Best Welding Gloves For MIG, TIG, Stick and Flux (High Quality Leather)
- Quick Comparison Table
- Best Welding Gloves For Stick
- Best Welding Gloves For MIG
- Best Welding Gloves For TIG
- Best Welding Gloves For Flux Core
- And the Winner is: John Tillman 882
- Choosing the Right Welding Glove for You
- In Conclusion
Years of my welding experience have taught me that the best welding gloves are well worth the investment. Most of the welder injuries are gloves related. Gloves should provide safety, dexterity and durability.
Is that too much to ask?
Well, apparently it is. Most gloves on the market are cheap shadows of what a good welder’s glove should be. Depending on the type of welding you are working on, the choice of gloves can seriously impact your health and the quality of work. So it is not surprising that welders like myself are only after quality options even if they are only a few in the marketplace.
Every welder worth his salt takes his safety gear very seriously. It’s one thing to have an adequate piece of equipment that protects you from the extremes of heat and radiation that come with the job. It’s another thing entirely to possess a superior piece of equipment that is well made, long lasting, and actually contributes to quality work.
When it comes to your welding gloves, there may be no piece of equipment more commonly overlooked when it comes to quality. A cheap pair of gloves might protect you from a random piece of flying slag, but they will take away from your manual dexterity, and they could fail- leaving you vulnerable to an uncomfortable encounter with white hot metal.
- Best options for stick welding …(3 minutes read)
- Best options for MIG welding …(3 minutes read)
- Best TIG welding gloves …(2 minutes read)
- Best Flux core welding gloves …(2 minutes read)
- What to consider when choosing the gloves …(2 minutes read)
Here are our recommendations for the best welding gloves in the four major categories; Stick, MIG, TIG, and Flux Core.
Quick Comparison Table
Last update on 2019-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Best Welding Gloves For Stick
Many stick welding applications call for gloves that are long-sleeved to protect from slag spatter. They do not need to offer you a great deal of flexibility in the fingers as the wrists and finger do not need to do a lot of moving. But it’s nice to have the extra manual dexterity that a superior glove can offer as long as the protection level isn’t reduced.
The most important factor for stick welding is protection due to the fact that high heat and spatter can put a serious damper on your day. The best gloves will have a reinforced layer between the thumb and forefinger since that’s where most of the hot slag is going to fall. An area of added protection can sometimes extend up onto the forefinger, but this is not necessary.
What type of leather for Stick?
Finally, the best Stick welding gloves are going to be made from time-tested, high-quality materials like elk skin, cowhide, or pigskin.
And the Winner is: The John Tillman 850L
While not perfect, the John Tillman 850L is the finest welding glove in every category for Stick welding applications.
This pair of welding gloves is made from the highest quality elk skin. They are resistant to high temperatures and the elk skin shell stays pliant even after exposure to intense heat.
With some use, the high-quality elk hide conforms to your hands for an even better than off-the-shelf-fit. The superior fit means these gloves will help keep your stamina up during long shifts. The skin used in these gloves is resistant to both water and to the oils that your hands will subject them to.
Tillman gloves incorporate welted fingers. This means there is an additional layer between your fingers for added protection. The reinforced thumb adds a welcome additional point of protection. As you know, a hurt thumb can slow you down big time.
Tillman gloves contain an added foam liner in the back of the hand for extra heat shielding. Finally, extensive Kevlar thread stitching adds a massive durability boost to an already high-quality glove.
No glove is perfect, and the one major drawback to these is the lack of arm protecting sleeves.
The Runner Up: The Miller 263342
This Stick glove from Miller uses a pigskin shell that is oil resistant. It’s not as flexible as the Tillman gloves, but it has the reinforced thumb and Kevlar thread stitching.
The glove also uses cowhide for the cuff and the back of the glove which is durable and flame and heat resistant. The back of the hand uses triple layered insulated split cowhide leather.
While these are not as well made as the Tillmans, they are still very good- and they have sleeves. Depending on your needs, that could make all the difference. Sleeves could save you from the hot splatter and are always good to have especially for overhead welding.
Best Welding Gloves For MIG
MIG Welding gloves have roughly the same requirements as Stick gloves. They need to be able to protect your hands from splatter, sparks, and to offer high heat protection while offering a reasonable amount of flexibility. Again, flexibility is not held at a premium, but it is welcome when it is available for MIG welding.
MIG welding gloves earn high marks for added protection for the thumb and the first finger since these get the most exposure. A thick area of protection should be found at the back of your non-dominant hand to protect the hand while in the common resting position.
As with stick welding gloves, elk skin is a good material. Other good materials are deerskin and cowhide.
And the Winner is: Miller 263343
These standout welding gloves may be the runner up in stick welding, but in MIG- they’re tops- in our opinion.
They’re made from two split cow leather with two layers on the palm, an affordable and effective material choice.
You get an extra layer of protection on the palm.
The stitching is made from flame resistant Kevlar.
The back of the gloves are reinforced with a 100% wool lining for added thermal and impact protection.
The pre-curved fingers allow the glove to be made extra thick- without the need to sacrifice protection for flexibility.
