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Are Nitrile or Latex Gloves Better?

Published:  October 2021

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What is the difference?

Nitrile is a synthetic rubber material formed by combining acrylonitrile and butadiene. The synthetic nature of Nitrile means it has a lower allergy rate than latex and, while it used to be significantly more expensive due to technological advancements making the manufacturing process more cost effective, nitrile gloves are now just as affordable as latex gloves.

Latex is a natural rubber extracted from rubber trees; it is used in a wide range of products including safety gloves. Latex has been in use since the 18th century and has many benefits including high elasticity and biodegradability. However, latex is not without its drawbacks the most pertinent being that Latex has a much higher allergy risk than other alternatives and does not perform well in oils and greases.

Benefits of Nitrile:

  • Much lower allergy rates
  • Better tear resistance
  • Better puncture resistance whilst maintaining elasticity
  • Good resistance to oils and grease
  • Better chemical resistance

Downsides:

  • Not naturally biodegradable
  • Easier to make thinner and thus there are a lot of low quality thin options on the market.

Benefits of Latex:

  • Stretchy
  • Comfortable
  • Natural Product
  • Usually biodegradable

Downsides:

  • Much higher Allergy Risk
  • Usually lower tear resistance
  • Not good in oily conditions

Verdict?

All things considered Nitrile is usually the better option and usually offers better tear resistance and resistance to oils and grease. It is always worth considering the thickness and the quality of the disposables you are buying, it is an easy mistake to make to think all disposables are the same. You could be using three or four pairs of thinner cheaper disposable compared to one pair of better quality disposables. Always ask your supplier for the thickness when comparing one type to another. Below are some of our best selling Nitrile disposables and their thicknesses.

 

1. UCI - Maxim - Available in Orange or Black and come with a fish scale grip pattern. These gloves are 6mil thick and offer excellent tear resistance so they won't split if they hit any rough patches or snags whilst being used.

2. UCI - VertePro - A green premium quality 5mil. Not quite as thick as the Maxim but still a top quality product. The famous green colouring is a tell tale sign of a thicker, more premium disposable glove.

3. Hantex Nova - A standard thickness 3mil blue disposable option where price is the most important factor. Whilst still achieving EN374 Type B protection, they still perform well under stress.

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