Proper personal protective equipment, or PPE, is just as important to the hobby welder as it is the seasoned professional. High temperatures, electricity, molten metal, dust, fumes — there’s a lot to protect yourself from. That’s why I’m going to show you which ones I picked as, in my opinion, the best welding gloves.
Recently my trusty gloves decided they’d had enough and bit the bucket. After almost 2 years of pretty intense use, I’m not surprised. While I still have the usual go-to pair that I buy regularly since I’ve been writing these product lists I thought this was as good a thing as any to research.
After all, they may be cheap, but that doesn’t mean you want to waste that money on a pair that’s not going to work.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why I wrote this article?
- 2 Here’s A List of 7 Best Welding Gloves
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Final Thoughts
Why I wrote this article?
Like I said above, I’ve had my gloves for the better part of 2 years. They’ve been pretty well used in that time (although obviously not daily) and kept my hands nice and safe while working. I bought the same pair once again, but I feel like they aren’t safe enough for bigger projects that I’ll work on, in the near future.
Lately, though, they’ve become a bit more worn down. I’m feeling the heat more when I use them, and there are a few scratches and cuts which, while not major, could definitely end up being a problem soon. It also doesn’t help that I’m losing a bit of flexibility in them.
So that’s why I’m replacing them. I decided that this time I’d look around to see what’s on the market — the good, the bad, the ugly. After conferring with friends, family, readers, and the internet at large, I’m pretty happy with the selection I’ve made.
So after throwing out about 80-90% of the gloves I looked at, I have a pretty solid list of 7 suggestions for you.
But first, my selection criteria.
How did I pick them?
I’ll be honest, I’m not the pickiest with welding gloves. They have a pretty obvious task to perform — they either do it, or they don’t.
However, to put some structure around my selections, I came up with some criteria to choose the best recommendations:
Brand: “Name” brands often mean higher prices, yes. But they also often mean better materials and better construction. While you may be able to find the same item from the same factory under a generic label for cheaper, it’s still a good idea to get the name brand. Reputable brands have strict quality assurance standards; the no-name doesn’t.
It might be the same design, materials, and factory, but it might not be the same quality.
Reliability: They are relatively “disposable” compared to other items —as in they’ll predictably wear out quicker — but you still want something that’s going to last as long as possible.
That’s a good 2-3 years. No sense spending money on something that tears open after two weeks, right?
Protection: Probably the most important item on the list. Their main job is to protect your hands from sparks, metal, and heat. If it can’t do that, you might as well throw on some gardening gloves or kitchen gloves.
Price: The goal here was to hit a happy medium. Gloves shouldn’t be expensive. Something that was obscenely priced wasn’t going to make the cut — but at the same time, nothing terrifying cheap would, either. Good gloves don’t need to break the bank, but they won’t be bargain basement priced either.
Extra features: There are not many extra features gloves can have, I’ll be honest, but if there’s a tie between two and one gloves has some sort of neat feature, it’s getting the cake.
And, as always, my selections are aimed at both the amateur and professional; whatever your experience, these gloves are for you.
Here’s A List of 7 Best Welding Gloves
OLSON DEEPAK Welding Gloves
Looking for some slick, premium leather gloves? Look no further. The Oson Deepak welding gloves are made of carefully selected high-quality cow leather with a thickness of over 1.2mm. This makes them heat resistant, durable, and long-lasting.
The stitching is fireproof — thank goodness — and the inside is lined with fleece for excellent insulation.
One thing to look out for — these are advertised as being good for just about, well, everything. Welding, baking, dog attacks (seriously). However, I’ve found the heat resistance a bit overstated. I trust them with welding, but don’t think you’ll hold a hot pan out of the oven for longer than a few moments before really feeling the heat.
RAPICCA Welding Gloves
These leather welding gloves tout heat resistance up to 932F. While I’m not about to test that personally, I can say they were plenty heat resistant while working.
