The Difference Between Nitrile, Latex and Vinyl Gloves

nitrile vs latex vs vinyl gloves
Nitrile Gloves vs Latex Gloves vs Vinyl Gloves

Nitrile Gloves

Many people learnt about the importance of nitrile gloves for the first time during the covid-19 outbreak. This is when gloves became a commonly used form of personal protective equipment. Since the issue of glove quality is a concern in dangerous environments, nitrile stands out as one of the most highly sought after glove materials.

Latex Gloves

Latex gloves have been around for over a century. Their use can be traced back to the 1880s, when they were first used in hospitals. For decades, latex gloves have been used to reduce exposure to contaminants and diseases. They gained popularity during the HIV panic of the 1980s and early 1990s.

Vinyl Gloves

Vinyl gloves are another type of disposable glove that can be used for medical and industrial use. As the name suggests, they are made from PVC material. They are inexpensive to manufacture and hence, more affordable than both nitrile and vinyl.

nitrile vs latex gloves
Nitrile Gloves compared to Latex Gloves

Nitrile Gloves vs. Latex Gloves

The biggest glove debate rages between these two types of disposable gloves.

Nitrile Gloves compared to Latex Gloves

Nitrile Gloves vs. Vinyl Gloves

Nitrile is, without a doubt, a superior material to vinyl for gloves, judging on overall features. Nitrile gloves are more durable and offer a higher level of comfort than vinyl gloves. There are however, some areas where vinyl gloves do score better than nitrile.

nitrile vs vinyl gloves
Nitrile Gloves compared to Vinyl Gloves

Latex Gloves vs. Vinyl Gloves

Both latex and vinyl gloves are great when used in the environments to which they are best suited. Latex gloves are perfect for medical use (unless the people wearing them have allergies to latex) and vinyl is well suited to industrial use. There are several unique features that differentiate these gloves. For example, latex gloves are more durable compared to vinyl.

latex vs vinyl gloves
Latex Gloves vs Vinyl Gloves

Different Varieties of Disposable Gloves

The three main types of medical gloves, as discussed above, come in multiple different forms. Below, we discuss and compared options available for nitrile, vinyl and latex gloves.

Powdered and Powder-Free Gloves

Powder is widely used in latex and vinyl gloves to help get rid of static energy. This is the energy created when the glove material rubs the skin when wearing or removing the gloves. The charge increases the friction, and this can increase the likelihood of tearing or puncturing.

The Difference Between Powdered and Powder-Free Gloves

Powdered gloves are easier to put on and remove. The powder can however, for some people, cause irritation to the skin. It can also impede healing if it comes into contact with broken skin tissue. That’s why there are also powder-free gloves on the market.

Chlorinated and Non-Chlorinated Gloves

Chlorination is an option provided for powder-free disposable gloves. The gloves are exposed to chlorine gas to harden the surface and reduce friction. The idea is to make them easy to put on without worrying about allergic reactions. So, this is an alternative to the powdering of disposable gloves.

The Difference Between Chlorinated and Non-Chlorinated Gloves

Chlorinated latex does not cause latex allergic reaction, making these gloves usable by anyone. In fact, this is one of the reasons why this type of gloves is gaining popularity . Those with latex allergies can now use late gloves without fear of irritation or itching. There are some drawbacks too however, non-chlorinated gloves they have less of a chemical odour.

Other Gloves Options

There are other types of disposable gloves but these are usually harder to find available in large quantities. Uncommon options are also a bit more expensive when they are available due to their unique features. One of these is chemotherapy gloves. These are a special type of glove with added protection for working with chemotherapy-specific drugs.

What Is The Best Type of Disposable Glove for You?

From this guide you should be able to see that each individual glove type has its own uses. Nitrile, latex and vinyl gloves are all different, and none of the three gloves is better than the other under all circumstances. What matters is the purpose for which you need the glove. The choice of disposable gloves for a surgeon who needs surgical exam gloves may be different from that of a chef, or a chemist. The environment is the biggest determiner of the kind of glove that you need.


There are 3 main types of disposable gloves you can purchase from manufacturers. The differences between latex, nitril and vinyl and the environment that they will be used in will determine which glove type will best suit. There are also serveral options for each glove type to select from, such as powdered and powder-free gloves. If you’re looking to by gloves in bulk but don’t know which type is best for you, get in touch with a glove supplier or distributor to find out what they would recommend for your specific situation.



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Jay Martin

Jay Martin

Medical Products Wholesaler with 20+ years of industry experience. Interested in health, longevity, fitness and wellbeing.