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Every home gardener needs a trusty pair of gardening gloves. By protecting your hands from soil, debris, thorns, and chemicals, they help prevent blisters, scrapes, and other injuries.

The type of gloves you'll need depends on the gardening task. "Standard cotton garden gloves are a good option for planting annuals and potted plants," said Karen Musgrave, marketing coordinator at Hicks Nurseries, the largest garden center on Long Island, New York. "Rose growers should choose leather gloves that are long, reaching your elbow to provide protection from thorns. For planting trees and shrubs, choose heavy-duty gloves with reinforced fingertips."

Comfort, fit, and breathability are also important. The best gardening gloves keep your hands cool and dry and let your fingers move nimbly to pull weeds, plant flowers and shrubs, and even take the occasional phone or water break. "It's important to have a snug fit so that it gives you the dexterity that you need and prevents minor injury when you want to get a little more aggressive in the soil when trimming," said Vanessa Dawson, founder of plant care startup Arber.

After consulting gardening experts and conducting our own in-depth research, we found the best gardening gloves for various budgets and uses. You can read more about glove types and materials here.

Here are the best gardening gloves in 2021

The best overall
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These gloves can be used for light- and medium-duty gardening tasks like mixing soil, planting flowers, raking, and pulling weeds. Nitrile, bamboo, and cotton are typical materials you'll see since they're lightweight, durable, and affordable.

Best gardening gloves on a budget
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If you tend to go through a lot of gardening gloves, or just like having backups on hand, try these value glove packs.

The best heavy-duty
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Heavy-duty gloves are usually made from leather and may contain extra features like finger reinforcements or safety cuffs to give you the backup you need for difficult tasks like planting trees or carrying heavy tools and bags of soil.

The best long
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Regular gardening gloves only protect you up to your wrists. If you're pruning thorny rose bushes, you'll need long arm covers that reach to your elbows and shield your forearms.

The best for kids
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Before you get your young ones involved in the garden, make sure they have their own pair of gloves. Kids' gloves don't tend to be heavy-duty, so keep them out of the rose bushes.

Our methodology

For our first major update to this guide, we consulted Karen Musgrave from Hicks Nurseries and Vanessa Dawson from plant care brand Arber to learn more about how to shop for gardening gloves, features and materials to look out for, and brands they recommend. We combined that information with our own research to choose a few glove options per category. 

Next, we'll be calling in samples of these contenders and evaluating them for comfort, fit, functionality, and durability. 

FAQs

What to know before you shop 

How you plan to spend time in your garden and backyard will help determine the style and material of your ideal gardening gloves. Cloth and nitrile gloves will do just fine for light gardening, but for anything involving heavy or thorny objects, you should use leather gloves. It's likely you'll have several pairs of gloves on hand, depending on your task of the moment. 

Fit is another important factor. Consult provided sizing charts to figure out which size to buy, and look for fitted wrist cuffs. If the glove is too small or large, your hand will feel uncomfortable and be more prone to injuries. Incorrect sizing can also allow soil or other debris to fall into the glove.


Pros and cons of nitrile, cotton, and leather

"Nitrile [a synthetic rubber] gloves are lighter, breathable and less expensive than leather gloves. Leather gloves provide the best protection and often last the longest. Cotton gloves are good for smaller projects and are often the least expensive," said Musgrave.


How to wash and care for your gardening gloves 

"In general, keep them dry when not in use and out of the sun as that cracks the rubber. Use saddle soap on the leather ones," said Dawson. Depending on the material, some gloves may be machine-washable. 

Keep in mind that most gloves won't and aren't meant to last a lifetime, especially with regular use. It's good to keep a few different pairs on hand to rotate through. Luckily, most gardening gloves are affordable. 

Check out more gardening and backyard guides
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