All of the usual features are here — quality leather material, fireproof stitching, and cotton lining for both insulation and sweat absorption. What’s also here, that wasn’t in the above gloves, is a very generous 16” length. This gives you pretty solid protection about halfway up your forearms.
Admittedly this takes away a little of the dexterity afforded by the Tillman’s, but not much. You’ll have no problem manipulating your tools with these.
Caiman 1878-5 Welding Gloves
We’re heading into more expensive territory with these Caiman gloves. The previous gloves clocked in around $20 or so — these are pushing $40. Are they worth it?
These gloves are designed to fit the natural contour of your hand. In doing so, they actually avoid crease lines and seams which would compromise the integrity of the glove.
Look at your hand. Notice the giant crease lines and slope that goes from the back of the hand to the palm? This is where the 1878-5 gloves utilize multiple pieces of leather, reinforcing the glove like no other.
John Tillman and Co 50L Welding Gloves
These MIG gloves are made of top grain cowhide with fleece lining, sewn together with Kevlar for added heat protection. The cowhide is also used for the palm reinforcements, ensuring heat protection while working.
There are a few things I really like about this glove. The first is the look of it — I dig a nice two-tone design. Yes, aesthetics aren’t one of my criteria, but if you can look good working, why not?
A problem I had is the white leather sections clearly aren’t as padded or well-insulated as the hide sections. So while it looks cool and has better dexterity, you’re going to feel the heat a bit more than with some other gloves.
Lincoln Electric Welding Gloves
Now again, these are at the higher end of the price range. And, unfortunately, they don’t have the incredibly generous cuffs of the Caimans.
Fortunately, they more than make up for it.
These heavy-duty gloves have all of the safety features you could want. They’re heat resistant, of course. But they’re also impact and cut-resistant, making them useful for a wide variety of jobs beyond welding.
And, of course, they look great. Again, not a selection criteria, but it doesn’t hurt.
HereToGear Welding Gloves
Back down to the cheaper end we have the HereToGear Welding Gloves. These gloves really seem to side on multi-purpose gloves that will work as welding gloves, than welding gloves with other purposes.
These gloves are rated to an impressive 662F, which is a far cry from the RAPICAA gloves, but still good. They have the usual kevlar threading and cotton lining durability, heat resistance, and insulation.
How do they hold up as welding gloves? They’ll do the trick. You wouldn’t want to be working with incredibly high temperatures for any prolonged period. They’ll be good as a hang-on-a-nail emergency pair for the professional, or a good starter set for the hobbyist.
Hersent Long Welding Gloves
I’m not sure whether to call these gloves or something else. With an insane 23.6” length, these gloves will protect your arms right up to your elbows. Is there a word for that in fashion?
I’m rounding out the list with another cheaper, simple glove. Of all the gloves on the list, these are, perhaps, the least attractive of the lot. What they lack in looks, however, they more than make up for in functionality.
There are really only two things not to like about these gloves.
The first is that the seam on the leather hand reinforcement runs right across your index finger. You can’t grab anything without feeling the seam, which can be annoying or interfere with your dexterity.
Secondly, that generous sleeve is, perhaps, a bit too generous. They’re a bit difficult to put on, and you can end up pulling the lining out from pulling too hard trying to get them all the way up your arm.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of gloves do welders use?
If you read the above recommendations, you’ll notice a few recurring features of welding gloves:
- Usually made of leather, typically cow, but sometimes deer and boar. This is to protect against heat, sparks, and any flying slag.
- Heat/fireproof stitching, typically kevlar. There’s no point in having a heat resistant glove if the stitches melt off.
- Some kind of cuff, usually a few inches at least. This is to protect any overlap between the glove and the rest of the clothing.
- Insulating inner lining, typically cotton. This both insulates from the heat of the welding, as well as absorbs all of the inevitable sweat to keep your hands dry.
Welders use leather gloves, usually made of cowhide. They have to be heat resistant, insulated with inner lining (typically cotton), and they have to have some kind of cuff, to protect the area above palms.
