it’s sometimes hard to know which type to buy.
Good gardening gloves should be durable and stand up to regular use in the garden.
In this article, we review the features to consider when buying new gardening gloves so that you’ll know what to look for in choosing a quality product.
If you’re just interested in the different types of gloves and our recommendations for the best gardening gloves, scroll down to Recommended Gardening Gloves.
How to Choose the Best Gardening Gloves for You
There isn’t just one type of gardening glove that’s perfect for everything. What works best for you will depend on what you’ll use the gloves for, as well as your budget. But, in general, there are a few things you should consider when choosing gardening gloves.
Important Considerations When Buying Gardening Gloves
Balance of Comfort and Durability
If your gardening gloves aren’t comfortable, you’re unlikely to wear them. But the most comfortable gloves are often the least durable.
Cotton gloves offer softness but not much protection, while all-leather gloves prevent nicks and cuts but aren’t best for breathing and maneuverability. A happy medium is gloves that are durable, yet pliable, that protect hands while still letting you maneuver.
Fingertips are often the first part of gardening gloves to fail, especially if you garden in sandy or rocky soil. And, if you’re like me, you’ll probably also cut the ends of your gloves accidentally when pruning!
Quality gloves often have an extra layer of material, usually leather, over the finger tips to protect them from wearing out. That extra layer also protects your fingers from sharp objects you may encounter in the soil, such as rusty nails, broken glass, thorns and stinging insects.
The drawback to reinforced fingertips is that they decrease your ability to feel what you’re touching. If you’ll be working with delicate seedlings or need a lot of dexterity, consider taking your gloves off or buying a second pair without much (or any) extra protection in the fingertips.
Double Stitched Seams
Seams and stitching are another common point of failure in gardening gloves so buy gloves with double-stitched seams. It’s easy to recognize – you’ll see two closely-spaced rows of stitches along all areas where two pieces of material meet. If one row of stitching happens to come undone, the second row will prevent the glove from coming apart.
On the flip side, poorly done double stitching can add bulk to seams, making the gloves uncomfortable and possibly causing chafing. Make sure that the seams lie flat and don’t add unnecessary thickness to the gloves.
Look for a snug, comfortable fit around the wrist to help keep debris out. If you plan to do any digging or weeding, avoid gloves that don’t have either a hook-and-loop or elastic wrist closure. The best fit is generally found with a Velcro strap that can be tightened around the wrist and adjusts to nearly any size wrist. Elastic closures aren’t usually adjustable and tend to loosen over time, while others may be too tight for some users.
A poorly fitting gardening glove can make pruning and other gardening tasks a miserable experience.
Look for gloves that come in a wide variety of sizes (some brands run from XXS all the way to XXSL). The best fit is typically one that’s snug but not tight. Your finger tips should be near the end of the fingers but not jammed against the end of the glove; you also don’t want a lot of space in the fingertips or it’ll be nearly impossible to grasp things with your fingers. Make sure the webbing between the fingers also fits snuggly without chafing. And the wrist closure should sit at your wrist (it always surprises me how many gloves are too short in the hand for me, resulting in a wrist that seems to be almost on the palm of my hand).
Many brands have gloves specifically designed for both men and women. “Unisex” gloves generally aren’t a good idea, especially for women, as they’re typically too loose and wide to be comfortable for those of us with smaller hands.
If you’re buying online, check to see if the company has an online sizing guide to help you choose the right size. Some will provide measurements (for example, finger length, hand length, and circumference of the hand) while others provide a printed guide showing the outline of the various sizes. Lay your hand on the guide to see which size is the closest fit but be sure to follow the printing directions closely to ensure that you’ve printed it the right size!
These fit guides will also give you an indication of whether or not the glove will be a comfortable fit for your hand and finger shape. Some are wider around the hand, some have longer but narrower fingers, and others have loose wrists. Check the measurements carefully before buying.
Everyone has their own preference when it comes to how tightly a glove should fit. For heavy-duty work I prefer mine to be a little looser. But for “regular” gardening tasks, I like a snug fitting glove. It stays put, keeps the dirt out, and gives you more fine motor control of your fingers.
