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5 Rules for Choosing the Best Heat-Resistant Work Gloves

by Joe Geng on October 22, 2015

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Heat Resistant Work Gloves Keep Hands Safe

Are your hands constantly exposed to extreme temperatures at your workplace? Wouldn’t you like to know for a fact that you’re wearing the best heat-resistant work gloves for the risks you’re being exposed to? We want you to always have the peace of mind that you won’t get burnt while you’re on the job. However, since there are so many different types of heat-resistant gloves available on the market, we know that selecting the right pair can prove to be a bit of a challenge. So, to make the choice much easier for you, here are 5 expert tips to help you ensure that you’re wearing the best heat-resistant work gloves for your needs – whether you’re handling red hot glass or molten aluminum.

1. Measure the temperature of the object you’re going to be handling with an Infrared thermometer.

I can’t stress how critical this step is; if you don’t do this, you’ll choose the wrong glove without a doubt. These thermometers only cost $20 on Amazon—which, in my opinion, is well worth the cost of preventing second- or third-degree burns. Often we will visit a manufacturer who claims that they need a glove to handle a part that is 1500 degrees F. However, when we actually get on the floor and measure the part, often the temperature is 50% less than what they’ve estimated. One of the major problems with this is that a glove that can handle 1500 degrees F is much bulkier and more expensive than a glove that can handle 800 degrees F; to improve the level of safety and keep the cost down, it’s crucial that you choose a glove based on the correct temperature. Wow, look at that – you’ve gotten your investment in your $20 infrared thermometer back already! Conversely, you can imagine what the detriment is when you under-estimate the temperature of the objects being handled.

2. Ensure your gloves have the right level of insulation.

Heat-resistant gloves should always be tested to ASTM F1060-87, which is called Conductive Heat Resistance Classification (also known as C.H.A.R.). Simply put, this test tells you the maximum temperature at which you can hold an object for more than four seconds before feeling pain, and for more than 15 seconds before getting a second-degree burn. I’ve foolishly tried this myself, and the test results are shockingly accurate. Prioritize insulation: protect those digits!

Below is a chart that was adapted from the ANSI Standards Guide.

ANSI Heat chart 2

3. Double check the C.H.A.R. temperature of the outer material.

Sometimes you can choose a glove with adequate insulation for a given temperature, but the outer material won’t stand the heat over the long term and start to char and break down. This not only puts you at a much higher risk of getting burned, but the money you’ve spent on the wrong pair of gloves will also be wasted.

Here is a list of approximate C.H.A.R. temperatures for common glove materials. Refer to this chart to ensure that you’re wearing gloves made of an appropriate material for the level of heat you’ll be coming into contact with!

material temperature chart

4. Don’t forget about dexterity!

Once you’ve narrowed down your selection, choose the glove that not only fits the best, but that will provide you with the most dexterity. Can you handle the tools required for the job as you normally would with the glove you’ve chosen? Do you have a good grip? If not, the job itself may require some re-engineering, since you obviously don’t want to skimp on the heat insulation required to protect your hands!

5. Consider all of the hazards – not just the heat.

Are there other hazards besides extreme temperatures in your workplace? For example, if you’re handling molten metal, you’ll want a glove with an aluminized back to reduce radiant heat transfer and better protect you and your clothing from metal splash. Are you dealing with hot oils and a fryer? You’ll need a glove that is liquid proof. Are there serious cut hazards involved? You’ll likely want to consider a heat-resistant glove made with Kevlar®.

We hope these tips will be assets in your quest for heat-resistant gloves! Here’s one example of a true winner (literally) when it comes to heat-resistant gloves.

And also – make sure you’re not guilty of these three common pitfalls!

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