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Buying guide for Best chemical-resistant work gloves

Work gloves are available in a wide range of types to tackle nearly any job. They are all designed to protect your hands, and this is particularly true for chemical-resistant work gloves. These gloves are made for anyone who does industrial cleaning, finishing work, engine repair, any job that requires you to deal with such things as caustic chemicals, petroleum, or solvents on a daily basis.

Shopping for the right chemical-resistant work gloves for your particular needs can be difficult. From length and size to materials and durability, there is a fair amount to consider when buying a pair of these gloves.

Our buying guide provides the information you need to know to select the appropriate chemical-resistant work gloves for your needs. In addition to examining the features, capabilities, and prices, we highlight the chemical-resistant work gloves that stand out from the rest in quality and performance.

One rule of thumb when gauging glove thickness: doubling the thickness of the material quadruples the amount of time it takes the chemical to break through the glove material.

Key considerations


Chemical-resistant work gloves come in a variety of lengths, and some sellers offer a choice of lengths. Some gloves extend to the wrist, while others reach halfway up the forearm, to the elbow, or even to the shoulder. Work gloves of this type typically range from 12 to 26 inches long or more.

Longer gloves provide you with better protection from spills and splashes and are particularly effective if you need to clean deep containers. Longer gloves also cost more and probably aren’t necessary if you’re just cleaning solvent off engine parts, for example. Consider how you plan to use the gloves before deciding on the length you need.


Work gloves that are too small won’t be comfortable and won’t provide adequate dexterity, assuming you can squeeze your hands into them at all. Conversely, gloves that are too large could slide and move around too much, which can be dangerous when you’re working with toxic chemicals.

A proper fit is key if the gloves are to be comfortable and safe, as well as easy to pull on and off. Most sellers provide a sizing chart, which gives you measurements such as the length from the end of the middle finger to the knuckle, the width of the palm at the base of the knuckles, and the hand circumference at the knuckle base. Use a tape measure and measure your hand so you can order the right size gloves.


Chemical-resistant glove thickness is usually measured in mils (0.001 inches). 

These work gloves should be thick enough to protect you from the chemicals you’re handling but not so thick that you can’t feel what you’re doing when wearing them. It’s a judgment call when you’re working with chemicals, but thicker is generally better with these gloves, so long as the gloves don’t interfere with your ability to hold and work with objects. (One interesting thing to note with chemical-resistant gloves is that longer gloves are usually thicker than shorter ones.)


When you’re working with dangerous chemicals, your gloves need to go above and beyond when it comes to durability. They should be able to handle the specific chemicals you’re working with and be strong enough to resist typical glove damage such as punctures, cracks, and tears.

Did You Know?
Textured grips on gloves are better for handling objects if the gloves are wet.



The material that chemical-resistant work gloves are made of determines what type of chemicals you can handle with them. Be sure you read the description carefully to verify that the gloves you’re considering will meet your needs. Below are several of the more common materials used in the manufacture of chemical-resistant work gloves.

Latex: Derived from fluid in rubber trees, latex is inexpensive and offers decent grip and dexterity. However, petroleum-based chemicals, in particular, can quickly break down latex. And some people are allergic to latex, and for some, the reaction can be quite serious (see below for more).

Nitrile: Made from synthetic rubber, nitrile fits more loosely and offers less dexterity than latex, but it can withstand more chemicals. Neoprene is similar to nitrile. Nitrile cannot be used with non-petroleum solvents. 

Vinyl and PVC: Gloves made of plastics like vinyl or PVC are fine for use with low-risk, less hazardous materials, particularly glue. Glue doesn’t adhere to this material as it does to others.


Some gloves have an outer coating of something like nitrile, latex, or polyurethane to provide added strength or added texture for an improved grip. Sometimes the coating is added to the palm side of fabric gloves, so you end up with a glove that protects you from chemicals and can still breathe.


Many chemical-resistant work gloves have an inner lining to improve comfort, add warmth, and aid in both putting on the gloves and taking them off. A lining of cotton flocking or cotton knit can also help absorb perspiration.


