Love gardening but hate the thorns?
Not all garden gloves are created equal, especially when it comes to working with cacti, roses, blackberries, or any plants with thorns.
The best gloves for handling thorny plants are made of pigskin or goatskin as they provide adequate protection against puncture, dexterity, and flexibility, allowing you to perform your gardening tasks efficiently and safely.
Read our top 5 picks that offer protection, comfort, and durability while keeping your hands scratch-free!
Pros and Cons
- 100% pigskin
- 100% Goatskin
- Reinforced palm and finger area
- Soft and flexible from the start
- Finger dexterity
- Breathe well
- Limited lifetime warranty
Hestra Job Gloves
- more expensive
- Cowhide palm + pigskin sleeves
- May not fit all arm sizes comfortably
- 100% cowhide
- most durable
- arm protection
Factors to Consider
When choosing the best garden gloves for thorns, it’s essential to consider several features to ensure optimal protection and comfort.
The material of the gloves plays a key role in determining their protection against thorns, their level of flexibility, and their water resistance.
One of the most popular materials used for garden gloves is leather, which is usually in the form of cowhide, pigskin, or goatskin.
Other popular materials used include synthetic leather, cotton with a nitrile coating, and rubber.
- Cowhide Gloves
Gloves made of cowhide leather are durable and puncture-resistant, making them ideal for heavy-duty gardening.
The material also provides a moderate level of water resistance, making it versatile for a range of weather conditions.
However, cowhide is quite stiff, which can sacrifice some tactile sensitivity and flexibility, making intricate tasks more challenging.
Breathability is another compromise; the thick leather can make your hands sweaty during extended periods of use.
- Goatskin Gloves
Goatskin gloves offer a balance of comfort, flexibility, and puncture resistance, particularly against thorny plants.
They provide excellent tactile sensitivity, making them ideal for tasks that require a delicate touch, such as manipulating small tools.
The leather is inherently water-resistant and outlasts other types of softer leather in terms of durability.
However, the premium qualities of goatskin gloves come at a higher price tag. And they may not be suitable for those concerned about using animal-derived products.
- Pigskin Gloves
Similar to goatskin gloves, pigskin gloves are durable and moisture-resistant, becoming softer with continued use.
Pigskin is more tear-resistant than goatskin but is also slightly less flexible than goatskin.
Ethical concerns about animal use apply here as well.
Here is a comparison of gloves made from various materials—cowhide, goatskin, and pigskin—in terms of their distinct characteristics.
|Expert opinion||Good, but not soft||Most tactile||Best all rounder|
Considering the various criteria of gloves, pigskin gloves are the best.
While cowhide does well in thorn protection and comes at a great value, it’s not quite up to par in areas like tactile sensitivity because it is stiff and may require a break-in period to soften.
Goatskin is the softest and most flexible, offering heavy-duty protection without compromising on flexibility, letting you handle tools and move your fingers with ease.
Pigskin gloves offer the most balanced features, with excellent thorn protection, water resistance, and a reasonable level of tactile sensitivity. It is also softer and more flexible than cowhide.
- Nitrile-Coated Gloves
Nitrile-coated gloves typically feature a fabric base, often cotton, that is coated with a water-resistant layer of nitrile on the palms and fingers.
They are budget-friendly and offer a lighter, more flexible option.
However, they are not as durable as leather gloves against severe cuts and only offer moderate protection against thorns.
- Synthetic Leather Gloves
Synthetic leather gloves provide moderate thorn protection at an affordable price and are an ethical alternative for those avoiding animal products.
However, they fall short in durability and puncture resistance compared to natural leather and may lack breathability and comfort.
Thermal insulation is also an essential aspect to consider, especially when gardening during colder days.
Look for gloves that incorporate thermal insulation materials or feature an insulating liner to keep our fingers warm and comfortable.
Sleeves and elastic wrists
Gloves with long sleeves provide extra protection when you reach into thorny bushes or deal with plants with long thorny stems like blackberry. They can be made from various materials including leather and synthetic materials.
An elastic around the wrists also helps prevent bugs from entering the gloves. This is especially useful if you also use the gloves for beekeeping.
This feature may come in handy because you don’t have to remove your gloves to use your phone or tablet.
1. HANDLANDY Gloves – Editor’s pick
These gloves are a game changer in the world of hand protection.
What sets them apart is their construction: the entire palm and gauntlet are crafted from 100% thick pigskin, renowned for its exceptional durability, thorn resistance, and flexibility.