These gloves are often sold as multi-purpose because they’re also usable for things like barbecues, camping, and other trade work you might need to do.
How long do welding gloves last?
That depends on a few factors. First one is the quality of gloves, then there’s a frequency of use, and last but not least, the heat you work at. So usually welding gloves last somewhere around 3-12 months.
Predictably, there are several factors in play.
Obviously, the quality of the glove itself. Low-quality gloves are going to burn out faster. No surprises there.
Secondly is the frequency of use. If you’re wearing your gloves all day every day for work, you can reasonably expect the gloves to be burned out within 2-8 weeks. These gloves are under lots of stress, and there’s only so much they can take.
Thirdly, the heat you work at. The lower the heat, the longer your gloves will last.
I managed to keep my gloves around for over two years through light weekend work — low temperatures, only a few hours a day twice a week, and missing some weeks. If I’d used them daily, I would’ve burned through them in about a month or so.
It’s easy to spot when your gloves need to be replaced:
- They’ve noticeably shrunk.
- They’ve become stiff and impede dexterity.
- They’re no longer heat resistant.
- They have tears and holes in them.
The second you get a hole that exposes the inner lining, get new gloves. It’s not worth risking burns.
Are welding gloves heat resistant?
Welding gloves are heat resistant as they are primarily made out of leather. The exact level of heat resistance depends on a few factors — how many layers, whether it uses the surface level of the skin or the subdermal layers of the skin — but it’s at least good for a few hundred degrees F.
Different animal hides have different properties:
Cowhide, as you can see, is a good all-rounder. It’s the most common material used in my recommendations and offers good heat resistance.
What temperature can welding gloves withstand?
So above we mentioned that gloves are heat resistant, and touched on cowhide. But how resistant can they get? Very.
If you look at the best-selling gloves, two numbers stand out — 932F and 662F. Looking around, those numbers seem about average for the kind of gloves I’d recommend.
A better question would be how long can they withstand those temperatures. That’s harder to answer and will come down to the build quality not just of the brand, but the individual pair.
Who makes the best welding gloves?
The most popular and trustworthy brands that make the best welding gloves are RAPICAA, John Tillman, and Lincoln Electric.
Lincoln Electric because they get welding. I like their approach to welding materials such as welding machines, ovens, and gloves. They look nice, feel nice, and I like their added features of shock padding and cut resistance.
John Tillman makes very affordable but reliable gloves. I like the effort they put into making their gloves as useable as possible (even though sometimes they sacrifice heat resistance in places to do so). They also just look nice.
And RAPICAA I love for their high standards of heat resistance. Their double-layered leather will last you a long time even with consistent, high heat use. That’s pretty valuable for people who know they’re going to burn through gloves quickly and need to stretch each pair as much as possible.
But, of course, I like all of the brands on this list.
How do you size welding gloves?
Generally, you size a glove based on the circumference of your hand around the knuckles.
- Straighten your fingers so they’re not touching, but not stretched out fully. Imagine you’re placing your hand flat on a table in the air.
- Measure around the knuckles and take note of the size.
- Consult the sizing chart of the company selling the gloves. Most companies have slightly different sizing, so it’s important to check against their list.
- Make sure the gloves fit snugly, but not too tight. You don’t want them to slip off, but you don’t want them to crush your hands.
- Expect new gloves to be stiff or a little tight at first. You’ll break them into a more comfortable feel soon enough.
When it comes to welding gloves, most are sold as either “one size fits all” or “one size fits most”. Always double-check the measurements listed on the product page, or try them on yourself if you can buy them in-store.
Welding gloves are an essential piece of kit for the hobbyist and professional alike. Following this guide, you’re sure to save yourself at least a little bit of money on gloves in the long run. Buying well-made, durable gloves that last even a week longer than usual can really add up if you find yourself replacing gloves on the regular.
I hope you’ve found this article informative! If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to let me know. Look forward to sharing more with you in the future.