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Are compression, thermal or splint gloves best? 

There are several key distinctions between compression gloves, thermal gloves and splint gloves. Depending on your need for the gloves, it may be necessary to get more than one type. Or you may be able to get by with just one pair. Here’s everything you need to know about the three types, their key benefits and main purpose.

Compression gloves

The purpose of compression gloves is twofold. These gloves help improve circulation throughout the hands and wrists, while also managing or reducing minor pain. Compression gloves and other arthritis gloves are also beneficial for those with inflammation in the joints, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

If you regularly experience cramping in your hands, wrist or fingers, a pair of compression gloves can help. The gloves do need to fit your hands well for maximum impact though.

Compression gloves cost between $10-$30, on average.

Compression gloves pros

  • Help reduce cramping, swelling and pain in the hand
  • Available in varying degrees of compression, ranging from mild compression to firm or extra-firm compression
  • Beneficial for those who regularly perform repetitive tasks with their hands like typing or playing console or computer games
  • Fingerless compression gloves allow for interaction with touch-screen devices
  • May help reduce the pain from carpal tunnel

Compression gloves cons

  • If the compression is too intense, or if the gloves are poorly fitted, they could restrict movement
  • Certain materials may attract lint or pet hair

Best compression gloves

Doctor Developed Compression Gloves

Doctor Developed Compression Gloves

With several sizing options available, these comfortable compression gloves are ideal for those who perform routine work throughout the day. In particular, they’re great for those who regularly lift weights, play computer games, play sports or need them for medical reasons. They are made from a blend of cotton, spandex and nylon and are flexible enough for daily tasks.

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Dr. Frederick's Original Arthritis Gloves

Dr. Frederick’s Original Arthritis Gloves 

This highly durable pair of compression gloves are also warm enough for cooler temperatures. With mild compression, they provide relief from inflammation and joint pain. They run a little small but are breathable and comfortable for daily wear.

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Thermal gloves

Also made to provide relief from joint pain and stiffness, thermal gloves are warmer than other types of arthritis gloves. For this reason, they’re usually recommended for overnight wear since they can prevent your hands from cramping up or becoming stiff due to the cold.

Thermal gloves work by regulating the temperature in the wearer’s hands. There are several different styles of thermal gloves, but they all work in a similar way. Some thermal gloves have a thin insulating liner that keeps your hands warm without restricting movement. Other options have a thicker liner and are best for colder temperatures and for those who don’t need to move their hands and fingers as much.

On average, thermal gloves range from around $15-$40.

Thermal gloves pros

  • Ideal for those who suffer from arthritis or stiff joints in the morning
  • Help keep in body heat and keep out cold air to minimize pain and discomfort in the hands
  • Some have specialized fingertips that work on touch screen devices
  • Certain materials are waterproof

Thermal gloves cons

  • May limit the range of movement if worn during the day
  • Thicker thermal gloves are too warm for hotter climates or spring or summer use
  • Precision tasks may be difficult when wearing thicker thermal gloves

Best thermal gloves

Thermoskin Premium Arthritic Gloves

Thermoskin Premium Arthritic Gloves

These thermal gloves capture your natural body heat to reduce arthritic pain in your hands. With a textured outer layer that provides extra grip, these gloves provide the necessary compression and warmth to promote blood flow and assist with recovery. They aren’t too thick either, making them ideal for warmer temperatures.

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Doctor Developed Arthritis Gloves

Doctor Developed Arthritis Gloves

Made for men and women, these compression and thermal gloves provide relief from carpal tunnel and arthritis. They’re flexible enough for repetitive tasks like typing, playing sports or gaming. Plus, although they do help regulate the temperature of your hands and wrist, they’re not so thick as to make you overheat.

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Splint gloves

Although similar to compression gloves in many ways, splint gloves are designed to prevent certain movements that may cause more strain, pressure or pain. Depending on the design, splint gloves may either enable or restrict the movement of the fingers, thumbs or wrists.

Regardless of design, the main purpose of splint gloves is to reduce pain and keep your hand, wrist and fingers in the ideal position. Like compression gloves, they also help minimize stiffness and swelling in the joints.

Splint gloves cost between $10-$30.

Splint gloves pros

  • Offer greater support in the hands, wrists and fingers than other arthritis gloves
  • May help strengthen certain fingers or thumbs when worn
  • Some splint gloves help with tasks that involve heavy use of the hands
  • Promote healthy hand positioning
  • Aid in pain management, especially after injury

Splint gloves cons

  • Not recommended for extended periods of time
  • Improper usage may result in swollen joints or worsening stiffness
  • May not be suitable to all people — speak with a health care professional before using them

Best splint gloves

Arrow Splints Trigger Finger Splint

Arrow Splints Trigger Finger Splint

This splint glove is designed for individual finger protection. It helps prevent unnecessary movements to aid in recovery after injury. With four fasteners, it’s possible to tailor the size of the glove to the individual wearer for maximum support. The glove itself is made from breathable neoprene, cotton and nylon.

Sold by Amazon


Trigger Finger Splint Finger Brace

Trigger Finger Splint Finger Brace

Available in several sizes for both hands, this splint glove offers pain relief from arthritis, metacarpal fractures and other finger injuries. It’s designed to strengthen, support and protect two or three fingers at once.

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Should you get compression gloves, thermal gloves or splint gloves?

Compression gloves, thermal gloves and splint gloves are all great options for people who have hand, finger or joint pain or who suffer from certain forms of arthritis.

If you need general support and stability throughout the day, then you should get a pair of compression gloves. However, if you frequently wake up with stiff fingers or cold hands, then thermal gloves may be better for you. Finally, if you’ve had a recent injury to a finger or two and your doctor has recommended them, then consider getting a pair of splint gloves.

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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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