Despite its popularity all over the world, welding is some of the most dangerous work with tools you can do. Using electric currents to create fiery arcs, melting metals with high burn points, all in a blaze of dangerous ultraviolet light is just another day in the workplace of a welder. Discover the best welding gloves in the following review guide.
Burns and fires are the two biggest safety concerns for any welder. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety cites “hot work” as a primary safety concern in welding. The good news is, they also claim that many accidents and injuries are preventable with the right equipment.
So what’s the most important part of the body to protect? Let’s start with what’s closest to the thousand-degree flames: your hands.
Welders of all abilities need access to quality welding gloves. A pair of gloves suited for welding offers protection from heat, and is effective in any type of welding you might get into. In this review and guide, we’ll be taking a look at the 4 best welding gloves on the market today!
What to Look for in the Best Welding Gloves
What things should you be on the lookout for when determining what the best welding gloves are for you?
The best gloves would be no gloves at all. Most welders would prefer if their hands could simply be resistant to the flames. So, the best pairs of gloves are going to be the ones that feel like they aren’t even there. The ones that allow your hands freedom of movement, with full dexterity, all while offering ample protection.
Hands aren’t only susceptible to burns from the heat itself, and the sparks that might fly from the point of contact, but to prolonged exposure to the ultraviolet light. This can cause hands to suffer artificial sunburns, just like when they’re exposed to UV light from the sun. So, good gloves offer comprehensive protections against all heat levels and sources.
Let’s take a look at a few factors to keep in mind to ensure you’re looking at the most important qualities when considering the best welding gloves.
Welders never stop using their hands. From guiding the arc through the metal, to applying filler metal to strengthen their bonds, an expert level of coordination is required to execute a solid welding job.
If a glove has a loose fit or is restrictive, it’s going to impair the welder’s ability to use their hands properly. This can lead to less precise cuts, and more wasted filler material that isn’t applied exactly where you want it.
It’s important to note that this doesn’t necessarily mean to go for the thinnest glove. The extra padding of thicker gloves is helpful in warding off flames and protecting your hands. Still, something that’s too bulky, or just doesn’t fit right, is going to have a negative effect on your ability to weld.
The welding process can be long, so the level of comfort is important. Oftentimes welders are in the shop for hours at a time, so comfort needs to be key. Uncomfortable gloves will be distracting and can make the whole experience downright unpleasant. Find a comfortable pair of gloves that you’ll want to keep on for the duration of the weld.
Kevlar and leather are the two most popular materials you’ll see in welding gloves.
Kevlar is probably the favorite material for welders. It offers supreme protection, has great fit and flexibility, and has become a very popular choice for people working around extreme heat in recent years.
Leather welding gloves can also be very effective. Studies have shown that leather is heat resistant, as it takes quite a bit to get it to burn. This makes leather a material of choice for many welding gloves. However, one major issue with using leather gloves is assuring that the quality is high. Faux leathers are unfortunately common and will burn at a temperature lower.
A low quality leather is going to leave you more vulnerable to injury than a high quality one. High quality types of leather to lookout for are genuine grain leather from cows, goats, and pig hide leathers. These will offer the most complete heat protection.
Make sure that the gloves you find are resistant to extreme temperatures. Welding gloves will often be exposed to heats of around 600 degrees Fahrenheit for extended periods of time, so it’s best to play it safe and find ones that are rated significantly higher (we recommend upwards of 900+ degrees) so you don’t have to worry when you’re welding.
Up to The Wrist, or Up to The Arm?
There are two common styles you’ll see with the best welding gloves: those that fit just around the hand and up to the wrist (like a normal glove), and those that extend all the way up to your elbow for forearm protection.
Determining which fit style makes the most sense will depend on the type of welding that you’ll be doing. Obviously, if you find forearm inclusive gloves to be comfortable, then they’re a good product to go with. They’ll offer you extra protection, and will be usable in every style of weld you do.
However, many people prefer the comfort and fit of the ones that simply go around the hands, and will opt to use those whenever possible. So when do you know which type of welding glove you’ll need? It’s more than just personal preference – it depends on the welding machine and how long the beads you’re working on are.
Manufacturers typically recommend using up the arm gloves when the machine is at 50% duty rate or higher, meaning that it’s on more than half the time during the weld – or if the length of the bead exceeds 5 feet.
For most novice to intermediate welders not working on large projects or with extremely high voltages, gloves that fit around the wrist will work just fine.
The RAPICCA 16 Inch Glove is a high quality kevlar insulated glove that offers great protection for a variety of different welds. It’s doubly reinforced at every critical spot on the glove – from the fingers, to the palm, to the back of the forearm – so you can feel confident moving the hand through a variety of positions, knowing that it will offer excellent protection.
