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Nitrile, Latex or Vinyl Gloves: What's the difference?

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Nitrile, Latex or Vinyl Gloves: What's the difference?

When looking for disposable gloves there are few different choices of materials, nitrile, latex and vinyl. It can be hard to know which one to choose, let's take a look at the differences.

Nitrile

Nitrile gloves like those from Supermax are often known as medical grade gloves, they are an ideal option where latex allergies are a concern. They are made from a synthetic rubber that is latex free and are far superior to latex when it comes to puncture resistance and general durability.

Nitrile gloves also offer better chemical resistance against certain chemicals compared to latex and vinyl gloves.

Ideal uses for nitrile gloves are:

  • Medical industries such as dentistry, hospitals and beauty
  • Janitorial industry
  • Automotive industry
  • Industrial industry

Pros

  • Mould to your hand for a great fit
  • Latex free
  • Good durability
  • Excellent puncture resistance
  • Have a long shelf life
  • Available in powdered and powder free
  • Can be worn for longer periods of time
  • Work well for high-risk situations involving infectious materials

Cons

  • They are not biodegradable
  • Usually slightly more expensive

Latex

Latex is a natural material that is made out of rubber. Latex gloves offer good protection in wide range of applications and have good resistance to many chemicals. The main reason for finding an alternative is due to latex allergies, or the application requires the gloves to be worn for a longer period of time. For example, in a factory where a technician will be wearing the same pair of gloves for a long period of time.

Latex gloves do have a slight advantage over nitrile when it comes to dexterity and comfort though, most latex gloves are lined with powder making them easier to put on and are generally thinner which increases touch sensitivity.

Ideal uses for latex gloves are:

  • Medical industries such as dentistry, hospitals and beauty
  • Janitorial industry
  • Automotive industry
  • Industrial industry

Pros

  • Fit like a second skin
  • They are cost effective
  • They are biodegradable so better for the environment
  • Very elastic and strong
  • Preferred in the medical industry over nitrile as they are made from a natural source
  • Good dexterity

Cons

  • Latex can be allergenic
  • Lower resistance to punctures
  • Lower chemical resistance

Vinyl

Vinyl gloves offer a different option to latex and nitrile. They are looser fitting and generally used more in the food industry where durability and protection are not as important, they are also a less expensive option.

Vinyl gloves are more suited for short-term, low risk tasks where cost is a factor. They do not offer quite as good dexterity as nitrile and latex gloves but are still a good option for certain tasks.

Ideal uses for vinyl gloves are:

  • Food preparation industry
  • Medical industries such as dentistry, hospitals and beauty
  • Janitorial industry
  • Automotive industry
  • Industrial industry

Pros

  • Cost effective
  • Latex free

Cons

  • Offer less dexterity due to a looser fit
  • Are susceptible to punctures
  • Do not offer much chemical resistance

Conclusion

As you can see different materials have different benefits and when it comes to choosing the right glove for you, the main three things you need to consider are; protection level, fit. dexterity required and any allergy precautions.

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  • Steven Davidson
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