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Your Guide to Gloves Categories

2 May 2018

When purchasing hand protection, it's of vital importance that you get the right level of protection for your specific application. Work gloves, like all personal protective equipment, are governed by the three European PPE categories, which indicate the general level of protection a glove will provide.

The PPE Categories Can Help You Choose A Suitable Glove For Your Application
The PPE categories can help you choose a suitable glove for your application

The Categories

There are three different categories that a glove can belong to – namely Categories I, II and III – and any particular glove can only belong to one category. These categories are in ascending order of protection, meaning a Category III glove is far more protective than a Category I one. The simple definition of these categories is as follows:

  • Category I - Gloves of simple design, for minimal risks only
  • Category II - Gloves of intermediate design, for intermediate risks
  • Category III - Gloves of complex design, for irreversible or mortal risks

Every single work glove that is designated PPE will be categorised according to these definitions, but on their own they can seem quite vague. Please read on for further information about these categories, and some examples of each.

Category I

Category I gloves are designed to provide basic protection at most. Gloves in this category will not have been subject to EN testing such as the EN 388 mechanical resistance test, and cannot be relied on to protect the hands from workplace hazards.

However, Category I gloves can still be the ideal solution for a number of low-risk applications, such as product assembly or stock handling.

Example Product

Supertouch 2500 Stockinet Polycotton Glove LinersThe Supertouch 2500 Stockinet Polycotton Glove Liners are a prime example of an effective Category I glove. Highly cost-effective, these liners provide an effective basic barrier for assembly or cleaning applications. They are also ideal for use in combination with more protective gloves, providing improved comfort and warmth.

Category II

The majority of work gloves belong to Category II. Gloves in Category II are designed to provide effective protection against mechanical, thermal or chemical hazards, as determined by accordance to the relevant EN standards. However, most Category II gloves will only provide resistance against one or two types of hazards, whereas Category III gloves will often provide more comprehensive protection. Category II gloves are usually the ideal choice for applications that require protection but aren't highly specialised, such as construction or automotive work.

Example Product

Ejendals Tegera 295 Thermal Waterproof Work GlovesThe Ejendals Tegera 295 Thermal Waterproof Work Gloves primarily protect the hands against environmental hazards – namely cold and wet weather – but also provide a degree of mechanical protection. Ideal for construction work, forestry and agricultural applications, these gloves are used by everyone from independent DIYers to multinational corporations.

Category III

Category III gloves offer the most advanced level of protection and will often defend you from several hazards at once, or else provide specialist properties such as electrical resistance. Category III gloves are the most suitable glove choice for professional and/or industrial applications, and usually have a price point that reflects this.

Choose Your Protection

While the European PPE categories are not the be-all and end-all of gloves categorisation (find out more about the different European standards here), they do provide a useful general guide to the protection available, and can help you to determine what sort of protection you need for your application. To get started on finding the perfect pair of work gloves for you, please visit our Gloves by Use page.