There are a variety of different types of welding gloves on the market today, and they all serve slightly different purposes. Once you know the type of welding you’ll be doing, you can narrow it down to just a few options. If you’re looking for precision, then TIG welding gloves are what you need. The next step is knowing the best quality and the right TIG welding gloves for you.
How to choose the right TIG welding gloves? TIG welding gloves are designed specifically for precision work across various types of metal. Here are the following factors you should investigate when choosing the right TIG welding gloves:
- Touch Sensitivity
- Heat Sensitivity
It is important that you have the correct equipment when you are welding. It helps you to work more effectively and efficiently. So, once you’ve decided TIG welding gloves will be what works best for you, there will be a fine line separating your buying options. Knowing how all of the gloves features and characteristics impact the effectiveness of the glove can help you balance all aspects and decide on the best TIG welding gloves for you.
Primary Factors When Choosing TIG Welding Gloves
There are a lot of different considerations you should take into account when you are buying new welding gloves. Keep in mind that welding can be dangerous, and certain precautions need to be taken to reduce risk. It is possible to weld using cheap cotton gloves from a hardware store, but you will be putting yourself in danger.
Still, having proper equipment when welding doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot of money. Have your safety as the number one priority, and the rest will fall into place. In the end, your personal preference on how the glove fits and feels will be the deciding factor but do not compromise your personal safety either.
While TIG welding doesn’t produce as much heat as other types of welding, there is still heat involved in the welding process. If you find yourself having to stop preemptively on a line to take off your gloves, then they are not thick enough to have proper heat resistance.
Of course, there are some nuances involved as well. You want there to be enough give in the thickness of the glove, so dexterity isn’t an issue. TIG welding requires both dexterity and durability for the highest technical performance.
Many of the best-rated TIG gloves have a Kevlar lining. This allows the glove to be thick enough to withstand that heat buildup, but thin enough to allow necessary dexterity for precise movement.
Having protection from the heat as well as from UV radiation is important in all forms of welding. Although TIG welding doesn’t create slag or sparks like other forms of welding, there are still inherent risks involved. Long-term exposure to UV radiation of any kind, whether it be the sun or from welding, can have adverse health effects.
This is easily prevented by having proper arm coverage built into your welding glove. Having a breathable, flame-resistant cuff or sleeve can protect you from harmful UV radiation when working. For best results, the cuff should at least cover your part forearm.
This may be the most crucial component when choosing the right TIG welding gloves simply because of the precision involved. It requires a lot of coordination, a light touch, and extensive experience to be an expert TIG welder.
This means that your glove should fit snugly on your hand while still allowing a full range of motion in your fingers, thumb, and your wrist. An easy test to check your dexterity is to see if you can easily pick a dime or a rod up off of the floor or a table while wearing your gloves.
There are a variety of synthetic materials on the market today, but it is hard to beat the quality and versatility of leather. Usually, leather made from kidskin will have a softer feel to it, which allows the glove more sensitivity while still being heat resistant.
When you’re welding metal, not only does the act of welding, creating heat around you, but the metal itself will be quite hot. This makes moving metal in your workstation difficult if your glove does not have a high heat rating.
Gloves with a higher heat rating tend to have an insulated lining, or sometimes patches will be attached specifically on fingertips and palms for added protection. This can counteract certain aspects of touch sensitivity and/or dexterity, so you will want to be aware of which aspect is most important for TIG welding.
Nomex is a flame-resistant material that is often used in the production of fire fighting equipment. Choose a glove with a Nomex exterior to protect against dripping or hot metal and/or a Nomex lining to keep your hands protected from the heat when moving hot metal pieces around.
Keep in mind that TIG welding does not produce as much heat as other kinds of welding. You may not need to have bulky lining and thick leather if you only work with TIG welding. However, be sure that you are safe when choosing new gloves.