The cuffs on chemical-resistant work gloves can help to protect your hands by keeping dangerous materials out of the gloves. Some gardening gloves and regular work gloves have tight cuffs that can be cinched closed to keep out dirt and other debris.

Cuffs on chemical-resistant work gloves are usually loose and can take a few different forms. Some of the more common include the following:

Gauntlet: These cuffs are loose and typically found on long gloves. They’re designed to allow air to circulate and make the gloves easy to remove.

Straight: Also loose and usually on longer gloves, straight cuffs are designed so that the edges can be rolled up to catch drips.

Beaded or rolled: These cuffs are also usually loose. They have a lip around the edge to protect against drips. 


Most chemical-resistant gloves come as one pair, but you can find some in packs of two, a dozen, or even a hundred gloves (the latter are usually disposable gloves). While the higher price should tell you that you’re buying more than one pair of gloves, be sure to check before purchasing so you know what you’re ordering.

Do your gloves have an expiration date? Dispose of any gloves that are past that date.



Inexpensive: Chemical-resistant work gloves in the $7 to $10 range tend to be shorter, thinner, and less durable than other gloves of this type. A latex coating and minimal (or no) cotton lining are common here.

Mid-range: In the $11 to $20 range, thickness and durability improve. You can find longer gloves here, often made of either neoprene or nitrile with a thicker, more comfortable lining.

Expensive: Chemical-resistant work gloves in the $21 to $30 range are the longest and thickest and offer the best protection from chemicals. Added coatings are common in this range. Gloves at these price points often come in sets of two or three pairs to boxes of 100 disposable gloves.

Did You Know?
The use of chemical-resistant gloves is more common than you might think. Experts estimate that there are currently almost 600,000 chemical products manufactured or imported into the United States.


  • Read any documentation included with your gloves before using them. This provides you with valuable information about how to safely use the gloves and what chemicals they can be used with.
  • Read the OSHA standard regarding chemical-resistant gloves. You can find the standard here.
  • Go smaller. If you can’t find a pair of chemical-resistant gloves that fit you exactly, it’s safer to go a bit smaller than a bit larger.
  • Inspect your gloves regularly. If they’re beginning to show signs of wear (including tears or rips) or starting to break down due to chemical exposure, replace them immediately.
  • Watch for skin reactions. One of the best indicators that chemical-resistant work gloves aren’t doing their job is your skin. If you experience any itching, burning, or redness in your hands, your gloves either need to be replaced or swapped out for a pair with better resistance to the chemicals you’re handling.
A knit lining in work gloves adds comfort, absorbs perspiration, and can also offer some moderate temperature protection if you’re handling hot objects.


Q. Can these gloves be used outside in the winter?

A. Some chemical-resistant work gloves hold up to cold temperatures better than others. Gloves that have a thicker lining and don’t crack or stiffen in the cold will be more effective and comfortable in winter or refrigerated conditions. If you’re searching for cold-temperature gloves, be sure to check with the seller or manufacturer to verify their gloves will work in the temperatures you need.

Q. Are these gloves reusable?

A. Generally, yes. Some disposable gloves can be used in situations where you may experience incidental chemical contact. Gloves that are designed for more prolonged chemical contact are often reusable if cared for properly. While this usually entails washing them and drying them at room temperature, you should follow all of the manufacturer’s recommendations in terms of caring for your gloves. It is not recommended that you try to decontaminate the gloves after prolonged exposure. Dispose of gloves if you notice any swelling, cracking, or other signs of chemical wear or damage.

Q. Are latex allergies dangerous?

A. Latex allergies, such as what you would suffer when exposed to latex gloves, are considered pretty rare. The CDC estimates that 1% to 6% of Americans have a latex allergy. Most of those who do suffer from this allergy experience mild symptoms, such as a skin rash or hives. In some people, however, latex can cause anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock, which can cause severe breathing difficulty, a drop in blood pressure, and even death.

If you think you may have a latex allergy or exhibit symptoms that suggest such an allergy, you should switch to a different type of chemical-resistant glove, such as those made of nitrile or neoprene. Just be sure that they’re as effective against whatever chemical you’re handling.

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