First, what are nitrile gloves? Nitrile gloves are manufactured using synthetic latex, contain no latex proteins, and are three times more puncture resistant than natural rubber. They offer superior resistance to punctures and abrasions and are also used for protection against a variety of chemicals. Nitrile material also has a naturally low coefficient of friction, making them easy to don (put on). Below are some of the reasons why nitrile gloves would be chosen over vinyl or latex.

  • No Protein Allergen
  • Anti Static Behavior
  • Good Chemical Resistance
  • High Puncture Resistance
  • High flexibility
  • Solvent Resistant

Before purchasing any type of glove, whether it be latex, nitrile, or vinyl, you have to ask yourself a few things

  • What amount of protection are you looking for?
  • Are you allergic to any materials that the glove is made from?
  • The quality of the glove and how it’s made?
  • Powdered or Unpowdered?
  • The comfort of the glove?
  • The size of the glove?

If protection is your major concern, there a few things you should know about the manufacturing of Latex, Nitrile, and Vinyl gloves. There are three standard measures that protective gloves are scaled upon.

Medical Grade – For medical use. Highest grade of protection. These gloves are thoroughly tested to pass FDA requirements and exceed a broad range of demanding specifications.

High Risk – For use in the emergency medical services fields. High levels of testing are required to assure proper requirements.

Utility Grade – Not intended for medical use and not tested for FDA specifications. These gloves are great if detail is a necessity. Normally used for painting and general hand protection. They are manufactured to ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) specifications. Also please see the Nitrile Gloves chemical resistance and barrier guide here

Here is a table covering the strengths and weaknesses of certain gloves.

Gloves Comparison Chart

Powdered Nitrile Gloves – Cornstarch is often added to nitrile gloves to make putting on the glove as smooth as possible.

Glove Size – Most gloves are available in XS, small, medium, large, and XL sizes. Gloves can be manufactured with different cuff lengths, textures, thickness and other characteristics. Use the bullet list below to determine the size you’ll need.

  • Use a tape measure to determine your correct hand circumference in inches. Measure at the widest part of the hand.
  • The chart below shows you how to find the glove size closest to the hand measurements in inches.
  • Sizes may vary among manufacturers and styles.

Make sure not to store nitrile gloves under conditions of excess heat or light, since this will cause more rapid rubber degradation.