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The Comprehensive Guide to Palm-Coated Work Gloves

by Joe Geng on April 9, 2013

Comments (1)

What should I look for in palm-coated work gloves?

Today’s consumer values dexterity and ergonomics when selecting hand protection products.

Comfort is great but safety is critical. By no means should safety be compromised in favor of comfort. But that’s not to say the two need to be mutually exclusive.

Enter the world of palm coatings!

Adding a layer of protection to a knit glove can (and does) change everything. Comfort remains, yet application possibilities widen.

Palm coatings give an endless range of combinations for uses. As glove manufactures we use a wide range of tough materials in our palm-coated gloves, over a wide range of string knits.

Palm-covered gloves are suited for handling small parts, the automotive industry, metal stamping, construction and general purpose, by offering better grip, dexterity, increased abrasion resistance, puncture resistance and durability.


Palm Coatings:

Choosing the proper palm-coated work glove is critical. Now let’s go over the different coating types, their features and benefits.

Latex-coated work gloves:

Latex has very high elasticity and outstanding grip compared to other glove materials. It can also withstand extreme temperature and tear resistance.

Chemically it resists alcohols, and some ketones, but performs poorly around most hydrocarbon and organic solvents (i.e. gasoline). Due to allergy issues, it is not always an option for some workers.

Polyurethane-coated work gloves:

With its great stretch, strength, and low particulate shed, polyurethane adds a whole other class of properties to the palm-coated glove category.

Although it has been around for roughly seventy years, appreciation for its non-allergenic properties for use in medical equipment has grown only recently.

Known as having the unique quality of being quite ‘grippy’ without being sticky, finishing processes or substances like powder and chlorination are not required to reduce tackiness.

Polyurethane’s softness, combined with great puncture and abrasion resistance, make it a most versatile polymer. It is a very desirable coating for cut-resistant gloves, because it provides grip and boosts puncture resistance, all without adding bulk or reducing touch sensitivity. In addition, the low-particulate shed makes it a perfect choice for those working with electronics and in cleanrooms.

Chemically, polyurethane has excellent resistance to oils, solvents, fats, greases, gasoline (which makes it the opposite of rubber), oxidation and ozone but has poor resistance to hot water and is not recommended for use above 79°C (175°F).

PVC-coated work gloves:

This purely synthetic material is inexpensive, does not cause allergic reaction and stronger that latex or nitrile.

As a palm coating, PVC offers good abrasion resistance, though it may be susceptible to punctures, cuts, and snags. And while it is flexible, it does not provide the tactile sensitivity associated with most rubber products.

PVC coating offers similar wear and abrasion resistance to nitrile, but has one major added benefit – many types of glue will not adhere to it. This makes gloves with PVC palm coating ideal for woodworking and many other glue-related jobs. It is also great for automotive assembly and trim applications, as glue won’t stick to the PVC palm surface.

Another benefit of PVC in work gloves is the fact that it stays flexible at lower temperatures so it makes a great choice for a palm-coated winter glove.


Nitrile palm-coated gloves:

Nitrile-coated gloves offer excellent punctures and tear resistance and is three times more puncture resistant than rubber.

The main difference between latex and nitrile when it comes to chemical resistance is that nitrile stands up well to oil, making it a good choice for metal stamping or handling small oily parts.

While not flame-resistant, nitrile does perform well in a range of temperatures between -4°C (25°F) and 149°C (300°F).

Additionally, nitrile can be foamed, so that when in contact with smooth, oily surfaces, the foam nitrile behaves like a sponge. Oil on the surface is soaked up, displaced and grip is improved considerably. Another foaming process uses ‘micropore’ technology to create a bubbled surface that will not allow oil to penetrate to the hand while absorbing it at the same time.


Which palm coating is right for me?

The range of gloves on the market today is geared toward task-specific applications – meaning there is a “right” glove for every specific task. (There’s a left glove too… but you see where we’re going with this).

Today’s consumer wants a glove that offers not only safety, but enhanced dexterity, longevity, comfort, and grip. While low-priced options can sometimes appeal to a customer, they prove to perform inadequately and tend to incur higher investment due to replacement costs in the long run (not to mention worker injury costs). So it’s best to do your research, understand the options available, then make an educated choice when it comes to glove selection.

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This is a great and very informative new blog.

Reply Mark King - April 10, 2013

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