The Best Gloves For Tattoo Artists - Our Complete Review Guide

Written by: Pete
Updated:

Gloves are likely the most important safety component of a tattoo artist’s job. They are crucial to the session, as they not only keep the tattooist’s hands free from the staining of ink, but it enables proper hygiene and cleanliness of what is essentially a medical procedure. They prevent the transfer of bacteria and diseases and combat infection.

Choosing the right pair of gloves for your artistry may seem easy enough but you need to consider multiple factors such as grip, ease of use when switching gloves, as well as client allergies. We’ve got you covered with our list of favorites.

Best Gloves For Tattooing Reviewed

Microflex MK-296 Disposable Black Nitrile Gloves - Our Pick!

Microflex MK-296 Black Disposable Nitrile Gloves, Latex-Free, Powder-Free Glove for Mechanics, Automotive, Cleaning or Tattoo Applications, Medical/Exam Grade, Size Large, Case of 1000 Units

Amazon 

Microflex has created a disposable glove that is medical examination grade, meaning they are FDA 510K certified and can be used against blood borne bacteria during medical applications, such as tattooing. With textured fingers and non-sliding details, this also makes them perfect for gripping your gun during a session and getting steady, even work done on your client.

They have a great size range (XS to XXL) making them appropriate for every artist, and they’re latex free which is a primary allergy concern with clients. The black color is an added bonus as you cannot see ink or blood staining on the gloves while you’re working.

With tattoo artists needing to swap out gloves every session and break, reviewers say it’s easy with Microflex gloves, stating, “Thicker than all others, easy to put on with sweaty hands, do not rip easily and slightly textured.”

Pros:

  • Latex free
  • Black color covers staining
  • FDA certified exam grade medical gloves
  • Multiple pack options that help lower individual pricing
  • Fully textured for grip
  • Powder free
  • Easy to put onto sweaty hands
  • Thick and non-breaking

Cons:

  • You need to order a size up in size as people complained that they were a little small

AMMEX Medical Black Nitrile Gloves

AMMEX Medical Black Nitrile Gloves, Box of 100, 4 mil Size Large, Latex Free, Powder Free, Textured, Disposable, Non-Sterile, ABNPF46100-BX

Amazon 

AMMEX gloves are another latex free alternative that have a fully textured grip. They’re available in a small to extra-extra large size range and emphasize that their gloves are made for dexterity and tactile sensitivity, which is exactly what a tattoo artist needs when working on a client.

AMMEX gloves are exam grade and have a chlorinated finish, which means they will not slip and slide when handling wet items.

Tattoo shops love these gloves, stating, “I work in a small tattoo parlor and decided to order these for the crew. We were just using normal latex gloves bought from the store. [… ] I ordered these and haven't been back since. They are very durable, our staff looks great in them, I haven't torn a glove yet. They don't have that messy powder stuff that some gloves have and they're very easy to grip things with! I would recommend them for anyone in the tattoo industry.”

Pros:

  • Latex free
  • Black color covers staining
  • Exam grade
  • Reasonable cost
  • Fully textured grip
  • Full dexterity and tactile sensitivity
  • Powder free

Cons:

  • Some people have complained that the chemicals used to create the gloves caused a skin sensitivity in users
  • Some people have said these tear after long periods of use, so be sure to switch gloves for long sessions

Infi-Touch Disposable Gloves

Heavy Duty Nitrile Gloves, Infi-Touch Strong & Tough, High Chemical Resistant, Disposable Gloves, Powder-Free, Non Sterile, 100 Gloves (Medium)

Amazon 

These high chemical resistance latex free gloves by Infi-Touch are an excellent alternative for your tattooing endeavours. They’re puncture resistant which is fantastic since you are working with needles, and they have tactile sensitivity with textured fingertips which is essential for artists.

The best part about these gloves is that they’re completely ambidextrous, which means that when you’re grabbing in a panic for a glove, you don’t need to struggle with making sure you’re grabbing the right hand. They also have a smooth, powder free interior that makes them easy to pull on. They also come in a triple L format which is very accessible for larger artists.

