Good garden gloves are essential year round, whether you're planting flowers at the start of the season, raking leaves come autumn, pruning prickly shrubs, or scraping muck from gutters. Consumer Reports checked in with garden pros from around the country to learn what they look for in a quality pair of gloves. Here's what they told us, including some brands and models they recommend.
The best gloves combine comfort and durability. Cotton gloves offer softness but not much protection, while all-leather gloves prevent nicks and cuts but aren't best for breathing and maneuverability. Instead, many gardeners look for durable, yet pliable materials that protect hands while still letting you maneuver. For example, Nan Sterman, the Encinitas, Calif.-based host of the program "A Growing Passion" on PBS.org, likes Gold Leaf Soft Touch Gloves, $43, which are made with deerskin, Lycra, and nylon. "They're the most comfortable and easy-to-wear gloves I've ever come across," she said.
Another expert-recommended garden glove is the Simply Mud glove, $12, made from nitrile coated nylon with a micro-finish grip coating that helps with the handling of wet tools and materials. These gloves are machine washable, and they come in an array of bright colors that makes them harder to lose in garden beds or groundcovers.
For extra protection, Jennifer Horn, a landscape architect and garden coach based in Washington, D.C., likes the Bionic line of gardening gloves, $12.50 to $35, with reinforced silicone on finger tips for better grip and durability. "They're great for pruning thorny plants like roses or mock orange," she said. The Tough Pro model features an anatomical pad system that absorbs vibration from power tools, lawn mowers, and trimmers, according to the manufacturer. (See the gloves, along with other fall-cleaning products, on The Today Show).
If you're looking to spend less on garden gloves (maybe you're a casual gardener or you're prone to misplacing tools and equipment), there are some affordable, yet still high-quality options. Jane Berger, a landscape designer from Woods Hole, Mass., likes A.M. Leonard's latex-coated work gloves. "They're $4.49 each if you buy them in quantity, which I do," she said. "They're comfortable and pretty much waterproof, and when they wear through, just start using another pair."
Check out Consumer Reports' Ratings to more essential gardening equipment, including lawn mowers and tractors, leaf blowers, string trimmers, and more.