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EN 511 Explained

Thursday, 5 November 2020  |  Admin

EN 511 is an EN Standard that details how a glove responds to cold working conditions and water. If you're buying your first pair of thermal gloves, then understanding EN 511 is key to a safe day at work. This guide gives you all of the information that you need to make your choice.

This guide covers a few areas. You can view any of the below points to find the answer to your question.

What Is EN 511?

EN 511 is a European Standard that a work glove must pass if it is to protect against the cold and water. EN 511 has three parts: convective cold, contact cold and water permeability. These three tests can be found either on the back of the glove, in the conformity statement, or in the product listing.

  • Convective Cold: What temperature can a pair of gloves be used in? This test explains how a glove will react to the air temperature around it.
  • Contact Cold: What temperature can an item that you are handling be? This test explains how cold the items that you are handling can be, before you'll start to feel the cold.
  • Water Permeability: Are your gloves waterproof? This one is a simple binary test: yes or no.
MaxiDry Zero Fully Coated Thermal Insulating Gloves 56-451 Ejendals Tegera 295 Thermal Waterproof Work Gloves Ejendals Tegera 517 Thermal Waterproof Outdoor Work Gloves
Shop Convective Cold  Shop Contact Cold Shop Waterproof

How Do I Identify EN 511?

You can identify if a glove has been tested to EN 511 through three different methods. These are:

On the Back Of Your Gloves

The first place to look is on the back of your gloves or on the glove label. You will be able to identify EN 511 either by the logo below or by the information as shown in the below image.

EN 511 Symbol EN 511 Identifiable in the Back of the Gloves
The EN 511 Symbol The Back of EN 511 Gloves

In the Product Listing

The second place to find EN 511, is in the product listing. For example, if you take a look at the Portwest A143 Gloves and scroll down, you'll see a table identifying EN 388. The table will usually look something like the one below.

Property Resistance Level
Convective Cold Resistance N/A
Contact Cold Resistance Level 1
Water Permeability N/A

In the Conformity Statement

The final place is in the conformity statement. A conformity statement can be found at the bottom of every single listing and will be supplied with your purchase. This statement is signed by a regulatory body, ensuring that your glove is certified to EN 511.

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What Do EN 511 Ratings Mean?

Before we go into detail, let's outline what exactly you are looking for. The three tests can be found in the table, on the gloves or in the conformity statement. A glove will receive the scores listed below, with the higher score meaning that it offers better resistance, and a lower score meaning that the gloves offer worse protection.

Test Levels
Convective Cold 0 - 4
Contact Cold 0 - 4
Water Penetration Test 0 or 1

There are some key things that you need to know. These are:

  • A level 0 means that the glove has failed the test.
  • An N/A means that the glove wasn't tested to that test.
  • A glove can only achieve a pass or a fail for the waterproof test. A "0" is a fail and a "1" is a pass.


How Do Gloves Pass EN 511?

Below we go into the technical details of each test. 

Contact Cold Test

The contact cold test is the easier of the two, as it only involves the glove materials being placed between metal plates, which are at different temperatures. The measured temperature drop across the test specimen is then used to calculate its thermal resistance.

Performance Level Thermal Insulation (R) in m2°C/W
Level 1 0.025  R < 0.050
Level 2 0.050  R < 0.100
Level 3 0.100  R < 0.150
Level 4 0.150  R

Convective Cold Test

The convective cold test is slightly more complex. During this test the glove is placed on an electrically heated mannequin hand that measures the amount of power required to maintain 30°C and 35°C in a controlled environmental chamber.

The chamber is cooled down to 20°C below that of the heated hand and constant air flow is applied. The assessment is based on determining the electrical power required to maintain a constant temperature gradient between the surface of the heated hand and the atmosphere in the environmental chamber.

Performance Level Thermal Insulation (TR) in m2°C/W
Level 1 0.10  ITR < 0.15
Level 2 0.15  ITR < 0.22
Level 3 0.22  ITR < 0.30
Level 4 0.30  ITR

Water Penetration Test

Unlike the two tests above, the water penetration test is a simple pass/fail test. To determine water permeability, the glove is submerged in water for 5 minutes. If the glove retains its permeability, then it passes with a Level 1 rating, while the gloves that fail receive a Level 0 rating. 


Where Can I Buy EN 511 Rated Gloves?

Here at we stock a wide range of EN 511 rated work gloves. All of our thermal gloves are rated to EN 511, so if you stick to our thermal categories then finding the perfect thermal gloves for you should be easy. 

Find Your EN 511 Gloves Now!

Hopefully this short explanation of EN 511 Standard can help you with finding the right cold-resistant, warm or winter work gloves. On we stock a broad range of EN 511 Work Gloves, so make sure you check them out.

Hopefully this guide has given you enough information to make the right EN 511 choice. If you have any questions or anything to add, leave a comment below!