Whether you are doing TIG, MIG, or stick welding, you should be aware that the welding process is accompanied by lots of heat, and that kind of heat can result in welding burns if it’s not handled with the right equipment. To avoid such problems, you need a good pair of welding gloves.
But what makes a good welding glove?
The best welding gloves will provide heat protection for your hands, but it’s not the only criterion they should be judged with. They should also be flame-resistant, so they don’t catch fire when you are on the job, and they should be comfortable enough that you can work freely without your hands getting sweaty.
Bearing those in mind, let’s take a look at our list of best welding gloves, which features not only the high-quality products on the market but also the best budget-friendly items.
Best Welding Gloves
Best Overall: Kim Yuan Extreme Heat Welding Gloves
When it comes to making extremely durable work gloves, there is no better brand than Kim Yuan.
Its full cow-split leather surface will offer great resistance against heat, abrasion, puncture, and cuts. That solidity is further supported by kevlar stitching, making the Kim Yuan Extreme Heat welding gloves perfect for work at high temperatures.
While the cow leather used in the making of the Yuans provides extreme resistance on the outside, the denim cuffs and sweat-absorbent cotton on the inside make sure that your hands are dry, flexible, and comfortable.
The design features a hook as well, so after you are finished, you can just hang them up and your workplace will remain tidy.
It’s worth noting that these gloves are also great for leisure-time activities such as gardening, grilling, and BBQ. It’s an item that you’ll benefit from both in your professional life and everyday pleasures.
- Full cow leather split surface;
- Extreme heat resistance providing great protection;
- Durable yet flexible;
- Might be susceptible to punctures from very thin objects.
Runner-Up: Lincoln Electric Traditional MIG/Stick Welding Gloves
Don’t be fooled by the flames on the outer design of this pair of gloves, because they are totally flame-resistant.
The Lincoln Electric Traditional welding gloves are made of high-grade cowhide leather. As we saw with the Kim Yuan Extreme Heat gloves, cowhide leather ensures heat resistance without compromising comfort and dexterity.
The Kevlar stitching further reinforces its durability, and at the same time, the soft cotton hand liner and the design of thumbs equip the worker with much-needed comfort and sensitivity during high-heat work. Moreover, the twill cotton liners absorb moisture, so your hands don’t get sweaty inside.
Lincoln Electric is one of the most prominent welding glove brands, and they manufacture their leather gloves with industrial use in mind, so they’re recommended for stick welding, MIG welding, and flux-core welding.
Despite all the good, however, I should warn you that they are only available in one size, and although the company claims that one size fits all, there is still the possibility that it might not.
- Extremely durable split leather;
- Great at absorbing moisture;
- Good flame and heat resistance.
- Only available in one size.
Best Value-for-Money: US Forge 400 Welding Gloves
I realize that there cannot be a dramatic difference between these products in terms of their pricing, but we’ve been taught that every cent is important, so you never know. Therefore, I present to you the best budget-friendly yet no-less-high-quality welding gloves on the market.
For many, the US Forge 400 are the best MIG welding gloves, and it’s not only because they are cheaper than their alternatives. In fact, these gloves are quite safe and comfortable.
These MIG gloves offer enough protection for your hands when it comes to flame and heat resistance, and the top grain leather and internal cotton liner don’t sacrifice comfort, dexterity, or pliability.
However, keep in mind that the US Forge 400 welding gloves are a bit shorter than their alternatives, which might expose a part of your arms to heat and sparks. Furthermore, they are not as heat-resistant or flexible as the others on our list, so they might not be ideal for types of welding that require more flexibility and dexterity such as TIG welding.
- Extremely comfortable;
- Great for MIG welding.
- Shorter than their competitors;
- Low heat resistance.
Upgrade: Caiman 1878-5 Deerskin Welding Glove
Caiman is a pioneer of the industry, so it’s no wonder that they were the first to manufacture a 21-inch heavy-duty welding glove of genuine American deerskin.
Yes, its deerskin split palm, 100% Kevlar threads, heavy-duty padding, and boarhide leather patch render it extremely durable, stubborn, and ideal for stick welding. However, its real highlight lies elsewhere: Caiman’s special three-dimensional Kontour design.
Kontour gloves are designed to assume the shape of a human hand, so when you put them on, they adjust themselves to achieve maximum comfort, fit, and therefore, dexterity by denying space inside and preventing possible slips.
I have already mentioned that they are 21-inch long. This means that they offer protection for a larger area than their counterparts, preventing not only possible hand injuries but also damage to the arms.
Sure, all these positive points reflect on the price of the product, but if you are in the market for the absolute best, you might as well give these gloves a shot.
Similar to the Lincoln Electric model I reviewed above, Caiman also holds a “one size fits all” policy, and bearing in mind their unique Kontour design, you don’t have to worry about the fit.
