Cut Resistance Levels: Everything You Need to Know
7 December 2022
Are you unsure of how to read cut-resistance ratings on our website? Know you need highly cut-resistant gloves but not sure which pair are right for you?
You're not alone. Questions About Cut-Resistance are incredibly common. As one of the most asked about protection ratings out there, it's vital you understand them to guarantee the safety of you and your colleagues. We've put this digestible guide together so you can understand what cut-resistance is, why it's important and how to find the right gloves for your unique application.
What Does Our Guide Cover?
Expert Product Recommendations
What Is Cut-Resistance?
Cut-resistance is one of six mechanical hazards governed by the European safety standard EN 388. The EN 388 cut-resistance test gives a rating to each glove based on the amount of pressure it can withstand from a sharp object before it shows signs of laceration.
EN 388:2003 or EN 388:2016 – What Is the Difference?
Depending on the glove, you may see one of two different cut-resistance ratings in our table. This is because in 2016 the EN 388 test for gauging cut-resistance changed slightly, adding a new test that better assesses how the gloves will stand up to real-world use.
The original test awards a rating between level 1 and 5, whereas the newer test awards a rating between levels A and F.
The 2003 version of the test (labelled "Cut Resistance" in our table) involves a circular blade being lowered on a piece of the gloves fabric. Downward pressure of five newtons is exerted onto the garment until the blade cuts through the fabric, stopping the test and triggering an electrical sensor underneath the fabric.
The 2016 version of the test (labelled "ISO Cut Resistance" in our table) uses a single, straight-blade that is applied to the glove with an increasing amount of pressure. The more pressure the glove can withstand, the higher the level awarded. This new tests removes the issue with blade "blunting" that the original 2003 version had.
Which Rating Is Right for Me?
If you see a glove that lists both ratings, we recommend using the more up to date "ISO Cut Resistance" rating as your guide, unless you've been instructed otherwise. This is not only because these ISO ratings are not only more up to date, but because they offer a greater spectrum of resistance ratings (Level A to F as oppose to Level 1 to 5).
Highly Dexterous Cut-Resistant Gloves
If fine motor control, dexterity and accuracy are what you need, you need gloves that provide protection without limiting fine-touch and precision. See below for gloves that provide great cut-resistance without swamping your hands in padding.
Level F Cut-Resistant Gloves
Our product experts have compiled a few gloves that provide maximum Level F cut-resistance. Essential for knife, blade, glass and serrated edge handling, these gloves are reserved for applications where serious personal injury is a constant threat.
Thermal Cut-Resistant Gloves for Winter
Cold weather cut-resistant gloves are a must when temperatures drop. You can't do your job properly during the winter without a proper pair of thermal cut-resistant gloves keeping your hands and fingers warm.
Waterproof Cut-Resistant Gloves
When the heavens open and you're working outdoors, waterproof cut-resistant gloves are a must. Designed with a water and rainproof membrane, the gloves below are tried, tested and loved by our customers throughout winter.
Cut-Resistant Gloves for Building and Construction
Building and construction can wreak havoc on the hands without proper protection. Whether you're a builder, construction professional, roofer or scaffolder, we've got you covered with gloves specifically designed for trade and on-site application below.
Cut-Resistant Gloves for Kitchens and Food Preparation
Shucking, slicing, butchery and preparing foodstuffs involves the use of seriously sharp knives, blades and tools. We've got chainmail, dexterity focused and thicker, more padded options, a few of which we've listed below.
Cut-Resistant Gloves for Woodworking
Whether you're a professional with a workshop or you enjoy a bit of DIY in your spare time, woodworking demands dexterity and precision. Unfortunately, the nature of the work brings with it serious risk if the right gloves aren't worn.
Thankfully, our product experts have put together a selection of our most suitable gloves below.
Why Should I Trust These Cut Resistance Tests?
EN standards are independently tested European regulations that are used to gauge the quality and efficiency of a number of different products. All EN standards have to be ratified by one of the three European Standardization Organizations: CEN, CENELEC or ETSI who oversee the rigorous tests involved.
What Is the Need for Protection?
Between 2010 and 2011, over 3300 employees in the UK alone suffered from some sort of hand injury while at work. Although not all of these were serious injuries, they all involved some degree of personal injury and financial loss. When you work with your hands, even small injuries can prevent you doing your job properly, resulting in reduced productivity.
Which Cut-Resistance Level Do I Need?
Although Cut Resistance Level 5 offers the most protection against injuries, it is not always the best option for the task at hand. When choosing which gloves to purchase, there are a number of important questions that you need to keep in mind.
For instance, do you often come into contact with sharp objects? How much dexterity does the job at hand require? Is the amount of padding inside a cut level F glove going to be an issue?
Level 1 and Level A
The advantage of Level 1 and Level A Cut Resistant Gloves is that they often feature less padding to provide you with a greater level of dexterity than gloves that offer more padding and protection. Gloves with a Level 1/A rating are ideal for use in heavy-traffic, low-risk environments, where scuffs, scrapes and light scratches are a constant threat.
Level 2 and Level B
Level 2 and Level B Cut Resistance offers slightly more protection, but it's still important to avoid seriously sharp objects and edges. Gloves accredited as such are great for factory and warehouse work, where exposure to small blades like boxcutters and Stanley knives are a possibility.
Level 3, 4, 5 and Level C
Work gloves that have been specified in these categories are suitable for a wider range of uses, including areas where contact with blades and sharp edges is common. As these gloves are where dexterity starts to lessen, they're more suited for use with trade workers and in industrial settings like building and construction sites.
Cut Level D/E Gloves are great for use in areas where it's likely you'll come into contact with sharp metal, exposed glass and blades from time to time. Though they do not offer as much protection as our maximum rated gloves below, they do offer a greater amount of flexibility and control for manual handling in building and construction settings.
The level F Cut Resistance rating is the highest level of protection available and indicates that a garment is safe and suitable for handling seriously sharp objects like knife edges, blades, sheet metal and glass. This maximum rating are reserved for applications where personal injury is a constant threat due to the constant handling of sharp and jagged objects.
Other Useful Pages
If you haven't found what you're look for, don't worry. We have a tonne of other useful pages on our Safety Gloves site that can help you find the perfect pair of gloves for your hands. Take a look, below: