Having the right gloves is crucial for your job. In this post, we're highlighting the differences between nitrile vs latex gloves to help you choose.
If you're buying gloves or looking at switching the type you use, you need to consider all options.
When it comes to disposable gloves, the two most popular are nitrile and latex. But you've probably been wondering—what's the difference between the two? When comparing nitrile vs latex gloves, which one comes out on top?
While it may seem that the two are equivalent, experienced professionals who wear gloves each day know that even minor differences can have a huge impact. In fact, 96.4% of professional dentists prefer one kind of glove.
In this article, you'll learn the differences between nitrile vs latex gloves, and be equipped with the information you need to make a smart choice.
Let's jump in!
The Pros and Cons of Latex Gloves
Latex is a derivative of natural rubber, meaning it's a natural and biodegradable product. When you purchase latex gloves, you're purchasing a product made from a renewable resource.
This can be both positive and negative. On the one hand, latex is more environmentally friendly. On the other, the price of these gloves fluctuates with the market. This shouldn't be a problem over the next few years, however. Despite growing demand experts don't expect the prices of latex gloves to rise.
Latex Gloves Comfort and Dexterity
Latex's chief feature is comfort.
They're also highly regarded for fitting close to the skin and providing an excellent range of motion and dexterity. This means that no matter what the task at hand, professionals using latex gloves will most likely be able to complete the task more effectively and in less time.
Puncture and Chemical Resistance
Due to its natural rubber components, however, latex tends to be unstable around particular chemicals like solvents. This means that certain kinds of chemicals can weaken or even erode the surface of the glove, preventing it from protecting the hand. If your industry involves a number of chemicals, latex may not be suitable due to this issue.
Latex is also prone to puncture. Like a rubber balloon, it may be impossible to notice a tiny hole until too late. A visual inspection of a latex glove isn't a guarantee of safety—there may be a tiny incision that leaks dangerous chemicals or biohazardous material such as blood onto the hands.
Of course, many people are allergic to latex. This number isn't tremendous—less than 1% of the US population has a latex allergy—but that number can still be problematic if latex is the only type of glove you use.
When comparing nitrile vs latex gloves, you'll inevitably notice that while latex has a great feel in the hand, it offers some potentially catastrophic vulnerabilities. It's for this reason that you should also consider the alternative: nitrile gloves.
The Benefits and Disadvantages of Nitrile Gloves
Academically speaking, nitrile is known as acrylonitrile-butadiene rubber. It's a synthetic component produced from byproducts of fossil fuels and was developed only recently to provide an alternative to latex-based products.
Of course, this does mean that nitrile gloves, once thrown away, will continue to fill up the landfill. Unlike latex gloves, they aren't biodegradable. If environmental concerns are at the forefront of your business, this may not be the best choice.
Comfort and Dexterity
In its early stages in the mid-1990s, the nitrile glove was known for being difficult to stretch—giving it an almost brittle feel. In the decades since the technology behind the nitrile glove has improved tremendously.
While still not as easy as a latex glove for putting on or removing, the nitrile glove is still a great option if you're looking for a glove that provides a minimum baseline of comfort.
Don't expect to get rave reviews on how well the glove fits, but it'll do just about anything with the most recent advances in technology.
Puncture and Chemical Resistance
Unlike latex gloves, which can disguise tiny punctures, nitrile gloves tend to exhibit large tears when even a tiny hole is made. While this may sound like a disadvantage, it actually means that the glove will allow for much easier visual inspection, and can prevent unsafe glove usage.
Not only that, but nitrile gloves are 3-5 times more durable than their latex counterparts. Not only are they more resistant to punctures and rips, they also provide a level of chemical resistance unparalleled by natural components. No matter what chemical you need to use, there's a nitrile glove that will be able to handle it and provide protection.
Unlike the allergies that plague latex gloves, nitrile gloves have no such issues. Originally developed for this reason, you'll find that nitrile gloves offer superior performance, especially if you're dealing with a group of patients, customers or coworkers who suffer from a latex allergy.
While nitrile originally costs much more than the latex version of the glove, it has come down in price considerably. Currently, the price of a nitrile glove is equivalent (or even lower) than the price of a latex glove.
When comparing nitrile vs latex gloves, you'll find that nitrile is a great alternative to consider.
The Final Word on Nitrile vs Latex Gloves
No matter what kind of glove-wearing industry you work in, there is a correct choice for you, your coworkers, and your employees.
If comfort, dexterity, and easy on and off is your top priority, latex gloves are your best choice. They're preferred by professional everywhere for their great feel and high sensitivity.
If you're looking for a more durable glove that resists punctures and can withstand solvent chemicals, you're going to prefer nitrile gloves. Their superior performance is making them the standard glove in industries that demand heavy-duty performance.
Of course, if latex allergies are a problem, your choice has been made. Nitrile offers the same benefits without causing the problems associated with latex allergies.
When reviewing nitrile vs latex gloves, there is a right choice for you. Find the best kind of disposable gloves for your industry, and stay prepared and safe!