Which Glove Material Should I Choose?

Monday, 26 November 2018

Why do glove materials matter? With cotton, leather, nylon and polyester all at your disposal, along with synthetic fibres, Kevlar and Dyneema, it can be tempting to go for the first glove that you see. We don't recommend this, as different glove materials are chosen for a certain reason, they all have pros and cons, and some are better at certain things than others.

Which Glove Material Should I Choose
Choosing the incorrect material can put your hands at risk

Glove materials matter because your safety matters. Some gloves are built using material that can withstand cuts from high-risk machinery, while others use a material that is chosen for its flexibility and sensitivity, and getting these two materials mixed up could cause a bad accident. To help you understand which gloves materials are best suited to which gloves, we've created this short guide, giving you the lowdown on the best selling materials here at Workwear.co.uk.

Which Glove Material Should I Choose?

We've narrowed down our selection of materials for simplicity, choosing our best selling materials that, between them, provide everything you need from your work gloves. Starting lightweight and flexible and going heavier and high-risk as we move on, this guide will hopefully help you choose the glove material for you.


Cotton and Polyester

We've put cotton and polyester together because they offer similar properties while remaining affordable. Cotton is a lightweight and flexible material that offers exceptional sensitivity, making cotton gloves well suited to handling, assembly, inspection, driving and shop work based applications. 

Polyester, similar to cotton, is extremely flexible but as it is a synthetic fibre comes with more strength while being slightly more affordable. It too is best suited to applications such as handling and assembly.

Our Recommendation: We would recommend the Ejendals Tegera 310A Breathable Double-Stitched Assembly Work Gloves, because they use double stitching to provide more mechanical strength and resistance than your usual cotton gloves, while retaining flexibility and sensitivity. They're resistant to heat too, meaning that you can use the gloves in more high risk and hot environments.

Ejendals Tegera 310A Breathable Double-Stitched Assembly Work Gloves
Ejendals Tegera 310A Breathable Double-Stitched Assembly Work Gloves


Nylon Gloves

We feel that nylon is slightly under appreciated; it offers the flexibility and sensitivity of cotton and polyester, while providing more mechanical strength. They are durable and tough, helping to keep you safe in applications that demand handling and movement, but also a little protection too. This makes them well suited to handling and assembly, while also being suitable for more high risk applications such as construction, industrial work and outdoor applications.

Our Recommendation: One of our top picks is the Portwest A174 Flex Grip Latex Palm Nylon Handling Gloves, using a nylon liner to offer excellent resistance to abrasion and tears while coming at an extremely economical price. Flexible and ergonomically designed for comfort, these gloves utilise a latex palm for water protection.

Portwest A174 Flex Grip Latex Palm Nylon Handling Gloves
Portwest A174 Flex Grip Latex Palm Nylon Handling Gloves


Rubber Gloves

If you're thinking water, oil and gas, chemicals, cleaning and janitorial work, then you probably want to think rubber. Rubber gloves are often gauntlet gloves, using an extra long cuff to protect your entire arm when working with sinks, vats of chemicals and cleaning hazardous workplaces. What they lack in dexterity, rubber gloves usually make up in abrasion, puncture and tear resistance.

Our Recommendation: If you want a pair of rubber gloves that sum up rubber, look no further than the Polyco Maxima Chemical-Resistant Heavy-Duty Rubber Gloves 514. Excellent abrasion and tear resistance is supported by strong resistance to hazardous and corrosive chemicals. Designed to reduce hand fatigue during extended use, the Maxima gloves are well suited to use with food, as well as during chemical manufacturing, cleaning and janitorial work.

Polyco Maxima Heavy Duty Rubber Gloves 514
Polyco Maxima Chemical-Resistant Heavy-Duty Rubber Gloves 514


Leather Gloves

Leather is a little more complicated since there are so many different types available. Don't worry, we'll explain them all in just a moment, but if you want to undertake some low dexterity handling with quite rough and coarse materials, then you can't go wrong with leather!

