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12 best gardening gloves to protect your hands during outdoor graft

Our pick of the bunch for weeding, digging and pruning your patch

Les Steed
Thursday 10 March 2022 23:30 GMT
We rated each pair on water resistance, comfort, warmth, grip and durability
We rated each pair on water resistance, comfort, warmth, grip and durability (The Independent)

Gloves are the handiest thing in a gardener’s arsenal – from pulling summer weeds to keeping your fingertips frost-free while digging and starting duels with nosy neighbours – it’s important to get the right pair for you, your projects, plants and garden.

To make sure that our garden was well weeded and the quality was what we needed, we tested a range of products, from posh personalised ones to winter warmers and budget mitts that cost less than a cup of coffee. Unless otherwise stated, the gloves we tested are non-gender specific.

How we tested

There wasn’t exactly an abundance of weeds in February so we popped each pair on in the winter sun while digging some beds, before heading to the woods to grab a blackberry bush by the thorns (though the result was quite unprintable when we had on a thin pair). To test water resistance we dipped our gloved hands palm first into a bucket of water for 10 seconds.

We rated the gloves out of 10 for water resistance, comfort, warmth, grip/dexterity and durability, then gave the mean average for the overall score. Many gloves have waterproof palms and “breathable” backs, earning them an even-handed 7/10 for waterproofing.

For large-scale glove orders we recommend GTS Direct, who were kind enough to send many of the samples.

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The best gardening gloves for 2022 are:

  • Best all-rounder – Wilko multi purpose gloves: £1.75,
  • Best for building a pond – Showa dual latex grip glove 306: £7.70,
  • Best for the finer jobs – Showa 370 floreo: £4.99,
  • Best for using your phone – Gardena planting and soil glove: £8.99,
  • Best small gloves – Burgon & Ball love the glove: £15.99,
  • Best for summer gloving – Showa 350R: £5.29,
  • Best personalised gloves – HotDot Laser personalised gloves: £35,
  • Best for the environment – Benchmark eco, 2 pack: £9.99,
  • Best for looks – Burgeon & Ball dig the glove: £17.99,
  • Best for thorn bushes – Wickes premium rigger tear resistant gloves: £4.50,
  • Best for a soft lining – Esschert’s Design short glove, brown pigskin leather: £7.48,
  • Best for keeping your sleeves tidy – Esschert’s Design personalised denim gauntlet gardening gloves: £39.95,

Wilko multi purpose gloves

Wilko multi purpose gloves indybest.jpg

Best: All-rounder

Rating: 9/10

While only scoring a high 7 on average, the Wilko gloves were surprisingly durable for something so affordable. At £1.50 they are the cheapest on our list, but that doesn’t compromise how good they are in practice.

The gloves could do with thicker palms, but the texturing on the palm and fingers, which completely covers down to the knuckle, is remarkably grippy, but also a little scratchy externally (we accidentally exfoliated the dog with them when she came to say hello). It’s good that the back of your fingers are protected and it’s a snug fit around the wrists. Water resistance was great – nothing got through until the full dunk exposed the fabric on the back of the hand, which is a trade-off we’d take as the fabric makes it more comfortable in general. As an all-rounder, you won’t do much better than the Wilko’s as they do well across the board.

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Showa dual latex grip glove (306)

Showa dual latex grip glove (306) indybest.jpg

Best: For building a pond

Rating: 9/10

On first impressions, we thought these were like the gloves you’d use in a South American lab. Nothing comes through them – no water, no chemicals. We think we heard them actually laughing in the face of domestic bleach. Even when fully immersed we were bone dry, with the waterproofing extending an inch or so up the wrist. They’re not that warm due to the lack of liner fabric, but while you wouldn’t do anything with them that causes a lot of reverberation, you can definitely take on a few rough edges, like weeding your pond. The seamless design means that they’ll last for a long time and the grip is great.

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Showa 370 floreo

Showa 370 floreo indybest.jpg

Best: For the finer jobs

Rating: 8/10

The material of these is a little sticky which is a bit weird when you put them on, and they feel a little cold at first as they’re quite thin. They are, however, very good to use with garden shears, while the stretchy wristband grips snugly. Water resistance on the palm was decent, but it started coming through after a few seconds. The fingertips were properly protected but the permeable back predictably let the water in.

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Gardena planting and soil glove

Gardena planting and soil glove  indybest.jpg

Best: For using your phone

Rating: 6/10

The phone finger pads on the Gardena make them ideal for the Insta-gardener – or someone who can’t take a glove off when their phone rings, for whatever reason. They’re a nice touch (we’re not sorry). The pads also look like a bright orange BCG test stamp, which gave us some horrid flashbacks. However, gimmick aside, it is lacking when it comes to the actual weeding – much to our displeasure, thorns went straight through the palms. That said, they hold their own against water, but the permeable back means that the glove was flooded once the water touched the fabric. The dexterity is there, as is the grip, and the phone gimmick genuinely works, though the rigidity of the palms means you have to text like your nan does.

