With the right pair of work gloves, you'll never notice all the times you don't get hurt
As a certain line of logic goes, gloves are a gamble: You put them on to protect yourself, but losing coordination because you can't feel your fingers might just get you hurt. This kind of thinking has caused a generation of contractors—some of whom you may recognize from TV—to only don gloves under the direst of circumstances.
And who can blame them? The general-purpose gloves they grew up with were either too thin to offer much protection or too bulky to keep a grip on tools. Today, though, we have different gloves for different jobs, with materials so specialized that they can outperform anything found in nature. Kevlar, the same stuff that stops bullets, protects your fingers from cuts and burns when you handle hot saw blades or router bits. Teflon sheds water away from your skin when cleaning pool filters. Stretchy Spandex lets gloves flex to fit your hand, and form-fitting Neoprene seals off the cuff without strangling your wrist. Construction methods have changed, too. Instead of vulnerable seams at the fingertips, good gloves now have rolled tips, so that a solid piece of fabric, not the stitching, takes the beating.
This cowhide-and-pigskin glove looks traditional, but padded palms add cushioning, and Kevlar-reinforced stitching makes the seams four times stronger than cotton threads. These general-purpose work gloves
save your skin when heaving bricks, mixing mortar, or pounding garden pathways into place. $35, Duluth Trading (All prices per pair.)
Scooping cold, wet leaves from a gutter is finger-numbing work, but you can keep your digits dry and comfy with the Cold Condition waterproof glove. The glove's Teflon shell repels water, and its flexible, wrist-hugging Neoprene cuff insulates your wrist and keeps the elements from coming in through the top. $40,
Stainless-steel filaments embedded in the core of nylon-polyester yarns enable this fabric glove to resist sharp-edged tin ceiling panels or panes of glass. Textured latex on the palm and fingers helps you grip those objects so they don't slip and slice you somewhere less well protected.
$20, Iron Clad
With a temperature rating up to 600 degrees F, the heavy-duty Heatworx lets you safely grip hot pipe when soldering. Unlike bulky fireplace mitts, these svelte gloves feature silicone rubber palms and are covered entirely in two layers
of heat- and cut-resistant Kevlar. $60, Iron Clad
Equipped for the bruising work of prying and dismantling, Milwaukee's Demolition Glove has padded knuckles and palms covered with Clarino, a washable synthetic leather. Kevlar reinforcement in the fingertips and gusset between the thumb and forefinger protects the high-abrasion areas.
Leatherlike Clarino on the palm and supple Spandex across the top give the Glove Light its toughness and breathability, but the real standout is the bright LED bulb on the forefinger. It's useful when checking breakers during a power outage, peering into a dark stud bay, or working on plumbing beneath the sink. $27,
The Mucking Glove's arm-length latex sleeve keeps you clean during dirty work—mixing compost, yanking up poison ivy, cleaning pond pump filters, or saving a cell phone from being flushed. $7,
With your thumb and first two fingers free, you'll have the dexterity to pinch a nail without exposing the rest of your hand to danger. The pigskin palm has gel padding to absorb the vibration of a hammer blow, and the Spandex back lets the glove flex for a tight fit. When you work up a sweat, wipe your brow on the terry-cloth strip on the thumb. $25, Carhatt
A textured layer of rubber on the palm of the Hulkster glove is thick enough to dissipate the hand-numbing vibrations of weed trimmers, hammer drills, and orbital sanders. $19,
The Pruning Glove's long goatskin leather cuff, or gauntlet, shields wrists from sharp thorns as you weed, plant, and prune in the garden. Its aloe-infused insides keep hands from chapping; the elastic wrist closure keeps out soil. $31,
Smith and Hawken
The downy backs of Husqvarna's left-hand chain saw glove contains layers of knit nylon fiber. When hit with a moving chain saw blade, the fibers fly out of the back of the glove, clog the sprocket, and arrest the chain's motion before it cuts through to your skin. Only the left hand has the protection—as the right hand stays on the throttle, the left is almost always the one that gets injured. $26,
Sometimes you have to be seen to be safe. Stay in sight with the I-Viz
Reflective glove, which has a bright orange or lime mesh accented with
reflective pads on the knuckles and back of the hand. Use it to avoid
colliding with a partner when working in a dark attic or crawlspace. $26,
Using a technology similar to chain mail armor, the interlocking stainless
steel rings of the Whizard mesh glove stop cuts and prevent bacterial
growth. The glove's ease of cleaning makes it ideal for butchers and animal
control workers, but we think it'd be a stylish and safe way to keep from
getting cut by your knives and saws around the shop. $90 (for one glove),