People love the durability of these gloves, saying, “Great durability lasted all day, bought these to use at work because the free ones they were providing were making my hands get dry and rashy. These are amazing. Other nitrile gloves I purchased in the past would rip open. These don't tear, and last all day long 12 hours plus and [are] still in perfect condition at the end of the day.”

Pros:

  • Latex free
  • Black color covers staining
  • Powder free
  • Textured fingers
  • Ambidextrous
  • Puncture resistant

Cons:

  • Slightly more expensive
  • Though they are listed as powder free, some people noticed traces of powder

Raven Powder-Free Nitrile Examination Gloves

SAS Safety 66519 Raven Powder-Free Disposable Black Nitrile 6 Mil Gloves, Extra Large, 100 Gloves by Weight

Amazon 

Raven gloves are examination standard nitrile gloves that are latex free and powder free. They’re excellent for tattoo artists because they are puncture and abrasion resistant, have a textured grip, and are ambidextrous which makes for an easy grab when you’re hard at work with a client.

The manufacturing company SAS has had 30 years in the industry of creating safety equipment and products for workplace sanitation, so you know you’re in reliable hands when it comes to the durability and standards of these gloves.

Reviewers say the quality of these gloves are unmatched: I have purchased several boxes of these gloves and I have never had one rip on me yet, which is something I cannot say for some other similar thickness gloves I have purchased.”

Pros:

  • Latex free
  • Black color covers staining
  • Powder free
  • Textured grip
  • Ambidextrous
  • Puncture and abrasion resistant

Cons:

  • Slightly more expensive
  • It’s recommended that you purchase a size up

ASAP Black Nitrile Powder Free Examination Gloves

ASAP Black Nitrile Powder Free Examination Gloves, Disposable, 4 mil, Black (Box of 100) (Medium)

Amazon 

Created with medical grade services, such as tattooing, in mind, ASAP’s gloves are extra durable with a strong puncture resistance. They also have a full hand texture which is great for maintaining the grip of your equipment for a long period of time.

These gloves are powder free and latex free with ambidextrous shape, making them easy to grab and use. They also don’t compromise tactile sensitivity which is very important for artists. One of the best features of these gloves is that they can be worn for long sessions without compromising the hygiene and safety of you or the client.

People are very pleased with the strength and resilience of these gloves, saying, These gloves are thick and work very well. I have only had [one] glove out of 100 rip and it didn’t compromise the integrity of the glove, just the lining around the wrist part of the glove. I’ve used these gloves for just about everything. These gloves are strongly resistant to most common acids and bases.”

Pros:

  • Latex free
  • Black color covers staining
  • Powder free
  • Full hand texture
  • Ambidextrous
  • Tactile sensitivity
  • Strong puncture resistant
  • Long-lasting wear

Cons:

  • Some ripping around the cuff has been reported
  • Slightly more expensive

Venom Steel Nitrile Gloves

Venom Steel Nitrile Gloves, Rip Resistant Disposable Latex Free Black Gloves, 2 Layer Gloves, 6 mil Thick, Large (Pack of 500)

Amazon 

Venom Steel has a greater thickness than most of the items on our list, sitting at 6ml; this makes for stronger resistance against punctures, and they also stress that they are tear and rip resistant. The only downside to this thickness is that dexterity is slightly impacted, which could be a challenge for some tattoo artists, depending on the machine you are using.

There is one aspect of Venom Steel gloves that make them different from every other glove on this list: it’s made with two layers of protection in black and then white, to help you easily identify any rips or tears in your gloves. This amplifies the safety level of these gloves and truly blew our mind.

Reviewers believe the strength of these gloves are unmatched, saying, “Love these things! Easy to slip on (no powder though!) and they are REAL good at resisting punctures! I've actually used them a few times over and over and still haven't ripped one! Normally on a project I'll go [through] a few gloves as they tear but these hold up well. Will definitely buy it again!”

