The 10 Best Electrician Gloves
For electricians, the workplace is an inherently dangerous place, known for common injuries such as burns, shocks, and puncture wounds. Whether you’re a professional in the trade or trying your hand at some home improvement projects, quality gloves are your first line of defense against these hazards. Make sure to pick up a pair that fits your hands and your budget. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best electrician glove on Amazon.
Getting A Grip On Electrician Gloves
Rubber gloves are only half the picture, however, as OSHA regulations require that workers wear leather gloves on top of their insulating pair.
When it comes to the gloves that electricians wear, there are two basic types: those that have insulating properties and those that do not. The former provide protection against electrical shocks, an ability not found in the latter. While it may seem easy to look at a pair of electrician gloves and determine whether they offer this protection, Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards have made it so that no one needs to guess. Besides, it’s tough to tell at a glance whether a material will offer you the protection that suits your needs, and no one is suggesting that you try (unless you’re looking for some free electroshock therapy).
Insulating electrical gloves are the choice of those who may need to work around a live current in the course of their day, such as electricians or lineworkers. These gloves are made from rubber, measured to OSHA standards, and labeled accordingly. The labels are color-coded and indicate the glove’s class; Class 00, for instance, is the lowest, bearing a beige label and having a max use voltage of 500 AC/750 DC. You should plan to start using these types of electrical gloves if you will be working around live current exceeding 50 volts.
Rubber gloves are only half the picture, however, as OSHA regulations require that workers wear leather gloves on top of their insulating pair. These guard against injuries caused by arc flash and should be as fire resistant as possible. That’s because an arc flash can achieve temperatures of 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter even than the sun’s surface. Heat of this magnitude could ignite the rubber shock-resistant layer, making this two-layer system of protection a bright idea.
Of course, if you’re working on anything electrical in your home, it’s likely that you won’t need such a level of protection. If you’re installing a new ceiling fan, say, you’ll turn off the breaker so that you aren’t working around live current. Your hands will still need protection, though. And if you are an electrician, you know that you wouldn’t want to wear insulating gloves all the time, as that would be uncomfortable and unnecessary. For these reasons, companies make electrician gloves that protect your hands against other common issues: cuts, scrapes, blisters, burns, and more. These types of electrician gloves are often crafted from durable synthetics that offer range of motion, protection for the skin on your hands, and excellent grip.
Care And Fitting
For the best protection, your electrician gloves should be firm against your skin but not so tight that your movement is compromised. Such a fit will keep them from snagging on anything while still offering you range of motion in your digits. To find the best fit, you’ll need to measure your hands to compare against the size measurements given by a glove’s manufacturer. True, it’s kind of annoying to have to dig up a measuring tape and spend the time getting the sizing right, but terms like “large” and “extra large” are notoriously hard to gauge. Numbers don’t lie.
Such a fit will keep them from snagging on anything while still offering you range of motion in your digits.
Once you’ve found the right pair, you want to keep them in good working order. You’ll need to have insulated electrical gloves checked after every six months of use or after 12 months of shelf storage. A visual inspection before each use is also a good idea, which will help you find any tears or cuts that can lower your glove’s dielectric properties. Other types of electrician gloves, including those made from leather, should also be visually inspected before use and replaced if you find heavy wear and tear.
As for storage, insulated gloves should never be rolled up or folded but rather stored flat. They often come with a storage bag to accommodate this, the use of which also prevents them from becoming punctured or abraded. You’re better off storing your other pairs of electrician gloves flat, as well, or perhaps hanging on a hook. And if you spilled any grease or chemicals on them during your work, go ahead and clean them before you put them away. Most manufacturers state specifically how you should wash the gloves they offer; some are machine washable, others are not. Check out either the gloves’ tags or the packaging they came with (you might want to do this just after you buy a new pair).
Complementary Safety Equipment
The personal protection equipment, you need while you’re working on a job extends beyond gloves. Professional electricians, for instance, use a whole range of items to keep them safe while working, including insulating mats, nonconductive head protection, and insulated tools. OSHA outlines the clothing and protection necessary for various levels of risk, so there’s no need for anyone working in this area to guess about the type of precautions they should take.
This is just a basic list; specific jobs will have their own safety requirements.
For DIYers, safety is also a concern, although the measures are probably fewer since it’s likely that you aren’t working with anything carrying 100,000 volts (and if you are, we’re definitely curious about the parties at your house). In addition to the correct work or electrician gloves, there are a few safety items you should keep on hand: goggles, earplugs or earmuffs, work boots, knee pads, and a mask or respirator if you’ll be working with hazardous chemicals. This is just a basic list; specific jobs will have their own safety requirements.
Finally, don’t forget about job site safety, whether that’s for work or in your home. You should know where the fire extinguishers are, ensuring that they’re in good working order, as well as have a fire evacuation strategy in the event of a blaze beyond what you can control. Make sure, too, that you have the correct tools for the job you’re working on — for example, don’t try to make do with a 4-foot ladder when you need one that’s taller. When you’re finished for the day, put your tools away and clean up any messes. Not only will this prevent hazards from forming, but it will also make picking up your work the next day easier and more pleasant.
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