A couple of weeks ago, a reader asked about which level of cut resistance would help protect them from utility knife slip-ups. I referred to an ANSI cut level interpretation chart, but couldn’t make a confident recommendation.
I wonder, would these Mechanix “box cutter” work gloves do the trick?
It sounds like these work gloves were designed for use when opening and cutting up carboard boxes, but maybe they can be used in other types of applications.
Mechanix’s intended uses chart says the gloves are suited for:
- Box handling
- Maintenance & Repair
- Home Improvement
- Furniture Moving
The gloves are said to offer greater protection against accidental utility knife blade contact, with Mechanix advertising that the thumb has added cut resistance to protect against common injuries.
Razor blade cut resistant thumb protects against the most common hand cut injuries.
The gloves also feature a no-slip silicone-grip palm, touchscreen-capable synthetic leather, and an adjustable hook and loop closure. The TrekDry back-of-hand material is breathable for greater cooling and comfort.
Mechanix says that their “Padlock” palm design helps minimize internal hand movement when in use and reduces hand fatigue. This is a silicone print inside the gloves.
I don’t believe I’ve seen this before, where a glove has silicone grip material on the inside for helping to reduce internal movement. Seems interesting.
Sizes: S – 2XL
Update: Be sure to read through some of the user reviews, as durability and longevity seem to be a common complaint.
What’s the cut rating on this? I see enhanced in the thumb, is it like A3 throughout and then A5 in the thumb or something? I like the idea of more flexibility elsewhere and more reinforcement of thumb is the common cut area
EN388 3131X. So, not so good.
Definitely not cut resistant in any way. Very misleading style from them.
Silicone grip material inside the glove is interesting. It really makes me wonder what these are like to wear – e.g. how does that interact with hot and sweaty hands?
From dirt bike racing, I’ve experimented with all kinds of solutions to reduce blistering when wearing gloves – but I haven’t seen silicone grip inside the glove and I’m wondering if it might work too.
It wouldn’t be the first time I used Mechanix rather than dirt bike gloves. The old version of the impact gloves worked well – I wasn’t the only one to use them either. They were good fitting, offered protection for off-road riding and outlasted motocross gloves.
BTW, alternate solutions include:
Palm protectors (I think PC Racing or Risk Racing were probably the first, but there’s lots available now): https://ca.riskracing.com/pages/palm-protectors. They add some bulk and can be slightly strange to wear at first. I really like having skinny grips, so these aren’t my favorite approach – but I used them for practice a lot.
Alternately taping your hands and fingers is a common solution. It works really well actually, but if it comes loose you can get a pretty sticky mess inside your glove and it’s time consuming if you’re only riding for a short time.
There are also “anti-friction” products you can apply to your hands to avoid chaffing and rubbing. I never liked them.
My experience is now years out of date – but in our metal fabrication business we often had jobs that required dis-assembling and refabricating components for aircraft and doing other sheetmetal work. Not the same cut hazard might be experienced by commercial butchers or fishmongers – but we nonetheless took precautions with PPE. I recall that we bought mostly Ansell gloves and tried some from Galeton. An old inventory indicates that this was one style we seemed to buy a lot – but only level3 protection is claimed:
Meanwhile, in the remodeling business – getting our carpenters to regularly wear gloves was well nigh impossible – so I have no clue as to what would work best for utility knife use,
I’d recommend a safety cutter that doesn’t have a large exposed blade, if possible. It’s always better to prevent a possible issue via process or tool change rather than guard against it with PPE.
Sounds like milwaukee’s Nitrile Level 3 Cut Resistant Dipped Work Gloves should do the job. they are $10.97 and they have them in stock at home depot.
When i was doing my metal roof i wore these gloves and some other brands at the same level. The milwaukees lasted the longest.
This is in response to the first sentence of this post- “A couple of weeks ago, a reader asked about which level of cut resistance would help protect them from utility knife slip-ups.”
The silicone keeping the glove from sliding on your hands would probably help alot when you are holding up boxes and things and you don’t want it to slip because the glove slips.
It’s an interesting idea, I can certainly see the value in preventing the glove from slipping. But I also find it a bit ironic….everyone knows the phrase “fits like a glove”. Well, gloves are supposed to fit the hand closely. That’s where the saying comes from. A special material inside the glove wouldn’t be needed to stop the glove from slipping if it just fit properly from the get-go. I’d rather they focus on improving fit first and foremost rather than trying band-aid solutions.
I’m also concerned about how that silicone material affects the gloves ability to breathe? I wear nitrile gloves when working with chemicals I don’t want on my hands, or if those aren’t suitable I have some reusable heavy-duty chemical resistant lab gloves too. The thing I hate about them is how uncomfortable they get if it’s hot and my hands start to sweat because they don’t breathe at all. Mechanix gloves, those knitted ones with the dipped palm, or even old school full leather gloves breathe. Even silly thick stick welding gloves breathe. But if that silicone layer interferes with these gloves from breathing that would be a deal killer for me.
