gardening-gloves

6 Best Gardening Gloves For Protection Against Thorns, Splinters & Nettles! (2021 Review)

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In this guide we’ll take a look at the best gardening gloves to protect your hands.
I’ve compared material quality, comfort, design and cost
to give you my top recommendations.

What are the Best Gardening Gloves?

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Comparing The Best Gardening Gloves

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that's most important to you.

  • Best For
  • Material
  • Waterproof
  • Reinforced Fingertips
  • Cost
  • Our score
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In-Depth Reviews of Our Recommended Gardening Gloves

Exemplary Gardens Unisex Leather Gardening GlovesExemplary Gardens Unisex Leather Gardening Gloves

Best unisex gardening gloves

Design
Comfort
Grip
Durability
Value for Money
Overall
4.66
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Exemplary Gardens Unisex Leather Gardening Gloves Review

Specifications

  • Material: Spandex, Leather
  • Waterproof: No
  • Reinforced Fingertips: No

Wearing warm gardening gloves in the summer can be an uncomfortable experience, especially on particularly muggy or hot days.

If you’re after a pair that are light and comfortable for when the temperatures surpass 20°c, these Exemplary Gardens Unisex Leather Gardening Gloves are both cool and supple.

They come in a range of sizes with a breathable spandex back and protective goatskin leather palms. They’re not bulky or stiff, unlike some gardening gloves of yesteryear (anyone else remember trying on their parent’s gardening gloves and barely being able to make a fist?), so dexterity isn’t reduced despite the extra layer.

As a result of this snug fit, they can feel a little tight if you don’t get the size right. Therefore, it’s a good idea to take an accurate palm measurement and check it with Exemplary Gardens’ sizing chart to make sure the size is correct before making a purchase.

There’s also an XS size available which can be quite hard to find in gardening gloves sometimes, making these one of the best choices for gardeners with petite hands too. The gloves are secured with Velcro, so they don’t slip off, and are suitable for both men and women.

In terms of performance, they’re suited to light gardening tasks as opposed to anything too demanding – they should protect from stinging nettles but aren’t thorn resistant. The fingertips aren’t reinforced either, so we’re talking about gloves that are good for pulling weeds but aren’t suited to more intense jobs.

A final thing worth noting is the colour – the white colour marks easily in contact with dirt. However, really this is to be expected with most gardening gloves – it just depends if the off-white appearance will grate on you.

All in all, these are a good pair of lightweight gardening gloves that will keep your hands cool yet protected when doing light summer jobs outside.

Pros

  • A good option for light gardening work as they are supple and soft
  • Offer good mobility so suitable for gardening tasks that require precision
  • Very breathable so suitable for the summer months
  • 5 sizes available to suit most hand sizes
  • The strap makes them very easy to secure

Cons

  • The sizes seem to come up small, especially for those with broader palms, so those with large hands may find even the largest sizes too tight
  • Not suitable for heavy gardening work as they don’t offer much protection against thorns
  • May become slippery when wet and aren't waterproof
  • The white leather on the palms and fingers gets dirty extremely quickly
  • The fingertips aren’t reinforced which means they may wear out quicker than those that are reinforced
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Viridescent Leather Ladies Gardening GlovesViridescent Leather Ladies Gardening Gloves

Best ladies gardening gloves

Design
Comfort
Grip
Durability
Value for Money
Overall
4.64
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Viridescent Leather Ladies Gardening Gloves Review

Specifications

  • Material: Leather, Polyester Blend
  • Waterproof: Water resistant
  • Reinforced Fingertips: Yes

If you’ve got petite hands and have always struggled with bulky, misfitting gloves that fall off whilst weeding, these Viridescent Leather Ladies Gardening Gloves offer a much more streamlined fit.

They come in a size ‘small’ which equates to a palm circumference measurement of 21 cm, measured just below the knuckle. Whilst the gloves are quite slim fitting, there is still a bit of give in the breathable, spandex fabric on the back of the hand, which helps pull them on.

Now is probably the time to mention that this elasticated fabric is a bright pink colour, which may be a little divisive amongst some. However, there’s no denying – if you want to bring a pop of colour to your gardening attire, these gloves are certainly a good way to do it.

The palm and fingers are enforced by white leather which protects against small thorns and stinging nettles. Given the light colour, the leather can get grubby, so it’s a good idea to wipe down and condition after use if you’re hoping to keep it relatively clean. It’s also quite a supple leather which shouldn’t restrict movement even if you lack hand strength.