Gloves have to flex well, particularly at the finger joints, if they’re going to be usable. This isn’t usually a problem with thinner gloves (like cotton or knitted gloves) but can be a significant issue with thicker leather and work gloves.
Don’t expect to “break in” new gloves. If the fingers don’t bend or you can’t stretch your hand open, you won’t wear the gloves enough to loosen them up!
Look for gardening gloves that allow you to move your fingers freely. Try making a fist – can you close your hand tightly? Can you spread all your fingers out? Can you grasp things between your thumb and forefinger? If not, look for a different pair of gloves. It’s ok for the gloves to feel stiff at first but they should still be flexible enough to allow you to do all the gardening tasks you normally do.
Padding & Protection
Gloves intended for more rugged work often have padding strategically placed in the palms and fingers, as well as on the knuckles to protect them from getting bashed.
A little bit of padding is a good thing – too much can make it difficult to close your hand or bend your fingers.
Gardening gloves come in a wide variety of materials, from cotton to leather, knit to nitrile. What’s best for you need depends on what you’ll use the gloves for.
The most common leather found in gardening gloves is pigskin leather. It’s tough yet relatively flexible and comes with a reasonable price tag.
Goatskin is generally considered to be the most durable type of leather and has excellent puncture resistance. It’s also very soft and flexible, making a perfect material for gardening gloves. It’s typically found only in higher-end gloves.
Split cow hide is another rugged choice for leather gardening gloves. It doesn’t flex well so you’ll often find it in the cuffs of work gloves or rose gauntlets where it’ll protect your forearms from just about anything.
Synthetic leather is found in many gardening gloves these days, particularly on the palm where it provides an additional layer of protection. Some gloves are made entirely of synthetic leather and can be machine washed.
Cotton is typically used for lightweight, light duty gloves. It’s breathable, flexible and generally inexpensive. It also comes in a wide range of prints. Just don’t expect the gloves to last long and they certainly won’t protect your hands from sharp objects.
Some gardening gloves have a waterproof coating (nitrile), usually on the fingers and palms although some companies make full nitrile gloves. The intent is to keep your hands dry when working in wet conditions. However, if your hands tend to get hot or sweat easily, the lack of breathability in these types of gloves can be a problem.
To increase dexterity, some gardening gloves include Lycra, spandex, neoprene or other stretchy material. Look for this primarily on the back of the hand and the fingers but be sure that the palms and fingertips are reinforced with something sturdier, like leather.
When it comes to gardening gloves, the old adage is true – you get what you pay for. That doesn’t mean you have to pay a lot for a pair of gloves, just that you can expect the price to go up as your need for strength, flexibility, durability, etc. goes up.
A comfortable pair of lightweight cotton gardening gloves can easily be had for under $10. But a quality pair of sturdy leather gloves with reinforced fingertips, double-stitched seams, a Velcro wrist closure and plenty of flexibility will likely cost around $40-50. If that’s what you need, it’s well worth spending the money.
Recommended Gardening Gloves
Below are descriptions of the most common types of gardening gloves, along with our recommendations. Hover over each product name or image for pricing details.
These gardening gloves are intended for those of us who find ourselves reaching into rose bushes to prune out old canes, although they work very well for any gardening jobs that require protection for your forearms. Rose gauntlets usually have leather gloves with an extended cuff (or sleeve) made of leather or canvas that should stop thorns from scratching your arms.
The Protector Rose Gauntlet Gloves from Bear Wallow Gloves
Made from soft, yet durable goatskin. The 12-inch gauntlets protect your whole forearm. Velcro strap snaps onto the cuff and closes it to keep out any debris.
>> READ OUR REVIEW
West County 054RM Gauntlet Rose Glove
This comfortable glove is thorn proof, lightweight, flexible and washable. It’s fully reinforced and has a protective elbow-length gauntlet.
Bionic Women’s Rose Gloves
100% leather with ergonomic pads to relieve pressure, stretch fabric to promote easy motion and an extra-long gauntlet to protect your forearms.
Leather Gardening Gloves by Fir Tree
Goatskin leather gloves with cowhide sleeves and an elastic wrist closure.
