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When you head outdoors to work in your yard or garden, the first essential gardening tool to reach for is a pair of gloves. The right gardening gloves are so important that a sturdy, well-fitted pair might even motivate you to tackle those troublesome weeds. With your hands and fingernails protected from soil, splinters, scratches and cuts, gardening chores become a lot more enjoyable.
Many different kinds are available, from waterproof gloves for those wet jobs to gloves with reinforced fingers that stand up to the tougher tasks. Some include a specially designed fingertip pad that lets you answer your cell phone without removing the entire glove. There are breathable bamboo gloves, stretchy jersey-knit, and durable leather pairs, plus thorn-proof, and even some thermal designs.
A good fit that allows you to move your fingers and grip a tool with ease is the biggest consideration when choosing garden gloves. Your work gloves need to be comfortable and offer adequate protection while you grow your garden. We paired up with our experts to find the right gloves to fit your every gardening need.
Best Overall: Amazing Stuff for You! Gardening Gloves for Everyone
Material: Nylon shell | Machine Washable: Yes | Waterproof: No
Made of a breathable and sturdy knit fabric with an extra-durable yet flexible protective coating on the palms and fingers, these unisex garden gloves are tough to beat. The coating is grippy but not too sticky, allowing you to handle tools and plants comfortably.
They come in small, medium, or large, and you'll get two pairs with every order. We also like that these long-lasting, versatile gloves are machine-washable. When they get muddy or too dirty to wear, just toss them in the wash and grab your spare pair.
Best Women's: G & F 1852-3 Women Soft Jersey Garden Gloves
Material: Cotton | Machine Washable: Not listed | Waterproof: No
The best gardening gloves for women are these jersey-knit floral beauties from G & F. Woven from 100 percent cotton with an ultra-thick weave, they're endlessly comfortable. And thanks to PVC (thermoplastic) dots on the palms and fingers, these gloves offer a decent amount of protection and grip.
Best Men's: Digz Men's Large Gardening Fabric Gloves
Material: Leather and spandex | Machine Washable: Not listed | Waterproof: No
For the guys, we recommend Digz. These large gloves are made of a stretchy fabric for ultimate comfort and flexibility, padded for protection, and reinforced with leather on the palms. They're ideal for light-duty yard work, gardening, or general home maintenance. Plus, the touch-screen fingertips allow you to use your smartphone without taking them off.
Best Unisex: The Floral Society Garden Gloves
Material: Nylon and Nitrile | Machine Washable: Yes | Waterproof: Yes
When it comes to universal gardening gloves, we're big fans of this pair from The Floral Society, which has a one-size-fits-most unisex fit. Made of stretchy, flexible nylon and dipped in rubbery nitrile, they offer a comfy feel, a natural grip, and all-day protection.
Best for Small Hands: Mytops Bamboo Gardening Work Gloves
Material: Bamboo rayon fiber and nitrile | Machine Washable: Not listed | Waterproof: No
If you have small hands or need a youth pair, your best bet is Mytops. These landscaping gloves come in three sizes and offer a comfortable, snug, and secure fit, so you won't have to worry about debris getting inside. Woven from breathable bamboo with nitrile-padded palms and fingers, they wick away moisture while safeguarding your hands from prickly leaves and brambles.
Best Thorn-Proof: Magid Glove & Safety HandMaster TE195T Women's Professional Rose Glove
Material: Synthetic leather palm | Machine Washable: Not listed | Waterproof: No
When working with roses, cacti, berry bushes, or other thorny plants, you'll want something designed to protect not only your hands but also your forearms from pokes—and this professional-grade pair is up for the task. These elbow-length, puncture-proof pruning gloves are made of super-durable synthetic leather with padded palms, knuckle guards, and reinforced fingertips.
Best for Brambles: Acdyion Gardening Gloves for Women/Men
Material: Leather | Machine Washable: Not listed | Waterproof: No
Need something that stands up to prickly, thorny bramble bushes or barbed plants? Reach for Acdyion Gardening Gloves. Carefully stitched out of premium cowhide and extending all the way up to the elbows, they offer unbeatable protection against scratches and cuts. Plus, the thumb design helps you grip your pruning tools with ease.
Best for Weeding: Yofit Garden Genie Gloves with Claws
Material: Latex rubber and plastic | Machine Washable: Not listed | Waterproof: Yes
Yofit Garden Genie gloves are definitely the best option for tackling weeds. With a flexible knit lining, puncture-resistant latex palms and fingers, they're comfy and protective. But that's not all. These weeding gloves also come with four plastic claws for each hand that attach to the fingers to make your job easier and more efficient.
Best Lightweight: Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Working Gloves
Material: Bamboo | Machine Washable: Not listed | Waterproof: No
If you want something lightweight, we highly recommend trying this pair by Pine Tree Tools. The bamboo-woven lining wicks away sweat while allowing your skin to breathe.
And with rubber-dipped palms and fingers, you'll be protected from scratches, nicks, and scrapes. We also like that these gardening gloves come in sizes small through extra-extra-large.
Best Leather: Firm Grip Full Grain Pigskin Leather
Material: Leather | Machine Washable: Not listed | Waterproof: No
Made of 100 percent genuine pigskin, these leather work gloves are naturally breathable, durable, and fairly moisture-resistant. They're notably soft and flexible with a keystone thumb design for a snug yet non-restricting fit that's easy to get on and off. We also appreciate that they come in four sizes, ranging from small to extra-large.
Best Thermal: Wells Lamont Thermal Knit Latex Winter Grip Gloves
Material: Thermal knit shell with latex coating | Machine Washable: Not listed | Waterproof: No
What should you wear when you need to work with your hands outside in the winter? Look no further than this pair. These wintertime gardening gloves have stretchy, tear-resistant thermal knit lining with a textured latex coating for a solid grip, even in the freezing cold. Since you get two pairs of gloves with an order, you'll always have a spare on hand. However, if you want to use them in the snow, note that the backs of these gloves are not waterproof.
The best gardening gloves overall are the Amazing Stuff for You! Gardening Gloves for Everyone on account of their breathable, flexible knit linings, protective coating, and the perfect level of grip (view at Amazon). However, if you need a thorn-proof pair, go with Magid HandMaster TE195T Women's Professional Rose Glove (view at Amazon). And if you need a thermal option for winter gardening, your best bet is Wells Lamont Thermal Knit Latex Winter Grip Gloves (view at Amazon).
What to Look for in Gardening Gloves
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.
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. 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.
How do you soften leather gardening gloves?
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.
Why should you wear gardening gloves?
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.
Can you wash gardening gloves?
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.
Why Trust The Spruce?
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.