Pros:

  • Latex free
  • Black color covers staining
  • Powder free
  • Full hand texture
  • Rip resistant
  • Tear resistant
  • Puncture resistant
  • Double layer makes it easy to identify any rips or tears

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Very thick which may impact your tactile experience and dexterity

Our Pick - Microflex MK-296 Disposable Black Nitrile Gloves

With the pricing of gloves having gone up over the last few years, Microflex’s gloves have stayed at reasonable stock pricing for the high quality you are receiving.

We love that these gloves focus the texture on the fingers of the gloves as this makes for a very tactile and positive experience specifically for tattoo artists. The wide range of sizing and the ambidextrous design make these easy for everyone working in a shop.

Microflex gloves are manufactured by Ansell which has been a global leader in safety products for 25 years, and they maintain this reputation through their nitrile gloves line. Not only are these gloves certified medical examination grade, but they’re also FDA approved for food handling, making these truly allergy-safe.

We also love that these gloves maintain their tight and durable grip even when they are wet, which is essential for artists who are working with things such as ink and cleansers. There is no difference in grip between wet or dry environments, so your work will never be compromised.

What We Consider When Selecting The Best Gloves for Tattooing

Tattoo artists go through multiple pairs of gloves in a day, and since they are working with blood which contains pathogens and bacteria, they need something that will keep them and their clients safe. We considered a multitude of factors when selecting the best gloves for our list.

Non-Allergenic

We not only stayed away from latex on this list, but we looked for brands that advertised being completely latex free, powder free, and low protein count in the glove manufacturing. All of these items contribute to allergic reactions and sensitivity in both users and clients.

We selected nitrile gloves not only for its non-allergenic properties, but also because they are easier to work with than vinyl gloves, which hinder movement and are bulky and tedious.

Safety Standards

When you get your licensing to tattoo, one of the certifications you will get will be in blood pathogens, biohazards, and skin diseases. We selected gloves that hold up to medical grade standards to prevent the transmission of bacteria or contamination to you or your client. Hygiene equipment must be held up to the highest safety standards in tattooing, and our favorite gloves do just that.

Durability but Dexterity

While it’s important that our gloves can go through a beating without worry about rips or tears, dexterity is important for an artist working on such a permanent medical procedure. We chose gloves that were thick and resisted damage such as rips, tears, and punctures, but which also allowed for easy hand movement and thin enough for long-term wear comfort.

Grip

If you’ve ever put on a disposable glove that you find in a first aid kit, you’ve likely been met with something that makes it impossible to work with your hands and is just tedious to grab things with. We selected gloves with finger focused or full-hand grip and texture, which is essential for tattoo artists.

Size

Gloves on a tattooist need to fit snuggly but not suffocate the hand, preventing blood flow during long tattoo sessions. You need gloves to feel like a second skin so you can work safely with them, without fear of pathogens slipping underneath the cuff, or your art being affected by gloves that don’t stay taut. We selected items on our list with a wide size range, making it easier for you to find a product that fits your specific needs.

Ease of Use

Our hands get sweaty in a session, and we need to switch gloves frequently. There is nothing more annoying than gloves that are not ambidextrous, or which struggle to go over moist hands. The gloves on our list were easy-to-use and will not present a challenge in a moment of need.

Color

It may seem insignificant, but the black color of the gloves you use are beneficial for a few reasons. Firstly, it means any staining that happens to your gloves does not become a distraction as you are working. Second, it makes it easier for you to spot tears in the gloves as you are tattooing. And third, it masks any blood that could cause your client to become nervous or anxious during the tattooing session.

Our Final Thoughts

In tattooing, nothing should be done without gloves. You shouldn’t clean your station without gloves. You mustn’t touch your equipment or prep your machinery without gloves. And you certainly shouldn’t tattoo your client without gloves. It’s for that reason that the best gloves for tattooing which made our list hold up to all industry standards and will not only keep you or your client comfortable, but will also keep you both completely safe.

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