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When you head outdoors to work in your yard or garden, the first gardening tool you reach for is a pair of sturdy gloves. However, wearing gardening gloves doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort or style. “Now, I love pretty painted fingernails, and people always want to know how I can keep mine clean when I dig in the dirt all day long,” says Carmen Johnston, Founder and owner of Bespoke Garden Plans. “My secret is to put on a pair of clear disposable latex gloves underneath the Digz [Nitrile Dipped] gloves!”
We sent 22 pairs of gardening gloves home to volunteer testers who used them over a two week period while maintaining their yards and gardens. Our testers evaluated these gloves based on their quality, durability, comfort, design, and value.
Our top pick, the Firm Grip Women’s General Purpose Synthetic Leather gloves, offer breathable coverage with added protection on the palms, thumbs, and forefingers.
Backed by our testing, here are the best gardening gloves.
While many of the gardening gloves we tested stood out for their durability and comfort, our favorite gloves are the Firm Grip Women’s General Purpose Synthetic Leather Gloves. These gloves stood apart from the rest for their innovative design that offered protection and comfort and their unique features that made gardening an even more enjoyable experience for our tester. If you’re looking for an affordable option that can last you through a season, we recommend the Amazing Stuff for You! Grippy Gardening Gloves, which are sold in a pack of two and offer great protection and added grip while handling tools and equipment.
To simulate the most accurate setting for gardening gloves, we purchased 22 pairs of gardening gloves from a variety of brands and sent them home to volunteer testers who then used each pair while caring for their gardens and lawns over a two week period. Altogether our testers spent 33.5 hours examining every feature and protection that these gloves had to offer. When our testers first received the gloves, we asked them to evaluate their quality, looking at the gloves’ construction and sizing, and compare them to manufacturer claims. For glove styles that claimed to be waterproof, we asked testers to spend at least 30 minutes wearing the gloves while watering or completing other yard work that involved handling moist soil. While our testers wore the gloves in their gardens, we also asked them to consider the overall comfort and feel of the gloves during extended use. They made note of whether the gloves became hot and sticky or kept their hands feeling cool.
For gloves designed for handling thorns and completing other heavy-duty tasks, our testers kept in mind that their durability may affect their comfort, but still considered if they were practical for long-term wear. Our testers also considered the gloves’ design and noted any helpful features that made certain pairs stand out. To test durability, we asked our testers to think about how each pair of gloves held up compared to other gloves of similar design and how they may perform long-term with appropriate use. Our testers also followed manufacturer care instructions and washed any gloves listed as machine washable. They took note of shrinkage, change in texture, or performance after washing. Finally, after wearing each pair of gloves for multiple hours, we asked our testers to look at the list price of the gloves they received and consider the overall value based on their performance as a whole. We also asked testers to make note of any situations or circumstances where their gloves would be especially helpful or not useful at all.
Size and Fit
One of the most important things to look for when shopping for gardening gloves is a good fit. You want them to be snug enough to keep dirt out but not so tight that they restrict your range of movement. Avoid gloves that leave extra room at your fingertips or ones that don’t offer a firm but flexible fit where your fingers attach to your hand. Gloves often come in sizes of small, medium or large and may be labeled as “Men’s” or “Women’s.” If you have particularly large, wide hands or small hands, don’t worry about labels and choose the ones that feel right.
Comfort and Protection
The fit of your gardening gloves has a lot to do with their overall comfort, but there are a few other factors to consider. The material should be stretchy, breathable, and flexible. Moisture-wicking fabrics can also reduce friction and keep your hands dry while you work. Additionally, some gloves have ergonomic thumbs or webbing through the palms, which some people find more comfortable. Our best overall pick, the Firm Grip Women’s General Purpose Synthetic Leather Gloves, feature a breathable, mesh back and comfortable reinforced padding on the palms and fingertips.
Reinforced fingertips stand up to repetitive tasks like weeding and help protect your nails and fingers from poking through and breaking or splitting. Leather is soft but tough. While wearing leather gloves, you’ll feel confident about pruning shrubs or removing brambles and brush. Elbow-length gloves protect your hands and arms when you prune your roses, such as our Best Long Sleeve pick, the G & F Florist Pro Garden and Rose Gloves, which our tester found to protect her arms, without restricting her movement. The best gloves are comfortable to wear and provide the right protection for the task.
Gardening gloves are meant for gardening, but they’re not all created equal. For the most part, you’ll find options with stretchy knit linings and some sort of latex or rubber coating on the palms and fingers for grip and protection.
However, there are also different varieties of work gloves, including thorn-proof, leather, puncture-resistant, thermal, orthopedic, and clawed designs for weeding. Consider your working conditions and look for a pair that can accommodate your unique needs.
Leather is a material that softens naturally with repeated use and a little care. Leather gardening gloves are most often made with cowhide, deerskin, or goatskin, with goatskin as the softest. Keeping your leather gloves clean and conditioned with Mink Oil or another mild lubricant will help keep them pliable. Old unused leather can become hard and cracked. If this is the case, apply small amounts of Mink or Coconut oil or work vaseline into the gloves to recondition them.
The primary purpose of gardening gloves is to protect your hands from elements like soil, plants with rough surfaces or thorns, and insects and against painful skin cracking and other conditions that result from heavy use. Some gloves also make gardening chores easier by improving your grip and reinforcing strength in your fingertips.
How to clean your garden gloves depends on the material used to make them. Gloves made entirely of cloth can be washed as any normal item of clothing. Specialty gloves like leather or nitrile must be cleaned differently. Saddle soap is a common leather cleaner. Nitrile gloves should be washed with antibacterial soap inside and out. Gloves with webbing or reinforced fingertips or palms can be hand washed with mild detergent. Gardening gloves of all materials will hold up longer when they are dried completely before the next wear.
“Depending on how dirty or wet my gloves get, I wash them every one to three times I garden,” says Johnston. “Sometimes, I simply hose them off, but I definitely toss them in the washing machine! I’d rather have extra time outdoors than inside hand-washing! I throw them in with a scoop of Oxi-Clean and—for super dirty days—treat them first with Spray N Wash.
“I never, ever use the dryer though; just lay them out to air dry. I probably have 10 to 15 pairs of gloves, and I store them in a Tupperware container in the laundry room.”
The Spruce contributor Theresa Holland is an experienced commerce writer specializing in home and garden. Growing up on a farm with a mother who kept two gigantic gardens, she knows a thing or two about weeding and planting tools, including gloves. You can also find more of her work on MyDomaine. Additional research for this article was provided by Barbara Gillette, a Master Gardener and herbalist who keeps all her garden gloves handy. She works with honeybees and other pollinators to grow organic vegetables, herbs, fruit, and flowers on her 8-acre hobby farm.
This roundup was updated by Emma Phelps, an Updates Writer for The Spruce, who has previous experience reporting on gardening and outdoor equipment. For this roundup, our senior editors analyzed our testing data and our at-home testing methodology to select the top-performing gloves from the entire batch tested. Emma then analyzed our testing insights and updated this product list to reflect new selections and provide in depth analysis of the user experience with each of these gardening gloves. Emma also conducted market research to consider what consumers look for in a pair of gardening gloves and identify any popular brands and styles of gloves. Finally, Emma consulted Carmen Johnston, Founder and owner of Bespoke Garden Plans, who provided insight on how to keep gardening gloves clean and her personal tricks for keeping her hands clean. Johnston’s work also can be found on Instagram and TikTok.
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