As a welder, your hands are your career. That’s why you need to find the perfect welding gloves to not only protect your hands, but also give you the right amount of dexterity to create accurate welds. To know what you should look for in welding gloves, it’s important to take an overview of the different styles of welding and how they factor into picking the right welding gloves.
Stick welding is the most common form of welding and is used in the construction of heavy steel structures. Stick welding uses electricity to create an arc to fuse metals together, so the welding gloves you wear should be able to withstand high heat and lots of sparks.
Metal Inert Gas (MIG) Welding:
Similar to stick welding, MIG welding uses electricity to join the metal by forming an arc between the electrode and the metal. MIG welding requires less precision than other forms of welding, but works well for longer durations. The welding gloves that you should pick will be able to be worn for comfort, but not necessarily precision. There are also more sparks with MIG welding, which means that the gloves should of a tougher material (see below).
Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) Welding:
TIG welding is a highly technical style of welding that demands welding gloves that allow the maximum amount of precision.
The Type of Welding Glove Material
Now that you’ve got an idea of what level of precision is required for each style of welding, it’s important to know which particular material impacts how you weld. Considering that animal leather is a durable material that is non-conductive and dissipates heat well, it’s no surprise that it’s the go-to for welding gloves. Just as there are many options for the type of welding, each animal hide has its proper purpose:
The most popular welding gloves are made from cowhide due to its wide range of quality and use. Typically, cowhide is durable and comfortable but with a bit more bulk, cowhide is typically used in Stick or MIG welding. However, cowhide can harden when exposed to excessive heat, so it’s not appropriate for TIG welding.
Best Cowhide Welding Gloves:
Just like the animal it is derived from, deerskin welding gloves are typically soft and supple, providing a good feel and nice dexterity for accurate welds and maximum comfort.
Best Deerskin Welding Gloves:
Caiman 1878-5 21-Inch One Size Fits All Genuine American Deerskin Welding Glove with Boarhide Leather Heat Shield and Cuff
The best way to think of elkskin is that it is one step above cowhide, as it will not harden nearly as fast as cowhide when exposed to high heat (meaning less hand fatigue). Typically, elkskin is used in MIG and/or stick because of its heat resistance.
Best Elkskin Welding Gloves: Tillman 875 Onyx All Black Premium Top Grain Elkskin Welding Gloves, X
Goatskin is practically made for TIG welding, with its superior abrasion and tensile strength, but remains soft and supple for the utmost in accuracy.
Best Goatskin Welding Gloves: Superior 370GFKL Precision Arc Goatskin Leather Welding Gloves with Kevlar Lining, TIG Welding Gloves, Large
While not the most popular leather, horsehide is preferred for TIG welding for its good dexterity and toughness.
Best Horsehide Welding Gloves: Superior 365HBR Precision Arc Maximum Dexterity Grain Horsehide Leather TIG Glove, Work, Medium, White/Brown
Pigskin is tough hide that performs well conditions that may be wet and oily, and is best suited for TIG, MIG and Stick welding
Best Pigskin Welding Gloves: Revco Industries BM88L BSX BM88 Extreme Pig Skin MIG Welding Gloves