The Difference:Nitrile Gloves & Latex Gloves

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Medical gloves help protect both patients and their caregivers from cross-contamination, as well as offer protection against harmful and dangerous chemicals or bacteria. To achieve maximum protection, it is essential to both to select the correct gloves and use them appropriately.

When choosing disposable gloves, there are many various items available to meet different demands. For example, comfort, durability, cost, protection levels, and more all vary between the types of gloves, including latex gloves and nitrile gloves. With so many selections, the decision can become overwhelming, so let’s break it down and get an explanation of why there are so many different types, to begin with. Once you figure out this, the procedure of selecting gloves will get much easier.


1. The Definition of Nitrile Gloves & Latex Gloves

1.1 Latex Gloves

Latex comes directly from rubber trees. Since a long time, latex gloves are the most commonly applied disposable gloves, because they have been the only strong enough disposable glove material choice on the market. Nevertheless, at present many hospitals and clinics have started to replace their latex gloves with nitrile gloves.

1.2 Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile is a synthetic rubber composition that is generally applied as a disposable glove material. Nitrile has been around for a while, but only until recent years; it has got more affordable.

That gives the explanation of why it is becoming more and more popular throughout medical, food and cleaning industries. What is more, nitrile has a higher puncture resistance level than any other glove materials. Furthermore, nitrile also is a better chemical resistant than Latex.

And if you want to learn more info for Nitrile Gloves, Here is one article you could refer to:

The Definitive Guide:Nitrile Gloves

2. The Differences

Data is not based on statistical analysis, and the graph is meant as a guide to show the difference in benefits.

Source From: TheGloveCompany

2.1 The Raw Material Distinction

1) Latex gloves

The latex glove is also known as a rubber glove. It is made of natural Latex from the SAP of the rubber tree. In the fresh Latex without any material added, rubber hydrocarbon only accounts for 20-40% of the total amount, and the remaining small amounts of er particles.

Sap from rubber tree – Photo Credits: Harmonycr

2) Nitrile gloves

Nitrile Material Compound

Nitrile is made of inorganic synthetic materials mainly from acrylonitrile and butadiene. Besides, It is a basic material for organic synthesis and pharmaceutical intermediates.

2.2 Puncture Resistance Differences

*Nitrile gloves have higher puncture protective ability than latex gloves

1) Latex gloves

Through wearing it appropriately, latex gloves can be reasonably durable. Besides, it is highly resistant against ketones, acids, alkalis, alcohols, and other kinds of contaminants.

2) Nitrile gloves

Nitrile has a more reliable capability of puncture resistance. Latex does little to protect the skin when being compared with the puncture resistance provided by nitrile gloves. Thus, there is a high possibility of rupture when they are used too roughly or by snagged on a piece of equipment.

Besides, Nitrile gloves are incredibly durable and puncture-resistant. Nitrile gloves can resist exposure to solvents, oils and chemical elements that destroy natural latex gloves quickly. Thus it achieves a higher level of barrier protection.

Nitrile gloves offer superior puncture protection

2.3 Prevent Allergies

1) Latex gloves

Latex gloves are entirely natural; its proteins in the material can result in severe allergic reactions. If the wearers are allergic to Latex, they will get harmful irritations after contact with it.

Besides, latex gloves are recognized to be more inherently hazardous than nitrile, for instance, not just the rubber in the gloves themselves. Still, the powders applied to the gloves can give rise to allergies or physical irritation. What is more, latex allergies are also a concern for anybody coming into contact with your disposable latex gloves.

1) Nitrile gloves

Nitrile gloves are made from synthetic rubbers, so they are a more hypoallergenic selection. Also, the occurrence probability of nitrile rubber allergy is extraordinarily low. Moreover, recognized to be 100% free allergens, disposable nitrile gloves are without any harmful properties, specifically, allergenic proteins. Hence, nitrile gloves are considered to be a brilliant choice in emergencies when the allergy status of a patient or wearer is unknown.

Powdered nitrile glove – Photo Credits:Gotopac

2.4 Classification and Distinction

1) Latex gloves

Their models are divided into powder ordinary type and no powder purification type, smooth surface and hemp surface skid resistance.

2) Nitrile gloves

They are divided into palm anti-slip and hand anti-slip, overall anti-slip, generally no powder.

2.5 Degradability

Latex gloves and nitrile gloves can be degraded, easy to handle, is conducive to environmental protection.

