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To find the absolute best mechanic gloves I employed The Drive’s comprehensive research methodology, paired with my own experiences using work gloves. I’ve used a bunch of different gloves as a hobby mechanic, but I really got serious when I spent five years working in a heavy industry job, where I repaired equipment and sprayed commercial coatings. I wore out a lot of gloves, and that experience has informed the choices here, too. Mechanic gloves are tools, and they will eventually wear out doing the job of protecting your mitts. That’s OK, and I’ve selected gloves that balance the wide range of situations you might encounter working on vehicles.
Best Mechanic Gloves: Reviews & Recommendations
Our top pick for the best mechanic gloves goes to Custom Leathercraft (CLC). The Handyman Flex Grip Work Gloves provide protection, but are also compatible with touchscreen technology, so as you watch each part of the YouTube video for the repair you don’t have to take your gloves on and off.
The gloves have a Spandex back, which allows for flexibility while an elastic cuff and synthetic palm material keep your hands snug beneath the glove’s protective layering. CLC concealed the inner stitching on these gloves to ensure that sharp edges won’t snag the threads to unwind them. For semi-regular hobbyist use, these look like they’d hold up well.
On the downside, using several different materials is nice for what it accomplishes (namely, touchscreen compatibility) but is going to cause a failure point long term. I’ve had stitching like this blow out and leave a bit of leather flapping in the wind. At that point, cut it off and keep going! The only other downside would be using these when it gets really hot out, since they’re not as breathable as other options.
Great balance of protection and dexterity
Stretchy comfortable fit
Variety of materials, and stitching, means it’ll eventually fail
Best for moderate weather
For the vast majority of the messier jobs I undertake in the garage, I like using gloves like the Finish Line Mechanic Grip gloves. I haven’t used these gloves, but they’re a great representation of gloves that follow the same basic pattern: take a strong fabric glove, and dip it in a coating so it mixes the chemical resistance of a latex or nitrile glove, with more durability, and less sweat. Though you certainly can get sweaty in a pair of coated gloves, the fabric does breathe well, so you won’t be pouring out a handful of sweat when you reach overhead.
These Finish Line gloves have a textured palm to help you keep ahold of the tools or part you’re grabbing. That being said, with a cost below $5/pair in most cases, these aren’t designed to last months and months. That’s why I chose the three-pack. Keep these in the toolbox and slip on before getting started. They go on and off easily, and when the elastic wears out or they tear, chuck ‘em and put on the next set. For many garage mechanics, this will protect you from the greasy stuff.
Though, be mindful of them slipping off and banging your knuckles, as these offer basically no impact protection. Additionally, being coated fabric, these don’t offer much cut protection, so be cautious when working with sharp sheet metal.
Breathable fabric keeps hands less sweaty
Coating protects from automotive fluids
Won’t stand up to heavy duty use for long
No impact protection
Mechanix Wear is one of the most well-known names in the glove world, and chances are you’re either tried some of their gloves or have seen them before. The Original Covert Tactical gloves are a fantastic middle-of-the-road option. They don’t look like motorcycle gloves with all the impact-resistant plastic on the fingers. They’re lightweight and they have a nice wrist strap to keep them firmly in place. For the jobs that aren’t goopy, these are a good choice.
The downsides are the other side of the coin to the upsides: while not chunky, they don’t offer much padding or plastic to cushion your fingers if (when?) your wrench slips. Additionally, that breathable material will soak up oil and coolant, which has ruined a few similarly constructed gloves for me. If you keep these caveats in mind as you consider the kind of work you’re likely to encounter, it’ll help you figure out if these are the gloves for you.
Wrist strap keeps them on
Available in multiple colors/patterns
No impact protection
The Ironclad General Utility Work Gloves GUG are soft, comfortable, and durable and are designed for high-performance tasks. They feature thermoplastic rubber knuckle protection, which protects against impacts and abrasion, and a hook and loop closure so you can adjust the fit around your wrists.
One of the best things about these gloves is that they stand up to abuse. They have a leather-like material on the fingers and palms, which is tacky enough for grabbing and holding objects. The terry cloth area on the thumb is designed to wipe sweat off your face, and they’re breathable and machine washable. They provide finger agility over heavier gloves and are snug but not restrictive.
However, it’s hard to operate a cell phone using these gloves and pick up tiny items with your fingertips. They are also not waterproof.
Wide range of sizes
Sweat cloth on the thumb is a nice touch
Knuckle impact protection
Impact protection only over knuckles
Wearing disposable gloves is a quick and easy way to keep your hands clean, though it doesn’t offer a whole lot of protection from cuts, nicks, or impacts. Since working on cars can include some nasty chemicals from time to time, I chose the Thickster Latex gloves from SAS Safety. I used these for years to spray industrial coatings, and they are durable. These are a shocking 14 mils thick. For reference, most latex exam gloves are 3-4 mils, and the “thick” ones are usually 8 mils thick. These resist tearing, and unless you snag them on something sharp, they do tend to stay intact for a lot of projects.
