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Plumbers work with their hands, usually in tight spaces near electricity and water. They face hazardous situations on a regular basis, such as exposure to bacteria and viruses from raw sewage, cuts and abrasions from rusted pipes, burns from soldering parts, and toxic drain cleaning substances used by DIY homeowners to clear clogs.
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Along with other necessary personal protective equipment, plumbers’ gloves provide superior hand protection to shield techs from cuts, burns, abrasions, chemical hazards, and electrical shocks.
The best all-purpose gloves for plumbing not only protect your hands, but also provide good grip and dexterity, breathable comfort, and non-slip action—and, of course, easier access to smartphones and tablets for today’s tech-savvy techs.
Plumbing professionals recommend wearing disposable nitrile gloves or powder-free latex gloves on messy plumbing jobs, cut-resistant leather gloves on bigger jobs that expose a plumber's hands to the sharp or rough edges of PVC pipe, and chemical-resistant gloves when dealing with harsh chemicals. All three types of plumber gloves can be found in retail stores or ordered online.
To help plumbers and others in the skilled trades gather the tools and information they need to work safely and efficiently, we compiled a list of the 10 best gloves for plumbing categorized by:
Drain-cleaning work gloves (including disposables)
Drain-cleaning work gloves
Drain-cleaning gloves protect plumbers' hands against the cuts and abrasions that commonly occur when handling a metal drain snake, as well as protection from the sewage, hair, and other bodily fluids that the snake pulls out through the drain.
Drain-cleaning gloves, one of the most common plumber work gloves, are typically made from leather, PVC (rubber), or synthetic materials. Plumbers often wear latex or disposable nitrile gloves under their drain-cleaning gloves to protect against chemical-related injuries when working with commercial-grade solvents.
Look for work gloves that offer durability and dexterity, slip resistance, and protect the hands while doing routine drain cleaning.
Examples of Drain-Cleaning Work Gloves:
ShuBee Ugly Gloves Plumbing Safety Cuff: Featuring a thick PVC-coated canvas outer shell designed for durability and dexterity, the glove’s waterproof outer shell is embedded with large PVC chips to help rooter cables twist easily through hands and not catch or snag during the job.
Mechanix Material 4X Work Gloves: Rugged, heavy-duty gloves made of synthetic leather and designed to be abrasion-resistant and machine washable, these gloves fit tightly with an adjustable cuff strap, offer durability with a reinforced thumb and index finger, and come with a ventilated back to keep hands cool and dry.
MCR Safety Gloves: Made with touchscreen-friendly fingers, these safety gloves also feature a back made with lightweight, flexible material that fits snugly and comfortably. A synthetic leather palm with reinforced thumb prevents wear and tear, and the adjustable cuff provides a custom fit.
Black Mamba Tough Disposable Nitrile Gloves: Super strong, but super thin, these powder-free, disposable nitrile gloves protect against dirt, oil, water, and offer up to three times the chemical resistance of standard disposables.
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Gloves with different levels of cut resistance are specified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a private nonprofit organization that develops consensus standards for a wide range of products, services, processes, and systems.
ANSI classifies cut-resistant gloves as levels ranging from A1 through A9, with the heavier weight indicating greater cut resistance.
Examples of Gloves with Cut Resistance:
Dex Fit Cut-Resistant Gloves: Thin gloves with excellent cut resistance on the palm and back, these ANSI Cut A4 gloves feature form-fitted fingertips to easily use your smartphone or tablet and the foam nitrile palm helps you keep a steady grip. Also breathable and machine washable, these gloves come with a flexible cuff for a better fit.
Ansell’s HyFlex: Featuring advanced-grip technology in a lightweight design, these ANSI Cut A7 gloves are coated in nitrile and lined with Kevlar, stainless steel, nylon, and spandex. The "Ansell Grip” coating on the palm prevents dry, wet, or slightly oily materials from slipping out of your grasp, and reduces muscle fatigue on the job.
Polyco Matrix Green PU Fingerless Gloves MGP-FL: These ANSI Cut A1 grip gloves feature three open fingertips on each hand for better sensitivity and dexterity where plumbers need it most, and superior protection against cuts and abrasions when handling sharp materials and parts.
Plumbing contractors need to keep a pair of chemical-resistant gloves stocked and ready as part of their truck's inventory to protect against exposure to chemicals, solvents, adhesives, and other potential hazards.
Assess chemical-resistant gloves by their ability to withstand viral penetration, often referred to as barrier effectiveness, along with their level of resistance to cuts, tears, punctures, and abrasions. ANSI also specifies several classes of chemical-resistant gloves, based on their resistance to punctures and abrasions.
Top Chemical-Resistant Gloves:
Delta Plus Neoprene Chemical 30cm Toutravo VE509 Gauntlets: These neoprene chemical-resistant gloves offer superior protection for both the hands and lower arms. Rated ANSI Cut A1, the gloves also feature flexible fingertips for precision handling of parts and cotton flock lining for a comfortable fit.
Chemstop Nitrile Chemical-Resistant Gloves: Providing exceptional abrasion resistance and puncture resistance, these ANSI Cut A3 gloves stand up to solvents, oils, fuels, and more, and come with an embossed finish for better grip.
Showa 558 Heavy Duty Chemical-Resistant Gloves: Specifically designed to handle hazardous chemicals, these ANSI Abrasion A2 rubber gloves with latex coating extend up the forearm and provide excellent protection against liquid cleaners and acids.
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