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Burgon & Ball love the glove

Burgon & Ball love the glove indybest.jpg

Best: Small gloves

Rating: 7/10

These gloves are really pretty, with a nice purple and pink floral design. They’re a little tight for a small-medium woman and the fingers are a little short, pinching the index finger in particular. They are however warm, comfy and hardy. The padded palms feel solid though there’s no lining on the wrist guard. We also liked the little loops for hanging them up to dry. We found them to be hopeless for water resistance though, as liquids went straight through the palms too. We would compare them to something worn by Margo on The Good Life.

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Showa 350R

Showa 350R indybest.jpg

Best: For summer gloving

Rating: 8/10

We hardly felt a thing when grabbing thorns with these. The fabric on the back is, however, just cotton, which gets wet easily, compromising comfort and warmth because it felt like a wet sock after we fully dunked it. The protective coating on the palm is water resistant, which is great, but it doesn’t quite go sufficiently far back around the hand to keep your palms totally dry. This is a shame because it is a good glove in general, and one of our favourites of the bunch.

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HotDot Laser personalised gloves

SJ personalised gloves indybest.jpg

Best: Personalised gloves

Rating: 7/10

These arrived personalised with our initials, which makes them a great gift. While they may look like pink golfing gloves, they don’t lose warmth at the wrists because of the velcro fastening that makes them adjustable, and there are finger protections which are efficient, though they left the pinky hanging, presumably because it’s the most expendable of digits. We feel that the seams between the thumb and index finger might wear over time, but they are very comfy and the fingers are nice and roomy. The padded palms performed surprisingly well on the water test, but it seeped through the sides of the fingers that were less protected.

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Benchmark eco, 2 pack

Benchmark eco indybest.jpg

Best: For the environment

Rating: 7/10

The selling point is that the glove is made out of a 500ml recycled water bottle, making it the most eco friendly on the list. Thorns did go through a bit though. The fingertips are well protected but the back of your hand... not so much. They fit really well and gets top marks for dexterity but they’re a little cold. As with the Gardenas and similar designs, the palms were waterproof, but the backs definitely weren’t.

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Burgeon & Ball dig the glove

Burgeon & Ball dig the glove  indybest.jpg

Best: For looks

Rating: 6/10

The unique padding on the palms of these feels a bit odd at first, but it grew on us. Aimed at male gardeners, they look the part but made us feel more like we’d want to use them as driving gloves for a blast around the countryside in an old-school Aston Martin. The velcro protects the wrists well and the padding gives them good protection against thorns, but our fingertips got cold because of the denim. The water soaked through straight away, just like with its sister B&B entry, which was disappointing.

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Wickes premium rigger tear resistant gloves

Wickes premium rigger tear resistant gloves indybest.jpg

Best: For thorn bushes

Rating: 7/10

These gloves could do with a strap around the wrists as while they are well protected, you lose a lot of heat, which is a shame because they’re reasonably cozy inside. You can’t really use it with finer gardening tools due to the poor dexterity, but the protection is there. They are the only ones we couldn’t feel any hint of a thorn through, which is the main selling point. They’re also surprisingly waterproof – while there was a watery stain on the palm when we dunked them, our hands were weirdly dry for a good five seconds before it seeped in.

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Esschert’s Design short glove, brown pigskin leather

Esschert’s Design short glove, brown pigskin leather indybest.jpg

Best: Soft lining

Rating: 6/10

Durability wasn’t great as there was a tear in the seam when we got them out and the thorns tore a hole in them straight away. They feel a bit baggy and come off with a flick of the wrist, the dexterity isn’t great either, but the lining is nice and soft, which is their major selling point. The gloves also got top marks for total submersion, which was a pleasant surprise, with water only permeating at the seam.

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Esschert’s Design personalised denim gauntlet gardening gloves

Esschert’s Design personalised denim gauntlet gardening gloves indybest.jpg

Best: For keeping your sleeves tidy

Rating: 8/10

We were testing the thorns in a local wood and accidentally summoned a barn owl with these things. Our first impression was that they’re stylish and the brown leather/denim combination gives them a Western-style appeal. If Billy the Kid pruned roses, this would be his garment of choice – he could even put his name on them with the personalisation option. They’re quite warm and the leather is really nice and waterproof, with liquid only coming in at the seams during immersion, and the denim sleeves holding their own respectably. While the aesthetics and comfort are up there, the nature of the leather means we think we’d see tears at the seams after prolonged use. They do protect your forearms, which is good so you can really get the tall blackberries without fear, but the limited dexterity on offer means you’d probably smoosh them. And £40 is also a lot to pay for gardening gloves.

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The verdict: Gardening gloves

Wilko, Wickes and Showa came out swinging, showing that price doesn’t always equate to practicality and quality when it comes to gardening. The Wilko multipurpose gardening gloves were a surprise winner because they are such good value for money and hold their own against the more expensive competition.

While the posher gloves certainly look a lot nicer than the cheaper ones, and are more comfortable generally, there is a lot to be said for investing in different gloves depending on your needs and spending the money on a selection of more cost-effective models.

Voucher codes

For the latest discount codes on outdoor gear and gardening tools, try the links below:

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