A guest blog post by Dean Else from PPE Work Solutions PWS.

Think of any job that you do in the garden. Now think of another. And one more. Ok enough of the fun, I would be willing to gamble a small fortune that every task you pictured involved working with your hands? Am I right? If not please comment below because I would love to know what you were thinking.

So, pretty much all tasks around the garden involve working with your hands which makes how you protect them quite important. There is a huge selection of gardeners gloves available to buy these days and they can be broken down into three distinct groups: disposable, palm coated or grip gloves and leather / heavy duty gloves. I want to look at each in turn and discuss their uses, pros and cons for gardeners.

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Disposable / Throwaway gloves:

Possibly the least common out of the three, disposable or throwaway gloves are more usually seen been used in the medical and health care professions. That been said they can come in very handy (pardon the pun) around the garden. Disposables are generally made from three materials: Vinyl, Nitrile and latex. I would advise avoiding the vinyl as they are crinklier and less dexterous. Nitrile and latex are evenly matched, and both do a nice job. Many people are allergic to latex, if this is the case for you, try the nitrile.

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Some jobs they can be used for are: Potting, handling seedlings, spreading by hand, labeling, painting garden furniture…..

Pros: Disposables are extremely dexterous and adapt to the hands movements almost like a second skin.

Cons: Sustainability. Due to the nature of the one-time use of these types of gloves, you can find yourself going through a lot of these in a day, which is not great for the environment.

Palm Coated Gloves:

These are perhaps the most versatile type of gardening glove, they are generally coated on the palm with either latex or nitrile and lined with cotton or nylon. Some styles are fully coated on the palms and back of hands as well, which can be a real bonus when working in ponds, but they tend to lose a bit of that all-important feel and touch.

Common jobs coated gloves can be used for: Clearing debris, working with slimy or slippy products, using oily tools, weeding, heavy planting…..

Pros: Any job that requires a good grip then these are your best friend, the nature of the palm gives outstanding levels of protection and unrivaled grip when using tools or clearing debris from the garden.

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Cons: You can lose some dexterity and overall feel through the gloves on the heavier versions. That been said glove manufacturing technology is improving rapidly and some of the newer versions from brand such as MaxiFlex and Showa are ultra-lightweight while still retaining excellent protection and grip.

Leather / Heavy Duty Gloves:

Often made from goatskin, sheepskin or cowhide these are usually used for heavier duty jobs around your garden. Goatskin and sheepskin gloves are extremely supple and often much lighter whilst the cowhide is more rigid and less likely to rip or tear.

Often used for: pruning, handling thorny plants, carrying rocks, working for prolonged periods with hand tools…….

Pros: Durability and toughness, they protect from pokes, scrapes and cuts and offer a higher level of protection against sharp objects such as jagged rocks and rose bush thorns.

Cons: Strength and durability come at the price of flexibility, there’s no way you will be able to do precise or fiddly work in these. Goatskin can also be susceptible to abrasion.