This European Standard (EN511) Cold protection defines the levels of protection against cold hazards, when there is a risk of exposure. The tests needed to determine the resistance varies for cold and heat are very different and often cause confusion. Unlike the EN407 standard for heat resistance, it does not relate to any particular temperature.
EN511:2006 applies to any glove that is used in the protection of hands against convective and contact of temperatures down to as low as -50°C.
Example: A glove with a contact cold level 2 is much warmer than a glove that is only a contact cold level 1. (Contact resistance is measured on a 0-4 scale, 0 the glove has no protection and 4 being the best possible protection)
This is due to the material properties of the gloves, the better the thermal resistance the more protection you will have when exposed to contact with a cold object. A more detailed explanation of the actual tests is detailed below for reference.
The physical tests are very difficult to understand and for most people are unable to directly relate it to real-world situations.
A – Convective cold performance is tested using a model of a hand that is heated to around body temperature. The outside temperature is then reduced to around 20°C below the hand temperature, with a carefully regulated airflow. The amount of electrical energy that is needed to maintain the temperature gradient. Simply, to keep the hand warm it is measured to give an indication to the insulation properties of the gloves. The more power needed to maintain the temperature, the worse the glove’s thermal insulation (ITR) properties.