To secure the gloves in place, there is a Velcro wrist strap which ensures a close fit and makes sure no small stones or dirt can fall down into the gloves whilst you work.

Overall, these are good gloves for light gardening tasks that are also well suited to protecting from blisters whilst doing dry repetitive jobs like digging/hoeing/mowing etc. They shouldn’t be mistaken for hard-duty gloves, as they will likely let tough thorns through, but they will help gardeners with petite hands complete jobs like weeding.

Pros

  • A good option for the summer due to their breathability
  • Offer good mobility thanks to the elastic back and supple leather
  • Suitable for light to medium gardening work
  • Very comfortable so can be worn for long periods of time

Cons

  • Not suitable for heavy gardening work as they may not withstand large thorns and brambles
  • The fingers aren’t reinforced so may become worn over time
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Pine Tree Tools Unisex Bamboo Working GlovesPine Tree Tools Unisex Bamboo Working Gloves

Best breathable gardening gloves

Design
Comfort
Grip
Durability
Value for Money
Overall
4.54
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Pine Tree Tools Unisex Bamboo Working Gloves Review

Specifications

  • Material: Bamboo fabric, Rubber coated palms
  • Waterproof: No
  • Reinforced Fingertips: No

It isn’t unusual to have to continuously take off your gardening gloves in order to do certain tasks. But, no matter how common this is, it’s certainly quite annoying.

However, with these Pine Tree Tools Unisex Bamboo Working Gloves, the necessity to constantly remove your gloves is reduced; they fit close to the hand to feel like a second skin, and are touch-screen compatible too.

Made from bamboo, with a rubberised palm and fingers, these gloves have a snug fit that doesn’t get in the way whilst gardening; it allows better sensitivity when doing dextrous jobs. They’re also breathable and wick moisture away so that it doesn’t agitate the skin. Plus, bamboo is generally regarded as an eco-friendly, sustainable choice because it’s so quick to grow.

In terms of fit, there are several sizes available, and they can feel a little tight compared to traditional gloves – ordering a size up can help get a more relaxed fit, but you may find that ordering your true size (after measuring) better achieves that ‘second skin’ feel.

They’re flexible, giving good control, and also very grippy for when using tools in the garden; however, as a pair of lightweight, thinner gloves, they don’t offer full protection against thorns.

As previously mentioned, they’re touch-screen compatible as well. This might sound unnecessary in the garden, but it does just mean that if you need to answer the phone, send a quick text, or set a gardening-related reminder, you don’t have to pull your gloves on and off to do so.

Pros

  • Offer protection for both your hands and wrists
  • Made using bamboo which is both sustainable and highly breathable - a good option for hot weather gardening
  • Give a ‘bare hand’ feeling, offering full mobility to your hands and fingers for more precise tasks
  • Offer good grip when carrying both large and small items
  • Can be used with touch screens

Cons

  • It’s recommended users size up as they come up small
  • Due to the thin design, they are best suited to light work
  • Although they soften more as you wear them, some users may find the inside uncomfortable for the first few uses
  • They are not fully waterproof so shouldn’t be used in wet weather
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Exemplary Gardens Leather Rose Pruning GlovesExemplary Gardens Leather Rose Pruning Gloves

Best for rose pruning

Design
Comfort
Grip
Durability
Value for Money
Overall
4.54
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Exemplary Gardens Leather Rose Pruning Gloves Review

Specifications

  • Material: Leather, Cowhide suede
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Reinforced Fingertips: No

Rose pruning is both therapeutic and hazardous. And, more often than not, a pair of standard gardening gloves don’t offer the level of protection required to face such a potentially perilous activity.

These Exemplary Gardens Leather Rose Pruning Gloves, on the other hand, go all the way up to your elbow, keeping both your hands and arms protected from scratches. All in all, it’s good way to enjoy your rose pruning peacefully, without looking like you got into a scrap with next door’s cat…

Importantly, they’re also soft and flexible, giving you controlled dexterity for your pruning; they offer sufficient protection up the arm, without making it feel like you’re approaching your roses in a pair of marigolds.

As a result of the protection they offer, they’re also some of the best gardening gloves for tackling thorny areas, not just roses, as it’s possible to grab thorny branches without the spikes getting through. Of course, this does depend on the size of the thorn, but generally they’re very protective.

