February 21, 2017 | Matt |

Glove Gauges: How Well Do You Know Your String-Knit Gloves?

“What is a Glove Gauge?”

If you’re anything like me, you asked this the first time you heard the term “glove gauge.”

The good news is that, just like me, by the end of this post you’ll know what defines a glove gauge.

measuring a glove gauge

A few weeks ago, we announced the world’s first 18-gauge arc flash glove but soon found out that not everyone understood just how cool this accomplishment was.

Robert Gheesling volunteered to explain glove gauges to us. With 40 years of experience in the safety industry, Robert is the perfect person to break down the different thicknesses of string-knit gloves.


What is a Glove Gauge?

“When talking about glove gauges, we’re referring to string-knit gloves,” Robert said.

“The gauge refers to the needles per inch. So a 7-gauge glove indicates that there are seven stitches knitted per inch of glove.”

“The higher the number — 13-gauge, 15-gauge or 18-gauge — the more stitches that are knitted per inch. As the number of stitches per inch increase, the glove’s gauge increases as well. But as the amount of yarn increases, the thickness of yarn will decrease. So an 18-gauge glove will be much thinner and conform more to the curve of the hand than a 7-gauge glove.”


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What is the Difference Between Glove Gauges?

Each gauge of string-knit has its benefits and drawbacks.

We’ll explore each the major gauges more in-depth below, but according to Robert, a general rule is the larger the yarn:

  • The greater the density
  • The better the protection
  • The bigger the impact on dexterity

what's the difference between glove gauges


7-Gauge Gloves:

7-gauge are the heaviest weight gloves, they will be the thickest knit and offer the most longevity compared to other gauges.

When string-knit gloves first came on the market as an alternative to leather, 7-gauge was the only option. These gloves were typically made using cotton.

Thicker knits were needed for cut resistance because engineered yarns were not widely available.

Robert explained that the biggest downfall to 7-gauge gloves is that they can’t be easily coated for added grip because the space between the stitches is too wide.

7-gauge Contender Cut-Resistant Kevlar Blend Glove
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10-Gauge Glove:

10-gauge is a medium weight string knit glove.

It won’t be as thick as a 7-gauge glove and is the thickest gauge that can be coated for added grip.

10-gauge Emerald CX ANSI A6 Cut-Resistant Glove with Nitrile Palms
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13, 15 or 18-Gauge Gloves:

At this point, Robert explained, the sizing of the stitches between a 13, 15, and 18-gauge glove becomes less noticeable.

“At these sizes, it’s hard to tell the difference between them without having the gloves side-by-side.” These gauges are lightweight gloves which provide the highest dexterity and best tactile feel.

Thinner gloves may not have as long of a life because of the yarns lower resistance. However, thanks to engineered yarns, these lightweight gloves can be manufactured to have the same level of cut resistance as lower-numbered glove gauges.

18-gauge TenActiv Composite Filament Level-A4 Cut-Resistant Knit with Foam Nitrile Palms
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Thinner Isn’t Always Better:

In theory, the lighter weight the glove, the higher the dexterity. But dexterity is a pretty relative term.

Thanks to technological breakthroughs, 7-gauge gloves are much more dexterous today compared to when Robert was first starting out in safety.

There are situations — like dealing with tiny nuts and bolts — where the thinnest, most lightweight gloves are needed.

But Robert told us “for most general applications, a worker’s hand movement won’t be much different between a 13-gauge and an 18-gauge glove.” There are also situations like metal fabrication or pulp-and-paper where medium or heavy weight gloves are the only option.


Are You Properly Washing Your Gloves?

Read Our Post: The Dos and Don’ts of Washing String-Knit Gloves


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