If you are specifically looking for TIG welding gloves, I can wholeheartedly recommend Caiman White Goatskin Welding Gloves as well, since the goatskin they’re made of offers more flexibility, which is preferred by TIG welders.
- Kontour design provides perfect comfort, fit, and dexterity;
- High durability;
- Thorough resistance against heat;
- Longer than its competitors, so it protects a larger area.
- Might be a bit expensive.
Alternative: RAPICCA Forge Welding Gloves
RAPICCA’s Forge Welding Gloves are primarily made of genuine cowhide split leather and insulated cotton, and they are some of the best stick welding gloves out there.
The brand claims that they are the only ones offering a double-reinforced kevlar layer on every spot of the gloves, which makes the item extremely heat-resistant. That double layer is further supported by air-isolated aluminum foil and flame-retardant cotton cloth – a combination ensuring that your hands will know nothing of the fire outside.
With that kind of protection, it sounds like you might even dip your hands into the hellfire and carry it out of hell, but I strongly recommend against it.
The inside is lined with soft cotton to provide a high level of comfort and dexterity for the hands.
It also has long cuffs, which offer protection all the way up to your elbows. However, be wary that they come only in XL size, and one size may not fit all.
- Excellent heat protection;
- Long cuffs protecting elbows;
- Double kevlar layer;
- Comes only in XL size;
- If comfort is your priority, there are more comfortable choices out there.
Welding Gloves Buying Guide
These are all great welding gloves that offer heat protection and comfort. However, the time comes when you need to figure out which option is best for your personal welding needs and, well, hands. Let’s take a look at the factors you should consider when choosing.
What Makes a Good Welding Glove?
Welding gloves are crucial to preventing burns to your hands and elbows, as well as other forms of workplace accidents that might occur during welding.
I have already presented you with five of the best welding gloves in the market today, but if you want to make an educated purchase, they might not contain enough information for you. Therefore, let’s get into more detail on what you need in a welding glove.
Main Features of Welding Gloves
There are four main features that any good pair of welding gloves should have:
- Heat resistance and heat protection: Whether you are working with MIG and stick welding or doing arc welding, the first thing you need from a welding glove is that it keeps your hands safe from the heat produced during work. A good welding glove should not only be fire-resistant, but it should also keep your hands cool inside so you can continue working with comfort.
- Flexibility and dexterity: In those terms, welding gloves are no different than gardening gloves. They are required for manual labor, and if you cannot move your hands flexibly inside, or if the gloves cause a loss of dexterity because they are too uncomfortable, then you’ll not be as good at it as you’d like to be.
- Moisture absorption: Even when I put on low-quality gloves just to plow snow, my hands get sweaty inside, and as most of you probably can empathize, that is not a good feeling. Imagine that happening during the already strenuous activity of welding – saying it would be unbearable would be putting it mildly. Therefore, it’s quite important for the inside of a welding glove to be made of moisture-absorbing material.
- Durability: Mentioning durability here might sound like stating the obvious for some, but believe me, there is more to that. A welding glove that cannot endure cuts and punctures might create more problems than it should solve – especially when there is the possibility of you missing the cut and continuing the work with a damaged pair of gloves.
Common Materials Used in the Making of Welding Gloves
Leather welding gloves might be the most common welding glove type, but as the products I’ve reviewed above suggest, there isn’t just one type of glove or one way in which leather is employed in the manufacturing of these gloves.
Let’s see what are the most common materials used in their making in a little bit more detail:
- Cowhide: Cowhide is the most common type of leather you’ll find in welding gloves. It is resistant enough against heat and fire, but also provides great flexibility, dexterity, and comfort for the worker. Split cowhide leather is mostly preferred for MIG and stick welding. TIG welders don’t opt for it since their work requires a little bit more dexterity than it is able to offer.
- Goatskin: TIG welders shouldn’t worry, though. As the Caiman model I briefly mentioned above might have informed you, they can choose a good pair of gloves made of goatskin. MIG and stick welders may use it as well, but its flexibility, strength, and durability make it perfect for TIG welding. Most of the TIG gloves in the market are goatskin as well.
- Deerskin: The main feature of gloves made of deerskin is the suppleness and comfort they offer. Therefore, some TIG welders end up using these instead of goatskin. However, they are mostly designed for MIG welding. Overall, they fit perfectly during those long hours of work.
- Pigskin: Pigskin is very sturdy, and therefore, it’s very suitable for use in the making of welding gloves. However, it’s also very soft, so welders who prioritize their comfort prefer it, too. Also, it’s a naturally breathable material, which is good for your hands and skin.