If you have larger hands, you may find that even the XL size is a little small – it’s for a hand circumference of 27 cm (11″). It’s also necessary to consider what clothing needs to be worn under the gauntlet of the gloves, as some thicker sleeves may not fit.

Pros

  • Offer both hand and forearm protection
  • Both durable and strong - protecting your hands against scratches, stings and most thorns
  • Relatively soft and supple with good hand and finger mobility despite their large size
  • The hand section fits very snugly, and they are comfortable to wear for long periods of time

Cons

  • The maroon colour may stain your hands, although this is relatively easy to clean off
  • The cuffs have quite a snug fit so may not fit over thicker items of clothing or jackets
  • The largest XL size is 27cm (11") which may be too small for some people with larger hands
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Briers Gruffalo Gardening Gloves For KidsBriers Gruffalo Gardening Gloves For Kids

Best for kids

Design
Comfort
Grip
Durability
Value for Money
Overall
4.42
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Briers Gruffalo Gardening Gloves For Kids Review

Specifications

  • Material: Latex
  • Waterproof: No
  • Reinforced Fingertips: No

Getting kids interested in gardening can sometimes be as simple as kitting them out so that they’re excited about joining in; we’re talking kid-size trowels, small-hand friendly watering cans, and fun pint-size gloves.

These brightly coloured Briers Gruffalo Gardening Gloves are a great example of child-friendly gardening gloves: protective, interesting and well-fitted to younger hands.

Suitable for kids of 4 – 8 years, they’re made predominantly from thick, protective latex, with an elasticated-knit wristband that keeps the fit snug (which will also stop them from falling off and potentially getting lost!).

Whether you’re trying to teach your children how to garden, grow seeds, or just stay a bit cleaner whilst playing in the mud, they’ll likely love being able to have some gardening gloves that look like a smaller version of your own.

Plus, if your kids are genuinely keen to help out around the garden, the fabric of these gloves will keep them protected from stinging nettles and small thorns, so you shouldn’t have to worry about having to dry any tears from plant-related boo boos.

Pros

  • Bright and engaging Gruffalo design that kids will love
  • Suitable for small hands and kids as young as 4
  • A good option for winter thanks to their snug fit
  • Can be cleaned in the washing machine with no deterioration to the fabric
  • Easy for children to get on and take off

Cons

  • Children under 4, and those with particularly small hands may find these gloves too large
  • Unlikely to protect from larger thorns on brambles
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Town & Country Deluxe Premium Gardening GlovesTown & Country Deluxe Premium Gardening Gloves

Best leather gardening gloves

Design
Comfort
Grip
Durability
Value for Money
Overall
4.52
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Town & Country Deluxe Premium Gardening Gloves Review

Specifications

  • Material: Leather, Suede
  • Waterproof: No
  • Reinforced Fingertips: No

For jobs that require slightly more durable gloves, these Town & Country Deluxe Premium Gardening Gloves are made entirely from leather, with no thinner ‘knit’ areas, plus they have gauntlets that will also protect the forearms.

The leather construction protects from the majority of brambles, almost all the way up to the elbow, meaning painful scratches can be kept to a minimum. Big thorns will still make it through, especially when grasped directly, but if you’re generally working in and amongst nettles and brambles, the job should be made a lot more pleasant with these gloves.

If gardening in summer, they also offer protection to arms even if you’re wearing short sleeves, so it’s nice to not have to compromise between either being too hot or having unprotected arms.

The leather is soft and relatively supple, meaning the gloves are comfortable to wear; however, the yellow colour can transfer to the hands if the gloves get wet – be that from perspiration or rain. It does wash off eventually, but might be a little surprising.

In terms of fit, they are a size 8 – 9 which translates to roughly a size L (20 – 23 cm palm circumference). The fingers may be a little long for some gardeners with smaller hands.

Overall, these are more suited to ‘thorny’ tasks than some of the elasticated-back gloves on this list, but the leather is still soft enough to let bigger brambles and thorns pierce through. They’re some of the best gardening gloves for generally protecting the arms from scratches and nettles, but still aren’t suitable for extremely heavy-duty tasks.

