Understanding cut level standards

Posted by Mike Dillow on

Confused by cut level standards? What is cut level 3? What is the difference between cut level 3 gloves and cut level 4 gloves? Should I use Ansi cut level standards or EN 388 cut level standards?

First, let's talk about the ANSI/ISEA cut level standards used in the U.S.

ANSI Cut Level Standards

Beginning in 2016, the ANSI cut level standards were changed with a 9 point scale replacing the old 5 point scale. Basically cut level 5 was expanded to  levels A5-A9.

The chart below show the 9 new ANSI cut level standards and the 5 old standards. For folks like me who have no idea how much weight is a gram, I've included a reference to indicate how many pounds weight is place on the blade for the tests.

ANSI cut levels


The new ANSI cut level standards require testing on a TDM machine. As shown below, the new ANSI/ISEA ASTM F2992-15 test measures cut resistance at a distance of 20 millimeters (a little more than ¾ inch) with a straight blade. A new blade is used in the test machine for each test. The blade has a certain amount of pressure (measured in grams) applied to the material. The conductive material is to detect if the blade has cut through the material.

 TDM Cut Level Testing

So when I am working with sheet metal, I'm pretty confident when wearing cut level 3 gloves (or cut level A3 gloves in the new standard). 

Because most our gloves are tested with both U.S. and European standards. let's take a quick look at the European standard.

EN388 Cut Level Standards

The EN388 cut level testing is a comparative testing on a Coup machine. Using a rotating blade with a fixed weight of 5 newtons (1.124 pounds), first a test is performed by cutting back and forth on the reference material until the blade cuts through. The reference material is a 1 pound/square yard cotton canvas (the typical cotton canvas glove.

Then the sample material is tested. If the reference material took 2 cuts to cut though, and the test sample took 10 cuts, then the ratio of 2:10 (or Cut Index) is 5. 

 EN388 Coup Cut Level Testing


And finally, should I use a leather glove with a cut resistant liner? A palm Coated glove? Or a string knit glove?

Leather gloves are useful when handling metal especially if you need good resistance to abrasion or when handling oily surfaces.

Palm coated gloves are used when you need fine dexterity and a good grip. With some of our gloves, you can even use your smart phone touch screen while wearing the cut resistant gloves.

Cut resistant string knit gloves (together with cut resistant sleeves) are often used for handling metal stamping.

Still confused? No worries! We are the Cut Resistant Glove experts. Give us a call today. We can help you with all your cut level requirements.


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