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The craftsman’s hands control the quality of a weld. And yet, our hands are one of the most easily injured parts of our body.
As you work with an electrical arc exceeding 10,000° Fahrenheit, and hot metals, you want a dependable pair of gloves that will let you work quickly and confidently without fear of burns.
You also want gloves that offer good dexterity so you can grip the metals and squeeze the trigger of your welding gun accurately and with ease.
If you are tired of trying to weld in things that feel like oven mitts, here is a nice selection of options to choose from.
One of the things we found in our interviews with local welders, is that these guys would rather have a thinner, more dexterous glove, and just purchase a couple of pairs each month as they get holes in them. Our more casual welders seemed to prefer a thicker glove where they can buy one and expect it to last for a decade under light use. The hobby welder is more interested in a heavy-duty glove that can prevent burns while the professional wanted comfort and movement from their glove.
A Review Of The Best Welding Gloves
Miller 263344 Arc Armor Stick Welding Gloves
This is an excellent glove for new students in welding school. Designed for stick welding, it is prepared for the hottest slag that you are likely to throw at it.
The double-layered insulation provides some of the best heat protection. If you are doing long, MIG Welding beads, you’ll appreciate the endless protection that these gloves provide. The palm has full coverage heat protection, thanks to the way the reinforcement leather is sewn to cover the entire palm. All of the leather is high-quality cow split leather. The difference between these gloves and some of the other cowhide gloves is that this is a premium leather quality with more consistent thickness throughout the entire glove.
The inside is lined with wool, which wicks the sweat away and leaves your hands feeling much cooler in these gloves than you would in most of the other models. There is also a wing lift lever sewn in the thumb area, which lets you move your fingers freely without allowing gaps for hot slag to get through.
The entire package is held together with flame-resistant Kevlar threads.
With a lot of these gloves, we’ve been worried about their longevity. Thanks to the top grain leather and added stitching, these Miller Electric gloves seem to hold up much better.
Are you a welder who wants to focus on his craft and not on how much it sucks to have a burned hand? These gloves are a top contender. The cuff is a little shorter than some of the models we review, so consider pairing this glove with some welding sleeves.
Revco Industries Elkskin Welding Gloves
Elkskin is regarded as one of the most premier leathers when it comes to protecting your hands against molten metals in a glove that will hold up to a lot of abrasions. You see a lot of these tool blogs talking about how wonderful Elkskin leather is, but then they never review an elkskin glove.
In reality, we found that professional welders loved the goatskin a lot more.
That said, I feel that Revco makes some of the highest quality gloves. They offer a lot of movement and are great for holding all types of welding guns. The back of the hand protection is ample for protecting you from hot flying metal, and the way the pinkie finger is sown separately from the rest of the fingers eliminates stiffness in this area (a problem with cheaper gloves).
The big thing with these gloves is that the threads are protected, making it hard for the molten metal to burn through them. It’s so common for new welding students who are starting off with stick welders, to find their expensive MIG gloves falling apart on them as the strings are melted away.
These gloves are lightweight and feel a lot like a MIG glove, but with the protected seams, they are going to hold up better to a newbie’s day-to-day use.
The leather is extremely thick on these. The palms are almost as thick as a baseball glove. It makes them cut-resistant and resistant to burn through even when you make a dumb move like accidentally touching your welding rod.
The fact that Revco can create this durable of a glove while still making it comfortable to wear and easy to move around in help to earn it a spot near the top of the list. As with the other short cuff gloves, think about buying your arms protection separately.
Caiman American MIG Welding Gloves
These are some of the most heavy-duty gloves on this list. Deerskin is considered one of the most durable and desirable American leathers. From blazing the trails for the frontiersmen to today’s modern welder, deer leather conveys heat resistance while still offering a lot of flexibility and dexterity. This eliminates stiffness, allowing you to easily grip the material that you are working with.
Because deer leather isn’t always the toughest material, the non-moving parts of the glove are reinforced with thick, heat resistant boar hide patches. This pigskin area is less flexible and thicker and provides an excellent gripping of hot metals. Since the pigskin is only used in non-moving areas of the glove, you still get great movement. The fingers are slightly curved, which helps you get a tighter grip on the metal you are working with than you would get with the thick welding gloves that are designed with straight fingers.
The gloves extend up the arm to the elbow. The total glove length is 21 inches, which provides excellent coverage for the entire arm to protect you from flying sparks and spatter from the welding process.
