If you are a warm-water diver, gloves may not be at the top of your gear list. If you are a cold-water lover, then gloves are probably close to the top of your dive gear list. They protect the body's extremities which is really important as your hands are very sensitive and are one of the main heat loss zones. So give some thought to this accessory that can be a major aid when you're diving. Here are some tips from The Scuba Doctor on choosing the right diving gloves for your future dives.
The four key factors to dive gloves are:
Do you prefer to dive with bare hands so that you feel your equipment? Below 12° C, you go numb in 10 minutes, so why suffer? Protect your hands from the cold while improving your suit's seal at your wrists! In addition, gloves have a third advantage: in strong currents, they enable you to catch hold of a mooring without risk of injury.
In terms of choice, selecting a pair of gloves means finding a good compromise between thermal protection, freedom of movement and feeling. Their thickness varies from 1 to 7 mm and size-wise, they must fit like a second skin. Even if they feel tight when dry, you won't feel anything under water because the neoprene will crush under pressure.
Essentially there are two types of materials used for most diving gloves.
Their key features? Sturdy, very comfortable and easy to put on!
Textile gloves are recommended for protecting your hands when spearfishing, but they can be used for scuba diving. They are made of 1 to 2 mm-thick fabric. Some are coated with latex on the palm to resist wear and cuts while others have 'Amara' textile on the palm and fingers for a better sense of touch. They don't provide the best thermal protection for diving in winter, but they compensate for this with freedom of movement and an incredible sense of touch. Suitable for temperatures down to 15°C for the hardiest divers!
For extra insulation, use neoprene gloves.
Available with a thickness of 0.5 to 7 mm, neoprene gloves offer a wide choice. Some diving gloves are reinforced with supratex or Amara, which improve grip and sturdiness on the palm and between the fingers. Their sturdiness primarily depends on their thickness. Very practical for snorkelling and diving, the thickest gloves are pre-shaped for a better grip and to make them easier to put on, which can sometimes be difficult.
One important point to keep in mind is the vast majority of dive gloves do not keep your hands dry. They trap the water that enters the gloves and trap your body heat, which warms the water within the gloves. Don't be surprised when you exit the water and a flood of water follows your hands as they free themselves from your gloves.
The majority of modern dive gloves are made out of neoprene. Neoprene is measured in millimetres and the greater the thickness the more warmth they provide. If you are a warm-water diver who wants to have a little protection from the elements, a thin glove is probably plenty for your needs.
Another factor to keep in mind is that five fingered gloves will not keep you as warm as 3-fingered mitts, which will not keep you as warm as mitts (which have a thumb sleeve and a single sleeve for all of your fingers). The more skin-to-skin contact you have, the more warmth you'll experience. Because 5-finger gloves do not allow skin-to-skin contact between your fingers, they are slightly less effective at keeping your hands warm than are 3-finger mitts and standard mitts. That said, the vast majority of divers use five-fingered dive gloves.
Additional warmth contributors include if the gloves offer a Velcro strap around the wrist to reduce the water transfer in and out of your gloves, if the gloves include a supplemental material (for example, titanium), and the number of seams. The fewer the seams, the less likely you'll encounter a leak. Some gloves offer strapless fits that keep you warm, but they are more of a struggle to put on — especially the second one because of the dexterity lost due to having one gloved hand.
For Water Between 10 and 18°C, use gloves with 5 to 7 mm of neoprene.
For Water Between 16 and 24°C, use gloves with 2 to 5 mm of neoprene.
For Water Over 25°C, use gloves with 0.5 to 2 mm of neoprene.
Regardless of how warm dive gloves are, if they are uncomfortable, they will do nothing but be a hindrance while you're at depth. If something doesn't feel quite right when you're on land, it will feel very wrong when you're underwater and stuck with the glove throughout the dive.
If your gloves are too small, the seams will experience increased stress. Eventually, the seams may wear out, which means they'll allow cold water into your gloves. Because the stressed seams cannot stop the transfer of water, your hands will feel colder as your dive progresses.
If your gloves are too big, water will not get trapped between your glove and your hand. If it is not trapped, your body heat cannot warm it. Therefore, you'll be facing cold hands throughout your dive.
Divers rely on a great deal of gear while underwater. They must adjust the air levels in their BCDs, clear water from their masks, manipulate their gauges, and adjust various straps should they loosen during the dive.
Dexterity also plays a part in how well dive buddies can communicate with each other while at depth. Because they allow your fingers to move independently, five-finger gloves offer the greatest amount of dexterity. They allow you to incorporate the independent movements of your fingers into the task at hand. They also offer the greatest ease when writing on your underwater slate.
The next level of dexterity is offered by three-finger mitts. Three-finger mitts offer a strong balance between warmth and dexterity. The freedom offered to the index finger and thumb allow for fairly simple gear adjustment and manipulation, as well as the ability to write with your slate's pencil. Three-finger gloves also make simple hand signalling possible, such as the 'OK' sign.