Pros

  • The extra long cuff ensures your elbows are protected as well as your hands
  • Offer great protection against nettles and most brambles
  • Thinner than others on the market which provides enough mobility for more precise tasks
  • A great option for everyday use thanks to their comfort and suppleness

Cons

  • Care will still need to be taken around larger thorns and brambles, as the gloves are not 100% puncture-proof
  • Some customers find the yellow dye stains their hands after the first use - which can take a while to wash off
  • Come up quite small so many people opt to buy a size larger
  • Fairly stiff when you initially put them on, but they do loosen
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Things to Know Before Buying Gardening Gloves

Those who have been gardening for a while will know there are highs and lows to the hobby. Gardening is tough physical work, and without the right equipment, it can sometimes verge on painful.

To keep your green fingers puncture-free, a good pair of gardening gloves is a necessary staple. The right gloves can protect from brambles, dirt, and chemicals; they’ll also help prevent blisters that can develop from long periods of using tools and equipment.

Not to mention, gloves also keep your hands warm on cold, rainy days (always a plus in our somewhat grey UK climate).

There are a huge range of gardening gloves on the market, some more suitable for certain jobs than others. If you’re considering purchasing a pair, the following information might come in handy:

The Correct Gloves for Your Intended Purpose

The umbrella phrase of ‘gardening gloves’ covers under it a multitude of meanings.

You will likely need different gardening gloves depending on the task you’re doing, and these can generally be divided into four broad ‘task’ categories: weeding, rose pruning, using machinery/equipment and tackling tougher jobs.

Gloves for Weeding

If you’re pulling up weeds, you can use relatively lightweight gloves; however, you’ll still want them to have some protection in case you come across something sharp or encounter any nettles.

For weeding, gloves with spandex or elastane backs offer comfort and flexibility. These will often have leather palms which offer a bit more protection to the hands.

Bamboo gloves with rubberised protection are also great for weeding, offering good movement, protection and grip. These can be more protective than thin leather against some spiny plants.

In general, you don’t want the gloves that you use for weeding to be too bulky or thick as you won’t be able to get a good hold on the plants or be controlled in what you are pulling up.

Gloves for Rose Pruning

Rose pruning gloves need to be thicker than general weeding gloves because you know you’re going to come into contact with thorns.

Generally a good quality leather will be adequate for this, and you also want to make sure that the gloves have gauntlets (sleeves) so that your arms are protected.

Trying to prune roses without gloves with gauntlets tends to results in a lot of painful scratches up the arm which can be avoided.

You’ll likely find that specialised rose-pruning gloves are also adequate for dealing with other thorny plants, and brambles, in the garden.

Gloves for Using Machinery/Equipment

It can help to have protective gloves in the garden when using machinery or general garden equipment – for example lawnmowers, garden forks and secateurs.

Using gloves for these (and other) garden activities can help reduce the likelihood of getting blisters, as well as make it generally more comfortable. In the colder months it can also be a relief to have gloves, so as not to have to come in direct contact with cold metal tools.

Lightweight gloves are generally a good choice when using machinery/tools as you want to have good manoeuvrability and shouldn’t be putting the gloves under too much strain from friction.

Choosing gloves with good grip, be that rubber or leather, will also stop you from slipping if using tools when it’s raining.

Gloves for Tackling Tougher Jobs

If you’re trying to move a lot of brambles, you’ll want some gloves that don’t let thorns through easily.

These will tend to be made of thick leather and may well have a lining to offer more protection.

Some of the best gardening gloves for tougher jobs will also have reinforced fingertips and knuckles that can reduce wear (and potential puncturing) when picking up a lot of tough material.

Getting the Fit Right

Getting gloves that fit well can vastly improve comfort. Buying gloves that are too big generally doesn’t make them more comfortable – slipping around inside gloves can be just as uncomfortable as wearing ones that are too small.

This is why it’s important to look for gloves with good flexibility and stretch – they’ll be comfortable enough that they won’t feel too tight when they fit well.

How to Measure Your Glove Size:

  1. Take a tape measure and measure your dominant hand.
  2. Wrap the tape measure around your hand, below your knuckles.
  3. Make a fist to ensure there will be enough space in the gloves for movement.
  4. Take the measurement.

Tip: Most glove sizing is done in inches, so you may have to convert the measurement from cm to inches depending on the units of your tape measure. Some brands do their sizing by only measuring across the palm (and not the whole hand circumference), in which case you can divide your measurement by two.