The heat resistant cotton lining makes it more comfortable when you first slide your hands in the gloves. As you would expect, these gloves are a little hotter if you are working in them during the summer months, but it is worth it for the protection.
The stitching is made from Kevlar thread, which helps protect the seams from being slashes or torn open. Additionally, Kevlar stitching has a high tensile strength providing a more durable seam.
The downside with these gloves is that the little areas between the fingers that are designed to add flexibility can let burns through from spatter. So while these gloves are great for protecting you in general, you can get your hands burnt when welding out of a position where the slag is hitting you between your fingers. However, their heavier design makes them better suited for Stick welding, where you are going to deal with a ton of extremely hot splatter.
A lot of folks end up buying a second pair for doing tasks around the farm, like preventing snake bites and keeping their hands protected while moving hot logs in the fireplace. These are one of the best pairs of gloves for the novice welder and DIY handyman who is still learning their craft. These deerskin welding gloves provide that extra protection that is needed to let you weld confidently.
John Tillman TIG Gloves – Best Professional Welding Gloves
For this article, we reached out to a local metal shop to see if they had any insider favorites. And boy, did we find a real gem! Now, you have to realize that these guys run their welders non-stop, mostly working with mild steel and stainless steel with a little bit of aluminum work. So they are mostly running MIG welding machines with the occasional TIG job for 8 top 12 hours a day.
We wanted to know what welding gloves the professionals use for their day job.
It turns out these goatskin TIG welding gloves have a surprisingly big following among the local commercial welders. They are cooler than many of the others, they are lightweight and offer excellent dexterity, and yet they are cheap enough that you aren’t sad when you have to buy a new pair.
If you only shop for welding gloves online, you might miss these gems. Tillman doesn’t spend as much money competing for the online ad space as some of the Chinese importing companies do. So it is easy to miss them.
These goatskin gloves go on smoothly, and the Kevlar lined palm protects your hands from the heat. The narrow wrist cuff protects your wrist but then expects you to wear a welding jacket or welding sleeves to protect your arms. This setup allows you to be a little cooler on a hot summer day.
While they are marketed to the added dexterity that a TIG welder needs, they work well for MIG work. These Tillman’s are probably going to be a little lightweight for the hotter, messier stick welding.
If you are shopping online, make sure that you are getting the right size. Typically there is a separate listing for each size.
Caiman Goatskin Gloves – Best Welding Gloves For Women
I felt like these needed a strong mention since they are so close to the Tillman version. We talked about the long sleeve Caiman model above. Our readers who already have arm protection will appreciate a Caiman version that is a glove only.
The 4-inch cuff provides amble coverage and transition from the glove to your arms protection. The goat grain leather provides that better dexterity while still offering a top amount of protection.
You might give up a little bit of protection with these, but they don’t readily burn through and seem to hold up as well as the other gloves in this category. Where they win is with improved suppleness, making them a favorite with a lot of women welders. Any welder who is frustrated by how stiff gloves are should really give these a try.
Rapicca Leather Forge Welding Gloves
These bad boys are surprisingly cheap for the value they offer. With an advertised rating of up to 932 degrees Fahrenheit, the Rapicca brand is adamant about standing behind their product in a way that few brands will match. Additionally, for the professional welder who expects to go through gloves on a regular basis, these are perfect for buying a multi-pack and hanging onto them for when you need them.
The multi-layer design makes these gloves extremely flexible while also offering a level of protection similar to how firefighter’s gear is designed. There is the double layer outside layer made from leather that has been reinforced with Kevlar. Then, there is the flame retardent content and a thin layer of aluminum foil for helping to reflect the heat. Finally, an insulated cotton lining protects your hand for all-day wear.
The Tillman’s are another brand that you’ll see me mention as being one of the best gloves for commercial welding. These Rapicca’s might even be a little bit better. They are the perfect length to protect your arms without getting in your way or turning an 8-hour workday into a heat stroke festival.
We also see a lot of grillmasters and smokers loving these gloves for their comfort, protection, and dexterity when working around hot coals.
Lincoln Electric Traditional Welding Gloves For MIG and Stick
A lot of our readers are using welders at home <>, and they need a glove that is going to handle the greater heat of an arc welder. These Lincoln Electric gloves are just like what your grandfather used to wear around the farm.
