Sick of cold hands? We research dozens of the best winter gloves on the market before choosing these top 9 to purchase and test side-by-side. From trail and errand running to glacial research and ice baths, we tested these gloves in extreme environments and where you'll wear them the most. We ran every pair through a barrage of controlled water resistance, temperature, and dexterity tests. From hard-working options and warming liner gloves to cold-weather classics that will have you stacking snowballs, these winter gloves will keep you and your hands busy when the temperatures drop.Need more gloves and other winter gear to keep you cozy? We've hit the slopes in the warmest women's ski gloves and plowed through powder to test seriously excellent men's ski gloves.
$18.26 at Amazon
|$14.40 at Backcountry||$24 List|
$18.59 at Amazon
$45.00 at REI
|Pros||Good grip, feel good on, dexterous||Fit well, soft, useful touchscreen pads||Good quality leather, feel good on||Soft, thin, fit well under outer gloves|
|Cons||Too tight to fit a liner beneath, not as warm||Fabric is pilling, durability is not the best||Low-quality stitching, not as warm, bulky||Stretch out quickly, large fit|
|Bottom Line||These comfortable women's work gloves have enough insulation for mild winter weather||These are our favorite liner gloves for their feel and fit but we have durability concerns||These classic work gloves are warm enough for less detailed work in the shoulder seasons||These pleasant gloves suffer from a tricky fit|
|Rating Categories||Wells Lamont Hydrah...||Smartwool Liner||Wells Lamont 5127 W...||Icebreaker Merino 2...|
|Comfort and Dexterity (25%)|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Specs||Wells Lamont Hydrah...||Smartwool Liner||Wells Lamont 5127 W...||Icebreaker Merino 2...|
|Intended Uses||Gardening, maintenance, work||Liner||Work||Liner|
|Touchscreen Compatible?||No||Yes - thumb & index||No||Yes - thumb & index|
|Material||Leather, spandex, neoprene||48% merino wool, 48% recycled polyester, 1% elastane, 2% other||Leather, fabric||95% merino wool, 5% LYCRA fingertip (92% polyester / 8% LYCRA)|
|Additional Insulation||None||None||Fleece lined, 100-grams 3M Thinsulate||None|
|Laundering||Wipe with damp cloth||Machine wash cold, gentle, line dy||Spot clean||Washine wash warm, line dry|
|Weatherproofing Features||Water resistant leather||None||None||None|
|Other Features||Adjustable cuff||None||None||None|
|Fit||True to size||True to size||True to size||Trends large|
|Environmental, Safety, and Ethical Information||Water resistant leather and spandex||Natural materials and reycled polyester content||None known||Natural materials|
Best Men's Winter Gloves
Carhartt Waterproof Insulated
Warm and flexible, the comfortable Carhartt Waterproof Insulated gloves are a reliable winter classic. We tested them around the house and while collecting data on a remote glacier in the Yukon, comfortably wearing them in temperatures as low as -20° F for extended periods. That makes them an easy option to reach for when the drive or sidewalk needs shoveling, or the dog needs walking. These gloves are windproof and largely waterproof, which goes a long way toward keeping your hands warm and safe from frostbite in the winter months. The adjustable cuff works well to hold them in place, though the small plastic buckle is less robust than we'd like.
The malleable fabric and generous cut of these winter gloves allow your fingers nearly their full range of movement, but the thick insulation and slick fabric make it hard to complete detailed tasks. And while the majority of the glove is protected by a waterproof liner, the fleece cuff is not. When the outside got damp during our waterproofing tests, the liner then pulled the moisture into the glove. Sweat also tends to accumulate inside, and it took over a day and a half to dry out. The fabric seems sturdy but not as long-lasting as leather work gloves. And we wish they came in sizes small enough to fit slimmer fingers and hands, like many women have. That said, in environments where you can duck inside if the liners are wet out, these warm and comfortable gloves are the best in the test.