Different Fabric Choices and Their Purposes

Gardening gloves can be made from a lot of different materials.

The most common are made from pigskin leather. This is durable, comfortable and thorn-proof. Goatskin leather is another good option, but this can be more expensive.

Leather will grow more flexible after long-term use, so whilst leather gloves may feel a little restricted at first, they soon become more supple.

For lighter tasks, cotton gloves will do the trick. These are affordable and comfortable, but they don’t offer the same protection against thorns as leather gloves. They are suitable for weeding jobs where there are no thorns or stinging plants.

There are a couple of other lightweight fabrics that it’s good to look out for, especially for the back of gardening gloves.

  • Bamboo is a breathable, comfortable and sustainable fabric which helps wick moisture away from hands.
  • A polyester/Lycra blend also offers comfort and is easy to care for.
  • Another good option, for the whole glove, or for the palm, is latex. This is lightweight and also wear and tear resistant. Plus, it makes it easy to grip garden tools. Latex is a good alternative if you’re uncomfortable using leather, but it’s not suitable for those with sensitive skin or allergies.

If you’re going to be applying pesticide to your garden, a pair of latex or neoprene coated gloves are the best option. These are non absorbent, therefore preventing your hands from coming into contact with the chemicals.

Reinforced Fingertips

The fingertips are often subject to the most wear, so the best gardening gloves often come with reinforced fingertips. This also gives you an extra layer of padding against thorns.

The downside to reinforced fingertips is they tend to reduce your mobility, so they’re not as suitable for delicate and more precise tasks like planting seeds by hand.

Some gardening gloves also have knuckle and wrist reinforcements. These too will reduce flexibility when it comes to delicate jobs, but they are a must-have for heavy duty work.

Breathability and Ventilation

Working in gloves without adequate breathability will cause your hands to get sweaty and uncomfortable. This isn’t fun for anyone, but can be particularly agitating for anyone suffering from eczema or other skin complaints.

Gloves made from breathable fabrics stop moisture from getting trapped in the gloves.

Natural fabrics tend to be more breathable, so gloves made from cotton, leather, bamboo, and linen will breathe well.

Synthetic fabrics don’t tend to be as breathable because they contain plastic polymers. 100% polyester doesn’t breathe well, but if it has a looser weave, or is combined with a natural (and therefore more breathable fibre), it can offer more breathability.

You need to consider not only the outside material of the gloves, but the lining fabric. If the shell of the gloves are breathable but the lining has a high polyester content, moisture won’t be able to escape easily.

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Gardening Gloves FAQs

Should you wear gloves while gardening?

Gardening gloves not only keep your hands clean, they also protect against thorns, sharp objects and harsh chemicals.

Whilst you might not definitely need gloves for like garden weeding, it can be a lot more comfortable to wear them – especially in case you come across an unexpected nettle.

When pruning roses, using tools and clearing brambles, you’ll almost definitely want to wear gloves. Rose-pruning gloves protect your arms and forearms from thorns, making the job a lot more manageable.

Wearing gloves whilst using tools in the garden can reduce the chance of getting blisters, and can also make holding metal tools, or those without soft grips, generally more comfortable.

Clearing brambles can also be an agonising job without the right gloves. Wearing protective gloves can make it more pleasant and therefore quicker to do as well.

How do you maintain gardening gloves?

This depends on what your gloves are made from. Most non-leather gardening gloves can be soaked in a bowl of lukewarm water after use to dislodge any mud, then left to air dry. Don’t be tempted to dry your gloves on the radiator, as this can change their shape.

If you have leather gloves, avoid getting them wet. Instead, brush off as much dirt as you can and apply a leather conditioner to keep them in good shape.

Some gardening gloves can be cleaned in the washing machine, but you should check with the manufacturer on how best to clean your gloves.

How do I keep my leather gardening gloves soft?

Softening your leather garden gloves will prolong their lifespan and make them a lot more comfortable to wear. Increased flexibility will give you better grip when handling tools, and treating your leather gloves can also help them be water resistant.

Remove any dirt from your gloves using a soft cleaning brush. Apply saddle soap or traditional leather cleaner to your gloves, working in soft circular motions with a cloth.

Once your gloves are clean, applying boot oil or leather balm. You may find this easier to do if you are wearing the gloves. Liberally apply the oil or balm all over the gloves, then remove the gloves and leave them in a clean and dry space.

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