Mitts offer the least amount of dexterity, which can inhibit some manipulation of your gear, as well as your ability to use some underwater signs that dive buddies use to communicate with each other. Your hands will definitely be warm in the mitts, but they inhibit your ability to write and signal with ease.
Neoprene, as a material, offers a lot of stretch. It does not, however, offer a great deal of strength and grip. Dive glove manufacturers frequently supplement the neoprene with strength-increasing materials, such as Kevlar and titanium, to the palm-side of their gloves and mitts.
By protecting the palm-side of a dive glove, the life of the glove is greatly extended. Rough edges on gear and inadvertent contact with wrecks and underwater hazards can wear holes in the fingers and palm of your glove.
In addition to adding to the durability factor of gloves, non-neoprene materials on the palm-side of dive gloves increases your dexterity. These materials make your gloves slip-resistant, which is welcomed by anyone who has tried to hold a slick pencil while underwater.
Kevlar gloves are popular with hunter-gatherers who are diving to collect rock lobster (crays), abalone or scallops for a sea food meal.
Disclaimer: The Glove Size Chart has general guidelines only. Sizes are not guaranteed.
Note: When printing the PDF file, set 'Actual Size', or scaling to 'none', in order to get an accurate measurement.
Our picks for the best dive gloves are:
Best Dive Gloves for Warm Water
Probe Insulator Gloves - 0.5mm (Unisex)
RRP: $35, Our Price: $29, You Save $6 (17%).
Great for added protection and comfort in warm water. Also popular as an extra layer of protection when worn under a conventional thicker gloves in temperate and cold waters.
Best Dive Gloves for Temperate Water
Mares XR Tek Amara Gloves - 2mm
RRP: $50, Our Price: $45, You Save $5 (10%).
These gloves dry in minutes, so you will never have to put on a sticky, wet, cold pair of dive gloves ever again! The 2 mm thickness delivers warmth and protection with impacting greatly on your dexterity.
Best Dive Gloves for Temperate Water Dexterity
Probe iDry Quick-Dry Dive Gloves - 2.0mm (Unisex)
RRP: $70, Our Price: $63, You Save $7 (10%).
These gloves are a semi-fingerless thin glove to protect your hands while keeping dexterity for fine work. Thumb, index and middle finger tips are uncovered for complete dexterity and double lined 2mm neoprene adds insulation and protection for your hands.
Best Dive Gloves for Cold Water
Waterproof G1 Kevlar Dive Gloves - 5mm
RRP: $180, Our Price: $162, You Save $18 (10%).
These robust gloves are for divers who never can resist poking on sharp objects, or digging down into the gravel seeking for treasures. Full Kevlar covering the palm, and in addition sewn with Kevlar threads this G1 Kevlar 5 mm glove will take any beating a dedicated and devoted diver is capable of exposing it to.
Best Dive Mitts for Cold Water
Fourth Element Neoprene Hydrolock Dive Mitts - 7mm
RRP: $95.50, Our Price: $91, You Save $4.50 (5%).
These 7 mm dive mitts with three finger compartments offer surprising dexterity whilst maintaining outstanding cold water warmth! They are deigned with stretch neoprene for fit and comfort with sealed seams to minimise ingress of water into the gloves. The minimalist design makes donning easy even when hands are cold and wet, and the carbonite finish provides excellent grip.
Best Kevlar Dive Gloves for Catching a Feed
Apollo K2 Kevlar Commercial Dive Gloves - 3.0mm
RRP: $89, Our Price: $79, You Save $10 (11%).
Ideal for crayfish hunters and serious hunter gatherers, the Kevlar lining on the palms, fingers and back of finger tips ensures rugged durability under the most demanding use.
Please see Gloves for a great selection of quality dive gloves for scuba diving at affordable prices.
When you are done diving, you want to take care of your gloves to ensure they last for a long time, especially if you have been diving in salt water. If you leave the salt in the dive gloves, then not only can it degrade the gloves, but it can also irritate your hands. All diving equipment requires maintenance!
After your dive, you should rinse the gloves off with some fresh water. This will remove any dirt and salt from the gloves. You should also make sure to rinse inside and outside of the gloves. Even better, use some wetsuit wash/shampoo.
When the gloves are rinsed, you should let them dry upside down in the shade before placing them into storage. If you are putting your dive gloves into storage for a long time, then really make sure that they're dry before doing so. Store them out of direct sunlight, in a well ventilated area, and make sure not to store them under a lot of weight.
Underwater Kinetics Super Accessory Hanger
RRP: $35.50, Our Price: $32, You Save $3.50 (10%).
This hanger keeps hold of your dive gloves, hood, boots, and fins. This sturdy hanger allows for proper drying or your dive gloves and keeps your precious gear off the floor to prevent damage.
Adrenalin Wetsuit and Gear Wash Concentrate - 250ml
Our Price: $11
Because neoprene is very porous, it can also absorb and trap smells. Keep your gloves smelling fresh by bathing it in water with added neoprene shampoo. Simply rinsing your dive gloves with fresh water will reduce the amount of residue, but won't remove odours.