The majority of TIG Welding gloves are going to be made from leather. However, the type of leather can make a difference in the gloves feel and performance. The most commonly used leathers for TIG welding gloves are:
- Kangaroo Skin
- Cow Skin
Although all the leathers listed will do the job, TIG gloves made of kidskin are of the best sellers. Kidskin has the durability of other leathers but is far more flexible, but one downside to the extra flexibility is that the glove will be thinner and less heat resistant. Some TIG welders prefer goatskin over kidskin because the goatskin is water and oil-resistant.
Aside from the animal, the leather is made from, another thing to consider is if it is split or top grain leather. Split leather is made from the shoulder of the animal, making it thicker and more heat resistant. Top grain leather is made from the top of the hide, making it more flexible.
Since split leather is thicker, it will be more heat resistant, but that may hinder its flexibility. The top grain leather will allow for better touch sensitivity and movement. Top grain leather is usually the highest quality leather available, so you can trust that it will stand the test of time as well.
Another material worth having is a Kevlar lining and/or stitching to help with heat retention. This will also let the thinner leather keep its flex. An added perk of a Kevlar lined glove is that it will be cut resistant as well. This can add extra protection for you and extend the lifespan of your gloves while working with sharp metals.
The lifespan of your welding gloves will largely depend on how often you weld and how well you take care of the gloves themselves. Subjecting gloves to extensive amounts of heat and abrasive materials like metal will cause wear over time. Depending on the design and material of the glove, they may also shrink with excessive heat exposure.
If you weld professionally or multiple times a week, you will want to invest in higher-end gloves. This will save you money in the long run. Choose gloves made from materials like leather, Kevlar, and Nomex. Good quality materials will lengthen the life of your gloves exponentially.
Choosing the Right Size Gloves
Your TIG welding gloves must fit well. If they are too loose, you will not have the proper grip and dexterity needed to weld with precision. While if they are too tight, your gloves will not be as heat resistant.
To get the best fitting TIG gloves possible, it is recommended that you measure your dominant hand before buying them. All you’ll need to do this measurement is a measuring tape. A soft measuring tape used by tailors will work best as they are designed to measure your body for sewing.
You’ll be measuring the length of your fingers. Start at the bottom edge of your palm and measure to the tip of your middle finger. This will tell you which numbered size glove you will need. For example, if your hand length measures 6 inches, then you will want a size six glove.
Some of the TIG welding glove brands will provide a sizing chart for you to base your hand size off of, but not all of them do. If they provide a size guide, use that guide as your basis for fit. Other brands use Small, Medium, Large, etc. If that’s the case, it is strongly recommended that you try them on before buying.
You will likely end up with several different welding gloves, and honestly, that’s just fine. It is a good idea to actually weld using a few different styles and brands to see which ones you will buy again, and which ones you’ll only keep as a back-up pair.
Do I Really Need TIG Specific Welding Gloves?
Every type of welding takes skill and knowledge to be done properly; however, TIG welding is a more specialized practice. Generally, if you are a skilled TIG welder, you have extensive training, education, skill, and precision.
TIG stands for Tungsten Inert Gas Welding (formerly known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding). It is highly technical and requires precision with every movement. It is often used when precision is needed on a structural weld. To be more specific, you are looking for a very clean bead that wouldn’t require grinding afterward.
Since TIG welding is used in short, precise runs, having gloves that can both protect you and have touch sensitivity are the two most important considerations. If your gloves are too bulky, you will not be able to feel the small movements as you weld, and that will lead to a sloppy bead that requires smoothing and grinding.
For many TIG welders, a good pair of gloves is an invaluable piece of equipment. Having the assurance of safety alongside the mobility TIG specific gloves provide allows the welder to focus on the task at hand, increasing speed and improving overall workmanship.
What About MultiPurpose Welding Gloves?
Depending on the type of welding that you do day-to-day, you may have multiple pairs of gloves for different purposes. If you weld as your profession, it is generally recommended that you have gloves that are comfortable to wear for long periods of time, and that will last you for at least a few months of daily use, if not longer.
