A Guide To Choosing The Best Work Gloves

welder uses leather work welding gloves while working on pipe

Your hands are the most versatile and essential tools in the workplace – making their protection from on-the-job hazards a top priority for maintaining employee productivity and safety.

Hand dangers lurk around every corner, from chemicals and abrasive surfaces to splinters, broken glass, cuts, and scrapes. The US Department of Labor reports that hand injuries account for nearly 25% of all lost-time industrial injuries, totaling 110,000 annually. Strikingly, 70% of those injuries occurred when an employee was not wearing safety gloves, while the remaining 30% happened when the wrong type of gloves was worn.

Fortunately, hand injuries are preventable with the right safety gloves. When correctly sized and engineered with the appropriate materials, gloves can defend workers from virtually any hazard.

However, many employees have a limited understanding of how to select gloves based on the specific dangers they face. With a vast array of glove choices and complex personal protective equipment standards, making the right decision can be challenging.

At Alta Max, we understand the importance of providing high-quality work gloves for industrial work, military applications, construction, and other heavy-duty tasks. In this blog post, we'll guide you through choosing the correct work gloves to ensure your employees' hands stay safe and productive on the job.

Types of Work Gloves

Leather Gloves

Leather gloves are a popular choice for their durability and protection against cuts, punctures, and abrasions, making them suitable for welding, landscaping, and construction work. However, they may not be the best option for handling chemicals or liquids.


  • Durable and long-lasting, providing extended protection for the hands
  • Offers excellent protection against cuts, punctures, and abrasions
  • Provides a good grip and allows for dexterity when handling tools and materials
  • Suitable for welding, landscaping, construction work, and other heavy-duty tasks


  • Not suitable for handling chemicals or liquids, as leather can absorb substances
  • Can be less flexible than other materials, which may cause fatigue during extended use
  • May not provide adequate insulation in cold environments, requiring additional liners

Kevlar Gloves

Kevlar offers superior protection against cuts, punctures, and abrasions. It is a synthetic material made from strong fibers that are five times stronger than steel. This makes Kevlar gloves an excellent choice for handling sharp tools and materials.


  • Extremely cut-resistant and puncture-resistant, protecting hands from sharp objects
  • Lightweight and flexible, allowing for increased dexterity and reduced hand fatigue
  • Suitable for handling sharp objects, glass, metal, and other materials that pose cut risks
  • Often used in the automotive, manufacturing, law enforcement, and other industries


  • Not suitable for handling high temperatures or chemicals, as Kevlar can degrade
  • Can be more expensive than other glove materials, which may impact budget considerations

Nitrile-Coated Gloves

Nitrile-coated gloves are made from a synthetic rubber material that is highly resistant to chemicals, oils, and other harsh substances. This makes them popular for use in industries such as automotive, construction, and healthcare.


  • Provides excellent grip in wet and oily conditions, reducing the risk of slips and drops
  • Offers protection against abrasions and punctures, increasing hand safety
  • Resistant to certain chemicals, providing protection in various work environments
  • Suitable for automotive, construction, manufacturing, and other industries


  • May not provide adequate cut resistance for handling sharp objects, requiring additional protection
  • Can be less durable than leather or Kevlar gloves, necessitating more frequent replacement

Chemical-Resistant Gloves

If you work in a field where you are exposed to hazardous chemicals, chemical-resistant gloves are a must-have for hand protection. These gloves are designed to provide a barrier between your skin and the harmful substances you may come into contact with.

Chemical-resistant gloves are typically made from materials such as latex, nitrile, neoprene, or PVC. Each material offers different levels of protection against various types of chemicals.


  • Protects against a wide range of chemicals, acids, and solvents, ensuring hand safety
  • Often made from materials such as neoprene, butyl rubber, or Viton, which are chemical-resistant
  • Suitable for laboratory work, chemical processing, hazardous material handling, and other tasks


  • May not provide adequate protection against cuts, punctures, or abrasions, requiring additional gloves
  • Can be less flexible and dexterous than other glove types, which may impact performance
  • Proper material selection is crucial based on the specific chemicals being handled to ensure protection

Thermal-Resistant Gloves

Heat-related injuries are a common concern in certain industries, such as welding, foundry work, and glass handling. Thermal-resistant gloves are designed to provide protection against extreme temperatures and thermal hazards.


