When it comes to welding, we certainly need the appropriate gear and equipment. Some of this equipment is solely to get the job completed, and some is for personal safety and comfort while performing the welding. Often, this can get expensive. Especially if we are burning through gear quickly or often replacing old safety equipment that continues to have problems. A common question I see arising is welders often burning through or experiencing issues with their welding gloves. How long do welding gloves last? After some diligent research, here is what I can tell you on this subject.
So, how long do welding gloves last? Welding gloves will last 1-8 weeks. Welding gloves are exposed to high heat and rough use that causes them to shrink, tear and deteriorate rapidly. Welding gloves that come with heat resistance or with a heat shield can have an extended period of use.
That’s your averages.
Some users do report burning through welding gloves even faster. Problems such as shrinking taking place in the finger sockets of the gloves can occur.
Many welders are currently turning to alternative solutions such as higher-end heat resistant gloves or using heat shields in addition to the gloves to extend their life.
More on Welding Gloves and Common Issues
First and foremost, most welders report that the life they experience from their welding gloves simply comes down to what task they are completing or what kind of welding they are currently doing.
Different welders have different complaints about how fast the gloves burn out. With welding, you have several variations such as the following.
• Metal Arc Welding
• Flux Cored Arc Welding
• MIG Welding (Gas Metal Arc Welding)
• TIG Welding (Gas Tungsten Arc Gas Welding)
Of course, all of these can place a beating on your welding gloves over time. Most commonly users report issues such as the following.
Fingers Shrinking- This is when the individual pockets where you place your fingers begin to shrink or compress due to the heat. Clearly, when this happens, your fingers can no longer fill the pockets or fit comfortably, and the gloves will begin to “bunch” up or create creases.
Stitching Burning- This is when you use no form of heat shield (will discuss shortly) and the gloves physically get too hot, and the stitching begins to burn out. A common place this occurs is on the web between the pointer finger and thumb.
Index Finger Blows Out- This would be the worst-case scenario, and unfortunately, it happens all the time. The fingers physical blow out or create holes in the gloves rendering the gloves completely useless or unsafe to continue using.
Thumb Stitching is Breaking or Wearing Through- This is very similar to the last example, but the thumb tends to be the first issue with these welding gloves if you make it past the finger shrinking phase that can happen in just a few short days in some circumstances or with low quality welding gloves.
When your gloves are constantly exposed to heat, this is going to happen.
The stitching will begin unraveling detaching the thumb piece from the rest of the glove. At this point, it’s time to toss them and try again. Better luck next time.
Now that we understand some of the common problems that cause welding gloves to no longer serve a use to us, what are some common steps we can take to improving this situation? More simply put, what can we do to make our welding gloves last longer?
Here are 3 common fixes and remedies to help your welding gloves last longer.
Method #1- Use Heat Resistant Backhand Pads
Heat resistant back hand pads are typically going to be made from Kevlar and Aluminized Carbon. Please note, you still wear your welding gloves in addition to the pads. Think of these pads as a secondary heat shield to protect the gloves.
It’s simply creating an additional layer of heat blocking and placing your hands third in line to get blasted with heat if all else were to fail. The back-hand pad will easily slip over the hand and on top of the welding gloves and remain in a fixed position due to the strap across the front side of your hand.
This is going to block most of the heat reaching the glove which can extend the life on your welding gloves ultimately saving you money.
Method #2- Spend Some Money Up Front, Quality First [Plus 6 Glove Recommendations]
This applies to nearly anything in life, but surprisingly welders also prefer to take the cheap shortcut. When you buy low-quality equipment, you get low-quality results. Price tags typically reflect what you are truly purchasing.
Start spending a few extra dollars on a quality pair of welding gloves. After strolling several communities and forums, I jotted down some numbers and favorite picks for gloves that tend to last past that 8-week mark and provide more comfort and durability. Here are the top 6 options I have found.
Yes, these gloves are a little more costly than other welding gloves. Typically, 30.00 dollars or more. However, they also last longer than many of the alternatives. The Lincoln Electric Heat Resistant Welding Gloves feature a heat resistant liner and are made from premium grade leather.
Additionally, within the glove itself, the seams and the finger placements are reinforced with high-grade leather wrapping to improve durability.
The Steiner Mega Migs are also a top pick among welders. Made from premium goatskin and cowhide, they are more than durable and capable to get the job for several months if not longer. They are about half the price of the Lincoln Electric gloves, but they do not feature some of the additional heat resistant and additional seam twisting that the Lincoln Gloves offer.
Regardless, the Steiner Mega Migs are much better than some of the low-cost options on the market.
The Hobart Welding Gloves came up very frequently on forums and groups for welders as a top pick for a quality welding glove. These aren’t too pricey coming in around the 20.00 mark but most recommending upgrading 1 step to the Hobart Premiums which are closer to 30.00.
One man’s comment was “these gloves have outlasted every other pair of welding glove I’ve ever used.”
These are also manufactured using premium cowhide and natural grain leather. Where much of the durability comes into play is the fact that the seams are stitched with highly durable Kevlar.
Hell, even police officers where Kevlar gloves to protect against stab wounds and weapon attacks so anytime you see a welding glove with Kevlar being used, you can trust it’s durable and ready to take a beating.
The Black Stallions are another top choice among welders. Outside of having perhaps the coolest name on the list, they are high quality and manufactured explicitly for MIG and TIG welding. They also get you a new set of gloves for under 20.00. You can’t really beat that.
These gloves also feature a seamless index finger allowing for easy trigger control and are Kevlar stitched to prevent abrasions and to splits in the glove.
Tillman Welding Gloves probably got just as many honorable mentions as any other glove on this list. They are one of the gloves creeping up near the 30.00 price point, but they are built to last. One user reported achieving 8 months of use from these gloves which is spectacular for a welding glove that gets heavy use.
The Tillman’s have reinforced palm and finger stitching and feature cowhide with elastic to help with a comfortable fit.
Kobalt was one of the top picks for the individual who still enjoys driving to the department store to purchase gear and equipment. These are perhaps the best welding gloves you can purchase at Lowes Department store and feature the durability and strength at an excellent price point.
Currently, the Kobalt Welding Gloves will run you around 15.00 dollars but are made with premium leather and feature Kevlar stitching to help with the common problems we discussed previously in this post.
Method #3- Have Back up Gloves or Purchase Welding Gloves in Bulk
Some of you may have welding gloves provided by your employers and some may not. Whatever the case may be, being prepared and using quality equipment can make the job more efficient, safer and more comfortable to complete.
A common solution to welding gloves regularly being rendered useless merely is to have multiple pairs. You can take any angle you choose with this. Maybe have 2 or 3 pairs of high-quality welding gloves and rotate their use to extend their life’s.
Perhaps, you don’t take our advice and aim for lower quality gloves but order a bulk amount from an overseas manufacturer.
Whatever the case may be, even the highest quality gloves are not built to last forever, and unfortunately, the credit card or checkbook will need to be used multiple times over your career.
Final Word. Go for Quality and Safety First. Save Money Somewhere Else in Life
With welding gloves, we are not just discussing a work-related expense. We are talking about your safety and comfort you experience while completing your daily job. Much like a police officer wearing a bulletproof vest.
I understand saving money is essential but with welding gloves, do yourself a favor and spend a little extra now to avoid the risk of injury or frustration in the future.