The primary reason you may need TIG specific welding gloves is that other types of welding like MIG or arc welding produces a lot more heat, and it is easier to be burned while working for several reasons. TIG welding still produces heat, but your gloves will not need as much heat tolerance so they can be made from thinner materials to improve dexterity.
Since touch sensitivity is a primary aspect in TIG welding, having a multipurpose glove is possible, but will be difficult as other more robust welding gloves will be made from thicker leather materials. Some thinner leathers will easily shrink with high and/or extensive heat exposure and will not allow you to pick hot metals up while you’re working safely.
If you are not a professional welder but do weld on occasion, you may be able to get away with a multipurpose glove. There are a few good ones on the market today that take into consideration all aspects of welding safety and precision. However, it will be hard to beat a TIG specific glove when it comes to feeling and sensitivity.
If you do want an excellent multipurpose welding glove, there are a few things you will want to look for to be sure you’re getting the best quality:
- Padded palms and thumb/index finger padding for additional heat protection
- Good quality leather that will not shrink due to heat exposure
- Kevlar stitching and/or lining
- General fit and feel on your hand to gauge dexterity
- Cuff protection for your wrist and forearm
- If you’re able to hold a rod for TIG welding comfortably
- Give your new gloves some time to break in as the material may loosen up and become more flexible with continued use
It is possible to find an excellent all-around welding glove, but you may need to try a few to find out which one will work best for you. If you primarily focus on TIG welding, it is recommended to get a TIG specific glove for precision. Still, if you have to switch your gloves on and off between MIG and TIG or another type of welding, a multipurpose glove may be worth the compromise.
Best Performing TIG Welding Gloves
Now that you know what you’re looking for, you may be wondering which brands use the best quality materials. It is hard to find the “perfect” glove, but some of these companies come close. In the end, the glove you choose will largely be determined by your personal preferences, so you might want to try a few to see which pair works best for you.
Just keep in mind that with TIG welding, the two most important aspects to look for in a glove are touch sensitivity and protection.
Top Five TIG Welding Gloves:
- Tillman 25BL Pearl Unlined Premium
- Revco BSX Black Stallion GM 1510
- West Chester IRONCAT 6100
- Lincoln Electric Grain Leather
- Caiman 1600 Long Cuff
Tillman 25BL Pearl Unlined Premium
This is definitely a high-quality TIG glove and is one of the most comfortable to wear. Featuring just enough flexibility and sensitivity to make it work well with TIG welding movements, it is a very lightweight glove made from great materials with added cuff protection.
The leather material is made from deerskin. This type of leather will be thicker than other varieties but is soft enough not to impair movement. The glove is designed with a straight thumb made from the split leather. This makes the thumb sturdier than the rest of the glove.
One of the best features of this glove is that it uses a Kevlar thread to lock stitch seams. This adds an extra bit of strength, extending their lifespan.
The only complaint on this glove is that the finger grip can feel slippery at times when handling a filler rod. After some time using a new pair of these gloves, that slipperiness will dissipate, and the rod will become easy to hold and manipulate.
Revco BSX Black Stallion GM 1510
This glove will be a more versatile design as it can be used for both MIG and TIG welding. It has had better reviews as a TIG specific welding glove as many MIG welders have stated that with excessive heat exposure in MIG welding, the gloves are prone to shrinking.
It is still an excellent option for strictly TIG welding, though. Made from goatskin, it is a soft, yet durable glove. It will also be one of the more comfortable glove designs on the market and should be considered if you weld professionally. Made with high-quality materials, this pair of gloves will not only be comfortable to wear all day, but it will last much longer than other gloves as well.
Like some other TIG welding gloves, this Revco style has a built-in seamless index finger for added trigger control. Another common feature, they come equipped with Kevlar stitching for strength and heat resistance.
