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Gardening Articles: Care :: Tools & Equipment

Glove Affair (page 2 of 4)

by Shila Patel

Glove Selection Guide

Below we list a wide selection of the most commonly available gardening gloves. We've organized them according to intended use, though these categories are only guides. Gloves similar to many of the ones shown here are available from different manufacturers; prices and quality can vary. Most of the gloves featured, including leather and suede ones, are washable in cool water and can be air dried except as indicated.

General-Purpose: Cotton and Cotton-Polyester

All provide minimal to average protection at low cost.

Cotton jersey gloves with short knit cuffs and felt linings are perfectly suited to chores in cool, dry weather. One size (men's large). By Carolina. Widely available; $3.

More durable than cotton, washable cotton-polyester gloves handle many light chores but have bulky interior seams. Often include dotted palms that enhance grip or reinforced fingers for weeding. Women's sizes only. By Carolina. Widely available; $4.

Generously cut heavyweight cotton gloves provide more wear and protection but have bulky seams. Unisex sizes S-XXL. Manufacturers include Carolina, Fairfield Line, and Wells Lamont. Available from A. M. Leonard, Gempler's, and retail outlets; $3 to $5.

Gloves for the Garden Artist. . . Supple, elegant, and good-looking. Except for the 2-inch gray suede cuff, these lanolin-rich goatskin gloves have more in common with a dress glove than with a gardening glove. They feel so good you won't want to take them off. Women's sizes S-XL. By Womanswork. Available from Womanswork; $22 ($14 for single glove).

Water- and mud-resistant. Both kinds are supple and sensitive, yet protect against cuts, abrasions, and tears. They also enhance grip in soggy conditions.

The Mud Glove is cotton dipped in durable latex. Absorbent, flexible, and crinkled coating is ideal for muddy chores, and it provides a good grip. Latex degrades on contact with petroleum-based materials. Unisex sizes S-L. By Little's Good Gloves. Available from Earthmade, Gardener's Supply, and Little's Good Gloves; $10.

Distinctive orange PVC glove is marketed under various names (The Ultimate Gardening Glove, and Wonder Gloves). This is a water-resistant option for gardeners allergic to natural rubber. Seamless cotton-knit lining and long cuff provide comfort and extra protection (cool-season version has a fleece lining). Molded hand gives good grip and sensitivity, enough to pick up a dime. Avoid contact of PVC with hyydrocarbons (gasoline, kerosene) and organic solvents (acetone). Unisex sizes S-L. By Atlas Gloves. Available from Earthmade, Langenbach, and Ultimate Goods; $10.


If you work with oils, acids, herbicides, pesticides, or other caustic or petroleum-based chemicals, use either neoprene- or nitrile-coated gloves. Neoprene is oil-resistant. Nitrile resists a broader range of oils and solvents including kerosene, naphtha, and turpentine; it also resists cuts and abrasions and offers some puncture protection.

Heavyweight 13-inch gauntlet has a textured neoprene coating over a layer of latex. Lining is two-way stretch cotton, absorbent enough for most short-term chores. Washable, but avoid contaminating lining with toxins. Unisex sizes S-XL. By Wells Lamont. Available from Gempler's; $5.

Unlined nitrile gloves offer maximum protection from chemicals as well as dexterity and sensitivity. They resist petrochemicals as well as solvents, butyls, acids, and caustics. Sizes XS-L. By Gempler's and various other manufacturers. Available from Gempler's and through mail-order catalogs; $2.50.

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