Personal safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to welding. With all the hazards present during the process, having the right protective equipment is vital not only to your health but also to your career as a welder.
The welding process generates a lot of heat and can be extremely dangerous if you don’t wear the proper safety equipment. Deemed as a standard in good protective gear, the right type of welding gloves can make the job a much more comfortable process for you.
What Should I Be Looking For?
To determine the type of gloves you’ll need, narrow it down to the basics and go from there. As a beginner, this can be a little tricky to figure out, but the first thing to keep in mind is the primary job you’ll use the gloves for (whether MIG, TIG, or stick welding).
Protection from the Job
Your top priorities should always be your protection and comfort. A great welding glove will give you enhanced protection while also offering a great mix of flexibility and durability. After all, welding is a tough job that does some wear and tear on your protective equipment. Having a well-made glove can make a world of difference.
An essential factor you should look for is adequate heat protection. Although different welding processes produce different heat temperatures, you will need some form of heat protection at all times during welding.
You’ll also want a glove that gives you enough protection against the sharp materials you’ll find lying around the work-station. Since welding deals with metals, you’ll often have sharp pieces within distance. Don’t risk getting wounded, and get a glove to protect you from these elements.
Comfort and Breathability
Take a good look at the glove’s material and its lining. Quality gloves are made of premium, thick leather that won’t ignite into flames. The lining is also important to note: welding isn’t an easy job, and being comfortable can go a long way in making the task more enjoyable.
While sufficient heat protection is very important, it’s also crucial to remember just how much heat the process generates. Couple that with your body heat, and the result can be very uncomfortable. Choose a glove that offers a fair amount of breathability for your hands to feel comfortable during the process.
The perfect length for a glove varies from person to person. You can get gloves that cover only until your wrist (mitten-type gloves) or gloves that extend to the elbow. The choice for this is determined by your comfort level and what welding process you’ll be doing, although having a glove that covers your forearm will protect you from unnecessary burns and scrapes in the long run.
Dexterity and Mobility
Gloves are usually built thick to help with durability and protection against heat and sharp objects. However, your gloves should also offer enough maneuverability to properly move your fingers and hands. We’ll touch on this more below as different welding processes require different movements, but as a general rule, try and keep your dexterity as uncompromised as possible.
Finally, look at the material’s durability and construction to determine its longevity. Although how you use the glove will ultimately determine its lastingness, finding a quality glove with good material and stitches can increase your equipment’s lifespan and do wonders for your craft.
Many gloves are made out of genuine leather for a few reasons: it offers excellent protection, it’s very comfortable once broken in, and it won’t ignite when exposed to open flame.
Kevlar® lining and thread are currently the gold standards in the market for excellent stitching durability and added protection against cuts and scrapes. Unlike cotton thread and lining, Kevlar® can withstand hotter temperatures and won’t be at risk of burning up.
Types of Welding Gloves
There are different types of welding gloves that are more suited to specific welding processes you’ll be undertaking. This means that oftentimes you’ll have different pairs of gloves for different processes.
MIG welding gloves
MIG, or Metal Inert Gas welding, requires gloves that offer good protection because of the sparks that tend to fly around during the welding process. A thicker and looser glove with extra padding on the back will give you the most protection and comfort.
MIG welding gloves are usually made out of deer, cow, or pig hides and are much thicker than their TIG counterparts. This is because MIG welding produces high heat and lots of splatters, so a thicker leather will protect your hands better than a thin leather glove could.
The purpose of the extra padding is to give you more comfort and protection on your non-dominant hand during the process. Your gloves should be loose enough that you can easily discard them once the welding process gets too warm.
However, the thick leather, extra padding, and loose fit make MIG welding gloves a little unwieldy. These gloves will give you less maneuverability than a tighter fit with thinner leather, but since MIG welding requires less finger dexterity and precision than TIG welding, it is not a big concern.
TIG welding gloves
TIG welding gloves are made of a much thinner and finer material. Because the TIG welding process relies heavily on precision, these gloves should fit snugly and offer good maneuverability for your fingers. To test this out, put the glove on and try to pick up a coin. If you can’t pick one up successfully, then the glove isn’t right for you.
TIG welding gloves are usually made out of goat, cow, or pig hides. Not too thick to impede dexterity, but thick enough to protect you from the heat and radioactive hazards of welding.
Stick welding gloves
The stick welding process is the most commonly used around the world. It produces the most amount of heat, splatter, and sparks, so a thicker and longer glove is a must. It doesn’t require as much finger dexterity as TIG welding, but it does produce much higher temperatures. Having extra padding won’t hurt.
Cow or elk hides are perfect for stick welding gloves. These leathers offer excellent coverage and protection against the sparks and the ultraviolet radiation that the process gives out while also being very durable and comfortable to wear.
Our Pick: A Hobart Welding Gloves Review
These Hobart Premium Form Fitted Welding Gloves (Hobart 770440) are a favorite when it comes to the best welding gloves in the market. Made with premium cowhide split and grain leather and fortified with heavy-duty Kevlar® stitching, these gauntlet style form-fitting gloves are durable and reasonable at a price of less than $30.
The Hobart premium welding gloves are multipurpose work gloves best suited for MIG and stick welding with their thick leather and great insulation. The leather isn’t so thick that it becomes unwieldy, but these are slightly too thick to be considered optimal TIG welding gloves.
While many welding gloves come lined with fleece, cotton, or Kevlar®, these Hobart welding gloves come unlined to give your hands breathability during the hot MIG welding process. They are also less bulky than other leather gloves.
Key Features and Extras
- Knuckle patches: Provides extra protection and padding against heat
- Padded palm: Extra comfortable wear
- Kevlar® stitching: Increases durability and flexibility
- Canvas cuff: Provides extra flame resistance
- Comes from a trusted brand with great customer service
- Hobart welding gloves are available online and in stores in case you need to replace them
- Made from genuine leather with Kevlar® stitching for added durability
- Comfortable to wear and doesn’t get too hot during the welding process
- Not too bulky like many other leather welding gloves in the same category
- High dexterity and gives you incredible precision with your fingers
- Covers the forearm for added protection
- Reasonable price range so you can buy backups as needed
- Unlined and not as insulated as other leather gloves
- Runs small and may not be comfortable for those with larger hands
The Hobart welding gloves are great gloves for beginners and professionals alike. They’re thick enough to withstand MIG and stick welding temperatures while being thin enough to use for basic TIG welding.
Remember that gloves are considered consumable items in the welding industry. No matter how much you baby your gloves, eventually, they’ll succumb to wear and tear and will need replacing. These gloves provide fantastic quality, and at a cost that won’t make you hesitate to buy more pairs in the future.