Welding Gloves Buyer’s Guide

Finding the right welding gloves can be a hassle. Since they’re not too expensive, you may end up blowing through a ton of cheap pairs before you find the right ones.

After considering over 20 distinct pairs of welding gloves, I chose to purchase the Rapicca Leather Forge Welding Gloves for my welding work. For me personally, they are the ideal balance of quality and price. They’ve got many of the qualities of these high-end welding gloves and they feel amazing to work with.

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How to choose the right welding gloves

There is no doubt that welding is a challenging job replete with hazards. But if you know how to choose the best welding gloves, many of these safety issues can be adequately resolved.

Not to mention, using the right pair of gloves offers the utmost comfort and ease of use. As a result, they can help instill more confidence in welders.

Due to technological progress and material innovations, modern welding gloves are more ergonomic and durable as compared to the older ones.

Since so many options are available on the market, selecting the best gloves can be a bit challenging. To make your life easier, here are some factors that will help you choose the right welding gloves.

What kind of properties must welding gloves possess?

Gloves are necessary for all kinds of industrial work. They are particularly important for welders who face elevated risk levels due to the inherently hazardous nature of welding.

The right of kind of hand protection offers safety against dangers like hot metal, sparks, grease, chemicals and hot flying particles. Other perils include cuts, abrasion and impact. Welders are routinely subjected to these dangers. However, this is by no means an exhaustive list. Therefore, it is advisable that welders wear appropriate hand protection items at all times during welding work.

By knowing the necessary properties of the best welding gloves, you will be able to choose the best option for your specific needs. Let’s have a look at them:

  • Heat insulation
  • Electrical insulation
  • Ability to maintain dry hands
  • Moisture resistance
  • Comfortable size and fit
  • Flexibility and pliability to ensure a full range of motion
  • High quality, long-lasting materials
  • Well-made seams and edges that do not tear easily
  • Puncture and tear-resistance
  • Durability

It is imperative for welding gloves to provide a high level of safety. But it is also equally crucial that they provide full freedom of movement for accurate welding and handling of small work pieces.

Some welding gloves can be so thick that they do not permit welders to lift a coin from the floor. Remember that good quality welding gloves facilitate speed and accuracy, besides providing a firm grip to welders. Leather gloves are instrumental for this purpose. It is also important that the gloves maintain the right balance of dexterity and safety.

What Materials Are Welding Gloves Made From?

Welding gloves are usually made from leather due to its superior attributes. Leather is the material of choice for welding gloves since it features good insulating properties, high-abrasion resistance and is non-combustible.

There are key differences between different kinds of leather. The most popular types of leather materials for welding gloves are cowhide and goatskin.

Goat grain

Since it has a high level of touch sensitivity, goat grain is perfect for TIG welding, in particular, which requires a high degree of dexterity.

It is not thick like cowhide. But it is also not too thin like sheepskin. Goat grain is wear-resistant, strong and economical.

Cow grain

Cow grain is the most popular choice for leather in welding gloves. Ideal for applications involving excessive or high heat, sparks and splatters like stick welding, these gloves are comfortable and durable as well.

The market offers a wealth of choices for leather welding gloves. They come in different shapes and sizes to match user preferences. These gloves often have multiple layers to assure a high level of safety during welding work.

Top grain leather exhibits very high quality. Many welders have a preference for these types of gloves since they offer a decent degree of control and freedom of motion during work.

Split leather gloves are also much sought-after because they offer the best in safety. But since they are thick, this added protection sacrifices some flexibility. This is necessary for stick welding and heavy industrial settings.

Is kevlar helpful?

Kevlar fulfills the following three functions in welding gloves:

Seam stitching

The amount of time that you spend welding has a significant impact on the lifespan of welding gloves. Your gloves will be subjected to wear and tear due to abrasion and heat that comes with handling welded metal objects.

Kevlar is an excellent choice for stitching seams. It is much better than cotton yarn due to superior wear and heat resistance. Split seams are far less common with Kevlar thread than cotton yarn.

Cut resistance

Lacerations and cuts are commonplace in industrial environments. If you are not careful, you might suffer cuts even during welding as the pieces can be jagged or sharp edged.

Kevlar lining can impart cut resistance to gloves without adding much bulk.

Heat resistance

Kevlar provides superior thermal properties as compared to other fabrics. It is non-combustible and does not melt even at a high temperature of 800 degrees Fahrenheit.

Welding processes

After assessing the requisite qualities of good welding gloves, you need to ask: what type of welding will you be performing?

TIG welding

This is the best option for creating the most precise and robust joints. With this type of welding, there is little need for grinding or finishing. This welding technique is suitable for different kinds of alloys, such as those consisting of zinc, aluminum and iron.

Since TIG welding requires such a high level of dexterity, the gloves must be chosen accordingly. They must be pliable and flexible. As a result, seasoned TIG welders have a penchant for goatskin leather welding gloves. TIG welders can enjoy the luxury of thinner and more pliable material since TIG welding does not generate as much heat or splatter as does MIG or stick welding.