Best Women's Winter Gloves
Carhartt Quilts Insulated
Carhartt Quilts Insulated is a good alternative for anyone with smaller hands. They completely blocked the wind and repelled water for nearly two minutes during submersion (water snuck in through the pinkie finger's top seam right at the end). They hold heat well, with a quilted layer of lofty polyester insulation and soft fleece lining, keeping our hands warm and cozy. A tab extension from the thick panels on the palms makes them easy to pull on, and a cinch at the wrist keeps them secure. Our female tester usually wears a size small to a medium glove and finds that these fit well, though the finger length verges on being too short.
While we appreciate the welcoming fleece lining, it can pull moisture into the glove if it gets wet. This makes it harder for your hands to stay warm, and the gloves took nearly two days to dry. When it comes time to clean them, they're hand wash only. While the gloves are flexible, the thick insulation and slippery fabric make some tasks cumbersome, and they aren't our top pick for detailed tasks. They also have a few loose stitches after just a few months of testing. That said, if you're looking for warmth and weatherproofing for tasks like pulling sleds, frigid walks, or shoveling snow, the Carhartt Quilts Insulated are the gloves we recommend for smaller hands.
Best Unisex Winter Work Glove
Mechanix Wear Coldwork Original
From dog walks and shoveling chores to building glacier monitoring stations in Maine and repairing a hot water drill in Alaska, the Mechanix Wear Coldwork Original gloves are the jam. They're the best in our lineup at protecting our hands without restricting their function. They also breathe well — and dry hands are warm hands. One tester found these warm enough for small engine repair into the teens and twenties. Another lead tester often wore them with the Smartwool Liner when temperatures dropped and stayed toasty. We appreciate that they're machine washable since they're durable, dark, and (our pair always seems to be) dirty. Luckily, their touchscreen-compatible index finger and thumb worked despite the grime accumulation.
With minimal insulation, the Mechanix aren't the warmest gloves in the test. We're usually wearing them when we're on the go and dexterity is most important, so with elevated activity levels, they stay fairly comfortable in colder temps. Though the back of these gloves can resist a very small amount of light rain and snow, they wet through quickly and take time to dry (like a day or more). The size small Mechanix is a little long in the fingers for our lead female reviewer, who normally wears a women's size small or medium. And yet, they still worked wonderfully for her. As long as they fit you, we can't recommend the Mechanix enough; they are excellent work gloves for colder weather.
Best Women's Winter Work Glove
Wells Lamont Hydrahyde Leather Hybrid
While certainly not warm enough for the depth of winter in northern climates, the Wells Lamont Hydrahyde Leather Hybrid are thick gardening/work gloves that work well for mild winters and shoulder seasons. They're especially suited to days when you're working hard enough to generate your own warmth. The leather palm protects your hands, while breathable spandex keeps sweat from accumulating. Neoprene panels on the back of your hand and at the wrist are comfortable and add warmth and water resistance. They fit our lead female tester well and are among the most dextrous gloves in the test. They also repel a light mist, yet soaked through immediately in our immersion test.
The fit is too tight to comfortably wear liners beneath these gloves, which is a shame because it would do a lot to increase their temperature range. If you wear a women's size small or extra small, these may provide a better fit than our favorite winter work glove, the Mechanix. The Hydrahydes are a compelling option for anyone who needs a bit more warmth and protection than your average work glove.
A Stylish Glove for Around Town
Outdoor Research Flurry Sensor
The Outdoor Research Flurry Sensors are mid-weight, wool-blend gloves that keep your hands warm when you're on the go. We find ourselves wearing them around town when we're in and out of doors and need to use our hands often. They have a snug but flexible fit, which means we rarely need to pull them off to complete a task. A handy loop makes it as easy to pull on the second glove as the first, and the soft fleece lining feels cozy every time. We also appreciate that the touchscreen pads on the pointer finger and thumb make it easy to use our phones without freezing our fingers.
While the thick touchscreen pads worked well on the men's version, they are stiff, and our female tester had trouble getting them to activate her phone screen. They also aren't much warmer than the liner gloves in our tests and aren't quite as comfortable since they have more seams and structure. They're more substantial than the liners, though, and we think they will last longer. When we want to feel like stylish grown-ups with warm hands, we reach for these gloves.
