Why glove gauge is a hot topic in hand safety right now [2024]

Why glove gauge is a hot topic in hand safety right now [2024] header image
2024-01-30

Glove gauge just might be the most overlooked feature in knit safety gloves. Why? Let’s talk about it.

As a leader in safety innovation for over 20 years, we’ve seen all kinds of hand protection. When we started in 2002, mechanics style was the gold standard of industrial safety gloves. You’d hardly ever see someone in a knit glove if you wanted “proper” protection.

Flash forward to today – knit technologies used in coated safety gloves have seen incredible upgrades to the point of being competitive and often better solutions in comfort, dexterity, and more when up against a mechanics style or leather glove.

So, what does this have to do with gauge? In short, everything. Here’s what you need to know about gauge with your knit safety gloves.

What does a glove gauge mean?

First things first, you may hear coated or dipped knit gloves referred to as a "13-gauge" or "18-gauge" glove. So, what exactly is gauge?

The term gauge simply refers to glove thickness. It's the size and type of needles used in a seamless knitting machine to produce a glove or, put in another way, the number of stitches included in each inch of material.

When it comes to gloves, PPE manufacturers typically offer gauges that range from 10- to 21-gauge. Generally, a lower gauge glove can feel thicker and perhaps less dexterous when compared to a higher gauge glove, which can feel thinner, more dexterous, and, oftentimes, more comfortable. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.

Here are some popular gauges in safety gloves:

  • 10-gauge – Durable, thick knit. Good for heavy-duty work.
  • 13-gauge – Durable, dexterous knit. Good for general work. Offered by HexArmor®.
  • 15-gauge – Durable, dexterous, thin knit. Good for working with small parts. Offered by HexArmor®.
  • 18-gauge – Highly dexterous thin knit. Great for precision work with small parts. Offered by HexArmor®.
  • 21-gauge – Extremely dexterous, thinnest knit. Excellent for precision work with small parts. Offered by HexArmor®.

Chart showcasing the thickness of 10-gauge, 13-gauge, 15-gauge, 18-gauge, and 21-gauge knits.

At HexArmor®, not surprisingly, we offer one of the thinnest gauges on the market at a 21-gauge glove. But don’t let the thinness fool you – our gauges are packed with power. We’ll talk more about that in a moment.

The biggest misconceptions with gauge

In mentioning our 21-gauge knit, we want to share some insight we’ve gathered over the years. Because we innovate our knits all the time, we’ve heard users comment on how knit gloves might be “too thin” to offer the protection they need. In other words, they don’t trust them.

This leads us to two of the biggest misconceptions we hear about gauges.

Misconception #1: Higher gauges mean lower cut protection.

The most common misconception about a higher gauge knit is that wearers oftentimes believe they are less protective than a lower gauge solely based on that thinner gauge.

But don’t be fooled by this.

Fact: Higher gauges can be offered across the entire cut protection spectrum, and gauge is not the only factor that determines cut protection levels.

Factors like the type of knit fibers and coating used are huge in determining cut level.

HexArmor® offers ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 A6, A7, and A9 cut protection in seamless knit styles in higher gauges.

Hands wearing the Helix 3062 cut-resistant seamless gloves handing razor blades.

Misconception #2: Lower gauges are thick, uncomfortable, and offer only higher cut protection.

We get it. High-performing gloves of the past were bulkier, giving the wearer that tougher-than-tough feel.

But these days, that is simply not the case.

Fact: Lower gauge gloves can be comfortable and offered in any cut protection level.

Although lower gauge gloves are heavier and higher gauge gloves are lighter, the protection can be the same or even higher depending on the knit fibers and/or the manufacturer.

HexArmor® offers ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 A1, A2, A6, and A9 cut resistance in seamless knit styles in lower gauges with a proven track record across various industries for being comfortable, durable, and reliable.

Hands wearing Helix 2062 cut-resistant gloves holding razors.

So, why pay attention to glove gauge?

Besides the fact that it’s a quick number to compare against other gloves, it’s important to learn about or ask manufacturers what knit materials the glove is made from. That’s because gauge is only as important as what the fibers are comprised of. For example, using HPPE is much different than using steel or polyester, and how all three are knit together will have entirely different results.

How thick or thin the glove is and what the glove is made from will be critical in determining the most appropriate seamless glove.

It all starts with the overall fit. If the glove fits well, individuals are likelier to perform at a higher level. Gloves that have a poor fit can result in hand fatigue and restricted movement, eventually resulting in a worker taking off their gloves… and that’s when injuries occur.

Finding a glove that delivers outstanding comfort, ergonomics, protection, and long-lasting Wearability® for your application is key.

Hands wearing Helix 3020 using a tool to showcase the dexterous nature of HexArmor's cut-resistanct seamless knit gloves.

What glove gauge is right for you?

We always recommend a glove trial to find the style and features that are best for you, depending on your application and what your hands are handling.

With HexArmor®, we work hard to ensure that no matter what glove you feel most comfortable in, it will also be the glove that provides the protection, grip, and performance you need to meet and exceed your expectations. We work side-by-side with you to find the best possible solution – and even come onsite to deep dive into each application and hazard your workers face daily on the job.

HexArmor® can help

When you choose a gauge from HexArmor®, you’re not just picking a number… you’re choosing quality. We test all fibers and knit combinations to optimize the fit, comfort, and performance to pack in the best and most sought-after attributes of a glove – all found within our Helix® Series.

This seamless knit safety glove line keeps us on our toes, constantly innovating and evolving to find the best solution for whatever task or application our customers throw our way. Things like better cut, puncture, comfort, thinness, grip, impact, eco-friendly… you name it, we have it.

Let us know if you need help or are ready to start a trial - our Solution Specialists are ready to work with you. Call 1.877.MY ARMOR or send us a message.

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