What is the best type of gardening glove? That depends on what type of gardening task you’re doing. You’ll want to consider what task you’re tackling, what the glove is made of, and how it fits.
I’ve never been a huge fan of gardening gloves. I grew up working bare handed and have had a hard time kicking the habit. Nothing seemed to suit me well enough to make me to remember to grab them on the way out to the garden — or to pick them up on my way back in after I got tired of dealing with them and shed them halfway through a task. Needless to say, I went through a lot of gloves. But, I’ve finally found a pair that I like.
The gardening glove aisle at the home store has a dizzying array of gloves to choose from. Where do you start? Think about what you’re going to be doing. If you need protection from thorny bushes, briars and rough stones, rugged cowhide leather offers the most protection. Gloves with leather palms allow more flexibility while still providing decent protection. Some are made from cotton, while others use lycra or spandex to offer a superior, often waterproof fit. Southern Living suggests the combination of durability and dexterity offered by these leather-palmed gloves makes them perfect for digging, hoeing or raking. Neoprene and nitrile gloves are waterproof and tough enough to keep harsh chemicals off your skin, explains Better Homes and Gardens. Rubber coated gloves offer a way to keep your hands dry when it’s muddy or wet. Cotton gloves don’t stand up to moisture or tough tasks, but they’re inexpensive, easily washed and handy if you just want to keep your hands clean.
Once you’ve settled on a material, it’s time to find your perfect fit. If you’re just lifting and hauling, the bulky, sliding fit of leather gloves doesn’t matter much, although I have ended up with blisters after a too-big pair of my husband’s gloves rubbed me the wrong way. To prevent that, choose garden gloves that are properly sized. You can find them in assorted sizes for men, women and kids. Then think about what other features you’d like. If you’re reaching deep inside a scratchy plant to prune a thorny rose bush or pointy-leafed shrub, then a glove with long, gauntlet-style cuff can make a big difference. If you have trouble with gloves shifting or debris getting in around your wrists, look for a glove with a stretchy cuff or a shirred wrist. If, like me, you have a tendency to pull your hand back without your glove, you might prefer the custom fit offered by Velcro at the wrists.
While I still drag out my heavy leather gloves before tangling with briars, most of my gardening tasks are less thorny. My best gardening gloves are a nylon and spandex blend with Velcro at the wrists and leather fingers and palms. The fit comfortably and offer the amount of protection I need. If your gardening chores are different, then your best glove may be different too. Think about what you need from a glove and hit the store to try a few on for fit.
Looking for more gardening?
“Plant These Five Flowers for a Better Vegetable Garden”
“Safe Plastics for Gardening”