While it doesn’t extend all the way up to the elbow, it still offers a great deal of protection. This means that you can get great additional protection, without sacrificing any of the comfort. While it might not be quite enough protection for a huge welding project, welders can feel comfortable using this glove in most jobs.
While it’s insulated with kevlar, the base of the glove is made out of natural cowhide leather, so you can be sure it’s high quality and flame resistant. The glove is rated up to 932 degrees, which should breed confidence in its maximum protection. It’s also resistant to tears, cuts, and oils, so as long as they’re well taken care of, these gloves should last you a while. The biggest drawback to these gloves is the size, as they tend to fit best with larger hands. While the double stitched leather sewing will help the gloves stay on, buyers with smaller hands will want to think twice when considering comfort and flexibility.
It’s also one of the heaviest gloves, weighing in at 18 ounces. So for welders who value fast hands or tend to feel weighed down by heavier gloves, it’s worth looking into different options.
Things We Like
- Top of the line heat resistance
- Complete hand protection
Things We Don’t Like
- Fit isn’t reliable for smaller hands
- Very heavy
It’s serviceable in the heat resistance category, offering adequate protection. While it doesn’t have nearly the amount of Kevlar insulation that other products, it still promises that it’s leather is high quality (however, it doesn’t specify the type, which marks it down a notch in our book.)
It doesn’t have quite as much Kevlar reinforcement, so it doesn’t offer quite the same level of protection as some of its competitors. However, what it may lack in premium protection, it makes up for in lightness, flexibility, and comfort.
The Lincoln Electric is one of the lighter gloves on the market, coming in at just around 12 ounces.
It’s important to note that the gloves are 14 inches. So while it offers protection from burns on the hands and wrists, it lacks the all-around protection you’ll see in gloves that go further up the arm. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re sticking to smaller welds, but will limit buyers from working on larger projects.
Lastly, the soft cotton lining on the interior adds a great deal of comfort to the Lincoln Electric, making it one of our favorite options for comfort.
Things We Like
- It’s one of the most comfortable gloves out there
- The light weight and flexible design allows you to move your hands easily for hours
Things We Don’t Like
- It’s only OK in the heat resistance department
- The product is vague about the specific types of leather it uses
3.) Revco GM1611
The Recvo also uses topgrain leather cowhide, so buyers can be confident that it uses a quality leather at its base. While it’s not doubly reinforced, it does use kevlar heat resistant lining for extra protection.
However, there are some notable shortcomings. One commonly reported drawback with the Revco glove is stiffness. Some customers claim that finger movement wasn’t easy with this glove, and that dexterity was limited.
Some consumers were also questioning whether it was heat resistant enough, and weren’t convinced that it offered the level of protection they wanted, especially in the fingertips.
A final negative for Revco is its cost. While it’s not significantly more costly than its competitors, it’s still a noticeable bump up in price brackets.
The Revco glove is ideal for a customer who’s taking on smaller projects where optimal heat protection isn’t the main factor. For any welder who values the lightest weight product, and is willing to sacrifice some dexterity, the Revco glove is a perfect fit.
Things We Like
- Lightest gloves on the market
- Great for smaller welding projects
Things We Don’t Like
- Price point is high
- Level of heat protection is questionable
- Users report stiffness
As the title implies, the Forge Gloves offer a very safe, highly flame resistant glove that can perform in the hottest of welding temperatures. Just like the Rapicca, it’s guaranteed to perform under temperatures as high as 932 degrees.
The glove is 14 inches, so it won’t protect as far up the forearms as some of its competitors. On the flip side, it’s nearly 6 ounces lighter than the Rapicca (weighing in at 12 ounces). Despite the similarities between the two gloves, the Forge Gloves are the more sensible option for those working on smaller welds, who need less protection with a lighter glove.
While the gloves do claim to be one size fits most, many customers claim that the glove fits best with L/XL hand sizes. This means that the gloves will likely not work for anyone with smaller hands. However, the manufacturer does allow for free returns, so customers can buy the glove and try out the size worry free.
We recommend the Forge glove for anyone who’s looking for the perfect middle ground, and for those who are intrigued by the heat protection offered by the Rapicca, as well as the light weight nature of the Revca.
While it doesn’t lead the market in either category, with its high quality cowhide leather and Kevlar lining, it does check all the boxes of a reliable, comfortable, and effective glove.
Things We Like
- 932-degree heat rating gives the consumer confidence that their hands are well protected
- Checks all the boxes of a high quality glove
Things We Don’t Like
- Fit won’t work for smaller hands
While the Heat Resistant Leather Forge gloves are our choice as the best welding gloves for most welders, each of the others on this list leads the market in its specialty. Picking the right glove involves assessing your skill, preferences, and even the type of welding machine you’re using.
For flexibility and comfort, we suggest the Lincoln Electric. For top of the line protection, we suggest the Rapicca 16 inch, and for the lightest weight glove, the Revco takes the cake.