Arc welding requires PPE that can provide heat, flame, and abrasion resistance. This includes protective work gloves made from pure leather specifically for welding and other hot work. The best arc welding gloves are made from top or split grain cowhide, goatskin, and elkskin. Pigskin, deerskin, and sheepskin are other types of leather commonly used to make welding gloves. Side split leather gloves are the most durable cut though shoulder split leather gloves are also a popular and economical choice.
The exact leather type, cut, and grain you should choose depends upon the type of arc welding work you perform. Leather glove manufacturers make gloves specifically for different types of welding processes.
The Best Arc Welding Gloves
Stick Welding Gloves for Shielded Metal Arc Welding
Stick welding gloves are sometimes referred to as arc welding gloves. These gloves provide protection from welding hazards, including extreme heat, sparks, and UV or infrared radiation, without sacrificing too much flexibility or comfort. The best stick welding gloves are made from thick leather such as split grain cowhide or the top grain of elkskin. Pigskin and goatskin are also sometimes used to make stick welding gloves, as well.
Heat, flame, and water-resistant cowhide is often used for leather welding gloves because of its durability and cost-effectiveness. While cowhide is extremely thick and durable, offering great protection at a great price, it is not as soft and flexible as elkskin. Inexpensive yet durable stick welding glove options, made from premium side split cowhide, include the Tillman 1250 Welding Gloves and the extra-long specialty Tillman 1155 Stick Welding Gloves.
Elkskin is the most premium type of leather available for arc welding gloves and other work gloves. A thick yet very soft leather, Elkskin provides high protection without sacrificing mobility and comfort. According to Safety+Health magazine, Elkskin’s ability to withstand heat makes it perfect for stick welding: “A very durable leather, it’s the most heat-, flame- and abrasion-resistant, and won’t harden as fast as other options. It stays soft – even in hot and wet conditions – and conforms to your hand, providing great movement and flexibility for the wearer.”
Some of the best stick welding gloves crafted out of premium elkskin include the Tillman 750 Welding Gloves and Tillman 850 Welding Gloves. These 14 in. long elkskin welding gloves feature a rough side out top grain Elkskin palm, a cotton/foam lined back for extra heat protection, Kevlar stitching, welted fingers, reinforced thumb area, and a stiff cowhide cuff to prevent bunching or rolling. Tillman welding gloves are known for their quality and craftsmanship.
TIG Welding Gloves for Gas Tungsten Arc Welding
TIG welding requires more movement and dexterity than stick welding. TIG welding gloves are usually made out of thinner, lighter and more pliable materials than stick welding gloves. High dexterity welding gloves made for TIG welding are usually built from goatskin or kidskin. Goatskin is a supple, lightweight leather which provides excellent protection against cuts and abrasion as well as the flexibility and range of movement required for TIG welding. Kidskin - extra-soft leather from young goats - is especially beneficial for fingertip control. Pigskin, sheepskin, and thin cuts of deerskin are other types of leathers used to make TIG welding gloves.
Some of the best arc welding gloves for TIG welding include Tillman 1328 TIG Welding Gloves in top grain goatskin and Tillman 24C TIG Welding Gloves in premium top grain kidskin.
MIG Welding Gloves for Gas Metal Arc Welding
Like stick welding, MIG welding generally requires a heavy duty, thick cut of leather. Some arc welding gloves made from top grain cowhide can be used for both MIG and stick welding. MIG Welding gloves are often used for Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW) aka dual shield welding as well.
While some stick and MIG welding gloves are made from pigskin or goatskin (a versatile leather known for its durability, high tensile strength and flexibility), the best MIG welding gloves are usually cut from thicker materials that can stand up to arc rays and splatter. These include arc welding gloves made from cowhide, dense pigskin or thicker cuts of deerskin.
Tillman MIG welding gloves that are popular with our customers include:
Welding Gloves & Accessories from X1 Safety