Additional features for heat resistance include the lined palm and built-in padded Drag-Patch. Both of these features provide additional coverage for areas commonly exposed to excessive heat.
West Chester IRONCAT 6100
Known for their durability and for being easy to clean, these gloves are made with a fire-resistant silicone coating and high contact heat rating on the back of the hand. This ensures heat resistance as well as cut resistance.
The grip on these gloves is somewhat superior to other designs, making it easy to complete TIG specific welding jobs. Touch sensitivity is improved with the dotted fingers and palms to provide enough breaks for normal dexterity and movement.
Some users have found that these gloves are rather stiff the first few times you use them, but they break in nicely with regular use.
Lincoln Electric Grain Leather
This glove should only be used for TIG welding. It is much thinner than other styles of welding gloves, which makes it easier to move in and allows for better touch sensitivity. With that in mind, a more lightweight glove will not be as heat resistant, which is why it should only be used for TIG welding.
The thin glove style is soft and allows for great dexterity because it is made from top-grain goatskin leather. The softness of the leather does not mean that it isn’t strong and durable though. To add to the durability of these gloves, they utilize Kevlar stitching.
They do not skimp on protection with these gloves either. They’re designed with a 4-inch leather cuff to protect your wrists and lower arm from heat and sparks. These cuffs also are helpful in protecting against cuts and abrasions when working.
Although they’re made with thinner material and not as heat resistant, these gloves make up for it in their dexterity and durability. It is not recommended that you carry hot metal with these gloves as they do not have a palm liner. They will, however, be perfect with performing TIG welding’s precision movements.
Caiman 1600 Long Cuff
This will be another lower price option that does not skimp on the quality. They are not offered in many size variations, so you will have to make sure they fit your hand, but you can use them from both TIG and MIG welding.
Made from goatskin, this pair of gloves is going to be durable as well as flexible. They are a simple design and do not boast with extra added features, probably why they’re on the lower end of the price scale. Still, they perform well with daily use.
The long, 4-inch leather cuff, adds additional heat and abrasion protection in your work environment. One major downfall of these gloves is that they are prone to shrinking when exposed to excessive heat. This should only be an issue if you do a lot of MIG welding. If you primarily focus on TIG welding, shrinking shouldn’t be an issue.
Cleaning Your TIG Welding Gloves
Beyond buying gloves made of quality materials, the best way to ensure the longevity of your TIG welding gloves is to keep them clean. It is essential to clean them regularly and correctly.
Steps to follow for proper glove cleaning:
- Combine mild detergent (something like Borax will work) with cool water in a bowl or container large enough for your gloves.
- Soak a clean white cloth in the detergent water.
- Once wet, use the cloth to rub excess dirt from your gloves. Focus on stained areas and around the edges where dirt collects.
- Feel free to squeeze excess water from the gloves but DO NOT twist and wring them out as it can damage the materials.
- Use a dry cloth to remove other excess water.
- Let the gloves air-dry the rest of the way.
- Be sure your gloves have dried completely before you use them again.
How often you have to clean your TIG welding gloves will depend on how often you use them. If you use them daily, you should try to clean them at least once a week. However, if you only use them once a month, clean them once you notice they’re getting dirty.
Things to Remember Before You Buy TIG Welding Gloves
The main thing to take away from all of this is that you need to take the time to see what will work best for you. If you focus on TIG welding specifically, then you will want to buy a TIG specific welding gloves. However, if you are a welder that has to use TIG welding and other types of welding, you may want a more versatile option.
Keep in mind that no matter the kind of welding that you are doing that day, do not compromise safety. With so many glove companies out there, it can be hard to look past all the bells and whistles and see what is being offered. Find a glove that combines proper protection with functionality and go from there.
All in all, if you are dipping into TIG welding at all, you want a glove that will be sensitive enough for you to make precise movements but protective sufficient so you can safely complete your task. Use this as a guide in choosing the best option for you, and remember that there are many other great options on the market today; we just happened to list a few.