Cutting Through the Confusion of Cut Resistance

Workers and employers seeking cut resistant gloves in today’s marketplace have more options than ever before. From traditional leather and knit cut resistant fabrics, to more advanced, lightweight coated options, picking the right glove for the job is a daunting task! Cut resistance levels can add another layer of confusion to the mix, as different measurement standards are used or cited by different manufacturers. With all this complexity, how do you find the glove YOU need? Our friends at DuPont® (makers of Kevlar® brand cut resistant fabric) have put together a useful guide for understanding the ins and outs of cutting-edge cut resistance. The full guide is linked at the bottom of this article.

The first thing to consider in choosing a cut resistant glove is the Cut Level. But, three different standards exist, and they are not interchangeable.

  1. ASTM F1790 (US) and ISO 13997 (International)
    These methods both use a straight-edge blade under load to cut a sample. The sample is cut five times each at three different loads, to determine the required load to cut through the sample at a reference distance of 20mm.
  2. ASTM F1790-05
    This is an updated and more accurate testing method, which improved on the results found using the old ASTM F1790 test. As a result of this more stringent testing, material tested under the new standard will typically achieve a lower cut resistance rating than in previous tests with the old method.
  3. EN 388
    The EN 388 test method uses a circular blade under a fixed load. The blade moves back and forth across the sample until it is cut through. The cut resistance is measured as a ratio of the number of cycles needed to cut through the test sample vs. a reference material.

All test methods assign a Performance Level from 0 – 5 to each glove. These levels give a good general idea of the performance of a glove, but the actual performance values should be used when comparing two products. In addition, ASTM and EN 388 cut levels are NOT interchangeable. See the charts below for details on how the cut levels break down.

ANSI/ISEA Cut Levels (using results from ASTM F1790, ASTM F1790-05 or ISO 13997 tests)

ASTM Cut Level Table

EN 388 Cut Levels

EN 388 Cut Level Table

The Gloves category on our website now allows you to filter results by ANSI or EN cut levels. If you’re looking for more information, or need some help comparing different glove options, contact one of our experienced account representatives. For more information about cut resistance testing, check out this comprehensive guide from DuPont®.

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