  • Protects hands from extreme heat or cold, preventing temperature-related injuries
  • Often made from materials such as neoprene, aluminized fabric, or insulated materials
  • Suitable for welding, foundry work, freezer storage, and other temperature-sensitive tasks


  • May not provide adequate protection against cuts, punctures, or abrasions, requiring additional gloves
  • Can be bulky and less dexterous than other glove types, which may impact performance
  • Proper material selection is crucial based on the specific temperature range and duration of exposure

Employers can make informed decisions when selecting the appropriate hand protection for their employees by considering the advantages and disadvantages of each type of work glove. It is essential to assess the specific hazards present in the work environment and choose gloves that provide the necessary level of protection while allowing for the required dexterity and comfort.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Work Gloves

Level of protection required

When selecting work gloves, the primary consideration should be the level of protection required for the specific job. Assess the potential hazards, such as cuts, punctures, abrasions, chemicals, or extreme temperatures, and choose gloves that offer the appropriate level of protection.

For example, if workers handle sharp objects, cut-resistant gloves made from Kevlar or high-performance polyethylene (HPPE) would be essential. If employees work with chemicals, gloves made from neoprene, butyl rubber, or Viton should be selected based on the chemicals being handled.

Dexterity and flexibility

The level of dexterity and flexibility required for the job is another crucial factor.

Some tasks, such as handling small parts or performing intricate work, require gloves that allow for precise movements and a high degree of tactile sensitivity. Thinner, more form-fitting gloves made from materials like nitrile or polyurethane may be appropriate in these cases.

However, if the job involves handling heavy or rough materials, thicker gloves that provide greater protection may be necessary, even if they slightly reduce dexterity.

Grip and traction

Maintaining a secure grip on tools and materials is essential for safety and productivity. Work gloves with textured palms or coatings can provide enhanced grip and traction, reducing the risk of slips and drops.

For example, gloves with a nitrile or polyurethane coating can offer excellent grip in wet or oily conditions, while gloves with a dotted or diamond-patterned texture can improve grip on dry surfaces. Consider the specific materials being handled and the work environment when selecting gloves with the appropriate grip and traction features.

Durability and longevity

Investing in durable, long-lasting work gloves can help reduce costs and ensure consistent employee protection. Consider the materials and construction of the gloves, as well as any reinforced areas, such as the palms, fingers, or seams.

Gloves made from high-quality leather, Kevlar, or other robust materials can withstand frequent use and exposure to abrasive surfaces. Look for gloves with reinforced stitching or welded seams to prevent premature wear and tear.

Comfort and fit

Comfort and proper fit ensure workers consistently wear their gloves and maintain productivity. Gloves that are too large or small can be uncomfortable at best and prevent effective working at worst.

Look for gloves that offer a snug but not restrictive fit, allowing for natural hand movements. Consider breathable materials, moisture-wicking linings, or padded palms to enhance comfort during extended wear. It may also be necessary to provide gloves in various sizes to accommodate employees' different hand shapes and sizes.

Industry-specific requirements

Different industries may have specific requirements or standards for work gloves. For example, the food processing industry requires gloves that meet FDA food-contact regulations, while the electrical industry mandates gloves that provide insulation against electrical hazards.

Healthcare workers may need gloves that offer protection against biological hazards and comply with medical standards. When selecting work gloves, research and adhere to industry-specific requirements or regulations to ensure compliance and worker safety.

Quality Gloves Prevent More Than Just Cuts & Scrapes

Investing in high-quality, well-fitting work gloves is not just a matter of compliance – it's an investment in the well-being and performance of your employees. The right gloves can prevent injuries, reduce lost work time, and improve overall job satisfaction.

At Alta Max, we understand the importance of finding the perfect work gloves for your industry needs – along with other key MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Operations) and security seal needs. We offer a comprehensive selection of products designed to keep your facility running smoothly and securely, such as:

  • Security seals and tamper-evident devices
  • Lockout/tagout supplies
  • Safety signage and labeling
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Facility maintenance and repair tools

Don't settle for subpar protection or generic solutions. Partner with Alta Max to find the perfect work gloves and MRO supplies tailored to your industry needs. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you prioritize safety and performance in your workplace.

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