This pair has the perfect amount of curve to the fingers. It is enough of a curve that you can control the fingers well — and the gaps between the fingers helps with this — but isn’t so restrictive that you feel like you are fighting the glove. The only downside is that you aren’t going to get as much movement out of the pinky finger as you likely would with the Tillman Gloves.
As we’ve seen with some of the other gloves, you have a high-grade leather exterior and heat resistant Kevlar threads. On the inside is a soft cotton liner. Everything works together to protect the user against high temperatures.
It’s one of the few gloves that is specifically rated to withstand the high heat of stick welding (SMAW).
Just remember to buy a second pair. These are some of the most comfortable work gloves that we have worn, and I found myself using them for other jobs around the house, like working with brush, stacking firewood, and running a brush fire. They even go into my camping pack for working brush and campfires.
Olson Deepak Heat Resistant Welding Gloves
These high heat welding gloves are a strong contender for the top spot. They don’t have the same level of dexterity as some of the gloves on this list, but the cowhide leather breaks in well and are designed to last for years of use.
The split leather surface is 1.2 mm thick, providing excellent, deep protection when working with hot metals. It also is a longer glove, available in 14 inches and 16-inch lengths. This makes them excellent stick welding gloves. You get the added length for shielding your forearms when working with messy welding processes, but they are short enough to allow for good movement during all-day wear.
The inside of the glove has a soft cotton lining, which adds to the comfort and helps to absorb sweat when working an 8-hour shift on an August day.
The stitching on this glove uses a fire-resistant thread to help improve protection when hot ash lands on the glove. This keeps it from burning through the seams (always the weakest part) and reaching your skin below. These gloves are rated for temperatures up to 663 degrees Fahrenheit. This puts it on par with some of the most costly gloves on the market.
From handling bramble bushes when berry picking to working in hot forges, this is a pretty decent pair of gloves that offer that better forearm protection that a lot of our readers look for.
US Forge 400 Welding Gloves
This is a solid, introductory welding glove for the person who wants a basic leather glove. Whether you are welding at home or are just tired of spending top dollar on gloves, only to have them burn out on your, this might be the glove to consider.
With this glove, you have thick, non-descriptive leather. They have an extra layer of protection sewn down the center of the palm of the hand. Where thick leather can protect you, these gloves work great. Whether you are working with hot pots on a campfire stove or need a cheap pair for grilling, these should do it.
You aren’t going to have as much protection as you would get from the other gloves on this list. They also don’t offer much dexterity, and the seams tend to give out under heavy daily use.
However, for the at-home craftsman who wants a cheap pair of gloves, the US Forge is a pretty solid choice.
Welding Gloves Buying Guide
The right glove is going to protect you from getting burned. However, there are subtle nuances among the different glove types. Knowing this will help you get the right glove for you as a welder.
- Stick Welding is one of the hottest processes. It also is one of the most common types that a beginner starts off with. These gloves need to be thicker and better protected against both extreme heat and flying slag.
- Mig Welding is the next one on this list. It’s not as hot as stick welding, but you still have more spatter and heat than you do with TIG work. A lot of MIG welders will go with thinner TIG welding gloves and just replace them more frequently.
- TIG Welding tends to be the coolest welding process, and gloves designed for this process are the thinnest ones and tend to offer the most dexterity.
As alluded to, there is a trade-off between dexterity and heat protection. The gloves with the thickest padding will have the least dexterity. While something like the Caiman or Miller reviewed above will offer the best dexterity in a thick glove, you need to pay a lot for that. Some of the cheapest leather gloves that offer good heat protection will be lacking in dexterity.
Mig and Stick welding gloves are stiffer than TIG gloves. Most beginners are going to start with a stiffer glove to get better protection against the hot metal. Then, as their skills progress and they are making money from their craft, it makes sense to switch over to the TIG gloves for more control.
You can measure from your wrist to your elbow to get an idea of how long of a glove you should buy. However, arm protectors are a more comfortable option. Seeing how quickly most folks go through their gloves, it makes sense to buy the arm protectors, and then buy the gloves with a shorter cuff.
If you are a casual welder, buying the longer cuff provides protection without having to get fully suited up each time you want to weld.
How Long Do Welding Gloves Last?
Welding gloves should last from 2 to 12 weeks of full-time welding. Ideally, you should get at least two weeks of use out of a pair of TIG gloves that you are using to MIG weld (mismatched to purpose). If the glove is properly matched to the type of welding that you are doing, they could last for up to 3 months.