  • Cowhide: Cowhide is the more flexible of leathers, and offers strong and reliable protection
  • Deerskin: If you want durability, go deerskin, with its long-lasting, tough and abrasion-resistant construction
  • Goatskin: Warm, comfortable and heavy-duty, we would recommend goatskin for outdoor use in colder conditions
  • Oxhide: Tough, durable and safe, perfect for tough, extended handling
  • Pigskin: Pigskin is a softer and more dexterous leather, providing a comfortable and warm performance while protecting against cuts and tears

Our Recommendation: Rigger gloves are exceptional for general handling, as exemplified by the Portwest A210 Heavy-Duty Leather Rigger Gloves. Comfortable and durable, these rigger gloves protect well against tears and punctures, while impressive flexibility and grip ensure safe use. Perfect for applications such as assembly, construction, industrial, maintenance, rigging, transportation and utilities.

Portwest A210 Heavy-Duty Leather Rigger Gloves
Portwest A210 Heavy-Duty Leather Rigger Gloves


Kevlar Gloves

Kevlar is for serious, high risk work. Developed by DuPont, this heat-resistant synthetic fibre offers exceptional resistance to cuts while protecting from heat, abrasion, tears and punctures, ideal for all-round, tough and risky work. Expect it to perform well in foundry, fabrication, engineering, glass handling, metal work and more cut-risk situations.

Our Recommendation: With heat-resistance, the maximum cut protection and strong resistance to burning too, the Ejendals Tegera 666 Palm-Coated Level 5 Cut-Resistant Work Gloves promise ultimate protection in any hot, cut-risk environment. With flexibility and sensitivity these gloves really show the best of Kevlar, ideal for glass manufacturing and glass handling, metal handling and fabrication.

Ejendals Tegera 666 Palm-Coated Level 5 Cut-Resistant Work Gloves
Ejendals Tegera 666 Palm-Coated Level 5 Cut-Resistant Work Gloves


Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile gloves are highly versatile, and are equally available in both disposable and reusable varieties. The disposable gloves offer exceptional flexibility and high strength, while the nitrile reusable gloves are well suited for oily, higher risk working environments. As a result there is a wide range of applications that nitrile is useful for, depending on whether it is a disposable or reusable glove.

  • Reusable: Oil and gas, engineering, maintenance, mechanics.
  • Disposable: Healthcare, food use, dentistry, care work.

Our Recommendation: The Nitrilon NCN-925W Nitrile Palm-Coated Oil Grip Gloves offer exceptional resistance to abrasion, while retaining grip in both wet and oily conditions. This makes them well suited to oil and gas, engineering, mechanics and more, where their flexible design ensures safe general handling.

Nitrilon NCN-925W Nitrile Palm-Coated Oil Grip Gloves
Nitrilon NCN-925W Nitrile Palm-Coated Oil Grip Gloves


Latex Gloves

Latex is generally used for disposable gloves but can be used for reusable gloves too. It's remarkably clean and hygienic while also offering resistance to acids, chlorine, bases, iodine and formaldehyde. It doesn't matter if your latex gloves are reusable or disposable, they will always offer excellent flexibility and strength.

  • Reusable: Handling, cleaning, industrial use, oil and gas, utilities.
  • Disposable: Healthcare, veterinary, hospitals, doctors, food use.

Our Recommendation: Compliant for use with chemicals and for use in medical environments, the Hand Safe GN32 Powder-Free Textured Grip Examination Gloves use a nitrile construction to provide reliable strength and contamination protection. While being powder free prevents product and patient contamination, these flexible gloves can be worn for extended periods without breaking.

Hand Safe GN32 Powder-Free Textured Grip Examination Gloves
Hand Safe GN32 Powder-Free Textured Grip Examination Gloves


Choose the Right Glove for You

In choosing the right glove for you, you can help stay safe while improving your productivity. You can browse all of our Work Gloves on our website, or search for a specific material by using the search bar at the top of the page.