10 best gardening gloves, per gardening experts | CNN Underscored
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10 best gardening gloves, per gardening experts | CNN Underscored

Gardening gloves quick picks

Tending to your plants is a hobby that many find relaxing, but it can quickly lead to annoying cuts and scrapes. Luckily, a good pair of gardening gloves will protect your hands from thorns (and prevent dirt from getting underneath your fingernails).

We asked six expert gardeners to share the gardening gloves they personally use and recommend. We even got their expert tips on how to shop for this essential gardening tool.

Wearing a good pair of gardening gloves to protect your hands is essential, whether you’re pulling weeds, pruning, turning the compost pile or vegetable gardening. Here’s what to look for in gardening gloves.

Choosing gloves based on your hand size is key because wearing ones that are too big or too small won’t be comfortable and could complicate your gardening work. “I look for a good fit since I have small hands,” says Linda Vater, plant expert for Southern Living Plant Collection. “Gardeners don’t always consider that, but sizing is important for comfort and the ability to perform tasks with greater control.”

Comfort and durability

Once you know your size, seek out gloves that are made to last. “I am interested in making an investment in high-quality, long-lasting gloves,” says Ace Berry, floral artist for Oasis Forage Products. “I am willing to spend more because I know I won’t have to keep replacing them.” If you’re on a budget, his advice is: “Aim for the best option in your price range that covers the quality features you need.”

In general, comfort, durability and breathability are key qualities experts look for in a gardening glove. “I prefer natural materials over synthetic because they provide breathability and cool comfort for general tasks, especially in warmer weather,” says Mary Phillips, head of Native Plant Habitat Strategy/Certifications at the National Wildlife Federation. She recommends leather gloves for this reason, but some of the other experts we spoke with still suggest rubber gloves.

7 best gardening shoes to protect your feet from dirt and mud

Charlie Nardozzi, author of “The Complete Guide to No-Dig Gardening” and “Foodscaping,” says gardening gloves with padding in the palm and cushion in the fingertips are great, but make sure you can easily bend your knuckles to protect your hands and fingers. Nardozzi also likes gloves with good grip to pick up small objects, such as seed packets.

Joe Lamp’l, aka “Joe Gardener,” author of “The Vegetable Garden Book,” host of the PBS series “Growing A Greener World” and host of the gardening podcast “The Joe Gardener Show,” looks for similar characteristics in gloves that include “comfort, flexibility, form-fitting and touch, including being able to use my cell phone without taking them off.”

Some glove styles are better for specific jobs, such as sowing seeds, turning the soil or building a trellis. “I use a few different garden gloves for various gardening tasks,” says Nardozzi.

Thicker gloves will provide more protection, making them better for pulling vines and pruning, according to Phillips. But you can also get more protection by opting for gardening gloves that come up higher on the arm (more on that later).

Best rubber gardening gloves

Nardozzi and Vater recommend Cooljob’s rubber gloves for weeding, planting and delicate tasks — and both experts praise their breathable knit. “Because I have smaller hands, I love the sizing options and fit of Cooljob gardening gloves,” says Vater, who has multiple pairs of the brand’s general gardening gloves and a fleece-lined pair for winter when it’s cold outside. “The flexible material allows for good finger movement, making handling small tools, seeds or delicate plants easier.”

The gloves are also very lightweight and have good grip. “The palms are typically coated with a nonslip rubber material that provides enough grip for basic gardening tasks like weeding, planting or turning compost,” Vater says.

And if dirt usually ends up in your gloves while you’re tending to your garden, these gloves are designed to prevent that from happening. “They also have a long cuff so soil doesn’t fall into the glove easily,” Nardozzi adds. The Cooljob gardening gloves are also available in men’s sizes.

Best machine-washable gardening gloves

Lamp’l is a big fan of these gardening gloves because they are machine-washable, comfortable and affordable. The nitrile gloves are tough on the outside to protect your hands while the nylon liner prevents your palms and fingers from getting too sweaty, making them ideal for landscaping and gardening projects.

“I wear these gloves for everything!” Lamp’l says. “The only time I don’t wear them is if I have more of a construction-related project that requires serious hand protection.” He also says these gardening gloves maintain touch and feel, and he can still use his cell phone while wearing them. He also likes that they aren’t bulky: “They slip nicely into my back pocket,” Lamp’l adds.

Best leather gardening gloves

Berry relies on these high-quality, hand-sewn goat leather gloves for many tasks. “The leather provides a good grip, making it easier to handle tools and plants without slipping,” he says. “I use them for gardening tasks such as weeding, pruning and cutting. They’re also useful for building raised beds, trellises or other garden structures to protect my hands from splinters, nails, etc.”