- Elkskin: Elk skin makes very comfortable and flexible gloves, and its softness doesn’t budge against extreme heat as cowhide does, but the downside is that it’s very thin, so it might be more susceptible to cuts and punctures.
What Are the Main Types of Welding Gloves?
Unsurprisingly, types of welding gloves are defined by the sort of welding they are best suited for, and there are three main welding processes.
Now, let’s dive into what the main welding processes are and how they determine the features of the glove you’d use for each of them.
MIG Welding Gloves
MIG stands for metal inert gas and during this welding process, metal is heated as a continuous reaction of the electrode wire while a shielding gas protects the elements involved from contamination. During that process, the worker is exposed to a considerable amount of heat and spatter. Consequently, a good MIG welding glove should have enough heat resistance to handle the process. They should be sturdy and have multiple layers for added protection.
Unlike TIG welding, MIG doesn’t require much dexterity and anyone with a bit of experience can do it when needed. However, that shouldn’t mean that you can go and pick whatever pair of gloves you like, since there is still the possibility that things might not progress as you imagined.
Many MIG welding gloves in the market are made of deerskin, top-grain cowhide leather, or goatskin. A high-tier product made of these materials will be useful for you.
Stick Welding Gloves
Stick welding is the simplest of welding types as it doesn’t involve gases in the process or require flexibility or pliability. Therefore, the priority for stick welding gloves is the thickness and that they offer protection from the heat and sparks that shoot around from the fusion.
Because of all that, pigskin or split-grain cowhide welding gloves are preferred in the stick welding industry. They are the best ones for handling heat and abrasion and offering flame resistance.
TIG Welding Gloves
I have already covered what TIG welding is, but let me reiterate the main point: it’s a type of welding that requires more skill, experience, and time than the others. A TIG welder might stand just on one leg for hours trying to weld the material into perfection with tiny, exact movements. That’s why the work gloves required in TIG welding should prioritize flexibility, dexterity, and comfort, and that’s why most of the best TIG welding gloves are made of goatskin.
As it’s a precise and cosmetically superior type of welding, the process doesn’t produce much spatter or many sparks. Therefore, there is not much emphasis on fire protection for TIG gloves.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Should Welding Gloves Last?
This depends on a number of factors such as the quality of the gloves, the frequency of use, and the type of work it’s used for.
If you wear welding gloves for industrial, heavy-duty work, it’s better to replace them on a weekly basis just to make sure that there is no risk of getting burned. If you do welding as a hobby every now and then though, a high-quality, heavy-duty welding glove may last you at least for a year depending on, once again, the frequency of use.
In any case, you should constantly check if there are any cuts, holes, or punctures in them. If there are, they should immediately be replaced.
Who Makes the Best Welding Gloves?
I personally like the gloves produced by Caiman, but they are a bit on the pricier side, so they might not be ideal for industrial use. However, their unique Kontour design delivers a perfect fit and comfort for the working hands, and the company certainly deserves its title as a “pioneer of the industry”.
Other than Caiman, Rapicca, Lincoln Electric, and Steiner are the most respected, established, and popular brands on the market.
How Much Do Welding Gloves Cost?
As I have mentioned earlier, you need to frequently replace your welding gloves if you are using them on a regular basis. Therefore, it’s only expected that your average gloves come quite cheaply. You’d only pay four or five dollars, and they would do the job albeit for only a short while.
For a good pair of gloves like the ones I’ve reviewed, however, you would need to open your wallet a little bit wider. Except for Caiman’s deerskin model, the prices range between $10-50.
If you have the means to go for the highest quality possible in a welding glove, you should venture to spend at least a hundred dollars.
What Do the Welding Gloves Protect Me Against?
If you are still asking this question despite all the things you have read so far, you need a little bit more convincing.
There is a huge amount of heat and consequently sparks and spatter that come with any type of welding process you might engage in. On top of that, you are constantly exposed to electricity, chemicals, and heavy metal objects, all of which might cause serious workplace accidents with a poorly timed blink of an eye.
Good welding gloves provide protection against all of these. However, they are not the only protection you should have. You need to have a proper welding helmet to protect your eyes, neck, and head, proper welding clothes that will protect your body, and proper welding boots to protect your feet.
A good pair of welding gloves are important to prevent workplace accidents, but that’s not all – they are also crucial for comfort during strenuous work and for the flexibility that might be much-needed. Therefore, you shouldn’t make any haste decision while purchasing a pair, so do proper research after identifying what kind of gloves you should buy.
I have reviewed five great welding gloves with Kim Yuan Extreme Heat Welding Gloves occupying the top spot. However, it’s not meant to be the final verdict on the topic. Therefore, I have also written a comprehensive buying guide for you, detailing what to look for in any type of welding process you engage in.
With that, I hope that I have somehow eased the pains of decision-making and research in this age of hyper-commercialism.