Best Liner Glove
Achiou Touch Screen Thermal
Liner gloves are a must in frigid climes, and the Achiou Touch Screen Thermal outperformed the rest. Many winter gloves are warm and waterproof but unwieldy. You often have to remove them to navigate your phone, unsnap buckles or tighten laces. When it's below zero, liners help protect your fingers from frostbite while you do so. They're also great for chilly shoulder season runs. The Achiou are soft with helpful palm grips and touchscreen-compatible tips on the pointer fingers, middle fingers, and thumbs. Though they aren't weatherproof, they dry faster than any other glove in the test and block wind impressively well. They're also highly durable, and the price is right.
That said, while the Achiou's won the liner test, they aren't our favorites. They aren't machine washable, the thumb is a little too long, and the cuff is a little too short. We also often prefer the feel of natural fibers. Still, if you want to save money for a durable pair and don't mind hand washing them when they need it, these gloves are an easy choice.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our search for the best winter gloves started online, creating a spreadsheet of dozens of options and their various features. Then we selected the top nine, bought them, and set out to see how they stand up to day-to-day abuse. We wore them running errands around town, walking the dog, running, hiking, and doing chores in rural Maine's winter. We also tested the men's gloves in Fairbanks, Alaska, and while collecting data on a remote glacier in the Yukon. We tied our shoelaces, unbuckled our avalanche beacons, took notes, and clipped dog leashes to test their dexterity. To test their warmth, we wore them, sometimes one on each hand, and tossed them in a freezer for 5 minutes with a thermometer inside. We also dunked them in a bucket of water for two minutes to test waterproofing and timed how long it took them to dry.Our winter glove testing considers 5 rating metrics:
- Warmth (worth 25% of total score)
- Comfort and Dexterity (25% weighting)
- Water Resistance (25% weighting)
- Durability (15% weighting)
- Features (10% weighting)
Our lead tester, Clark Tate, has split her time between the Appalachian, Rocky, and Sierra mountain ranges. She currently lives in central Maine, embracing the long winter months with wilderness camping trips, back and cross-country skiing adventures, and trail runs/slides. When the windchill is well into the negative double digits, you want your gloves to work. Clark is joined by Jake Homes, who is the lead tester for the men's specific gloves that are too large for Clark's hands. Jake is a Registered Maine Guide who leads winter trips on Katadyn for Acadia Mountain Guides. He also studies geophysics and glaciology at the University of Maine, spending a chunk of every year pulling radars around on remote glaciers in Alaska. You need warm gloves for that too.
Analysis and Test Results
Often, warm gloves are bulky gloves, which makes it harder to perform daily tasks. If you have to take your gloves off whenever you need to use your hands, they aren't doing you much good. In this review, we're searching for the elusive unicorns that keep our hands warm while maintaining enough dexterity that we rarely have to remove them. For your hands to stay warm, they also need to be dry and out of the wind, so we tested waterproofness as well.
We've included a wide range of glove types in this review, from liners intended to be worn under other gloves to thick, insulated options. We'll guide you through the scores to explain the circumstances where each pair of gloves works best. Keep in mind that our scores are relative. Just because a glove has a lower warmth score doesn't mean that it doesn't hold heat; it just doesn't do it as well as the top options.
Your budget is important. To honor it, we identify products that offer exceptional performance at below-average prices. These high-value options are often the most popular among our testers, and that's true of the winter glove lineup in particular. The Carhartt Waterproof Insulated gloves easily earn the top score while costing only a bit above average for the review. That makes the warmest and only fully waterproof gloves in the test quite a bargain.
The least expensive gloves in the review, the Achiou Touch Screen Thermal, also offer excellent value. They are the top-scoring liner gloves in the test. Since they're meant to be worn under other gloves, they can't compete outright in the warmth category, but that doesn't make them any less crucial to our kit.
There is also the value that comes from buying exactly what you need instead of spending less and being annoyed with your gear every time you use it. For us, the Mechanix Wear Coldwork Original gloves offer loads of value by being precisely the glove we need for dextrous winter chores. However, keep in mind that we prefer to wear a liner like the Achiou under them on the coldest days, adding to the overall cost.
