Smartphones have become an inseparable part of our daily lives, and most of us carry them all the time. We even take them with us on all the winter activities we take part in, like skiing, snowshoeing, or cold-weather running. Since gloves are required for all of these, they need to be taken off every time you want to check your phone for directions, send a message, or take a photo. We can all agree that this can be annoying.
For this reason, touchscreen gloves were developed. Because of the way that touch screens work, your regular gloves don’t allow you to control them. Touchscreen gloves, on the other hand, have special conductive materials on the fingertips, allowing you to use your smart device with ease.
This article will discuss the features of these gloves, and show you how to find the best touch screen gloves for your needs. But before we jump into the guide, take a look at the selection of the best touch-screen gloves we picked out for you – there’s a great option for every activity and style.
How To Choose The Best Touchscreen Gloves – Buying Guide
Since we’re talking about the best touchscreen gloves, their functionality with smart devices is the most important thing to focus on. However, this isn’t enough because the glove also needs to be well-made. The main task of any glove is to keep your hands warm and protected, and touchscreen gloves aren’t any different.
Depending on where and how you’re going to use them, they need to be wind and water-resistant, allow easy finger movement, be breathable, or have insulation and waterproofing if you want to put them on your skiing checklist. Take a look as we break down the most important features and try to make it easier for you to pick out the right pair.
As we mentioned, one of the most important things about touchscreen gloves is how well they work with your smart devices. As we came to learn during our research, some gloves are more effective than others. Unfortunately, some gloves falsely advertise as being winter gloves with touch screen fingers, when the reality says otherwise.
Because of this, we advise you to be careful when choosing, and take a look at what other people had to say about a particular pair. The best winter touchscreen gloves we selected are all tested by many people, but there are still some differences between them.
When talking about touchscreen compatibility, it is possible thanks to the conductive fabric that manufacturers put in the finger area. This fabric contains wire filaments that are able to conduct electric signals between the finger and the screen, as we’ll explain later.
Depending on the model, most gloves come with two-finger (thumb and index finger) or three-finger functionality (thumb, index, middle finger). This is usually more than enough since most people use these three fingers when using their devices. However, there are models (like the Agloves Sports gloves we featured) that offer full glove functionality. While this is neat, this type of glove is not the best choice for heavier daily use.
The performance, durability, and comfort of your glove are determined by the materials used to make it, so this shouldn’t be overlooked. As you know, gloves use a combination of materials to achieve the level of protection and warmth you need.
Most of the models we featured are lightweight and made of polyester or acrylic. These two are good choices since they allow breathability and easy finger movement. Many of the models also have spandex added, which gives them elasticity and improves the fit and overall comfort.
Leather (genuine or synthetic PU) is also a popular choice, especially in more elegant gloves. Natural leather is really strong, durable, and gives you great wind and water protection, but has lower breathability and isn’t suitable for every situation. Some gloves offer a combination of the two, with a shell made of polyester or nylon and a PU reinforced palm that improves the grip and durability of the glove.
Depending on what you plan to use them for, breathability and waterproofing are two important things to consider. If you’re after a pair you will use as running or hiking gloves, then going with lighter gloves with mesh panels is a smart choice. On the other hand, most ski gloves have waterproof membranes and water-repellent coating that help keep your hands dry but they won’t breathe as well and they will be bulky, making it difficult to use your device.
Insulation and Warmth
Whether you should look for insulated gloves or not mainly depends on your activity. In our reviews of the best touch screen gloves, we featured a few of both – lightweight uninsulated gloves that give you fantastic dexterity but don’t keep your hands warm in very low temperatures, and fully insulated models that you can wear for skiing or snowboarding. Keep in mind that insulation significantly increases the bulk of the glove, making it harder to use on a screen.
But let’s say a thing or two about the insulation itself. It’s the layer between the shell and the liner, and it’s used to trap heat and keep your hands warm (if the glove doesn’t let in wind or water). Materials most commonly used as insulators are 3M Thinsulate and cotton. Thinsulate is common in ski and snowboard gloves because it’s very efficient in keeping the warmth while it doesn’t add too much bulk. Cotton is good too, but only as long as the glove is dry – if it gets wet, your hands will be really cold really fast.
