The Best Work Gloves of 2018

By Jonathan Chan

It's time to get to work. There are nails that need hammering, boards that need sawing, and snow that needs shoveling. You don't need praise or incentives to knuckle down, but you would like a little protection. You know that if you actually work your hands to the bone, you won't be able to come back tomorrow and get even more done.

Not to worry, we put some of the best-selling work gloves through their paces in our testing labs to see which ones will save your digits. We judged each set of gloves based on protection they provided, dexterity, and ease of use.

After being cut with knives, choked with rope, and drowned in ice water, we think the Carhartt A518 (available at Amazon) will do the best job for most people.

We tested more than just the Carhartt gloves, and the rankings shook out this way:

  1. Carhartt A518
  2. Youngstown Winter Proof Plus
  3. Stanley S73111
  4. Mechanix MG-05-010
  5. Wells Larmont 1209L
  6. Firm Grip 5510
  7. Parva Garden Gloves
  8. No Cry Gloves
— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Updated September 22, 2018

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Carhartt Best Overall
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

Carhartt A518

  • Editors' Choice

Carhartt A518

Best Overall

The Carhartt A518 work gloves topped our list because they balanced dexterity and protection. Sewn-grain-leather pads cover the fingertips, palm, part of the wrist and the knuckles. To test durability, we slashed at these areas with a knife made of 154CM steel, and aside from the very ends of the fingertips, we were pleased with how these gloves held up. However, it's the flexibility that put them over the top. We opened a pocket knife, turned small dials, and typed this sentence while wearing these gloves.

While we liked the durability and flexibility, we found the A518's to be just adequate when it comes to insulation. When we subjected these gloves to wet, freezing temperatures, the inside of the glove went from a toasty 89°F to 60°F in under five minutes.

Issues aside, our testing showed us that the Carhartt A518's are the best gloves for general work such as shoveling, light construction, and moving heavy objects.

Youngstown Best for Cold Weather
Credit: Reviewed / Jon Chan

Youngstown Winter Proof Plus

Youngstown Winter Proof Plus

Best for Cold Weather

When it comes to working in frigid conditions, the Youngstown Winter Proof Plus gloves blew everything out of the ice water. We exposed these gloves to freezing conditions and found them to be water and wind proof. They're not impervious to cold, but, anyone who has worked in the snow knows that it's the dampness that saps your hands of all their strength. The Youngstown also protected our hands well, resisting sharp objects and rope constrictions.

The reason we didn't award these gloves the top spot was due to their stiffness. The thickness in the material allows for only a gripping motion. You can hold onto a shovel, a hammer, or a chainsaw, but that's about all. We could barely pick up a screw that we dropped, much less place it in the right spot and turn a driver. These gloves perform at their best in the dead of winter, dealing with work that requires no finesse.

How We Tested

Work gloves
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

You should research work gloves like any other tool in your kit.

Tester

I'm Jon Chan, and I am the Senior Product Technician here at Reviewed. Throughout the day, I install, move, and test large appliances like washers and fridges, so a good pair of work gloves are essential to my day-to-day. When it came time to test work gloves, I wanted to balance durability and dexterity because if you can't work in work gloves, that kind of defeats the point.

The Testing

Our testing focused on three major categories: protection, dexterity, and ease of use.

Rope
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

Part of the testing includes constricting a length of rope around each glove.

The ideal glove should provide protection against the elements, sharp objects, impact shock, and constriction. To simulate cold and damp weather, we used a bucket of ice water. We measured conditions inside the glove, both at room temperature and submerged into the bucket, using remote thermocouples.

After the gloves dried off, we considered the break in period over and moved onto the sharp objects test. We very carefully gripped a blade made of 154CM steel and poked at the fingertips. There are niche gloves that are made to protect against cuts, however, we feel that all gloves should provide some defense against sharp objects. The shock and constriction tests involved hitting stuff with a hammer and wrapping a rope around our hands and pulling.

Knife point
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

A good work glove should protect you from accidental contact with sharp objects.

Finally, we did dexterity tests. For quantitative numbers, we pitted our ability to twirl a pen in our fingers ungloved versus gloved. The more revolutions we could complete, the better. We also judged how difficult it was to do normal tasks like turning a screw, adjusting dials, and writing.


Other Gloves We Tested

Stanley S73111

Stanley S73111

Stanley is a storied company that makes a pretty good pair of work gloves. The S73111 model carries the same design elements as the Carhartts that took the top spot. They have the same sewn leather placements over the palms, wrist, and finger tips, however they are of a lower quality. Where the A518's use a nice grain leather, these Stanley gloves use a much rougher cow hide. We found during testing that the S73111 were pretty good at insulation, but did not give us the dexterity that we were looking for.

Mechanix MG-05-010

Mechanix MG-05-010

Coming in fourth place, the Mechanix MG-05-010 gave us a healthy range of motion and they breathed well. We moved through the lab with these gloves on and were able go through all our tests without any hindrance. We were even able to use our smart phones and laptop with the MG's on.

While these gloves are very light and flexible, they offered only mild protection against sharp objects and reverberation. However, for light handyman work, they work like a charm, slipping on with ease.

Wells Larmont 1209L

Where To Buy

$9.47 Amazon Buy

Wells Larmont 1209L

Hailing from Ethiopia, the Wells Larmont 1209L landed in the middle of the pack. The 1209 gloves uses a Gunn Cut design which gives them a classy look. However, this sleek design does mean that the only extra padding is a thin strip of leather found on the palm.

During testing, we appreciated how supple the leather was right out of the box. Normally, leather gloves require a breaking-in period to get soft, so the 1209 gets a lot of points there. Where the Carhartt and Stanley gloves outscored the Wells Larmonts were in their stiff cloth cuffs. Not only do the cuffs add an extra two inches of protection, but they provide an easy opening to slip the glove and off.

Firm Grip 5510

Firm Grip 5510

The Firm Grip 5510 combines nitrile and cloth to create a tight-fitting and flexible glove. Retailing for around $3 a pair, we'd consider these Firm Grips to be semi-disposable, which is great for any business that goes through a lot of regular disposable latex or vinyl gloves. During testing, we found the 5510s to be waterproof from one side, so we think they'd be great for people in the seafood business.

Parva Garden Rose Gloves

Parva Garden Rose Gloves

The Parva Garden Gloves are the strangest pair on our list. They are elbow length, have kevlar stitching, and are made of 40 percent leather. They are touted as being thorn proof. We'd agree with that assessment, but only for thorns in bushes and on flowers. We read quite a few user reviews that state these gloves couldn't stand up to the thorns on tree branches and cacti.

NoCry Cut Resistant Gloves

NoCry Cut Resistant Gloves

NoCry are cut-resistant gloves for use in the kitchen. These gloves served their primary purpose well. We gave the NoCry gloves a few good slashes and they held up. Wearing them, we found ourselves feeling confident and safe while chopping. Not padded enough for outdoor use, but if you're worried about knife safety, the NoCry gloves are well worth checking out.


If you're shopping for tools, check out our guide, The Best Cordless Drills.

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