12 reusable farm gloves on test: Which are best?

Whether it’s filling up with fuel, connecting a pto shaft or wrangling with hydraulic pipes, a decent set of gloves will make the job far more pleasant.

We know there are plenty of people in the farming community who’ve spent years seasoning their palms with oil and grease to form a Teflon-like coating. And for them, the thought of wearing gloves – let alone shopping around for the best type – will seem a little namby-pamby.

But for those that are interested in keeping the worst of the hydrocarbons out of their pores, we’ve assembled 12 pairs of reusable gloves and put them to the test.

See also: 6 farm workshop gloves: Which handles mucky jobs best?

A few years ago, we carried out a similar review of single-use gloves. But while these are handy for prolonged oily work, they’re a fiddle to put on and take off, particularly on days that are hot enough the get the palms sweating.

Therefore, when jobs like greasing or hooking up implements need to be completed before hopping back into the relative cleanliness of a tractor cab, reusables take a bit of beating.

Our selection ranges from lighter-weight general handling gloves to heavy-duty, oil-proof mitts that’ll take almost anything. It’s worth noting that gloves in these categories tend to have poor puncture resistance ratings, so they’re no good for tackling a wayward blackthorn hedge – we found out the hard way.

How we tested them

To assess the relative merits of each glove, we used them for a range of tasks, from greasing, connecting hydraulic hoses and changing filters, to fiddly spannering tasks such as threading small nuts and bolts.

Here they were being assessed for fit, comfort and dexterity, as well as their ability to keep low-level grime at bay. We then subjected them to some more harsh abrasion and oil-resistance tests, which involved handling rough concrete and rubbing grease and sump oil into the palms.

Pairs that claimed to be oil-proof were also dipped in water and sump oil to test for leaks. All prices include VAT.

How gloves are rated

Like most pieces of safety equipment, protective gloves are tested to see how they measure up to a set of performance ratings.

The most common standard is EN388 and a code, such as 4121X, will be stamped somewhere on the glove to indicate how well it performs. Each number relates to a specific test and there is a score out of five (five being the best). The tests are listed below in the order they appear in the standard.

  • Abrasion resistance
  • Blade cut resistance
  • Tear resistance
  • Puncture resistance
  • ISO cut resistance (specific cut resistance test)

An X means that particular test hasn’t been carried out or, in the case of blade cut resistance, it’s already passed the more rigorous ISO cut-resistance test.

EN407 is another test result that can be found on some gloves and this relates to their heat resistance. Gloves with chemical and micro-organism resistance will also have EN374 ratings.


Towa Activ Grip CJ–569 (5 stars)

These gloves managed to strike the best balance between durability, oil resistance, comfort and grip.

With a nitrile foam palm and liquid-resistant coating on the back of the hand, they aced our sump oil and water-dipping tests and, after a prolonged period of use, our hands stayed free from contamination.

Towa Activ Grip gloves

Towa Activ Grip gloves

The payoff for the liquid resistance is that they get a bit sweaty on a hot day, but this doesn’t affect how easy they are to take off and pull back on. To prevent them getting pongy, an odour-resistant coating has been applied to the lining.

They’re slightly too bulky for the most intricate tasks, but they’re ideal to have in the tractor toolbox for greasing, hooking and unhooking implements and refuelling.

  • EN388 rating 4121X
  • Glove coating Nitrile foam palms and coated backhand
  • Available sizes 6 (XS) to 11 (XXL)
  • Price £4.99 from Screwfix


Site Cutmaster KF540 (4 stars)

Without any coating on the backs of the hands, these gloves were a little less resistant to oil penetration than our winner.

However, they were comfortable, flexible enough to carry out fairly fiddly tasks and the nitrile palms refused to let any oil or grease through. They also offered plenty of grip.

Site CutMaster gloves

Site CutMaster

As the name suggests, these gloves have a steel-reinforced, cut-resistant liner, so they’re useful for handling sharp objects such as baler or forager knives. They also have a degree of heat protection, meaning the wearer can handle materials at 100C for up to 15 seconds.

The downside of all this is that they they lack breathability, which causes hands to get hot, and we could only find them in size large. They fitted our testers well, but they won’t suit everyone.

  • EN388 rating 4121X plus level 1 EN407 heat resistance
  • Glove coating Nitrile foam palms
  • Available sizes 9 (large)
  • Price £5.99 from Screwfix

Third place

Maxicut Oil Resistant (3.5 stars)

Like our second-placed glove, the Maxicut offers strong oil and cut resistance. But its poorer fit, stiffness and high price pushed it into third place.

The three-quarter nitrile palm held up well in our oil ingress tests, and the mesh hand backs meant they were cooler to wear than some. These gloves have a glass-reinforced liner to offer cut protection, and they’re particularly tough against abrasion.

