Welding gloves protect you while you solder and turn up the heat on the job. Learn how to choose welding gloves based on different factors. Just like you take time to ensure your helmet and coveralls fit, it’s important to get the right material, style and size so that you can comfortably handle your torch and other tools. 

What Are Gloves for Welding?

When you choose the right gloves, they slip over your hands easily. You should check the fit inside each finger and thumb sheath for comfort and grip. Welding gloves protect your hands from becoming molten lava when you work with high heat in potentially dangerous conditions. So, take your time in picking out the right material and other details for your needs. Find out more about the types of welding gloves below. 

Types of Welding Gloves

Leather gloves provide protection while letting you maintain a supple grip on your equipment. Gloves for welders come from a number of different animals. Deer, cow, goats and elk have different pros and cons when used to manufacture protective gear for your hands. 

Over time, welders may grow accustomed to a certain material for various reasons. Before you choose, make sure you understand all the choices. There are two ways to categorized welding gloves, by application or by the type of leather. 

Let’s start with the most common types of animal leather used in high-quality welding gloves. 

Categories Based on Material

Welding leather gloves provide non-conductive support and dispel heat quickly. Each hide has a slightly different use.Types of Leather

  • Goatskin: This type of leather lends your gloves tensile strength and feels supple against your skin. 
  • Horse Hide: Some welders choose horsehide for comfort and durability.
  • Pigskin: Pig leather forms a tough hide and provides superior grip in slick conditions. 
  • Cowhide: Cowhide gloves top the list of the most popular welding leather gloves. These gloves have a bit more bulk than other leather. 
  • Deerskin: This soft material feels nice and lets you move your hands more freely. It gives you a lot of manual dexterity.
  • Elkskin: Unlike cowhide, elkskin retains its shape without hardening. This could mean less hand fatigue.

Gloves for Different Types of Welding

The other category designates the best material for each type of welding. 

  • Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding involves arc welding using a non-consumable tungsten electrode. TIG welding gloves are usually made of cow, goat or pig leather. You need to be able to move your fingers freely and keep your whole hand protected. 
  • MIG welding involves various metal such as stainless steel, aluminum, copper, nickel, bronze and other metals and alloys. MIG welding gloves require additional protection and dexterity is less of a priority. Deer, pig and cowhides make great MIG gloves. 
  • Stick welding works well for alloys or joints. You can use it outdoors and indoors and it creates a bond even on dirty, rusted metal. Stick welding gloves are the most cost-effective gloves for welders. They are made of robust elk or cow leather. 

Specifications for Welding Gloves

To test the articulation or dexterity of a pair of gloves, try using them to pick up coins. Gloves can become dry from exposure to heat. Typically, the first sign a failure occurs along your trapezium bone. This is where you grasp tools and apply pressure when using a welding gun.

Well-designed gloves for welding have extra leather along common failure points. These include the thumb, index finger and the metacarpus portion of your hand. Double-stitching can increase the usefulness and longevity of your gloves. High-quality stitching follows your hand’s profile and adds flexibility to welding leather gloves.

Look for gloves with an anti-splatter spray that prevents burns through the leather. When leather burns down to the insulation, you are liable to get severe burns on your hands. Insulation is composed of foam, fleece or an aluminum liner designed to keep your hands safe. However, ironically, the liner is quite flammable. The liner also wicks perspiration away from your skin and prevents bacteria buildup inside your gloves.

In this case, safety and comfort are both very important. Some welding gloves come in universal sizes but these are rarely the best option. Look for welding gloves that come in various sizes so that you can choose the one that fits you the best. Comfortable, well size gloves give you better control of your welding tools. Most gloves range from extra-small to extra-large with several sizes in between. Look at the sizing charts to determine which size would fit your hand the best.

Some manufacturers produce gloves that are moisture-resistant and that repel dust. Light-colored or brightly colored gloves increase visibility which can improve safety on the job. Underwater welders wear diving equipment and have special considerations when it comes to choosing gloves. 

 What Else Should You Worry About?

Choose gloves that don’t restrict your hand movement. Gloves are always a challenge but some are more flexible than others. You need the dexterity to hold your tools and perform the task at hand. Just as baseball mitts are bulky but still allow the catcher to catch and flex, your welding gloves need to provide enough flexibility that you can do your work. 

 If you can’t test gloves directly, carefully review the product description of high-quality gloves to ensure they will work for the type of welding you plan to do (MIG, TIG or stick).

For stick and MIG welding, higher heat protection is the crucial feature that you need to stay safe. For TIG applications, fine motor coordination lets you complete tasks more easily, so you’ll want to look for that feature in the gloves you choose. 

Choose Urshield welding gloves, shirts and other products for safety and style while you’re working on your next welding gig.