Nitrile, Latex or Vinyl: Are You Using the Right Gloves?

With increased need of protection and hygiene disposable gloves have become the preferred choice of workers involved in public handling. They not only protect healthcare workers from exposure to dangerous microbes, also set hygiene standards across the industry.

Different work environments have different demands and to make the right choice its important to know the difference amongst all. While you must have not realized, there are different types of materials like nitrile, latex or vinyl that are used to make disposable gloves.

Based on the purpose, comfort or durability, one can chose to wear either latex, vinyl or nitrile gloves. To add to this, the risk of puncture, rip and tear is different for each type of glove material. Since it becomes a bit overwhelming to choose the most suitable gloves, we have elaborated the different types a bit with their pros and cons in this blog.

Latex Gloves

Latex Gloves are non-synthetic gloves made of natural rubber (a processed plant product) and are highly preferred by the healthcare providers. They are great for high precision work since they offer high tactile sensitivity and dexterity.  These gloves are mostly used by surgeons as they provide protection against harmful bacteria, viruses and body fluids. Moreover, they fit like a second skin and are glove of choice when it comes to comfort, reliability, consistent fit and elasticity.

When worn for long durations, latex gloves have known to cause latex allergies for many healthcare professionals. For example, in chemical industry, the workers need to wear gloves for longer time periods they have known to stir reactions ranging from dry itchy irritated areas on the skin to a severe allergic reaction like what some people have to bee stings. 

The cost of latex is associated with natural rubber, that can fluctuate depending on the weather or season.

Industries Where Latex Gloves are Preferred:

  • Medical Industry such as Hospitals, Salons, Dentistry clinics
  • Construction Industry (janitorial works)
  • Automotive Industry

Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile Gloves are made from Nitrile Butadiene rubber (synthetic rubber), they are the glove of choice where tax allergies are a concern. They gained prominence in the 1990’s as latex alternative. They closely resemble latex gloves in fit, stretchability and general durability. On the other hand, latex free nitrile gloves offer better chemical protection and puncture resistance. This makes them a hugely procured glove choice in industries involving use of petroleum-based products solvents, chemicals, oils or fat.

Nitrile gloves can endure higher temperatures than latex which is a highlighting benefit for automotive applications. They effectively break electrostatic charges and suspend lesser particles thus, causing lower contamination in cleanrooms.

Nitrile Gloves are available in the market in different thicknesses, powdered and lightly powdered variants. Besides, they provide enhanced resistance against certain chemicals as compared to vinyl and latex gloves.

Vinyl Gloves

Vinyl Gloves are made of a petroleum-based film, PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). These gloves are the most inexpensive to manufacture and are highly cost effective. Apparently, cot effectiveness has nothing to do with its durability, as they are less durable than latex and nitrile gloves. Also, they offer limited protection against biomedical or chemical exposure. Vinyl gloves are generally preferred in the food industry, where protection and durability are neither a priority nor concern. That being said, they are commonly used in low infection and non-hazardous environments.

Favorable Attributes:

  • Loose comfortable fit
  • Latex free
  • Economic
  • Anti-static properties

When its time to select the right type of disposable gloves, the underlining factor is the level of protection required.

Refer below a comparative chart of LATEX vs Nitrile vs Vinyl Gloves



Latex Gloves

Nitrile Gloves

Vinyl Gloves


Made of natural rubber

Made of Nitrile Butadiene

Made of PVC


Highest comfort, flexibility, fit and tactile sensitivity

Stretchy, durable

Cost-efficient synthetic option, comfortable

Resistance to

Bacteria, viruses

Chemicals, viruses