Welding gloves with Kevlar lining may be more helpful for TIG welding. Kevlar exhibits a high level of heat resistance and good thermal properties. As a result, it does not melt or soften even at 800O F.

In addition, the Kevlar lining will extend abrasion and cut resistance to gloves, making them even safer for welding applications. Kevlar is one of the finest options for dealing with sharp serrated metal edges and hot pieces. Added to that, Kevlar is also less dense, despite its resilience. Kevlar’s lightweight and flexibility make it a leading choice for TIG welding and other welding processes that require manual adroitness.

Many welding gloves offer a high degree of protection at the expense of dexterity. Goat grain gloves provide the necessary level of freedom. Kevlar lining imbues all the benefits described for the material above. Such a configuration provides a high level of safety in addition to dexterity. You will have enough freedom to handle small pieces with ease.

Due to the materials employed, such welding gloves may be more expensive. But they are well worth the investment since TIG welding demands nothing short of the best materials and equipment.

MIG welding

This is a very efficient welding technique that can streamline large scale production. MIG welding can make tasks easier and quicker. It is ideal for long welding runs that extend up to 15 feet. Simplicity is a key aspect of MIG welding. Even inexperienced welders can make high quality joints straight away with this process.

It has a number of advantages over stick welding. Unlike stick welding, it is effective for joining thin metal sheets and can be used safely on automobiles, for instance. Since MIG welding uses an inert gas, it does not require the final weld to be cleaned up.

For MIG welding, welding gloves made from goatskin leather and heat resistant lining may be adequate. These materials can remedy the large amount of heat and splatter generated during MIG welding. Hence, for this welding process, the glove is often made with multiple layers for extra thickness and security.

Deerskin and cowhide can also work well for MIG welding. For both TIG and MIG welding processes, a string-knit sleeve created from Kevlar is sufficient to protect your skin against splatter, heat, sparks and UV rays. This kind of construction also provides another important benefit. Your skin can breathe and air circulation will be possible with a string-knit sleeve. Overheating, which is a common issue during welding, can be reduced this way.

Stick welding

Stick welding is also called Shielded Metal Arc Welding. It is one of the earliest known welding processes for industrial use. Since stick welding can be done in a number of different environments, it is fairly versatile. It works well even under windy conditions since it forms a solid coating on the weld. This layer does not dissipate with the air like inert gas does. Stick welding is, therefore, still the welding process of choice for construction, industrial fabrication, shipbuilding, pipelines and refineries.

Stick welding generates the maximum amount of splatter, sparks and heat. Hence, welding gloves for stick welding must be made from high quality materials that can protect against heat, sparks, ultraviolet rays and other hazards. Stick welding gloves offer a high level of safety at the expense of a little flexibility. Some loss of pliability may be justified because stick welding does not require the same level of adroitness as TIG welding.

Should you be concerned about UV rays from welding?

In the same way that you wouldn’t weld without face protection, you should not weld without protective welding gloves. The use of the right gloves is important to address UV rays concerns.

Covering your hands and arms with the right welding gloves can protect you from more than just thermal effects (sparks, heat and splattering). Since welding electric arcs have such a high temperature, they emit UV radiation. These rays can be damaging just like the sun rays. Welding UV rays can harm your skin and eyes in the same way as overexposure to the sun can.

Since welding rays are so intense, you must shield your eyes from this radiation. Without proper precautions, you may suffer from a painful condition known as ‘arc eye’ due to the harsh glare of the welding arc.

Likewise, you must also protect your skin against welding UV rays. These rays will damage and burn your skin in the same way as solar UV rays. This holds true not just for direct rays but also for reflected rays. Radiation reflected from metal surfaces, ceilings, walls and other reflective surfaces can also be very harmful. Long-term exposure to UV rays may lead to skin cancer.

What kind of insulation is best for welding?

Whether it is TIG, MIG or stick welding, all welding processes generate copious amounts of heat. Stick welding generates the greatest amount of heat, splattering and sparks. After all, welding processes melt metal to accomplish the joining process. Hence, high temperatures and consequent hazards are inevitable during welding.

As a result, you must take precautions to protect yourself from the hot work piece during welding. In addition, the holder or torch will also reach higher temperatures during welding. The gloves will start becoming uncomfortably hot as welding progresses.

Therefore, you need the right amount of insulation, which is appropriate for the level of heat generated by each welding process.

Cotton liner. For moderate temperatures, cotton is a fairly good insulator. Cotton may add some weight to your gloves. However, it is an economical option.

Kevlar liner. TIG welding requires plenty of skill and dexterity. As a result, the welding gloves should be pliable and light enough to facilitate free movement of the hands. Cotton may feel a bit too bulky in this regard.

In addition to being light and strong, Kevlar has excellent heat resistance and thermal properties. It is also highly wear-resistant and does not melt even at 8000 F.

Aluminized backing. This lining works well for stick welding, which generates a high amount of heat. Aluminized surface is highly reflective. It will, therefore, reflect much of the heat away from your hands. Since your hands will remain cooler for a long time period with aluminum backing, you will be able to carry out longer welding operations with fewer breaks in between.