Besides the fact that these gloves are expert-recommended, we also like that the brand is committed to sustainability. Its factory relies on 100% renewable energy, and it sources all materials from within the United States to reduce its carbon emissions and footprint. Plus, instead of replacing your gloves when there’s some wear and tear, Vermong Glove offers repairs for $30. If you’re focused on living sustainably, consider investing in these leather gardening gloves. 

Best lightweight gloves for delicate tasks

A thin, lightweight glove is helpful for sowing seeds for transplanting seedlings. “For delicate tasks like planting native grass seeds or plugs in the fall or flower seedlings in the spring, I like cotton canvas gloves,” says Phillips. She says these Magid Handmaster gloves provide more tactile sensation than others. “I always look for natural materials over synthetics due to their breathability and coolness,” she says.

Best gloves for potting plants and weeding

Potting plants requires thin gloves for filling containers with soil and transplanting seedlings. Tara Nolan, co-owner of SavvyGardening and author of “Raised Bed Revolution,” says these Gardena gloves are her go-to because of the flexible material. “They give me more dexterity for pulling out plant tags, deadheading any dead foliage, lifting plants out of pots and fitting them into a container,” she says. “I like a gardening glove that has latex around the fingers, especially for weeding when it’s wet (when weeds are easier to pull!).”

Best gardening gloves for pruning

Phillips opts for these Womanswork gloves “when working with vines, pruning my shrubs or performing rough or abrasive tasks involving thorns or sharp tools.” The work gloves are made from pigskin leather, and they’re known for being resistant and durable, even when they’re wet. Plus, they’re designed for women’s hands and come in multiple sizes so you can get the best fit. “I prefer brands that are more fitted and less bulky than unisex gloves,” Phillips adds.

They also come in a men’s version that Nardozzi recommends. “For moving soil, compost, stones, fencing and other heavy work, nothing beats a pair of sturdy leather gloves,” he says. “They protect my hands from impact with stones and sharp, metal fences.”

Budget-friendly gardening gloves with wrist straps

For budget-friendly gardening gloves, Berry likes the Centurion Men’s Performance Work Gloves. “These gloves are great because they are very durable for their price,” says Berry. With their easy grip and flexible material, Berry uses these gloves for a multitude of gardening tasks, including digging, mulching, harvesting and handling garden waste.

And because they have a wrist strap, you can adjust these gloves for a snug fit. “I love using them for their extra finger grips and because they aren’t stiff,” Berry says. “The material allows for easy hand movement and dexterity.” He also recommends these gloves because “they have specific reinforced areas for added safety when grabbing stems and cutting branches.”

Best gardening gloves to protect your arms from thorny bushes

Whether you have a flourishing rose garden or need to prune bushes, shrubs or trees, wearing gloves that also cover your arms can reduce scratches and pricks. “My favorite gloves for pruning are anything with a gauntlet, which provides arm as well as hand protection,” says Nolan. She says they are typically called rose gloves, but she uses them for a variety of tasks. “They also work well for thorny shrubs, like raspberries and gooseberries,” she adds. 

If you are prone to rashes or have an allergy to some trees or plants, a gauntlet gives you extra protection. “Cedars tend to give me a bit of a rash if my arms rub against them, so the gauntlets provide a bit of protection from cedar branches,” she says. These gloves are made with goatskin leather and also come in handy for pulling prickly weeds. 

Best puncture-resistant gardening gloves

Gardener’s Supply Company

Wearing gloves isn’t only to minimize being pricked by thorns or getting soil underneath your nails. There are times when you may be interacting with heavy hoses or chemical-based liquids, so you’ll want to cover your hands. “For working with hoses, pesticides, greases and liquids such as gas, I like the nitrile gloves,” says Nardozzi. “This is a latex base that’s lightweight yet puncture-resistant and most liquids can’t penetrate them.”

These gloves are versatile, keep your hands dry and can be hosed off or thrown in the washing machine. “I also like the sticky grips on the finger pads for grabbing objects such as seeds and hand tools,” Nardozzi adds. “They are flexible enough to even check your text messages in the garden (even though you shouldn’t!).” 

Best gardening sleeves

If you spend a lot of time outside and in the elements, you’ll want to protect your arms too — not just your hands. That’s why Vater uses a protection sleeve along with gardening gloves. “In the summer, I use Farmer’s Defense Protection Sleeves, which aren’t technically gloves, to protect my arms from thorny plants while pruning and to prevent sunburn,” she says. “They come in cute patterns and are made of stretchy, nonrestrictive material.” You can also feel good knowing that the polyester sleeves are made from recycled plastic bottles, and they are moisture-wicking to keep sweat away.