Which are the best gardening gloves?
As a garden blogger, I’m often given free gardening gloves to review.
However, I also buy them, because not all gardening gloves are the same. There are very big differences in comfort, protection and durability.
How to buy gardening gloves
Ideally you should try gardening gloves on before you buy them. I went into a garden centre recently, and managed to try on at least one of each pair of gloves without disturbing the labels. I was glad I had. All the gloves were stiff and uncomfortable. They felt cheaply made, and I wouldn’t personally want to wear them at all. There were no alternatives in the store.
Of course, everyone’s hands are different – which is why trying gloves on first is so helpful.
But I have enough faith in my favourite gloves to be able to say that I believe they’d suit anyone, so I am going to recommend three brands of gardening glove here – Showa, Cobra and Fiskars.
Of course, they aren’t the only three good gardening glove brands, but they are the three that I have worn repeatedly for quite a long time. They haven’t fallen apart, they’re comfortable to wear, and I haven’t lost them.
You may think that it is not a glove brand’s fault if you lose it. But I suspect that when we really love a pair of gardening gloves, we take a lot more care with them!
Disposable gardening gloves
If you’re doing delicate gardening jobs, such as potting up seedlings and writing labels, then I find disposable gloves (as used in hospitals) much easier to use. You can feel what you’re doing, and it’s closer to having bare hands.
However, you do throw them away after one use. I’m trying to be more sustainable in the garden, so I’m going to use these less.
I used to buy any brand, thinking there wasn’t much difference between one disposable glove and another. Until I bought a box of very uncomfortable disposable gloves.
So I’ve researched disposable gloves. There are three different choices. You can buy latex gloves, nitrile gloves or vinyl gloves.
I bought one box of each type, choosing the brands that had the highest number of stars on Amazon. I bought the same size in each brand. See below for the verdicts.
What makes a good gardening glove?
The three qualities that make a good gardening glove – in my opinion – are durability, flexibility and how well they protect your hands.
Look for extra reinforcement around the palm and fingertips. A good gardening glove should be flexible across the knuckles, so you can clench a fist comfortably. And it should fit well around the wrist. I’ve demonstrated this in the video here:
Bright colours can also be a good idea, because you can see the glove more easily if you drop it. But many brightly coloured gloves also seem to be cheaply made – marketed for how they look rather than how they perform.
So here are my favourites.
You can either buy them by clicking on the links below. They’re Amazon affiliate links, which means I may get a small fee if you buy, but it won’t affect the price you pay. And it certainly doesn’t affect my recommendation of which gloves to buy!
Or you can click on the company names here to find your local stockists: Showa, Cobra and Fiskars. The Cobra gloves weren’t available from Amazon, but the link should take you through to the right page on the Cobra website.
And do tell me if you have a favourite gardening glove you can recommend too.
For videos on gardening tips, visits to private gardens and interviews with garden experts, do take a look at the Middlesized Garden YouTube channel. We upload every Saturday, and sometimes on Wednesdays.
I've bought several pairs of these, each of which has lasted for at least three years. They come up well after a wash (no higher than 30 degrees!), and are very comfortable. Although they're lightweight, I find they offer enough protection for most gardening jobs, with the exception of pruning big, thorny bushes. Professional gardeners speak well of the Showa range.
I was given a pair of these by Fiskars about six months ago, and have used them often since. Strong, durable and very comfortable. They've washed well for me at 40 degrees.
I haven't tried these personally, but wanted to include them as I've heard good reports of the Gold Leaf range from fellow garden bloggers. They're also endorsed by the RHS. If you're pruning thorny bushes, such as roses, then you need a strong gauntlet glove like this which protects your arms. And wear long sleeves, too - gardening scratches can turn nasty.
Nitrile gloves - I found they fitted well and were both strong and comfortable - and less likely to puncture than the other disposable gloves. They're latex-free so suitable for anyone with latex allergies. They are slightly more expensive, and, as a petroleum-based product, they're not biodegradable.
Latex gloves are very resilient, comfortable, and fit well. They're made from rubber, so they will ultimately biodegrade (albeit slowly). Generally a little bit cheaper than nitrile, but not suitable for anyone with a latex allergy. You can develop a latex allergy, but that's more likely if you're a health professional using disposable gloves every day. A gardener using them occasionally to repot seedlings is less likely to become allergic.
Vinyl is the cheapest of the disposable gloves, although the difference between 100 nitrile gloves (the most expensive) and 100 vinyl gloves was less than £1 at the time of writing. That would make a big difference if you were buying in bulk but is less important for the individual gardener. They weren't quite as well fitting or comfortable as either the latex or the nitrile gloves, and they aren't biodegradable. But they're OK to use.
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