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Oh, welding gloves!
This is a hot topic in vegan welders’ minds because it’s incredibly difficult to find synthetic or vegan-friendly welding gloves. But while it’s important to stick to our principles, it’s equally important to look out for our safety, especially when we’re exposed to safety and health hazards.
The most common safety hazards and injuries that may affect a welder are burns.
Sadly, there’s a likelihood for molten metal fragments and sparks to land on your skin. As such, you need equipment that protects you from those hazards. But as I’ve said, it’s difficult to find vegan welding gloves, and thus the options available may not compare to leather gloves.
Nevertheless, I’ve managed to find three vegan welding gloves.
The 3 Best Vegan Welding Gloves
North Star White Ox Gauntlet
The first option of vegan welding gloves I’ve found was the North Star White Ox Gauntlet.
This gauntlet is 100% cotton and has a double-ply quilted palm which is equal to a canvas construction of 22-ounce thickness. It is also equipped with a red elastic band shirred at the back of the wrist which can be used to adjust the size of the glove.
In addition, the gauntlet comes with a 5-inch rubberized canvas cuff and an index finger seam that should offer the same protection as a wrap-around construction.
While I do consider this one to be a viable alternative against injuries like punctures, cuts, and fractures due to the thickness and padding of the gauntlet— I don’t know how it performs n high-temperature scenarios where sparks and spatters are abundant.
By nature, cotton is not a fabric that goes well with high-temperatures, and given the 100% cotton construction, it’s likely that they’re too much of a risk for MIG and stick welding. Though, I do want to mention that vegan-friendly welding jackets are crafted using flame-retardant cotton, a type of cotton that can handle intense temperatures.
However, I do not think that is the case with these gloves, especially because of how close the gloves get to the welding.
ThxToms Kevlar Work Gloves
If the North Star gauntlets offer you a 100% cotton construction, the ThxToms give you the best of both worlds by featuring a kevlar and cotton construction.
They’re built with a high-end synthetic fiber called Kevlar, also referred to as Kevlar. A class of heat-resistant and strong synthetic fibers used for aerospace and military applications, and also to substitute the once gold standard heat-resistant material, Asbestos.
As a result, you have a synthetic glove that can be used in high-temperature environments.
In fact, it can continuously sustain 800ºF (426 ºC) and endure an instant contact at 932°F (500º), which is comparable to some leather welding gloves. On top of that, it is also a level 4 cut resistant glove, therefore it’s quite strong and durable, in theory.
According to the seller, it is a great glove for welding, but you would have to test it out in order to find out. If not, the user comments may help you obtain a clearer picture.
KEZZLED Kevlar Heat-Resistant Gloves
If you want gloves that offer you more hand mobility and some level of heat-resistance, then perhaps you may be interested in this one.
The Kezzled gloves are built with glass fiber and kevlar construction, and they’re designed with an extended sleeve to protect your hand and arms from cuts, scratches, scrapes, slashes and some level of heat.
In fact, it is certified abrasion level 2, cut level 5, tear level 4, puncture level 1, and it’s also built to neutralize electricity. The gloves are breathable, and also lightweight.
On one hand, you can find reviews suggesting that the gloves work great in a welding environment, and at the same time, you can find reviews showing discontent due to the lack of durability against sharp items, and even flames.
At the same time, the seller does suggest the gloves are suitable for different industries, including metal and automotive industries.
If you’re in doubt, feel free to visit Amazon to get more information.
What Are Welding Gloves?
Welding gloves are a pair of protective equipment designed to protect the hands of welders.
If you work as a welder, then you know better than anyone how hazardous your working environment can be. And as a result, you need thick, protective welding gloves that can provide you with the highest level of protection.
With welding gloves, you are ensuring you protect yourself from extreme heat, infrared and UV radiation, and electrical shock. They can also resist abrasion and enhance your grip.
Of course, welding gloves are part of an entire set that involves coveralls, helmets, among others.
Because you’re very hands-on in a welding procedure, you need gloves that are functional, sturdy, and which can dissipate heat. They also need to be able to neutralize electricity. In some cases, welding gloves also include forearm guards to protect you from spatters, even though that depends on the type of welding project you’re working on.
Not every welding glove is the same, so depending on the project, you got different types of gloves that accommodate certain tasks or needs.
However, there is a big problem with welding gloves, at least as far as vegan welders are concerned. Most welding gloves contain animal-based materials which are essentially better designed to give you protection in high-heat scenarios, whilst synthetic gloves may (or not) be able to handle those scenarios as effectively.
Types of Welding Gloves
Depending on the welding project at hand, you need the right welding gloves — preferably ones that can handle the type of job you’re about to perform.
Here’s a short look at some of the most common welding gloves:
MIG Welding Gloves
MIG welding typically exposes you to a tremendous amount of spatter and heat. Therefore, MIG welding gloves are thick and equipped with multiple layers and heat-resistant lining.
However, MIG welding gloves are usually crafted from leather materials such as goatskin, deerskin, and top-grain cowhide. Those materials are highly heat-resistant, durable, and are very effective in protecting your hands from spatter, making it very difficult to find vegan alternatives.
