If you regularly wear gloves, you might be wondering what type of touchscreens support gloved commands. All touchscreens, of course, allow you to control the onboard computer — as well as the display — by performing touch commands. While some of them support all types of touch commands, others only support bare-finger gloves. You can’t control the latter while wearing gloves. What type of touchscreens work with gloves exactly?

Resistive Touchscreens

All resistive touchscreens work with gloves. Resistive touchscreens use a pressure-based method of operation. They are made of multiple layers. There’s a top layer and a bottom layer, both of which feature a pattern of electrodes. The top and bottom layers are separated by default. When you perform a touch command, you’ll press the top layer into the bottom layer so that their respective electrodes make contact.

You can control resistive touchscreens with a bare finger, a gloved finger or a stylus. As long as you press down hard enough, the two layers will touch each other. Therefore, the resistive touchscreen will register your touch command. Resistive, though is just one of several types of touchscreens that work with gloves.


You can control surface acoustic wave (SAW) touchscreens while wearing gloves. SAW touchscreens live up to their namesake by using ultrasonic sound waves to detect touch commands. When turned on, they’ll project ultrasonic sound waves across the display interface. Performing a touch command will disrupt the sound waves in the respective area of the display interface.

SAW touchscreens don’t use a pressure-based method of operation. As long as your finger is placed directly against the display interface, it will block the sound waves in that area. Nonetheless, you can control a SAW touchscreen while wearing gloves.

IR Grid

Another type of touchscreen that works with gloves is infrared (IR) grid. IR grid touchscreens are similar to SAW touchscreens. Rather than projecting ultrasonic sound waves across the display interface, though, they project IR light.

The IR light projected by IR touchscreens is typically created by light-emitting diodes (LEDs). They are designed with special IR-emitting LEDs, which are embedded along the perimeter of the display interface. Even if you wear gloves, performing a touch command will block the IR light.

While capacitive touchscreens may not work with gloves, there are other types of touchscreens you can choose. Resistive, SAW and IR grid touchscreens all work with gloves. You can still control them with a bare finger, but you’ll have the option of controlling them with a gloved finger as well.