These gloves are meant for tough work, not just gardening. Quality work gloves are excellent for hauling rocks or firewood, digging, and any gardening tasks where you want a little extra protection for your hands. Look for leather palms, reinforced fingertips, and padding on the palms and knuckles.
Duluth Trading Company Work Glove
A tough but comfortable glove that works well for rough work, like handling rocks or logs, and is also an excellent all-round gardening glove.
>> READ OUR REVIEW
Custom Leathercraft Handyman Flex Grip Work Gloves
Tough synthetic leather, padded knuckles, reinforced fingertips, lycra side panels and spandex for flexibility, and a velcro wrist closure.
West County Women’s Work & Garden Glove
Machine washable, comfort fit, velcro pull strap to keep dirt out, stretch fabric on back of hand gives extra flexibility.
Leather & Synthetic Leather Gardening Gloves
Women’s Leather Gardening Gloves – By Piddlin’ Jenny!
Don’t let the color and company name turn you off – these are tough gloves with reinforced fingers, a tab wrist closure and neoprene for stretch. Machine washable.
Leather Gardening Gloves for Women and Men
Synthetic leather gloves with adjustable Velcro wrist closure. Stretch fabric on the back makes it extra flexible. Tough, comfortable and machine washable.
Magid Glove TE166T-M Terra Collection Deluxe Spandex Back Gardening Gloves
Lightweight, breathable spandex back, synthetic leather palm and fingertips, reinforced fingertips resist abrasion and punctures, terry cloth thumb brow wipe and wing thumb.
Bionic Men’s Tough Pro Gloves
Tough as nails, with supple goatskin and stretchy Lycra flex zones, ergonomic design with padded joints and palms, and durable silicon fingertips.
>> READ OUR REVIEW
Womanswork “Digger” Gardening Gloves
Reinforced fingertips, padded palm, colorful spandex top for flexibility, longer cuff with velcro closure, terry brow wipe on thumb, machine washable.
Cotton Gardening Gloves
These are the gardening gloves you typically find in home improvement stores. They’re best used for light duty and/or occasional work. They’ll protect your hands to only a minimal degree. Most are fairly similar so try them on at the store and buy a pair that fits you best.
Waterproof / Nitrile Gardening Gloves
These gloves are usually made of a knit fabric and then “dipped” in nitrile, polyurethane or some other waterproof material. The end result is a comfortable, highly flexible glove with a waterproof palm and fingertips that give excellent grip on slippery objects. However, they generally won’t protect you from thorns and other sharp objects, the fingertips aren’t reinforced and so wear out quickly and dirt can work its way through the knit back.
Simply Mud by Mud Gloves
Foam nitrile coated palm and finger tips, seamless knit nylon liner, amazing wet and dry grip, ultra-lightweight breathable liner.
Black Iron Work Gloves
Knitted nylon/spandex liner with foam nitrile coating, waterproof and cut resistant. Package has 2 pairs of gloves.
Wonder Grip Nicely Nimble Gloves
A lightweight liner, snug fit, and a proprietary coating that breathes give these gloves wonderful comfort, grip and dexterity.
Atlas Glove NT370 Nitrile Garden Gloves (6 pack)
Protects palms and fingers with a flexible nitrile coating that’s tougher than rubber. Ideal for jobs requiring maximum dexterity and freedom of hand movement . Machine washable.
Ergonomic Gardening Gloves
Bionic Gardening ReliefGrip Gloves
Designed by an orthopedic hand specialist, the patented pads in the Bionic ReliefGrip Gardening Gloves gloves help even out the surface of your hand for a more comfortable, secure grip on tools and help reduce calluses and blisters.
>> READ OUR REVIEW
Now over to you – Which gardening gloves have you used? What did you like? Not like? Let us know in the comments below!
And if you liked this review, please sign up for our monthly newsletter to get new reviews, special offers and giveaways.
Yes, I want reviews & special offers!
Please note that the Amazon links above (and only the Amazon links) are affiliate links. Should you choose to purchase through these links, GPR will make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) that helps to support this website and our gardening product reviews.