If you’re looking for gloves to use in snow and freezing temperatures, we do recommend that you get an insulated pair. However, these warm touchscreen gloves won’t offer the same level of dexterity as a thinner pair without insulation. If you know you’ll be using the gloves only in dry weather, it’s a good idea to buy a pair without insulation. While they aren’t as warm by default, they are easier to use on your phone, and you can always add a glove liner if you need to improve the warmth.
Related Review: Snowboard Gloves
Gloves can be very slippery, which can be a real problem when holding your smartphone. In a blink of an eye, your device can slide out of your hand and drop to the ground. Regardless of which type of protection you have, you want to prevent that from happening.
This is why the best touchscreen gloves come with an anti-slip palm. These additional features on the palm improve the grip so you can hold your phone tightly when using it. While the PU leather lining on the palm is very good in this regard, we like the silicone traction pads even better since they give a firmer grip.
Regardless of the material, a rougher texture is going to create a better grip and prevent slipping. This is really helpful not only for holding your phone but also for having a better grip on your gear, for example, a hiking GPS or ski poles. You should certainly think about this when buying – it’s better to be safe than sorry.
While touchscreen compatibility is obviously the main feature on all of these gloves, many other features will make your new gloves more comfortable and convenient to use. We’re talking about cuffs, pockets, buckles, straps, mesh panels and other additions.
Most touchscreen gloves are lighter and come with a shorter cuff, intended to go under your jacket. It’s a plus if the glove has an elastic cuff because it will sit snuggly around your wrist and prevent wind from getting in. Some of the models we featured come with a longer cuff, and these have wrist straps and drawcords that help you tighten the glove and prevent snow from coming in.
It’s always nice if the gloves come with pockets since these allow you to keep some small items stashed, such as cards or money. This is particularly common on ski gloves since it’s a great place for a ski pass. While talking about ski gloves with touch screen fingers, they can also come with a wrist strap to prevent losing the gloves when you take them off, and small buckles to lock them together. The MCTi model we featured even has a special thumb fabric for wiping the nose or ski goggles.
On the other hand, light touchscreen gloves don’t come with as many features. Since there aren’t straps and cords to tighten them, you should look for a pair that is elastic and fits properly on your hand. Some models (like the Dreamy Outdoor Gloves) have zippers on the back of the hand to help you put them on easily. In addition, many touchscreen gloves for running have mesh panels in various places to help release moisture and keep your hands completely dry even during intense activity.
All this talk about functionality and features put aside, nobody wants to wear a pair of gloves they don’t like. Since touchscreen gloves are not strictly limited to skiing and other outdoor sports, many people pay attention to the design.
For this reason, we tried to feature a really wide range of products on our list, ranging from true skiing gloves to more stylish leather models that can be used in formal situations. While this wasn’t the case just a few years back, touchscreen functionality is now available on a really large number of gloves, so you’ll be able to find the right pair for any occasion.
The gloves you buy need to have a nice feel on your hand. This has to do with the lining inside, as well as how the glove fits on your hand. When talking about fit, you need to get a properly sized glove. We advise that you don’t rely solely on the specified sizes, but also try to find a sizing chart with precise measurements. A glove that is too tight won’t sit properly on your hand, while a loose glove lets air and water in.
As for the liner, it determines how the glove feels. It can be made of different materials, which all have some upsides and downsides. Most common choices are synthetic fleece, wool, microfiber, or even cashmere. Fleece is found in most gloves because it’s really soft, efficient at wicking moisture, and cheap.
On the other hand, wool is best at keeping your hands dry but can be scratchy and uncomfortable if lower quality wool is used. Some models (like the ELMA Luxury gloves) come lined with cashmere, which not only feels great to the touch but also adds warmth.
Finger mobility is everything when talking about the best touch-screen gloves. There’s no use of having screen-compatible fingers if you can’t bend them to hit the desired point on the screen. Unfortunately, this is a common problem for this type of gloves.
