Welding gloves serve as an indispensable shield in the world of welding, unless, of course, you possess a peculiar desire to turn your hands into sizzling sausages. Within the realm of work gear, where options abound, these gloves stand out as a testament to quality and affordability. Today, let’s delve into a curated assortment of what I consider the cream of the crop among these exceptional hand protectors.
In the realm of craftsmanship, the importance of choosing the right gear cannot be overstated. When it comes to welding, this axiom holds even truer. Welding gloves aren’t just an accessory; they’re a necessity. Without them, you risk exposing your hands to extreme heat, sparks, and molten metal – a recipe for disaster.
Thankfully, the market offers a plethora of options when it comes to welding gloves, and the good news is that many of them are not only effective but also reasonably priced. In this exploration, we will shine a spotlight on a select few that have earned their place as the best among the best. So, if you’re in the market for welding gloves that combine performance, durability, and affordability, read on as we uncover the top contenders in this niche.
7 Best Welding Gloves – Reviews
1. Tillman 875L Premium Elkskin – Top Overall Pick
These are high quality, multipurpose welding gloves that will serve well in almost any regard.
Unlike most of the gloves on this list, these are made not of cowhide, but Elk hide (Elskin). Elskin is an interesting material that combines many of the benefits of cowhide with a higher resistance to heat shrinkage and stiffening, helping you weld longer without hand fatigue and opening up new avenues of use. The Kevlar stitching is very fine and durable, making these a long lasting pair of gloves.
They’re great for MIG and Stick welding, and the Elkskin’s resistance to hardening makes them a fairly solid hand at TIG welding as well, leaving these as one of the few true all purpose welding gloves around.
Unfortunately, while you get what you pay for, it is worth noting that these gloves are somewhere between 2 and 3 times the price of similar gloves. While well worth it for someone who does all types of welding and doesn’t want to have to swap gloves for TIG welding, it may be a consideration for those who only do MIG and Stick and don’t need the added flexibility.
- Elk hide is an excellent material for gloves, and hard to find.
- Low hand fatigue, high heat resistance, and very durable.
- Proven unlined palm for high dexterity and foam/cotton lined back for added heat resistance protection.
- Great, versatile glove good for all types of welding.
- Reinforced straight thumb
- Ridiculously expensive for a pair of gloves.
2. KIM YUAN Extreme Heat & Fire Resistant – Best for the Money
These gloves are the perfect all purpose gloves, that are great not just for most types of welding but for almost any other work intensive task.
These Kim Yuan gloves are made of high quality, durable combination materials. The primary construction is cow hide (leather), with Kevlar stitching and a bit of a thicker area across the palm near the thumb for added weight distribution. The interior is padded with sweat absorbent cotton, and the cuffs are denim for a bit more flexibility near the wrists. The materials are highly heat resistant to 662 degrees Fahrenheit (350 Celsius), as well as highly puncture resistant, cut resistant, and somewhat oil resistant (presumably not to the point of immersion, but splashes should not penetrate the glove).
They are articulated rather than mitts, so provide a wide range of applications. You can use them for anything from cooking to yard work (though it’s probably better not to mix the two) and they’ll see you through most tasks with ease.
What they don’t do though, is TIG welding. They’re not flexible enough to really get in there and do delicate or intricate welds. A minor complaint in some regards, but worth noting if you need a glove good for all kinds of welding.
- Good heat resistance.
- Puncture, cut, and oil resistant.
- Durable but comfortable.
- Sweat absorbent to keep your hands cool and dry.
- Not flexible enough to make good TIG welding gloves.
3. Superior 370GFKL Precision Goatskin – Top Choice for Arc Welding
Superior’s 370GFKL gloves are a intermediate welding glove designed for TIG welding primarily, but still holds up for light duty MIG welding, making them a good flexible option to round out your glove collection.
The main reason for this flexibility is the material. Superior’s supple goatskin allows a lot of manual dexterity: a must for delicate TIG welding work. The Kevlar stitching and double stitched thumb provide some much needed extra durability and added heat protection, making them rated for up to about 392 degrees Fahrenheit (200 Celsius), or ASTM ANSI Heat Level A3. They are also ASTM ANSI Cut level A2 and ASTM ANSI Puncture level A3, making them decent for general use in a pinch.
But the protection is almost beside the point: these are made for TIG welding, meaning they put an emphasis on letting you flexibly wield your arc for delicate, precise welding. You have almost a full range of motion for welding.
Still, while the protection isn’t a focus, the low heat resistance is a concern. TIG welding gloves are by their nature thinner than others. As mentioned above these gloves are rated for temperatures below 400 degrees Fahrenheit, making them unsuited for other welding jobs, and are in fact best used with TIG fingers (extra heat resistant pads) for some purposes to avoid burning yourself.
- Thin, lightweight, and flexible. Perfect for TIG welding.
- Designed for fine MIG or TIG welding, steel foundries and stainless-steel welding.
- Decently puncture and cut resistant.
- KEVLAR-lined throughout along with Goatskin Leather.
- Low heat resistance means you’re going to want an addon to protect your fingers (a TIG finger, specifically).
4. Tillman 1338 Top Grain Goatskin – Top Choice for TIG Welding
A set of dedicated TIG gloves, adequately made and very affordable.