TIG Welding Gloves
TIG welding gloves are typically more flexible and offer you more movement, which is essentially required if you want to make precise welds through TIG torches. That is why TIG welders normally choose gloves with pliable and thin materials such as goatskin.
However, unlike the MIG gloves, TIG gloves do not require as much protection against heat, and it also involves fewer spatter, which opens a possibility for the rare synthetic gloves.
This being said, TIG gloves are still constructed with additional padding surrounding the palm and the outer part of your hand, which allows you to rest your fingers on hot surfaces.
Stick Welding Gloves
Stick welding gloves typically require a thicker fabric. Unfortunately, when people in the industry speak of thicker materials, that usually involves pigskin, goatskin, and elkskin.
Thea stick welding process is rather simple and doesn’t require the same precision as the other two, so you don’t need to look for a flexible glove. Instead, what you should be looking for is an adequate level of protection as well as heat-resisting properties.
Stick welding is the most heat-intensive process— it involves heat, sparks and spatters. In this case, it may be difficult to find a synthetic alternative that is strong enough to resist the temperature output during the welding.
Do You Really Need Welding Gloves?
Yes, welding gloves are a must-have for welders.
One of the main reasons (of not the main reason) is to really protect you from sparks, which are what most welders face on a day to day basis. Then, it also has great heat-resistant properties that support temperatures that go up to 600º degrees.
Welding gloves are essential when you take into account Stick and MIG welding, processes that ignite a lot of sparks. Sometimes, you may even have particles/pieces of metal flying around.
Also, let’s not forget the padding, which also protects you from injuries such as punctures, cuts, fractures, sprains, and burns.
Therefore, yes, welding gloves are definitely a must.
How to Choose Welding Gloves
Choosing the right welding gloves (for vegans) has to come down to a few factors, starting with the most important of all.
As you’re aware, finding vegan-friendly welding gloves is extremely difficult. In fact, what started with being a confident search for synthetic welding gloves ended with a rather scarce list.
Unfortunately, the most sought-after materials for welding gloves are:
And according to most welding-related resources online, there’s really no mention of a synthetic alternative. Though, as with most cases, the vegan community is very helpful, and I managed to come across vegan-friendly alternatives via different recommendations.
So, the vegan welding gloves I recommend earlier, typically use materials such as:
- and Kevlar.
Cotton is often comfortable, cool, absorbent. It also doesn’t leave scratches or footprints, is naturally biodegradable and has good abrasion resistance.
Also, it is a rather insulating fiber that has excellent resistance to heat degradation. However, it begins to turn yellow after several hours at 250°F (120°C), and it will probably degrade at temperatures around 450°F (232°C).
In other words, it can handle tasks that involve small amounts of heat, but it’s not sustainable in extreme heat situations with open flames, sparks or spatter.
However, if mixed with Kevlar then it may support up to 800ºF (426 ºC), which is pretty considerable, and quite close to regular leather welding gloves. Then again, it comes down to the construction and the quality of the materials.
Note: Some of the vegan-friendly welding, heat-resistant gloves I found are a mix of Kevlar and Cotton.
Another obvious factor we’ve mentioned is the type of welding project you’re involved with.
Are you in a Stick welding project that exposes you to extreme heat, sparks and spatters? Is it TIG welding where you require more precision, and thus more flexible gloves? Or are you in a MIG welding project where you need to maximize production?
By taking these questions into consideration, you’re able to find the gloves that best suit you.
Frankly, in any welding project, I believe safety is the most important aspect.
Therefore, you must examine the level of protection provided by a particular set of gloves, based on the safety hazards you will be most likely be exposed to. You also need to examine the time of exposure, and how close you are to that particular hazard.
Truly examine each glove to see if it’s viable for the type of safety hazards you’re facing.
For some welding projects, it is also advisable to pick welding gloves that provide you with some hand mobility, especially for projects that require more precision.
In other words, you need dexterity and gloves that are flexible enough to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your welding.
However, in certain scenarios (MIG and stick welding), heat-resistance is certainly more important.
Be sure to keep that in mind.
Size and Length
The size and length of the glove is also something you must take into consideration, based on the work environment and industry you are in.
For instance, if you work in the metal welding industry, perhaps it’s advisable to search for gloves that not only cover your hands but also your forearms. In addition, a glove needs to fit comfortably on your hand, especially in certain projects where you must be highly precise.
Certain manufacturers provide a one-fits-all option, but you can also find ones that provide you with standard sizes. In that case, go out to a home depot and try out different sizes before you decide to order something from the internet.
Lastly, welding gloves must cover your hands completely, and in some cases, the forearms.
This is very important if you’re in the metal welding industry, as you’ll be exposed to sparks and spatters, and a tremendous amount of heat.
As a welder, you’re exposing yourself to some danger and a few safety hazards.
As such, you must protect yourself at all times. Not only with gloves, but with other equipment like helmets, jackets, boots and more. And you can do that by knowing exactly what you should buy and getting the best equipment possible.
Protection should come before anything else!