Finding the right balance between good dexterity and warmth has proved to be somewhat difficult. Warmer gloves are usually bulkier, meaning that the tip of your finger won’t be very precise when you want to hit a certain letter when typing a message. Thinner gloves are much better for this but don’t have the warmth needed for freezing temperatures.
We think this is worth discussing, so you have realistic expectations regardless of which pair of gloves you choose. We only featured gloves on our list because the main difference when comparing gloves and mittens are the separate fingers. Even though mittens have a free thumb, this is not enough to use the smartphone with ease.
Q: How To Clean And Care For Touchscreen Gloves?
As with all other accessories, we advise that you look at the label and read the manufacturer’s recommendations. This being said, most pair of touchscreen gloves (and gloves in general) are washed by hand. Some of the best touchscreen gloves can even be washed in a machine, but this is usually not the case.
When hand-washing, you should soak the gloves in cold water with mild detergent, knead them and leave them for a few minutes, before you thoroughly rinse them. After your gloves are detergent-free, you should hang them to air dry. Gloves shouldn’t be put in a dryer since the process can shrink them and make them useless.
If you have a pair of waterproof gloves that you can’t soak in water, you can wipe the outer surface with a disinfectant (alcohol for example), and use a cleaning powder to clean the liner inside. It’s a big plus if you can take the liner out to wash it separately and efficiently remove the odor from sweaty hands.
If you’re concerned that cleaning will damage the conductive fabric on your gloves, you have nothing to worry about. If anything, cleaning them more frequently will improve their performance because the dirt that is stuck in the fabric reduces conductivity.
Q: Are Touchscreen Gloves Suitable For All Types Of Touchscreen Devices?
Yes, they will work with any touch screen out there, you have nothing to worry about. Two types of touch screens exist – resistive and capacitive. Resistive screens were common when touch screens first appeared, and respond to pressure. However, most (if not all) touch screens today are capacitive. They are much more sophisticated and rely on conducting electric impulse between your finger and the phone.
The conductive fabric on your touchscreen gloves is designed to conduct this small charge, so the screen reacts the same way as if you were touching it with a bare finger. All device manufacturers use the same technology for their screens, so it doesn’t really matter which brand you have, or whether it’s a phone or a tablet. If you get a touchscreen-compatible glove, it will work on any type of device you have.
Q: How Do Touchscreen Gloves Work?
As we mentioned earlier, capacitive touchscreens detect the small electric charge from your finger. A glove’s task is to conduct this electric charge so it reaches the screen. Regular gloves present a barrier between your finger and the screen, which is why the screen doesn’t react. By making small adjustments to the fabric, manufacturers have succeeded in conducting the charge through the fabric and into the screen.
This is possible thanks to the conductive materials in the fingertip area. Most gloves use conductive wire fibers that are sewn into the fabric. On the other hand, some leather gloves contain metal particles in the leather, allowing them to conduct the signal. Some gloves conduct the signal throughout, giving you a wider range of use.
Furthermore, it’s also possible to make your regular gloves touchscreen-compatible. However, this is somewhat a hassle and the solution isn’t as durable, which is why we advise that you get a proper pair of smartphone touch gloves.
Q: Can Touchscreen Gloves Damage The Screen?
No, they can’t. Materials that are used are soft and non-abrasive, meaning they aren’t able to scratch the screen. The conductive fabric doesn’t have any rough elements in it. However, you need to keep one thing in mind.
As with any other glove, it will get dirty with use. The small dirt particles that get stuck in the fabric can be abrasive and create small scratches on the screen, which is why it’s important to keep your gloves clean. Of course, it’s best to have some type of protection on your phone, or even of a waterproof phone case for use on the snow.
Globo Surf Overview
Nobody wants to constantly take their gloves off when checking their phone. So, if you want to take your outdoor game to a new level, consider getting a pair of the best touch-screen gloves. They come in every shape and size, just like regular gloves – you can get a lightweight pair for cold-weather walks, or a waterproof insulated pair as an addition to your ski gear. You have all the information you need to pick out a great pair, and we have no doubt that you’re going to enjoy them.
More Snow Reviews:
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- Base Layer
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- Ski Backpack
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- Ice Scraper
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