Power tools come in all shapes and sizes, and all of them can be dangerous when not handled correctly. Aside from knowing how the tool itself functions, it is vital that you understand what kind of gear you should be wearing when handling the tool as well.
Since many power tools involve sharp edges, quickly moving pieces, and heavy mechanics, they should be treated with caution and used only by those who have had experience working with the tool.
It is never recommended to use a power tool without swearing some form of protection. Your hands, face, eyes, body, legs, and feet are all susceptible to harm should you drop or lose control of your power tool.
From chainsaws to staple guns, there are a lot of different tools out there – which means there are a lot of different ways you can hurt yourself. While our Tool Nerds team is passionate about different power tools, we would never want any of our readers to get hurt. This is why we wanted to take the time to cover a wide variety of safety options for you to wear when handling your favorite power tool.
We’ve separated the following review into categories for a simple rundown of our recommended safety gear. Make sure that you find something that can protect all parts of your body, as you can never be too careful when it comes to using high-functioning tools and equipment.
For Your Hands
First, let’s start with the hands. There are a number of recommended work gloves by reputable brands that can offer protection and safety when you’re out working in the yard. These gloves and hand wraps are great whether you’re a professional construction worker, or you’re just a homeowner looking to dive into a couple of intense projects at home.
→ Here’s a rundown of the requirements that all safety gloves should fulfill, and which brands successfully meet those requirements.
What Makes a Good Safety Glove?
Good safety gloves come in different forms and varieties, but they all have one thing in common: They can cross off everything in the following checklist. If a glove doesn’t meet these requirements, then they are not recommended for use when handling a dangerous power tool.
A good safety glove should be:
Cut resistant. Should you accidentally drop your power saw on your hands, you want a pair of gloves that can take the hit without allowing the saw to slice through to your hands. Safety gloves are thick enough to prevent cuts without limiting the movement of your hands and fingers. They are typically made from leather or thicker cut-resistant materials.
- Our brand recommendation: EPICA CUT RESISTANT GLOVES
Weather resistant. Even when the weather is rough, you need to get out there and work. Having a pair of gloves that are not only damage-resistant, but weather resistant as well can save you a lot of pain. A good set of safety gloves will be able to retain heat in freezing temperatures, so that you aren’t subjected to hypothermia. Plus, they should be slip-proof, so that you can keep a steady grip on your tools even when it’s raining or snowing.
- Our brand recommendation: MEMPHIS CN9690M NINJA GLOVES
Snag proof. Nothing’s worse than getting your gloves caught on a hedge, a nail, or a dangerous part of your equipment. In order to handle your power tools safely, you’ll want to make sure that your work gloves are made from materials that won’t snag on anything. Typically, these kinds of gloves are made from nylon or terry cloth, which are not only flexible but also help you retain sensation at your fingertips.
- Our brand recommendation: IRONCLAD TOG2-04-L TAC-OPS GLOVE
For Your Head
Your head is the most important, and often the most sensitive part of your body. When working closely with power tools, nothing is more crucial than protecting your eyes, ears, face, and skull. While cutting or chopping off a hand can be utterly devastating, inflicting damage to your head can be actually life-threatening. If you were to suffer from an accident that injured your head, you may not ever be able to use power tools again.
That’s why it is essential to purchase and wear safety equipment to protect your head before you start working on your projects. Just like we mentioned in our 10 Table Saw Safety Tips article, you should not even begin to operate your power tools until you have the right protection equipped.
What makes a functional piece of protective headgear?
There are several elements that go into protective headgear. On that note, there are several different types of head-protection equipment that you need to invest in. Helmets, hoods, ear protectors, and face masks all count towards protective headgear.
Below, you’ll see our rundown of the most important elements that makeup a must-have piece of safety gear for your head. Check out our recommended items as well, as you won’t want to be without one of these pieces when it’s time for you to turn on your dangerous power tool.
Good pieces of protective headgear include:
Hearing protection. Let’s face it – most chainsaws and construction tools are extremely loud. Whether you need to use a circular saw, or you’re participating in a large construction project with a jackhammer, odds are you’re going to be hearing some pretty big noises. Electronic earmuffs are powerful pieces of safety gear that can protect your ears from getting damaged. Your hearing is sensitive, and having a piece of equipment that can protect your hearing will keep you from suffering adverse health effects in the long run.
- Our brand recommendation: HOWARD LEIGHT AMPLIFICATION ELECTRONIC EARMUFFS
Skull protection. There’s a reason construction workers are nicknamed “hard hats”. A hard hat is exactly the right kind of gear you need to protect all sides of your head from potential damage. You never know what an happen when you’re working outside, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. A lock suspension hard hat will stay in place while you’re moving, and will be able to take the impact when an object falls onto your head.
- Our brand recommendation: PYRAMEX HARD HAT
Protecting your eyes is just as important as protecting your skull. If something dangerous were to fall into your eyes, you could risk losing your vision forever. A strong set of safety glasses should be durable enough to withstand force, but translucent enough to give you a full range of vision.
- Our brand recommendation: ENCON WRAPAROUND VERATTI 307 SAFETY GLASSES
For Your Body
When working with powerful tools and construction equipment, you should be protected from head to toe. There are a lot of different body protection options to keep you safe no matter what kind of tool you’re handling.
We recommend at least investing in a work vest or a work jacket, as well as knee pads and other wearable gear to keep you safe yet flexible. Keep reading to find out what makes a good piece of protective body gear.
What are good pieces of body protective gear?
First and foremost, a formidable piece of safety gear would have to protect the vital parts of the body. When wearing a protective vest, for example, you want to make sure that the vest is durable enough to take a hit if something should fall on you. However, you don’t want it to be too tight or too thick that it sacrifices your mobility. Being flexible and agile on the job is just as important as being protected.
So, where can you find the middle ground? Our team has found a few of our favorite pieces of gear that can help you get the job done and stay protected in a variety of ways. Check out what we discovered!
Our favorite body safety gear pieces include:
High visibility safety vests. These vests are made from thick materials that will protect your chest and your vital organs from any type of damage, whether you accidentally get hit with a tool, or something falls on top of you. But not only will it protect your body, but its bright neon colors will keep you visible at all times. When working in a team, it’s important that you are aware of your friends and your surroundings. You want to make sure people can see you at all times.
- Our brand recommendation: NEIKO 53942A HIGH VISIBILITY SAFETY VEST
Durable safety jacket. This is similar to the vest in many ways, but it offers extra layers of support and heat retention for when you need to work in colder climates. The jacket is super thick, constructed from materials that are cut-proof and impact-ready. Not to mention these jackets also come with high visibility so that others can see you even in the dark.
- Our brand recommendation: PYRAMEX FLEECE BOMBER SAFETY JACKET
Knee pads. What? Aren’t knee pads for hockey players? Actually, knee pads are an essential part of safety equipment, especially if you’re going to be hunched down doing mechanical repairs or atop a tree with a chainsaw. Most power tool brands offer a pair of knee pads as a recommended product for use with a variety of different equipment.
- Our brand recommendation: DEWALT DG5204 PROFESSIONAL KNEEPADS
Safety is Always Essential!
Learning how to use a power tool is just the first step towards using it successfully. Having the necessary amount of safety gear equipped at all times can help you stay protected when you’re handling such dangerous equipment. Remember to never take your knowledge or experience of a tool for granted; accidents can happen at any time. It’s better to stock up on protective gear than to suffer from a bloody injury due to the slip of a hand. Take heed of our recommendations and invest in some good pieces of gear before you start your next project!