The downside with these, and with all disposable gloves, is that you get sweaty really quickly. Here’s a tip from my painting days: get a cheap cotton glove that fits snugly and buy a size up in the latex gloves and wear them over the cotton gloves. The latex is easy to slip on and off the cotton, which soaks up the sweat. I’ve even reused my latex gloves that haven’t torn for several projects, since they tolerate being pulled on and off much easier with the cotton underlayer. Throw away when they get holes, or when you snag the finger on a hose clamp.
Long glove covers to sleeve easily
Disposable for messy jobs
More expensive than thinner disposable options
Can get sweaty
Our Verdict on the Best Mechanic Gloves
Mechanic gloves are a helpful tool to have in your garage, and the Custom Leathercraft Handyman Flex Grip Work Gloves are some of the best you can get. They’re not the right pick for some fringe cases, but for most of the work that goes on in the garage, they’re the right combination. If you’re looking to save some money, consider the Finish Line Mechanic Grip gloves. These are solid, reliable, and affordable alternative.
What to Consider When Buying Mechanic Gloves
Mechanic gloves all serve the same basic purpose when working on cars: keeping your hands free of grease, grime, or hazardous chemicals, and protecting you from the nicks, cuts, and bruises common to wrenching. Some are designed to protect more against one kind than the other, and for the most versatile mechanics, you may need different gloves for different types of work. I like having general use work gloves on hand that are easy to pull on when tackling a light project, and some that are resistant to chemicals and liquids when the projects turn messy. As you select the gloves that are right for you, consider what type of work you do, and what combination of protection is likely to help you the most.
Types of Mechanic Gloves
Disposable gloves typically protect from fluids such as oil, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, etc. Disposable gloves obviously won’t last as long as reusable gloves, but they will typically hold up against most commercial chemicals. Depending on the brand and material of the gloves, the ability to withstand continued exposure to chemicals may increase or decrease accordingly. Most disposable gloves are made of nitrile, while some are made from latex.
If you wear reusable gloves, you can easily invest in better gloves and spend less in the long run. Reusable gloves are made from stronger materials than nitrile, such as synthetic or real leather. You can often wash reusable gloves, but depending on how much you use them, they will likely need replacing after some time.
Mechanic Gloves Key Features
Longevity can mean a lot of things when it comes to mechanic gloves. When it comes to disposable gloves, the material shouldn’t tear easily. The best disposable mechanic gloves should withstand extended exposure to chemicals, and some reusable gloves share this characteristic.
Gloves are most effective if they cover a large part of your hand. Tears greatly decrease a glove’s effectiveness, even if the glove is disposable. The best mechanic gloves, if they are reusable, are woven in such a way as to strengthen the glove itself to prevent tears. Even disposable gloves are designed to prolong tearing for extended use.
The ability to grip is a critical characteristic of mechanic gloves. Mechanics work with objects as large as an entire engine and as small as nuts and bolts. Being able to grip and maintain that grip plays a large part in how effective mechanic gloves are. Whether it’s padded on each fingertip or just raised ridges along the inside of the fingers, having a strong gripping surface can make or break a pair of mechanic gloves.
Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional mechanic, the best mechanic gloves will stay comfortable even after the first few hours of the project have passed. Comfort can mean a lot of things to different people, but generally speaking, a soft, flexible material and breathable fabric are desirable.
Mechanic Gloves Pricing
Gloves aren’t the most expensive thing in the world, so you’re looking at dropping between $5 and $30. The closer you get to that high-end, however, the more protection they offer your hands. So if you enjoy scar-free fingers and knuckles, pony up the cash.
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.
Q: Are mechanic gloves one size fits all?
A: No, not necessarily. Sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and even from one glove type to another. People with the same hand size may prefer different glove sizes. Materials make a difference as well.
Q: Will mechanic gloves protect me from harmful chemicals and in high-heat applications?
A: This varies from glove to glove. Nitrile and other types of disposable gloves are designed to protect your hands from harsh chemicals but not for extended periods of time. Intense heat is not conducive to disposable gloves, and in some cases, the same goes for reusable gloves.
Q: Are mechanic gloves water-resistant?
A: Disposable gloves can be water-resistant as long as the water doesn’t reach the wrist opening. Reusable gloves often have ways of wicking away moisture but aren’t necessarily waterproof. There are, however, ways you can waterproof your gloves if you so choose.
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.