When you should use one or the other

mittens vs gloves

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

You’re going to need something on your hands outside most of the winter. So what’s better: mittens or gloves?

Part of the answer depends upon what you want to do.

Of course, gloves allow for better fine motor skills with each finger separated in their own snug section. But mittens do keep your hands toastier if your main goal is warmth. Just as your house seems warmer during a holiday party with many warm bodies together in a few rooms, mittens keep your fingers’ warmth together.

If you’re in the market for new gloves or mittens, consider these options.

If you want to use your smartphone or tablet while keeping your hands warm, look for touchscreen gloves. They’re available in many fabrics such as nylon, faux suede, fleece and knit at www.isotoner.com and at most department and sporting goods stores. Or, retrofit any pair of knit gloves into touchscreen gloves with this conductive thread as detailed in this tutorial: https://inhabitat.com/ecouterre/make-your-own-texting-gloves-for-the-iphone-or-android-diy-tutorial. Flip-top mittens can also allow for screen use; however, if you text often, they’re not your best option.

If work or play keeps you outside a long time, Cabela’s Black Diamond gloves (available at Bass Pro Shop or www.cabelas.com, $169.95) represent a great choice. With waterproof, yet breathable GORE-TEX inserts and removable 170-gram PrimaLoft Gold and wool liners, there’s plenty of insulation without letting your hands get clammy and sweaty —which leads to cold hands. The Black Diamond also feature longer length to keep wrists warm and snow out of gloves and sleeves. The nylon shell repels moisture. The leather reinforced palm and padded knuckles mean they’ll really stand up to rough treatment. The price tag is steep; however, if you spend lots of time in the elements, they may be worth it.

Carhartt specializes in work clothing and accessories, so it’s little surprise they sell a winter mitten that offers durability and affordability. Visit www.carhartt.com to see the W.P. Waterproof Insulated Mitt A616 ($23.99), which features an outer shell, waterproof, moisture-wicking insert, fleece cuff that cinches shut and a grip enhanced palm. They have a durable shell with a grippy palm and a waterproof insert. The soft fleece cuff has an adjustable wrist strap to keep the wet out. Plus, they have a nose wipe for those prone to dripping.

The ultimate in warmth, heated gloves and mittens can keep you comfortable for longer. Check www.thewarmingstore.com/heated-gloves.html for a huge selection. They’re expensive compared with standard gloves–based models start at about $100 a pair but the batteries are rechargeable and replaceable. If you’re exposed to the elements all day, you may run out of battery power, unless you buy and bring along a back-up battery.

Functional and warm, Mountain Made Cold Weather Gloves (www.mountainmadeproducts.com, $27.97) come in several sizes so you’re sure to find a good fit for riding, driving, shooting or whatever winter activity that requires fine motor skills unencumbered by bulky gloves. They include touchscreen capability and rubbery grips. They’re not rated below 32 degrees, so plan wear glove liners if you need more warmth. They also stop at the wrist, so they’re not the best for snow play.