Do you dive with gloves? If you are only just getting into scuba diving, you might think that scuba diving gloves are only used in cold water. But, there are plenty of reasons to dive using hand protection, no matter what water temperature you’re jumping into. In this article, we’ll break down the best dive gloves on the market, handpicked to protect you in icy water, shipwrecks, caves, and beyond.
A high-quality pair of gloves should cushion and insulate your hands without restricting movement. They should be easy to get and off, fit comfortably, and offer just the right amount of protection for the climate and conditions you’re planning to explore. Keep reading to learn about the best dive gloves available and our guide on what to look for.
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A Buyers guide for Scuba Diving Gloves
When getting into the sport of scuba diving you will find you may want to invest in your own dive gear. Whether you are snorkeling or diving in the warm turquoise waters of the Caribbean or exploring wrecks in much colder waters, you will want to invest in a good pair of dive gloves.
The type of environment you plan to dive is very important when it comes to choosing the best scuba diving gloves for you. Similar to choosing the perfect wetsuit or fins, you will want the gloves to perform well in that environment.
Cold water diving will call for thicker gloves that will keep your hands warm and dry. Warm water diving gloves are thinner, and many times provide protection on the palm or back of the hand just in case you encounter a stinging organism on a mooring line or bump into a wreck while exploring the underwater world.
What will you be doing on your dive? This is an important question to ask yourself when buying dive gloves.
If you are diving in cold water, you will want to look for a glove that is thicker. Wearing 2.5mm to 3mm gloves may work well for your snorkeling trip but wearing them in much colder waters will cause you to be uncomfortable almost immediately.
If you are planning a spearfishing trip in warmer waters, look for a pair of spearfishing gloves that have built-in protection from tears or cuts. These types of gloves usually do not provide much warmth but will protect your hands from danger when it comes to touching marine life.
If you are specializing in underwater photography, look for scuba gloves that are flexible or have a pre-formed shape so that you can maneuver your camera with ease. Thick, bulky gloves can hinder you from getting that perfect underwater shot.
Webbed gloves are a good option if you are scuba diving with a disability or have limited use of your legs. They will also increase your speed underwater and on the surface. Webbed gloves can be good for diving, snorkeling, or swimming.
The colder the water temperature, the thicker the glove. Cold water diving gloves tend to be 5mm or more to help keep your hands warm on a dive, but this can also limit your mobility. Choosing a glove with a zipper may be a good idea to make it easier to take on and off in cold water environments. Some suppliers also make a thicker glove with a Velcro strap which may be easier to use in a cold-water environment.
Thinner gloves are more appropriate for warm water diving. 1.5-3mm neoprene diving gloves can be used for snorkeling, scuba diving, freediving or spearfishing and will keep your fingers protected while also allowing ease of movement when taking photos of colorful reef fish.
Neoprene diving gloves are the most well-known type of gloves for scuba diving because neoprene works well in water and is more flexible than other materials. But in recent years, Kevlar dive gloves and webbed latex-based gloves have also become popular choices for snorkeling, freediving, and spearfishing. Be mindful of any allergies you have, latex-based gloves are not an option for people who have a latex allergy.
If you are doing technical diving or underwater work, Dyneema gloves are a good option. They do not provide much insulation but are sturdy enough to withstand cuts or abrasions. Dyneema gloves can also be used on land as work gloves to protect your hands.
Neoprene gloves are suitable for warm and cold-water diving, although you may want to look for Kevlar dive gloves or dive gloves with more built-in protection if you plan on spearfishing or exploring a wreck on your dives. These gloves offer more protection from hazards in the marine environment.
Because wearing gloves can limit maneuverability, especially once you are underwater, many dive gloves are made of neoprene along with another fabric like nylon, Amara, or mesh to help with grip. Some gloves are fully or partially covered with a non-slip material, while others have metallite on the inside to make them easier to put on and take off.
With all clothing, the size should be chosen to give the best fit. If you choose gloves which are too small, then the gloves can feel constructive and uncomfortable. If the gloves are too big, then water can get inside and cause the interior to cool. Large gloves can also slip off of your hands when you are under the water. Wearing gloves which are too loose can also make it hard to adjust your equipment when you are under the water; posing a safety hazard as well as not warming your hands.
Choose a glove size which fits tightly without being constrictive.
Style and Design
The most popular dive glove you will come across is the standard five-finger glove. This looks exactly like a glove you would wear out of the water, except it is made from different material. This glove gives you the best freedom of movement. Imagine wearing a regular glove, and you can see that you can do pretty much anything that you would be able to do with your bare hands.
Mitten-style gloves have on large space for all four fingers and a separate space for the thumb. These gloves do not have a great a range of motion as the fingered-gloves, but they do offer exceptional protection against the cold. These gloves are perfect if you are venturing into cold water, but do not need to manipulate your equipment a lot.
If you buy a big enough pair of mitten-style gloves, then you can wear both styles together. This would keep your hands protected when you get down deep in the water, but would also allow for you to take the mitten off and have the dexterity of a glove temporarily.
Take proper care of your scuba gloves. Rinse in fresh water after each dive (just like a wetsuit). Don’t machine wash or use detergent. Allow them to thoroughly dry out of the sun in a ventilated place. Textile gloves will take longer than neoprene models. Follow the above tips, and you won’t get disappointed or feel that your money hasn’t been spent in the wrong way. For our pick on which scuba glove was the best was Neo Sport Men’s and Women’s 3MM & 5MM Premium Neoprene. It had a great dive capacity with a strong adjustable beam. Click here to take a further look at our choice.