The Best Alternatives to Latex Gloves

Best Alternatives to Disposable Latex Gloves Guide

Latex gloves have been extremely popular in the disposable glove market since the market began... for good reason.

There is no doubt that latex gloves get the job done and are definitely a high-quality product.

That is, of course, if you aren't allergic to them.

Unfortunately, over 50 million Americans are prone to latex allergies. Not only can exposure to latex cause discomfort but it can affect the way a person does their job.

That's why we've created this short guide on the best alternatives to latex gloves, so you can get the job done with maximum effectiveness and minimum discomfort.

Let's get to it. 

Features of Latex Gloves

First, let's see what the other alternatives have to compete with. 

Latex is a natural rubber made from a 'milky' substance found in plants. Although it is present in plants like poppies and spurges it primarily is farmed from Hevea brasiliensis often referred to as the rubber tree.

It has a lot of uses but is most popularly known for its use in gloves and paint. 

Pros of Latex Gloves

  • Latex gloves are biodegradable because they come from a natural source.
  • Offer a very good fit.
  • Very strong.
  • Good elasticity.
  • Great dexterity.
  • Very comfortable over long periods of time (provided you're not allergic of course).
  • FDA approved for medical and restaurant use. 

Cons

  • Many people are allergic.
  • Often the most expensive option. 

As you can see latex gloves have set the bar pretty high and finding an alternative of the same quality may be difficult. 

Because latex is made from natural sources the price can often fluctuate based on global trade prices and despite being a very strong and suitable product, latex sales have steadily declined due to the rise and awareness of allergies. 

You see many employers have started to stock 2 glove types now to accommodate allergic needs of their employees which are just more stock and inventory to manage.

Subsequently, many people are looking for the best alternative to latex gloves so that they only have to stock one kind.

There are two main options out there on the market, both with their positives and negatives.

Let's take a look at vinyl and nitrile to see which would be the best alternative to latex gloves. 

Vinyl gloves

Turns out vinyl isn't just for records.

Polyvinyl chloride (better known as PVC) is different from latex and nitrile because it is actually a plastic - not a rubber. 

Vinyl gloves are often used in the food industry such as restaurants and manufacturing. 

Pros of Disposable Vinyl Gloves

  • Can be very smooth and comfortable.
  • Latex free.
  • Rubber free.
  • Cheapest option by a long shot. 
  • Great for short, low-risk tasks. 

Cons

  • Poor elasticity.
  • Poor resistance to chemicals.
  • Can cause skin irritation. 
  • Not recommended for medical use.
  • Unsustainable production.
  • Low biodegradability. 
  • Doesn't offer good protection against infection.

Unfortunately, the manufacturing of PVC has some devastating effects such as the release of toxic chemicals.

Plus many of the additional ingredients added to vinyl gloves designed to soften them are actually linked to harmful effects. 

Though they are latex free, the use of bisphenol and benzisothiazolinone in production can also cause allergic reactions and dermatitis after exposure. 

No glove the is the 'perfect' option, rather you have to choose what is the best option for you.

Nitrile Disposable Gloves

Nitrile is a synthetic rubber made from a combination of materials. 

This means that because nitrile is 'manmade' the 'recipe' can be altered to achieve the desired outcome. 

For example: increase the nitrile levels and you will increase the resistantance of the material while reducing the flexibility. This makes nitrile very versatile. 

It is an extremely resistant form of rubber and subsequently is used in the auto and oil industries and produces a very tough, durable glove. 

Pros of Nitrile Gloves

  • Often colored blue or black so you can see punctures easier.
  • FDA approved.
  • Extreme strong, durable and puncture resistant.
  • They have a very long shelf life. 
  • Constantly being improved and upgraded. 
  • Latex free. 

Cons  

  • Nitrile gloves are made from synthetic rubber so they are not biodegradable. 
  • Most expensive option.
  • Not as good elasticity as latex.
  • 1% of users are still allergic. 

 

The Best Alternatives to Latex Gloves

After looking at the facts we believe that the best alternative to latex gloves are nitrile gloves.

Despite latex being slightly more of a superior product, a nitrile glove is a fantastic option for those with latex allergies.

We still have a lot of hope in the development of the nitrile glove. 

For us, the biggest drawback of is that they are not natural and therefore do not naturally breakdown. However, the world's first biodegradable nitrile gloves have hit the market so time will tell to see how well they catch on. 

Also with more and more corporations making the switch to nitrile gloves, we are confident that we will see an increase in quality and decrease in price thanks to some healthy competition.

A Note on Vinyl Gloves

While vinyl gloves don't measure to the standard of nitrile and latex gloves, don't count them out altogether.

There are many scenarios where vinyl gloves will serve their purpose and do a fine job.

The food industry and latex free vinyl gloves, for example, are a match made in heaven because of their functionality combined with very low cost.

A switch away from vinyl should only be considered if you need to use the gloves in scenarios where an infection is likely and you need a stronger, more durable glove to protect you. 

My Glove Depot

MyGloveDepot.com offers many different brands and styles of gloves for you to choose from. Our gloves are available in both Powder and Powder-Free coatings and many of our gloves include additives like Aloe or Vitamin E that keep your hands healthy. We also offer left/right fitted gloves and sized gloves for a better fit.

If you are in need of black nitrile gloves, vinyl or latex gloves for use in medical practices, restaurants, childcare facilities, beauty salons or any other reason be sure to check out our selection today and contact My Glove Depot should you require any assistance.  

 

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