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Interpreting ANSI & EN Cut Standards

September 11th, 2020

Recently, I had an enlightening conversation with one of our most educated customers who is currently working as a Safety Director for a large construction contractor.  Our conversation centered around cut resistant winter gloves and their many markings -- which are commonly misinterpreted by many people, including safety professionals.  In this Safety Minute, we’re going to break down these markings and explain them in plain English… and even better yet, plain American ANSI standard.


Back in June of last year we wrote up a very thorough breakdown of the North American ANSI Cut ratings, which can be found here if you’re looking for a refresher.


Although the ANSI(A1-A9) cut ratings are straightforward, the confusion comes in with the European EN388 ratings also being stamped on gloves.  For example, let’s look at the markings and accompanying spec sheet performance data for one of the hottest new Cut Resistant Winter gloves on the market, the Bear Claw (see above picture for details!)


So the ANSI A5 cut rating is easy to interpret as being tested at 2200-2999 gram weight of force to cut through the material.  This is done with a Tomodynamometer Machine (TDM-100), applying weight with a straight blade moving across the fabric.  The EN388 Cut rating shows an X…. but it also shows a Cut (TDM-100) rating of E.  The X cut rating is due to the old EU “Coup Test” method used for CE certification in Europe.  One of the issues with the old Coup Test is that certain materials (like glass and steel) can cause the test blade to dull, which results in less accurate ratings. That’s why you may see an “X” when looking at certain gloves. In that case, just look at that TDM rating.  In this specific case, the Bear Claw comes in at EN388 E: 22-29.9 Newtons, or 2243-3058 grams.


So long story short, the Bear Claw comes in at an ANSI A5 and EN388 E Cut Level.  Considering the complicated nature of the European Coup Test, we recommend focusing on the American Standard.  Here’s a breakdown for reference:


The American Standard: ANSI/ISEA 105



  • A1: 200 - 499 grams

  • A2: 500 - 999 grams

  • A3: 1000 - 1499 grams

  • A4: 1500 - 2199 grams

  • A5: 2200 - 2999 grams

  • A6: 3000 - 3999 grams

  • A7: 4000 - 4999 grams

  • A8: 5000 - 5999 grams

  • A9: 6000+ grams


EN 388 TDM-100 Cut Resistance Levels



  • A: 2 - 4.9 newtons (204 - 508 grams)

  • B: 5 - 9.9 newtons (509 - 1019 grams)

  • C: 10 - 14.9 newtons (1020 - 1529 grams)

  • D: 15 - 21.9 newtons (1530 - 2242 grams)

  • E: 22 - 29.9 newtons (2243 - 3058 grams)

  • F: 30+ newtons (3059+ grams)


Samie Lee Gossfeld, Sales Manager - Verona Safety