2.6 Elastic

Latex gloves are soft and wear-resistant, and their elasticity is better than nitrile gloves.

2.7 Fit the hand

Because nitrile gloves contain butadiene, which makes them a flexible rubber, they allow the wearer to experience optimal tactile sensitivity.


Also, the fit is due to its good thermal conductivity, an attribute that provides excellent flexibility, which is especially important for medical professionals or those who operate small parts or tools.

2.8 Price

Nitrile gloves come in various kinds of thicknesses, powdered, lightly powdered and powder-free as same as Latex. The only disadvantage of them is the cost.

Specifically speaking, performance decides the price; therefore, nitrile is the most expensive one when comparing with the other types of gloves on account of their excellent quality.

2.9 Color

Nitrile materials can be added pigments. The colour is more bright. Can relieve the patient’s nervous mood.

2.10 Temperature Tolerance

Comparing with latex gloves, nitrile gloves are able to tolerate higher temperatures, which is a benefit for the working environments with high temperatures, such as automotive applications.

2.11 Electrostatic charges

Besides, nitrile gloves have silicon-free composition, lower surface chemical residues, lower ion content, smaller particle content. Therefore, nitrile gloves are availed in the decomposition of electrostatic charges, and they bring about lesser particles to contaminate the work environment for use in cleanrooms.

3. The Benefits Summary of Both Latex and Nitrile Gloves

3.1 Latex Gloves

The natural rubber is the major material of latex gloves. They are a popular selection of protective glove for health care or industrial use. But because some people are suffered from latex allergies, they would select an alternative to Latex. Hence, when an allergy is not a concern, Latex does have a slight advantage with comfort and dexterity over nitrile gloves. But comparing with nitrile gloves, their prices are much lower.

White Latex gloves

Attributes include:

1) Fit like a second skin

2) Have a high standard of touch sensitivity

3) Suitable for wearing for an extended amount of time

4) Work well for high-risk situations involving infectious material

5) Cost-effective

6) Lightly powdered, ensuring it easier to don

7) Very elastic and soft

8) Biodegradable

3.2 Nitrile Gloves

The primary raw material of nitrile gloves is a synthetic rubber, so they are an ideal alternative when latex allergies are of concern because of its Latex-free feature. Besides, nitrile gloves are brilliant gloves when it refers to puncture resistance.

Nitrile gloves are often recognized as “medical grade.” Before any gloves can be marketed to hospitals or medical institutions, they must under through a series of tests conducted by authorized organizations or agents such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States to ensure their durability.

Blue Nitrile Gloves

Attributes include:

  • Latex-free
  • More puncture resistant
  • Have a high standard of sensitivity
  • Mould to your hand for a more comfortable fit
  • Good for wearing an extended period
  • Work better for high-risk conditions involving infectious material
  • Resist various chemicals
  • Have a longer shelf life

Available in blue or black colour to help identify whether the glove has been punctured

4. How to Avoid Getting Allergy

The following are some suggestions recommend to anyone with ongoing exposure to natural rubber latex to protect themselves from allergic reactions:

1) Using nonlatex gloves for activities that involve contact with biological materials, including bodily fluids and blood whenever possible.

2) In addition, using nonlatex gloves for activities that are not likely to affect contact with bodily fluids and blood, for instance, yard work, house cleaning, wall painting etc.

3) If you select latex gloves for proper barrier protection, using powder-free gloves labelled as having lowered protein content. Natural rubber latex proteins can get attached to powder applied to lubricate gloves. When the gloves are taken off, the particles become airborne and can be inhaled, which is also another form of exposure. Besides, when wearing gloves, do not use oil-based lotions. Because they can result in the gloves to deteriorate.

4) After use, washing your hands by mild soap and dry them thoroughly.

5) If you have a natural rubber latex allergy, report your dentist, physician nurses and employer, and avoid contact with products and gloves made with natural rubber latex.

5. Conclusion

Selecting the correct gloves is very critic and should be done based on the environment where you will be using the glove for. Except considering the allergy possibility and the cost, you should also pay attention to select a glove that is the right size for your hand.

Because it will not only offer the most comfortable fit but also will help to ensure the gloves will not fall off your hands, then reduce the possibility of accidentally damaging the glove itself.

People have also claimed to have allergic reactions to the cornstarch-based powder in the powdered and lightly powdered gloves. This is also should be taken into consideration when choosing powdered, lightly powdered or powder-free gloves.



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