Always match your safety glove to your welding job. Here's why.

May 12, 2022

With an estimated 754,000 welding professionals in the United States combined with the fact that it’s one of the most dangerous occupations, the welding industry sees its fair share of injuries due to exposure to hazards daily.

That means the risk of being exposed to a life-altering incident significantly increases – especially when it comes to a welder's hands as they are the closest in proximity to the hazards. If the right precautions are taken, including donning the proper hand PPE, most – if not all – accidents can be avoided.

Unfortunately, finding the welding glove that will work best for your application can prove to be difficult, as there are numerous options out there on the market. Because this process can get confusing, we’re here to help.

Why selecting the right safety glove is important

A welder’s hands are highly susceptible to injury due to their proximity to dangerous levels of heat and energy, with injuries ranging from burns, electrical shock, cuts, crushed fingers, and more.

To help avoid a trip to the hospital, it’s important to consider how different types of welding operations can expose workers to different levels of heat hazards – even if those differences are slight. These sometimes small differences can make a huge impact on the longevity, comfort, and performance of your welding glove.

To start, let’s look at the four main types of welding to better understand what characteristics to look for in your next welding glove.

  1. MIG – Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
  2. TIG – Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
  3. Stick – Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
  4. Flux core – Flux-cored Arc Welding (FCAW)

Types of welding and the gloves to match

MIG welding

A versatile technique used on both thick and thin materials, Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding or Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) is an arc welding process (with shield gas) that exposes workers to medium to high heat and a medium amount of sparks and molten splatter.

The welder uses the dominant hand to hold a welding gun that heats and feeds a continuous solid wire electrode into the gun’s weld pool, melting the two base materials together to a form joint. Meanwhile, the non-dominant hand stables the body and dominant hand, all while taking heat from the weld.

Because hands are consistently close to the weld, a glove with a high level of back-of-hand heat protection is required. Plus, a moderate level of dexterity is needed to operate the gun trigger.

HexArmor® glove recommendation:

We recommend the use of our HeatArmor® 5054, 5055, and 5058 welding gloves for this type of weld.

TIG welding

Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding, also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) is an arc welding process that is ideal for high quality and precision welding on thin metals. TIG produces the weld with a non-consumable tungsten electrode, exposing the welder to low heat and low amounts of sparks and molten splatter.

Like MIG, TIG is also a two-hand operation, with the dominant hand on the welding gun and the non-dominant hand-feeding wire into the gun’s weld pool.

Because of this, the glove needs little to medium heat protection on the palm and back of hand but requires high levels of dexterity and tactile feel.

HexArmor® glove recommendation:

We recommend the use of our HeatArmor® 5058 welding glove for this type of weld.

Stick welding

Stick welding, or Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), is the simplest and oldest form of welding and is the most used welding approach in all arc welding procedures. To join various metals, it uses an electric current to melt both a metal filler electrode (rod or “stick”) and the metal joint, fusing them together. The rod is coated in flux, which when burned, creates the shielding gas necessary for an effective weld.

Stick welding is a messy process used on the heaviest of duty projects and materials. The welders’ dominant hand holds the clamp and guides the rod while the non-dominant hand stables the body, causing a very high exposure to heat, sparks, and molten splatter. Plus, the hands and body get closer to the work area as the rod is consumed.

Look for a glove with a high level of palm and back-of-hand heat protection for this application and note that very little dexterity is needed.

HexArmor® glove recommendation:

We recommend the use of our HeatArmor® 5050, 5051, and 5054 welding gloves for this type of weld.

Flux core

Whereas MIG welding required the use of a gas shield, flux core or Flux-cored Arc Welding (FCAW) uses flux-filled wire (thus the “flux” name), with the shielding gas optional. This makes flux core welding more potent than MIG for working on heavy-duty jobs/metals. Additionally, you can think of this as a more efficient version of stick.

Welders use their dominant hand to hold the gun while the non-dominate hand stables the body and the dominant hand while taking heat. Because hands are consistently close to the weld, the welder is exposed to medium to high heat and a medium amount of sparks and molten splatter.

Look for a glove with high levels of back-of-hand heat protection, along with a moderate level of dexterity to operate the gun trigger.

HexArmor® glove recommendation:

We recommend the use of our HeatArmor® 5050, 5051, and 5054 welding gloves for this type of weld.

Have more questions? HexArmor® can help

Not all welding gloves are created equal – and don’t be fooled by the price tag. Though seemingly affordable, many gloves on the market today are constructed of low-quality materials, become stiff after a few uses, and don’t provide adequate protection. This means you end up buying more gloves, paying more in the long run for sub-par protection and comfort – and running the risk of injury on the job.

We’ve addressed these gaps in the market with our line of high-heat gloves dedicated to delivering a higher standard of safety across the board in multiple hot work categories, like TIG, MIG, stick, and more. Each glove in our HeatArmor® series is purposefully constructed with amazing comfort, fit, and high-performing, long-lasting safety.

In addition to this, we have taken our gloves a step further to think of the risks related to welding outside of heat and sparks.

Learn more about the technology purpose-built into our HeatArmor® welding glove lineup.

If you’re not sure about the gloves you or your welders are currently wearing, we’d love to help figure out your best option. Let us know if you need help or if you're ready to start a trial - our Solution Specialists are ready to work with you. Call 1-877-MY ARMOR or send us a message.

Browse HeatArmor® welding gloves

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