3 Features You Need When Buying the Best Cold Weather Work Gloves
If you Google “winter” or “snow” right now, you’ll be faced with hundreds of images that run along this theme:
Your first thought is probably “how is blowing confetti strictly a winter activity?” But your second though is probably “that’s not an accurate depiction of MY winters.”
Winter is cold, winter is long and working in the winter has its own special requirements for choosing personal protective equipment.
We have blogs that dive deep into winter work glove specifications (read more here).
The aim of this blog is to give you the quick and dirty on buying the best cold weather work gloves by looking at three key features.
Feature #1: A Lining (or Liner) to Keep Hands Warm
Warm hands are happy hands, and happy hands are hard to come by in the middle of winter…. Unless you’ve got the right gloves.
To stay warm, you need to avoid water, loss of body heat and cold infiltration.
This means you need one of two features in your cold weather work gloves:
1. A water-repellent glove with insulating liner:
We’ll explore this option in more detail in “Feature #2,” but if you’re working in wet and slushy conditions, a water-repellent glove is a must.
2. A Moisture-Wicking Glove Liner:
If you’re working in a dryer climate, you may not require water-repellent cold weather gloves. If you need a glove that has water-wicking capability, a wicking glove liner might be perfect.
Below are a few of your options:
Glove liners made from polypropylene are fantastic for wicking away water, sweat or other moisture. The one drawback to polypropylene is that it doesn’t offer a lot of added warmth.
Thinsulate™ glove liners will keep you warm even when wet. Thinsulate™ lining (with a thickness of 40 grams or 100 grams) will keep you warm even when wet, but it typically cannot be removed. Meaning once it’s wet, it’s wet for the day.
Thermolite® is a moisture-wicking glove liner material that claims to dry 20% faster than comparable insulating fibers.
What sets Thermolite® apart from other liners for cold weather work gloves is that it also traps heat.
The only catch is that Thermolite® only offers insulation for mild temperatures of 41°F (5°C), so if it’s getting colder than that, you may want to consider going with Thinsulate™.
Learn more about glove liners in our post
Feature #2: Look for Water-Repellent Gloves:
When you’re working in wind, rain, sleet and snow, finding a completely waterproof glove can be difficult but choosing the right water-repellent liner can help keep your hands dry.
A water-repellent lining (such as Enprotex® or Porelle®) is also a good idea if you have to work in wet and wintry conditions.
But there’s a catch: If the lining is waterproof, sweat will be trapped inside the glove.
A moisture-wicking liner can help move sweat away from your hands, but it won’t move any farther than a waterproof lining. In this scenario you should change the liners throughout the day as needed… and remember to wash them to save money!
Feature #3: Good Range of Motion
The trade-off for finding a winter work glove with enough insulation to keep you warm that’s also waterproof is a loss of fine hand movement.
Now in some scenarios — trucking, shoveling snow or working at a ski resort — a lack of dexterity isn’t the worst thing. Learn how to choose the best winter mitts here.
But in other industries, being warm doesn’t mean much if it feels like you’re wearing a catcher’s mitt.
This is why it’s so important that you choose cold weather work gloves that are rated for the temperature you most often work in (we offer winter gloves that range from 50°F to -58°F (10°C to -50°C).
The Best Cold Weather Work Gloves:
The bottom line is that you cannot skimp when you’re buying the best cold weather work gloves.
Especially when risks like frostbite or hypothermia are a threat, like we covered in our post “Can It Be Too Cold to Work Outdoors?”
What’s most important is the right combination of features for where you work and what your job entails.