Gardening gloves come in a variety of styles, materials and price points. With so many choices out there, it can be overwhelming trying to choose the right set of gloves for the job.
Overall, you want your gardening gloves to be durable and able to withstand regular use. You will also need to balance durability with comfort and maneuverability. All cotton gloves may be softer but don't offer as much protection. Leather gloves offer the most protection but aren't as pliable or breathable.
Make sure to chose gloves that have reinforced fingertips. This is the first part of the gloves to fail, especially if you are working in sandy or rocky soil. The extra material, or heavy duty material like leather, on the fingertips will help protect the gloves from wearing out as quickly as well as protect your fingers from sharp objects you may encounter in the soil.
The drawback to reinforced fingertips is that they decrease your ability to feel what you are touching. If you are working with something more delicate and you need more dexterity, it is good to have a second set of gloves that offer more maneuverability.
Another weak point in garden gloves are the seams and stitching. To increase the longevity of your gloves, buy ones with double stitching. Choose gloves with well done double stitching, as poorly done double stitching can add bulk and chafe at your skin.
You also want a snug but comfortable fit that will keep debris out. Gloves with velcro closure offer the best protection from errant debris, especially when digging and weeding.
You want your gloves to be snug but not tight. Your fingertips should be near the end of the fingers, but not jammed against the end of the glove. On the flip side, you don't want the fingers to be so long that you have too much excess material. The webbing in between the fingers should also fit snugly without chafing. The wrist closure should sit right at your wrist.
Unisex gloves generally are not a good idea, especially for women as they are typically loose and too wide, though this isn't always the case. It's best to look for brands that offer a variety of sizes as well. If buying online, check to see if the company has a sizing guide to help you choose the right size.
For pruning trees, shrubs and rosebushes, you want something longer, with coverage to your elbows. These gloves are generally made of leather for protection from thorns and splinters. The Exemplary Gardens Rose Pruning Gloves for Men and Women get top marks from many users. The gloves are made from goatskin and cowhide and are treated with lanolin oil to moisturize your hands as you wear them. Make sure to check the sizing guide to find the right pair for you.
For gardening gloves that offer some of the best durability, try the American Heritage Perfect Gardener Glove. These gloves are made of goatskin but are still supple and flexible. Also, the seamless palms won't chafe your skin.
For jobs that need a lighter touch, try the Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Working Gloves, the G&F Women's Soft Jersey Garden Gloves or the G&F Women's Texture Grip Garden Gloves. All of these are perfect for working with the more delicate jobs, like planting seedlings.
If you want to do a little digging by hand, try the Garden Genie Gloves with Claws. The durable plastic claws work great for digging while the gloves are waterproof and puncture resistant.