A liner glove isn't going to be as warm as an insulated, waterproof option. So it's often helpful to break down the warmth scores by winter glove subcategory. We'll do that here, starting with the classic, insulated winter mitts, the Carhartt Waterproof Insulated, and the Carhartt Quilts Insulated. Both are bulky with the cut and insulation of a ski glove and are easily the warmest in the test. We weren't surprised when they beat out the competition in our controlled freezer test, with the men's waterproof option edging out the women's version.
What blew us away, though, is that the men's Carhartt glove keeps our lead tester's hands comfortable for prolonged periods at -20 degrees. The Wells Lamont 5127 White Mule Insulated Cowhide Leather, which he wore on one hand while wearing the Carhartt on the other, didn't come close.
The Mechanix, OR Flurry Sensor, and Wells Lamont Hydrahyde are the three midweight options in our lineup. Of them, the Mechanix stands out. It held a bit more heat during our freezer tests. We wore them comfortably to work on cold metal into the teens and to temps well below zero when we were working hard. When we stopped, they weren't nearly enough.
What really tips the scales, though, is the cut of the Mechanix. It fits well and maintains excellent dexterity while being roomy enough to easily fit a liner glove beneath. (We preferred using the Smartwool Liner here, for its extended cuff.) This makes them much more comfortable for a range of winter temperatures.
And then there are the liners themselves. The Achiou and Smartwool are both warmer than the Icebreaker Merino 260 Tech Liner. They held more heat in the freezer test and on cold weather runs, which is where we find ourselves using these gloves on their own. When your body is generating heat, the breathability of a thin liner works well to keep your hands warm and dry.
Comfort and Dexterity
To test the comfort of these gloves, we wore them side-by-side to judge their relative fits, the softness of their material, and the placement of their seams. To test dexterity, we took every pair of gloves through an obstacle course — tying shoes, tightening straps, zipping coats, etc. — then used them day in and out for weeks to see where they annoyed us and where they shined. And the Mechanix shined.
According to our lead men's glove tester, the Mechanix are lightyears better than the rest in terms of manipulating fine objects and dexterity; 10 out of 10. And they're tough as nails. "I would want something warmer if I was stationary or in a survival situation," he says, "but working in the cold or moving on trail, they're excellent." Our lead female tester agrees.
The next most comfortable and dextrous class of gloves are the liners. Two of the three have pleasant feeling fabric – acrylic, polyester, and spandex for the Achiou and merino wool, recycled polyester, and a bit of elastane for the Smartwool options. They fit exceptionally well and do nothing to inhibit the movement of your hands. The Merino and lycra Icebreaker Merino liners are soft and comfortable but run large, and the too-long fingers often get in your way.
The Outdoor Research Flurry Sensor and Wells Lamont Hydrahyde Leather Hybrid are both thicker than the liners and less flexible than the Mechanix. Still, they fared well in the tests, and we rarely need to remove either to complete a task.
It's hard to execute detailed tasks while wearing bulky heavyweight winter gloves like the Carhartt models and the Wells Lamont White Mule Insulated Cowhide Leather. Testers found themselves dropping small items often while wearing either of the Carhartt gloves. The palm fabric is slippery, and they're too puffy for detailed work. It's frustrating and often tempting just to pull the gloves off, cold weather or not. We like these gloves for tasks like shoveling or loading and unloading gear. The Wells Lamont White Mules are similarly bulky, though they offer a much better grip with high-quality leather palms. It's a shame that their less polished cut and construction make them difficult to maneuver.
Keeping your hands dry and out of the wind goes a long way toward keeping them warm. Unfortunately, only one glove in the test is truly waterproof, the Carhartt Waterproof Insulated. The women's Carhartt Quilted is nearly as good, though water did soak through the pinkie seam at the end of our two-minute submersion test. They may not stand up to a full day of wet snow. Though neither glove contains cotton, their fleece liners still hold onto water, pull it into the gloves, and take time to dry. Both gloves completely block out the wind.
None of the rest of the gloves are waterproof. The Wells Lamont Hydrahyde and the Mechanix get some points for very light mist-resistant panels on the backs of their hands. However, the fleece of the Mechanix is especially prone to soak in any moisture present. When we plunged them into a bucket of water, they wet through almost immediately. Both took over a day to dry, and the Mechanix was one of the last to dry out in the test. It blocks nearly all wind, though, while the Hydrahyde lets a lot in along the sides of the fingers.
