Which disposable glove should you choose – Latex, Nitrile or Vinyl?

Disposable Gloves

Disposable gloves are an integral item in many industries today. Pandemic or not, these handy protectors are essential for health and safety in the workplace.

This raises the question, which of the three main type of disposable gloves – Latex, Nitrile or Vinyl – should you use?

While they are all similar in appearance, each has their own strengths and weaknesses. Understanding these unique qualities is an important step towards finding the perfect glove that is fit for purpose.

Latex Gloves

Latex gloves are made from rubber, which has been derived from a processed plant.

Because of their thinness they fit like a second skin, giving them a high level of tactile sensitivity, which is why they are often favoured by the healthcare industry.

Latex gloves are robust and offer superior barrier protection against bacteria/viruses, and some chemicals. They are also cost effective, and biodegradable because they are made from natural material. Latex gloves are usually lightly powered, making them easier to take on and off.

However, people are increasingly suffering latex allergies, which has necessitated a pursuit for synthetic alternatives. They are also more easily punctured and are less chemical resistant compared to some synthetic varieties.

Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile gloves have similar tactile properties to latex gloves, but because they are made from synthetic rubber they make a great alternative when trying to avoid latex allergies. Keep in mind that even if the wearer does not suffer from latex allergies, they may come in contact with someone who does. This is why nitrile gloves are often classified as ‘medical-grade’ gloves.

They are also up to 3 times more puncture resistant than latex gloves, and have superior chemical resistance to other disposable gloves. This durability ensures that they can be worn for longer periods of time. Additionally, Nitrile Gloves have a longer shelf life compared to other forms of disposable gloves, thus minimising the possibility of wastage.

However, Nitrile Gloves do not fit as well as their latex counterparts, they are non-biodegradable, and are generally more expensive to produce.

Vinyl Gloves

Vinyl gloves are the most economical and cost-effective option. They are synthetic, making them safe for those with latex allergies. Vinyl gloves are perfect for the food industry, where hazardous substances are not common, and glove turnover is higher.

However, they are loosely fitting, making them less tactile, and they are susceptible to punctures. They provide little protection against hazardous substances, including infection or chemicals. They are also non-biodegradable.

Which Disposable Glove is perfect for Your Work Environment?

Latex, Nitrile and Vinyl Gloves all have their unique qualities and benefits. Latex Gloves are perfect for when sensitivity of touch is essential, but some people are allergic to them. Nitrile Gloves are more puncture, infection and chemical resistant, but cannot quite boast the tactility of latex. Vinyl Gloves are perfect in the food industry, but do not have the strength and touch sensitivity of Latex nor Nitrile Gloves.

Whatever glove you choose, make sure it is fit for purpose.