These gloves are made of goatskin and very flexible, making them perfect for TIG welding in that regard. The seam around the thumb is double stitched and strengthened for extra grip on the gun at the slight cost of being far more stiff. Unfortunately, many buyers report the seams coming loose after a relatively short period of time, necessitating a replacement. Not a huge factor given that they are very cheap gloves and easy to replace, but something to keep in mind. These are not your “forever gloves”.
While the materials are standard (flexible goatskin and Kevlar stitching), how they are put together is the bigger factor here. The gloves are competently sewn for maximum flexibility and comfort, with a handy glide patch on the bottom of the hand (the side with the pinky) that adds extra protection and makes it easier to slide across the metal. If the stitching were better these gloves would be perfect.
Keep in mind that these are strictly TIG welding gloves only. They have essentially no temperature rating, and won’t stand up to even light duty MIG welding. This makes them great at their one job, but not really suitable for someone who wants something more versatile.
- Easily glides across metal for consistent welding.
- Reinforced thumb for added strength in a key stress area
- Lightweight and flexible for TIG welding.
- Extremely affordable price. Easy to buy multiple spare pairs without breaking the bank.
- Basically no heat resistance, so a TIG finger is a must.
- Less than stellar stitching leads to these gloves falling apart relatively fast.
5. Tanox Leather Heat and Fire Resistant – Top Choice for MIG Welding
These versatile, heavy duty gloves are great for MIG and Stick welding or any other jobs that require heavy duty gloves.
High quality cowhide construction makes these gloves durable and reasonably flexible. The addition of extra padding on the palms and thumb area (while remaining flexible due to the thumb wing) adds extra heat protection and durability for heavy duty work, without overly sacrificing flexibility.
Their durable construction is perfect for an all purpose work glove, being great for protecting your hands from sharp objects as well as heat for MIG and Stick welding. They also boast enough flexibility to do some TIG welding, though not the most delicate work that TIG welding could conceivably be used for.
While I don’t tend to talk about accessories, these come free with every glove, so could be considered a part of the glove itself in a way. Each pair of these Tanox gloves comes bundled with a pair of cotton arm sleeves, which are fire retardant, heat resistant, and abrasion resistant. They are not, however, penetration resistant so be careful around pointy objects.
- Extremely heat resistant (over 900 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Durable construction that doesn’t sacrifice flexibility overly much.
- Very protective; great general purpose work glove.
- Free arm sleeves for added protection.
- While enough to do so in a pinch if needed, these gloves aren’t flexible enough to be your everyday TIG welding gloves
6. John Tillman and Co TIL50XL – Top Choice for Stick Welding
These are great general purpose work gloves or for MIG and Stick welding, though suffer in the flexibility department.
High quality cowhide makes these gloves very durable and thick, perfect for any kind of yard work or handling of sharp materials in addition to your welding (perfect for pulling metal for your projects from scrap heaps, in other words), and the stitching is very tight and durable. The seamless forefinger is a nice touch, giving you a bit more flexibility to feel around with your index finger.
These gloves are perfect for pretty much anything besides TIG welding. They are very thick (though don’t have the best heat resistance around) and are great for being the gloves you put on at the start of the work day and never take off, but manual dexterity gets pretty limited in these, especially as they stiffen in the heat (as cowhide gloves are prone to do, and quickly).
These are completely unsuited for TIG welding, so can handle at least one fewer job than some of the other MIG welding gloves on the list which can do TIG in a pinch.
- Very protective gloves for general purposes as well as welding.
- Very durable and will last you a long time.
- Reasonably flexible, especially around the forefinger.
- Fleece lined for added protection in hot or cold conditions without the bulk.
- Stiffen up fast, increasing hand fatigue and making TIG welding pretty much impossible to effectively do.
7. RAPICCA Leather Forge – Top Choice for Heat Resistance
These all purpose gloves are notable mostly for their significantly higher than average heat resistance. They are rated for up to 932 degrees Fahrenheit (500 degrees Celsius), an impressive temperature for these kinds of gloves. Perfect for not just welding but other materials that require you to handle hot materials directly (forge work and large glass blowing projects, as examples).
The heat resistance is primarily a product of the materials. Overall it’s partially cowhide, but mostly Kevlar (double layered on the palms, fingers, and backs of hands, plus all the stitching), which makes them pretty unique among welding gloves.
The interior is a comfortable moisture wicking cotton that keeps your hands feeling relatively cool while you work. Other than those features, the primary thing to note is the extra long sleeves, granting extra protection for your forearms. Great for people with long arms.
These are mostly for MIG or general purpose use, but can be sued for some TIG projects in a pinch, though are not flexible enough to truly replace a dedicate TIG glove with a TIG finger.
- Extreme heat resistance.
- Perfect for all kinds of hot material handling, form fireplaces to welding to forge work.
- Durable and reasonably flexible construction.
- Extra long sleeves.
- Primarily Kevlar construction makes them very durable in the long term.
- Not the greatest for TIG welding, despite what they say.
Our Top Choice
Tillman 875L Premium Elkskin
Those are the top in each category. Most are also usable for other things, but each is specialized in their own niche. Pay close attention to what each type of glove is best for and choose which one fits your needs the most. If you’re not sure (for example, you’re new to welding), you can’t go wrong with the Kim Yuan pair, which are great for pretty much any job you throw at it, and are only relatively poor for TIG welding (where if you’re not sure if you need to TIG weld on the job or not, you definitely don’t). For the more experienced welder, Tillman’s Elkskin gloves are an excellent choice for any job. Everything else falls in between, being more specialized in one category or another.
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