Got Gloves?

On a recent episode of The Shopping Bags, the gals did a hands on test of several varieties of gardening gloves. A summary of the show and the detailed conclusions of their testing can be accessed here — you can navigate through the show with the small menu to the right of the article.

Their final conclusion when performance and price was tallied: …the comfortable, breathable and durable leather, but for value we recommend a rubber-type gardening glove.

For light gardening chores, where dirty fingernails are the only concern, I usually don’t even wear gloves, or I don something like the ones pictured above, a simple cotton. For anything that requires a bit more protection, I have a pair of rubber palmed-knit back gloves that do the trick.

Do you have a preference when it comes to a gardening glove, or does that change with the task at hand?


Author: nancybond

A writer, photographer, naturalist from small town Nova Scotia, Canada.

22 thoughts on “Got Gloves?”

  1. Fun question! I wear rubberized palmed gloves because I work with wet clay soil and I need the protection from Poison Ivy. Sometimes I use disposable surgical gloves…if I am handling PI…just toss them. I have never had an expensive pair of leather gloves….I like to toss my gloves in the washing machine.


  2. I’ve never been a big fan of gardening gloves, but I have been using them more often of late. I prefer the longer type that are fitted, I guess because I am also usually trimming or cutting roses while on the weeding circuit of the beds. For some reason, I just have to be able to feel the weeds as I pull them out. It seems more satisfying somehow. The dandelions make such a nice pop when I pull them out after it rains.

  3. I have a bizarre problem with gardening gloves. Although I am right-handed, turns out I pull weeds with my left hand. So I wear through the fingers of left gloves and end up with a large collection of right-hand gloves.

    On the whole, I wear leather when handling rocks and very spiny things, cotton for ordinary weeding, and rubber for pond and bog. They all wear out very rapidly, so gloves is a fairly major part of my gardening budget!

  4. Good question, Nancy, as I’m heading back out the door into the garden. For me it depends on the task at hand, loving leather gloves for pruning (still get blisters but not as bad). I have a pail of gloves waiting to be laundered as I write. Often, like Gail, I wear surgical gloves alone for weeding or under my gloves for wet planting. But best of all, I love to feel the warmth of earth in my hands, my favorite tools, and one of God’s greatest gifts.

  5. Oh yes to the subject of gardening gloves! We really go through them here and have tried every kind made, at any price point. I have yet to find the perfect glove that lasts more the a few weeks of the heaviest gardening, it seems that in addition to the shovel or spade, I need to dig with my hands too. That really does a number on the middle finger of the right hand’s glove. I am left handed and hold the tool in that hand, pulling the soil out of the hole with the right. All leather gloves have a seam at the finger tip that will eventually let dirt seep through and then get a hole there. Right now, the nitrile coated stretchy gloves are faves. My favorite cold weather gloves are a felt lined version, but they only come in men’s medium and large. Too big for my small hands, but they keep you dry and warm when digging in cold clay. Too long, I know, sorry, you hit a nerve with the glove question!

  6. About eight years ago my parents bought me a pair of gloves from Lee Valley (yes, they know the way to my heart!). They’re the fabric ones that are stretchy, the palms and fingers are coated with some sort of plastic/leather. They’re the only gloves I’ve used since (the original birthday present I mean, they haven’t worn out yet).

  7. Amy .. I am going to look for those gloves ! Lee Valley is a great company : )
    Nancy .. I buy my gloves at Costco .. 6 pair at a time .. fabric and plastic combination. I find I wear out at least 3 pair at the beginning of the season while doing the real dirty work and moving stones around. I can’t take the chance of not using them now .. so comfort is a must.
    Great post !

  8. I did a post awhile back on The Gardener Side about gardening gloves and got some interesting comments. My header photo is now my gardening gloves hanging on a line.

    It depends on the job as to whether I wear gloves or not. But I do have quite a collection.

  9. nancy, I have several different types of gloves. The knit rubber combo, which wear out way too fast, cotton, leather, rose gloves that come up to my elbows and a pair of denim gaunlets I made to wear when I need protection for my upper arms. They slip over my wrist and come almost to my shoulder. I still do not have a favorite pair of gloves.

  10. Nancy, I used to be a non-glove person. But last year I got several splinters that became infected. So late in the season, I found a wonderful pair. They must be some man-made material as they feel like leather on the palms but are a breathing knit on the backs. What’s more they fit beautifully. I try to keep them on most of the time, but as above, I need to feel the soil once in a while.

  11. I have just about every type of gloves imaginable. I use different ones for different reasons but most of the time I get my hands dirty. I use gloves for questionable things and/or things that will hurt me, otherwise the gloves come off and I go au naturale (with my hands, that is!).

  12. For most gardening, I prefer the nitrile gloves, but for spreading mulch I use the heavy duty Mud Gloves. They tend to keep out the splinters well.

  13. Atlas. They’re the only ones I buy anymore. I like the thin ones the best. I do wear them out, but considering I garden professionally 5-6 days a week, I’d probably go through a couple pairs of most any gloves. In the right size, with their stretchy gloves with the waterproof nitrile fingers, I can still pinch. I hand-wash them a time or two a week because I wear them so much. I bought some for the owner of the nursery for Christmas. She loves them too, and has ordered them to sell. Their thermal ones are thicker, but good in colder weather. Can you tell I love these gloves? I sound like a commercial, don’t I!

  14. I’ve tried them all for my plant stocking job and ended up using the cotton $1 a pair kind. I toss them in the washer every night. Any kind that keeps water out also keeps water in and stinks by the end of the day. Leather gets wet and stays wet. Cotton gets wet but drys a bit more and isn’t as heavy while it’s wet. There is no way I could lift pots and flats all day without my gloves.

  15. Nancy, I wear the rubber typed gloves the most unless I’m potting. Then I look for something a little lighter but I’m happy with any glove as long as it’s not half way across the garden from me.

  16. Thank you all so much for your thoughtful and detailed comments! It’s always interesting to see how preferences vary from gardener to gardener — in addition, you’ve given me some great suggestions!

  17. I do like the heavy leather gloves for most jobs. Especially when mowing, that way when I need to pick something up I can do it easily. My favorite gloves are probably the ones that have leather palms and fingers with a cloth material on the back.

  18. I currently have the Bionic garden gloves. I like them as they have a velcro attacment at the wrist so they can be snug. I never used to do much pruning in the past, but I have been at war with the ivy for the last couple of years.I planted comfrey which has gotten really out of hand. To remove that you really need gloves. It has these prickly leaves which are uncomfortable to handle.I did not wear gloves at all in the past, as I liked the feeling of working in the earth and handling the plants.Now I almost always wear them, certainly for big jobs.

  19. I like bare hands for light work. Rubber and cotton for digging out tough weeds, and leather for raking etc. When I plant, I’ve got to have bare hands. The point to me is to feel the dirt and earthworms!

  20. I hate gloves except when clearing out brambles, wild black berries, roses and other thorny things. I was collecting large rocks several years back. After the first load, my hands were shredded so I have to use gloves when working with something heavy and rough.

    Otherwise I like to feel what I’m doing but I pay the price – my hands take a beating. I can’t be a hand model :)

  21. Nancy,

    I’m with Garden Girl – Atlas gloves work the best for me. They’re the only ones that fit my short fingers, they are stretchy, but snug allowing me to do jobs that require precision, and they wash beautifully. I usually buy two new pairs each year. The only place I’m guaranteed to find them when I want them is Mark’s Work Wearhouse, but I’ve seen them available online too.


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