The Wells Lamont White Mule blocks wind everywhere except for the cotton panel on the back of the hand, which also let water pour in during the immersion test. It did dry out faster than the Mechanix and the OR Flurry Sensor, but that's it.
The three-liner gloves offer very little protection from water, though the Smartwool and Achiou options do a surprisingly good job of blocking the wind. The Achiou glove was the fastest to dry in the test, which makes it a good option for wet climates. We were disappointed to see that the Smartwool gloves were in sixth place for dry-out speed, which is not what we expected of wool.
To compare features, we listed them all and rated how well they worked. The most prominent features include touchscreen compatibility, adjustable cuffs, pull tabs, and glove clips that hold the pairs together.
The Mechanix offers the most impressive set of features, including consistent touchscreen control with every finger. (Most of the competition only provides touchscreen capabilities on the end of the thumb and pointer finger.) They have a small pull tab to help you get the second glove on, and the adjustable hook and loop cuff tab keeps the glove firmly in place. A small plastic clip to hold the two gloves together.
The Outdoor Research Furry Sensors are also feature-rich, with a similar clip to hold them together and large, easy-to-grip pull tabs. Since these gloves are snug, we really appreciate this detail. The Furry Sensors have a touchscreen-compatible tab on the pointer finger and thumb of both gloves. The sensor pads are stiff and took us a few days to wear in, but after that, they work well. The glove also features grip tabs along the palm and fingers that come in handy for tasks like turning slippery door knobs.
The Achiou, Smartwool, and Icebreaker liners have touchscreen pads on their pointer fingers and thumbs. The Achiou includes your middle fingers as well. The first two work wonderfully since the gloves fit your hands snuggly. The Icebreakers do not because they stretch out quickly, leaving you with sloppy fingers. Since people often wear liners to keep their hands warm while performing tasks like taking photos or navigating with their phones, the Achiou and Smartwool gloves earn respectable feature scores for how well they perform at this one very important task.
The rest of the gloves are very limited in their feature offerings. Both Carhartt pairs give you a flimsy clip to hold the gloves together, nose wipes, and adjustable cuffs. The cuffs are the most useful of the three. The women's Wells Lamont Hydrahyde gloves have an excellent cuff cinch to hold them in place while you work.
We judged durability based on how these gloves stood up to months of use and to light abrasion with the end of a paperclip to test seam and fabric strength. The hard-working Mechanix gloves easily topped this list. They saw more shop work than the rest thanks to their excellent maneuverability and don't seem any worse for the wear. We expect them to last a good long while.
The Wells Lamont White Mule gloves seem to be made of high-quality materials, including sturdy cowhide leather. While the stitching isn't particularly straight, it seems likely to hold up over time. The women's Wells Lamont Hydrahyde also includes a sturdy leather palm that's likely to last, but the relatively thin spandex between the fingers seems vulnerable to wear and tear. The men's waterproof Carhartt and OR Flurry Sensor gloves seem well made, but their fabric is less sturdy.
The women's Carhartt gloves already have some loose stitching, and the thinner liners have fewer layers to wear through. The synthetic Achiou showed no signs of use, while the Smartwool liners were already pilling around the seams, especially by the touch screen sensors. We actually really like the feel and function of the Smartwool liners, but we can't recommend them if they're already coming apart.
It can be hard to choose between the many winter gloves on the market today. We hope that by buying these options, spending weeks testing them, and months wearing them, we've helped you zero in on your perfect pair. Keeping your hands warm is a crucial step to enjoying the winter months. From heavily insulated and waterproof gloves for outdoor chores to deft liners for the most detailed tasks, we've got you covered. See the roundup of our favorite gloves to find the best pairs for specific disciplines.Need more winter gear to complete your cold weather protection? We've tested a host of winter apparel, from the best down jackets for men and the warmest down coats for women to the top men's winter boots and coziest women's boots. Whether you want the best insulated jacket, a nice fuzzy sweater, or a full-coverage winter coat, our wintertime experts have got you covered.
— Clark Tate