Like our first winner, the one drawback of the Miller 263343s is their lack of sleeves. You might be able to make for this with a long-sleeved welding coat, and if you want these otherwise top-notch gloves MIG welding gloves, you might need to start wearing those studded bracers metal heads wore in the 80s.
The Runner Up: Steiner 21923
These MIG welding gloves from Steiner are made from top quality cowhide. They’re foam insulated with a full cotton back lining. They have a reinforced thumb, flame resistant Kevlar stitching, and welted fingers.
They also have a wing thumb which offers more versatile movement and has fewer exposed stitches than the keystone thumb which also offers more durability.
And, just like our Stick welding runner up, these have sleeves. So once again. If your work sends a lot of slag at your forearms- for whatever reason- these might actually be the better pick for you.
Their only drawback is that they are of a slightly inferior fit and finish, which- in most cases is purely superficial.
Best Welding Gloves For TIG
TIG welding is the most forgiving welding application since the amperages are low and there is little to no slag spatter or flying sparks. That means TIG gloves can afford to be lighter and more flexible.
In fact, because TIG welding means you have to work with thin wire, you really need your TIG gloves to be much MUCH more flexible than the ones we’ve already talked about. The touchpoints (fingertips and spaces between the fingers) need to be even thinner than the rest of the glove so that you can handle that thin wire.
Softer and thinner leather should be used on the thumb, back of the hand and other vulnerable parts of your hand.
So a really good pair of TIG gloves are not just a wimpy version of stick or MIG gloves. They actually need to be very carefully crafted to get the important mix of the right level of protection and the right level of flexibility.
Another thing that’s important to keep in mind is that because of the flexibility requirement of TIG gloves, the material will actually be more prone to wearing out. That means skimping on quality is not a good idea. That’s why we’re offering our best of picks.
And the Winner is: John Tillman 1488
These gloves really have it all for the TIG-heavy welder. Their one drawback is pretty minor. Overall, it’s a very good choice.
The Tillman 1488 features high-quality goatskin on the palm and the back of the hand. This delivers reasonable durability with good flexibility.
The goatskin gives you the maximum sensitivity, (so you can tell by touch what you’re doing), and high durability.
These gloves are light and sturdy with Kevlar stitching for added heat protection.
The proprietary Super “V” thumb lets you fit the glove to your hand almost perfectly.
The Tillman 1488 has a Velcro strap that makes taking them on and off a little bit inconvenient. It’s a minor gripe since it actually enhances fitting- but you might find it annoying.
The TIG Finger
There really is no reason to challenge the Tillman 1488 in TIG. So we thought we’d suggest a perfect complimentary item to these gloves; the TIG Finger.
This is a simple heat resistant sleeve that you fit over one gloved finger.
This lets you rest your hand against hot metal without burning yourself through relatively thin TIG gloves.
Best Welding Gloves For Flux Core
Flux Core welding uses some of the highest amperage ranges. Therefore, when welding with Flux Core, you need gloves that provide the most protection you can get.
Because Flux Core welding is especially dirty, you need the most durable gloves you can find as high levels of smoke, debris, and blowback will be familiar friends to every Flux Core welder. Flex Core gloves should be exceptionally sturdy with a reinforced area between the thumb and pointing finger since it is there that the wear will happen soonest from holding the welding gun.
What kind of materials can endure these conditions?
Flux Core welding gloves need to be made from the strongest materials available such as side-split cowhide, elk skin, or thick deerskin. These materials will also withstand higher temperatures. In the best gloves for this process, you will find aluminized material on the top to reflect heat away from your hand.
And the Winner is: John Tillman 882
The Tillman 882 is, in our opinion, the finest glove for Flux Core welding on the market today.
It features an aluminized Carbon Kevlar back to reflect temperatures up to 1500F and deflect molten metal splatter. Considering the nature of flux core welding this is a highly appreciated feature.
The palm is made from Cowhide split, which is both strong and reasonably flexible. A reinforced thumb adds durability and protection for a longer lasting glove.
And finally, the Tillman 882 features a wool lining for greater insulation.
Once again, this high-quality glove is not long sleeved which is a real shame but the sleeves are not short either as the glove is 14inches long in total.
Choosing the Right Welding Glove for You
Cowhide, Elkskin, Deerskin, and Pigskin are the more durable materials. Choose these for most applications. Goatskin gloves are best for TIG welding.
Flexibility and dexterity are high on your list of considerations for TIG and Flux Core due to the small wires used. Flexibility is achieved with thin fabric between the fingers. Protection and flexibility are important with Flux Core, which means specialized gloves are needed. Depending on the types of welding you do the flexibility will impact your glove choice.
Be sure your glove fits your hand. Oversized gloves are easily caught in a weld and tend to catch hot slag. Gloves that are too small will bind your movement and cause you to sweat.
Sleeves are recommended for MIG, Stick, and Flux Core welding. TIG welders may not need sleeved gloves unless doing an overhead weld- in which case gloves are always recommended.
Safety is your primary consideration. Welding burns can happen in an instant, and they can be debilitating. So protection is the first thing you need to consider when choosing a glove. Second, comes performance. You cannot do the job with a glove that is overly restrictive. Take the time to choose the right glove for the job and for your hands. Don’t show up with the wrong gloves!