From my poking around, Mechanix’s website shows them having an EN388 rating of 3131X. And according to GuideGloves’ website (https://guidegloves.com/en/knowledge/our-products/standards/en-388-2016) 3131X indicates that the 1st “1” is the cut protection level (out of 5) and the X means that the fancier ISO cut protection test was not performed. So, it would seem that these gloves don’t rate too high for cut protection. Maybe that’s because only the thumb, not the entire glove, has been reinforced and therefore doesn’t qualify for a higher rating. Personally, while working at a grocery store in high school, I nearly cut off the tip of my forefinger with a box cutter (still have the scar!). So if I were looking for cut resistant gloves, I wouldn’t be too interested in ones that only had increased protection in the thumb. The silicone grippy stuff interests me though.
Amazon reviews indicate the durability of these gloves is not good. Many reports of wearing through in 2-3 weeks.
If I’m spending $25 on a pair of gloves, I want them to last longer than this.
I noticed the same, and it’s concerning, but these also seem like thin gloves from the start.
I figured it would make for interesting discussion, and hoped readers would have more insights about this style of glove.
Also in regards to the initial issue of “ a reader asked about which level of cut resistance would help protect them from utility knife slip-ups.”
When I was still getting the hang of very sharp Japanese saws, I bought these:
Schwer 2.0 Upgraded Version of Level 9 Cut Resistant Glove Upgraded Cutting Glove Durable Rustproof Reliable Stainless Steel Mesh Metal Wire Glove Latest Material Cutting Glove(XL). The labels on the glove (you only get 1 mesh glove per purchase) says ANSI A9, EN388.
They may be over promised, they don’t feel like stainless steel, magnets don’t stick. and I doubt they are really level 9, but they have stopped cuts from the saws. I doubt they would completely stop a puncture from a knife tip jab. They come with cotton interior liners to help place them on your hands, the side benefit is the cotton gets the sweat. Dexterity with them on is good. I only use them occasionally, so hard to comment on durability. Mine has held up fine.
As to the concerns over quality and such in comments… I was under the impression that Mechanix was a quality glove company. I have my DeWALT gloves that haven’t failed in… nearly 8 years? But they don’t have this required cut resistance, I don’t use them for that. I’ve considered Mechanix for larger sessions of breaking down boxes (something we’re all doing a lot more of since the Pandemic started, ordering everything in and such.) but I’m starting to consider maybe a heavier grade of DeWALTs, or using some of my Leather to make a custom pair for myself with several heavy Latigo layers.
Thanks for the head’s up, Stuart! Keep up the great work! You may have saved my hands!
Because regular gloves in a similar price bracket aren’t good for cutting boxes?.. Or do these really, REALLY offer a substantially-improved protection against cutting oneself? Because there are a bunch of cheap gloves rated level 1-7 that do.
Hey! That reader was me (I’m pretty sure)! I ended up buying some Milwaukee A5 gloves, but haven’t “tried” them yet.
A long time ago before cut resistant was popular I had an electrician cut himself wide open with a utility knife while wearing cut resistant gloves. I did a bunch of testing.
Basically level 1 is garbage. I can take a utility knife and cut off all 4 fingers in one pass. It’s as good as those cheap woven flex gloves you see everywhere, just with a rating and a bigger price tag.
At level 2 you can cut through it with a utility knife but it takes some effort. It will stop accidents from happening but won’t stop someone from making an effort to cut through it. Incidentally this is about where a pair of leather drivers gloves or most other traditional mechanics type gloves rate that don’t have ratings. Most gloves in this category are a woven aramid fiber, typically Dyneema.
At level 3 and up you are losing dexterity quickly and they get thicker. A single fiber won’t work since you are pushing limits. You’ll see things like Kevlar wrapped around Dyneema or some other mix. At this point knife penetrations just don’t happen and it takes several passes to get through it. The thicker material starts to give significant protection against stabs from wire strands where the level 1 and 2 stuff has almost no puncture resistance, not worrying about what the ISO rating says.
By the time you get to higher levels they will dull a utility knife before you cut through it. They are also so thick dexterity is lousy. They are basically demolition gloves or replacements for traditional metal fillet knife gloves. I really haven’t found a good use for these because everything I’ve field tested is stopped by level 2 or 3.
So far ANSI and ISO cut ratings are identical but here is where the wheels fall off. ISO level 4 falls around an ANSI level A5 and level 5 is roughly ANSI A8.
The statement that the first number on the shield is cut resistance is incorrect. The four numbers represent abrasion, cut resistance, tear resistance, and puncture. So a 3131 means it has almost no cut or puncture resistance and should not be advertised as a box cutter glove other than maybe against paper cuts. Most industrial users would be better served with a x2 x x or higher. Ideally a high 4th digit is desirable but puncture resistant gloves are typically demolition gloves…very thick.