Maxicut Oil Resistant gloves

Maxicut Oil Resistant

  • EN388 rating 4231
  • Glove coating Nitrile foam palms and fingers
  • Available sizes 6 (XS) to 10 (XL)
  • Price £6.98 from SafetyGloves.co.uk

The rest of the contenders

Adept Oil (3 stars)

Featuring a full nitrile coating, the Adept Oil gloves offered complete protection, even when they were fully dipped in sump oil. The payoff is that they’re uncomfortable and the loose fit means they’re no good for fiddly tasks.

  • EN388 rating 4131
  • Glove coating Full nitrile
  • Available sizes 7 (S) to 11 (XXL)
  • Price £3.32 from SafetyGloves.co.uk
Adept Oil gloves

Adept Oil

Black Rock PVC Knitwrist (1 star)

These old-school gloves give plenty of protection, but the appalling, baggy fit renders the wearer too ham-fisted to carry out basic workshop tasks.

  • EN388 rating 4121 and EN420
  • Glove coating PVC dipped
  • Available sizes XL
  • Price £1.79 from Machine Mart
Black Rock PVC Knitwrist gloves

Black Rock PVC Knitwrist

Portwest Dermiflex water-repellent gloves (2 stars)

Despite promising to offer oil resistance, the black stuff soon came through the palms of these gloves. The backs are water repellent to a degree, but it doesn’t take much to overcome the coating.

  • EN388 rating 4131X
  • Glove coating Nitrile palms and water resistance coating on backs
  • Available sizes 6 (XS) to 11 (XXL)
  • Price £2.38 from SafetyGloves.co.uk
Portwest Dermiflex water-repellent gloves

Portwest Dermiflex water-repellent gloves

Black Rock Advance Smart Touch (2 stars)

Thanks to copper fibres incorporated into the fabric, these gloves can be used to activate a smartphone screen. However, most people are likely to want to remove grimy gloves before handling a pricey phone. They’re comfortable, but even though they’re aimed at mechanics, they don’t offer much protection from oil and grease.

  • EN388 rating 4131X
  • Glove coating PU coating with copper fibres
  • Available sizes 7 (S) to 11 (XXL)
  • Price £1.79 from Machine Mart
Black Rock Advance Smart Touch gloves

Black Rock Advance Smart Touch

Adept Air 8 (3 stars)

The Adept Air 8 glove is lightweight, fits nicely and stands up surprisingly well to abrasion. It says it’s designed for use in oily environments and is a decent choice for general handing and workshop use, but it doesn’t take long for grease and oil to get through.

  • EN388 rating 4121
  • Glove coating Nitrile palms
  • Available sizes 7 (S) to 10 (XL)
  • Price £2.88 from SafetyGloves.co.uk
Adept Air gloves

Adept Air

Ansell Edge (3 stars)

At just 95p, the Ansell Edge were the cheapest gloves in our test, but they certainly weren’t the worst. The polyurethane-coated palm is less flexible than the nitrile used on more expensive options, but it kept oil out for a reasonable length of time. The fit is acceptable for the price, too.

  • EN388 rating 3121
  • Glove coating Polyurethane palms
  • Available sizes 7 (S) to 10 (XL)
  • Price £0.95 from SafetyGloves.co.uk
Ansell Edge gloves

Ansell Edge

Site KF320 (3 stars)

This thin glove is designed for general handling tasks, but the nitrile palm and tips of fingers were more resistant to oil ingress than some of the more specialist options. They’re also comfortable, breathable and have good dexterity.

  • EN388 rating 4121X
  • Glove coating Nitrile palms and fingertips
  • Available sizes M, L and XL
  • Price £2.99 from Screwfix
Site KF320 gloves

Site KF320

Stanley Razor Gripper (3 stars)

Stanley’s Razor Grippers are a bit pricey for a pair of general handling gloves, but they offer a lot of grip and the dense nitrile coating holds up well against abrasion. The palms give moderate protection against oil and grease, the fit is pretty good and they’re breathable.

  • EN388 rating 4122X
  • Glove coating Nitrile palms and fingertips
  • Available sizes M and L
  • Price £4.49 from Screwfix
Stanley Razor Gripper gloves

Stanley Razor Gripper

Black Rock Advance Thermotite Grip (2 stars)

Despite promising to cope well in wet and oily conditions, these gloves soon let both in. They’re designed for use in cold weather, so have a thick fleece lining that makes intricate tasks difficult. If they’d offered decent water resistance, they would have been a good winter option.

  • EN388 rating 4231X
  • Glove coating Nitrile palms and fingers
  • Available sizes 7 (S) to 10 (XL)
  • Price £4.96 from Safetygloves.co.uk
Black Rock Advance Thermotite Grip

Black Rock Advance Thermotite Grip

Handy tip

To create a lightweight oil- and grease-proof reusable glove on the cheap, a single-use nitrile glove can be worn on top of a thin glove like the Site KF320 or Adept Air 8.

This combination gives the wearer decent dexterity and it’s easier to take off and put back on than a nitrile glove on its own, particularly when hands are sweaty. It adds a bit of warmth for winter jobs, too.


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