What's The Difference Between Nitrile, Latex, and Vinyl Gloves?

Posted by Riva Zheng on

Disposable gloves are an essential item in any healthcare environment. They not only protect healthcare providers and patients from exposure to potentially dangerous microbes, they also help set a precedent of hygiene and care across the industry.

Disposable gloves are generally made from one of three materials: nitrile, latex, or vinyl. In this blog, we’ll explore what makes these gloves different from each other, as well as offer guidance into which environments each type is best suited for.

Latex gloves are often preferred by healthcare providers since they provide the best service when it comes to elasticity, comfort and fit. Surgeons in particular benefit from latex gloves since they are great for sensitive work, since they offer more precision with high tactile sensitivity.

Despite its advantages, latex gloves have become an issue for many health professionals due to the increasing rate of latex allergies, and many are choosing to go with non-latex glove options such as vinyl and nitrile gloves instead.

Vinyl gloves, which are made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), are usually the cheapest latex-free gloves. However, many prefer to use higher-end gloves such as nitrile gloves. Nitrile gloves are often preferred since these non-latex gloves best resemble the stretchy feel of latex gloves, and are also highly durable and puncture resistant.

Another difference to consider when deciding between latex and latex-free gloves is the protection offered by each type of material. In general, latex gloves offer the best protection against bacteria and viruses, while synthetic gloves provide better chemical protection. Of the different types of latex-free gloves, nitrile gloves offer a higher degree of protection against viruses, besides the chemical protection they provide.                                                        

Nitrile gloves came to prominence in the 1990s as a leading latex alternative. While they’re not as elastic or flexible as their latex counterparts, disposable nitrile gloves are notably more durable and resistant to chemicals. As such, these gloves are the ideal choice for anyone who has to handle potentially hazardous and corrosive chemicals. They are also perfectly suited for most medical environments, being exceptionally puncture-resistant and eliminating the risk of latex allergy reactions.

Understanding these key differences will help you make the right decision.

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