Extra padding reinforces the palm and fingertip areas, offering added protection without compromising freedom of movement.
Numerous users have attested to their effectiveness; these gloves remain thorn-proof even when handling blackberries or trimming rose hedges laden with sharp thistles.
In addition to their durability, pigskin offers the best breathability among leather materials, courtesy of its porous texture. This feature ensures your hands stay cool and comfortable during long gardening sessions.
But that’s not all; pigskin outperforms both cowhide and goatskin when it comes to handling moisture. Unlike other leather gloves that may stiffen over time when exposed to wet conditions, these pigskin gloves actually soften, becoming more comfortable with each use.
Designed with utility in mind, the gloves feature 8.5-inch-long sleeves that extend up to the elbow and include elasticized wrists to keep out debris.
Priced at just under $20, they offer incredible value without sacrificing quality.
And for those who can’t part with their smartphones, these gloves even allow you to use your phone without having to remove them.
Available in six colors and five sizes, they cater to various preferences. Note that they run a bit tight, so consider opting for a slightly larger size for a more comfortable fit.
Our score: 5 out of 5
2. NoCry Gloves
For those who enjoy the softness and high flexibility of their garden gloves, they will love these elbow-length gloves made of 100% goatskin.
One of the standout features of goatskin is its natural combination of softness and durability. Unlike other leather types that may require a break-in period, goatskin is soft and supple right from the start, offering immediate comfort. This softness doesn’t come at the expense of durability; goatskin is naturally puncture-resistant and hard-wearing, making it ideal for handling thorny or abrasive materials.
Another key advantage of goatskin is its flexibility. The leather’s natural elasticity allows for excellent finger dexterity, which is crucial when handling delicate plants or using intricate gardening tools like shears and pruners.
Additionally, goatskin tends to breathe well, making it a comfortable option for long periods of use. Good breathability ensures that your hands remain cool and less sweaty, further enhancing your overall gardening experience.
The gloves are also double-reinforced in the palm and finger areas, making them nearly puncture-proof and providing an increased level of safety compared to standard garden gloves.
Every purchase comes with a limited lifetime warranty and a money-back policy.
Our score: 5 out of 5
The gloves are made of goatskin palm with long cowhide sleeves.
The soft, flexible goatskin used for the palm provided excellent abrasion resistance and tactile sensitivity to allow for a great grip on the tools.
It also stretches nicely to fit your hand, which is an advantage over gloves made of cowhide.
The long cuff is made of cowhide, which is stiffer and protects the arms against horns. The gloves are perfect for weeding and working around cacti, roses, and thorny vines.
Although they are soft and very comfortable to wear, they are more expensive than other options.
Our score: 3.5 out of 5
These are our favorite gloves to keep the hands and forearms protected from scratches and thorns while working with cacti and other thorny bushes.
The palm is crafted from thick cowhide leather, renowned for its thorn-proof qualities. Tests showed that even picking up a cactus firmly didn’t result in any thorns penetrating the gloves.
The gloves feature long sleeves that extend up to the elbows. Made from pig split (pig skin), these sleeves are durable, effective against thorns, and become more flexible with use. They also come with adjustable cuffs to keep insects and dirt at bay.
If you’re looking for even more robustness, there is a reinforced version available. This upgraded model adds extra pig leather to both the palm and finger areas, fortifying the gloves where you need it most.
That said, there is a slight trade-off. The thick cowhide gloves can feel a bit cumbersome, especially around the finger seams, making it challenging to grasp fine weeds.
All in all, these gloves offer a comprehensive solution for thorn protection without sacrificing too much in terms of dexterity or comfort.
Our score: 4.5 out of 5
5. Acdyion Gardening Gloves – Best durable gloves
For those who prioritize exceptional durability and are willing to sacrifice some finger dexterity, these thick cowhide gloves are an excellent choice.
The extended cuffs proved excellent at protecting the forearms from painful cuts and scratches.
Users vouch for the gloves’ exceptional protection, reporting that their hands and arms remain completely unscathed when working with challenging plants like cacti, bee brush, prickly pear, and milk thistles.
Moreover, the gloves retain their durability even after multiple wash and dry cycles, offering long-lasting peace of mind.
Our score: 4.5 out of 5
Congratulations! You have found the best gloves to protect your arms and hands. Say goodbye to scratches and hello to efficient gardening.
More Efficient Gardening Tools: