For all types of work the correct PPE is important. Welding is one of those jobs where protective equipment is imperative. High temperatures, sharp metal, and blinding light, are all potential dangers. Whether you’re a DIY welder, professional metal worker, or metal artists, you will need the right welding gloves for the type of welding you do.
There can be no one set of rules when determining which are the best welding gloves. For starters, different types of welding have different requirements. MIG, TIG, and stick welding are not the same. In some cases, dexterity can be more important than high-temperature protection. Cutting and grinding metal goes hand in hand with welding, this may also affect what type of welding glove is going to be your best option.
Cheap welding gloves might be fine, if you don’t use them too often, and don’t do really demanding work. However, like buying any product, you always get what you pay for. It is usually a good idea to first asses your needs and consider the quality of the product you’re buying, before deciding on your budget. This welding glove buying guide is going to take you through all the important decisions you’ll be making when choosing the glove that will be the perfect fit for you.
Getting to Grips with the Basics – Welding Gloves Explained
Quality welding gloves are made to withstand immense punishment. Extreme heat and generally treacherous treatment are all to be expected. To this end, quality leather, or more modern material like Kevlar, is imperative for welding gloves. Several types of animal hide are used for welding gloves, usually cowhide, elk skin, goat skin, pig skin, or deer skin.
The type of animal hide, or leather can be of significance. They all have unique characteristics. Softer gloves, like goatskin, will not restrict hand movement as much as thick cowhide. A soft welding glove improves dexterity for detailed work, but won’t usually provide as much heat protection, and may also be damaged by sharp objects. Some of the more advanced materials can be expensive, They will, however, usually offer better protection, as well as improved dexterity and comfort.
Properties of common welding glove leathers:
Other materials used for welding gloves:
Comfort and Usability
Padding on a welding glove can improve your comfort and cushion your hands from blows. However, too much padding will reduce dexterity. Chunky gloves aren’t to good for nimble finger work. Thick padding may also cause discomfort from the heat inside the glove. Sweaty hands are not cool, and this is often an issue with welding gloves.
You need to find welding gloves that fit your hand snugly. Many glove manufacturers opt for a one size fits all approach. Others may go for a more reasonable small, medium, large size range. Gloves that are too big, will impair the use of your fingers. Too small can terribly uncomfortable. Even with varying sizes, manufacturers differ. Take some to read reviews in order to get a sense of the fit and general comfort of the gloves that you’re considering.
If a good grip is important to you, you should look for welding gloves with non-slip texturing that improves your ability obtain a secure grip on objects. Durability is paramount. This is not just about the type of materials used. Stitching, and the type of thread used, is of equal importance.
Take all these factors into account. Give it careful thought before buying your new welding gloves. Finally, you need consider the type of welding you do.
MIG Welding Gloves
MIG welding requires more protection compared to TIG welding. Higher temperatures and increased splatter, means you need more heat insulation. In general, gloves for MIG welding need to be tougher than those used for TIG welding. Cowhide and high-temperature synthetic materials are usually better for MIG welding gloves.
Stick Welding Gloves
Metal arc, or stick welding, produces the most heat and splatter. For this reason, gloves for stick welding need to be thicker, with the best heat protection, and flame resistance. For stick welding, you will need to forgo some the dexterity advantages of thinner, more flexible welding gloves. A longer glove that offers more protection to the forearms would be preferable.
The materials used to make welding gloves differ, as do manufacturing techniques. Start by choosing the best heat resistant materials in accordance with the type of welding you do. This will narrow your choices and make it easier to consider other factors.
Carefully consider the use of your hands when welding and cutting metal. Some welding machines require more dexterity. This will also come into effect when considering the type of work you do. For construction welding, you are generally dealing with large, heavy metal beams and pipes. In this instance, a tough thick glove will be better than a thin glove which allows better use of your hands but do not offer as much protection. Conversely, welding small delicate pieces requires greater dexterity, and protection from impact and heat is not always as important.
Remember that welding thicker material requires thicker wire or welding sticks. This means that the welder needs to operate at a higher temperature. The molten droplets will be larger and potentially more dangerous. Lifting and cutting thick metal also increases other risks, like injuries that occur from accidentally dropping a heavy I-beam. This means better protection from your glove and work boots are essential for any work dealing with large and heavy metal.
A glove that improves your ability to hold material securely is always an advantage. Therefore, non-slip texturing will be advantageous. Comfortable gloves make it easier to work and improves productivity. There are two important factors influencing welding glove comfort. Sufficient padding, using soft materials, like wool or cotton, cushion the hands and prevent discomfort from chafing. Ventilation, using breathable materials, will negate some of the issues when working at high temperatures.