AHS News & Blog

Five Tips for Buying Great Gardening Gloves

For many years, I preferred doing gardening tasks barehanded. Not only did I enjoy the feeling of getting my “hands in the dirt,” but I often found that working with gloves reduced my ability to handle small, delicate plants with care.  As I’ve gotten older, and the daily wear and tear takes more of a toll on my hands, I prefer to work with gloves, albeit the thinnest gloves possible. 

Here are five tips on buying garden gloves based on my personal experience:

  1. Invest in a variety of gloves. You’ll want to own both thick and thin gloves, depending on the nature of the work you’re performing. Thin gloves are affordable and great for quick tasks like carrying bags of soil, while thicker gloves hold up nicely for a day of working in the garden and can be worn under other work gloves when the soil is cold and wet.
  2. Select gloves with nitrile coating. I like nylon-knit gloves with the palm and fingers dipped in nitrile coating since it makes them waterproof and puncture resistant.
  3. Purchase gloves in bulk packs. Hand protection only works when you wear it, and it doesn’t do you any good if your sole set of gardening gloves is wet or in the laundry. Bulk packs ensure you have enough pairs on hand and provide better value as well.
  4. Minimize use of disposable gloves. For sustainability purposes, it’s best to avoid disposables. I try not to use them for routine tasks.
  5. Reserve heavy leather gloves for heavy-duty activities. Thick gloves tend to make my hands cramp up, so I only use them for tasks like moving stones.


Dan Scott is the Associate Director for Horticulture & River Farm at the American Horticultural Society.