When it comes to deciding which type of protective glove you require it can be a little confusing to know what the differences are between Latex and Nitrile and what are the advantages and disadvantages of both types of glove.
If you work in a profession where protective gloves are required, such as the medical or food preparation industry, it’s important to know the difference, as depending on the use of the glove and the level of protection required, you may find one or the other more appropriate.
Latex glove uses
Traditionally latex gloves were the main choice of protective gloves and are still a popular choice, particularly in medical or industrial industries as they’re cost-effective and durable.
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Pros and cons
The great thing about latex gloves is they are made from rubber, a natural material that is bio-degradable. This gives it a good level of elasticity and allows the glove to fit the hand like a second skin, giving a greater amount of touch sensitivity and dexterity when working with gloved hands.
Usually lightly powdered, latex gloves are easy to put on and also an ideal choice to wear for longer periods of time as they’re comfortable too. With such a good level of elasticity in the material, these gloves are also incredibly durable and strong, making them ideal for use with infectious materials or high-risk situations.
One of the disadvantages to latex gloves though is that some users are allergic to latex, which can cause discomfort and irritation whilst wearing the gloves. This isn’t ideal for a working environment, especially if you’re working with infectious or hazardous materials.
Nitrile Glove uses
If allergies to latex are an issue, there is an alternative with nitrile gloves. Nitrile is a synthetic rubber that has been developed to offer an effective alternative to latex. As a man-made material, it has been developed to incorporate all the advantages of latex, without the problem of allergy.
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Pros and cons
Nitrile gloves still offer a great level of touch sensitivity and dexterity as with latex gloves, but they also provide more puncture resistance than latex gloves, making them incredibly safe to use. They’re often referred to as ‘medical grade’ gloves, due to the stringent testing they have to undergo before being declared suitable for medical and food use. A reputable supplier of latex and nitrile gloves will always ensure their products are FDA approved if they’re being used within the medical or food industry.
As with latex gloves, nitrile gloves are also great for use with hazardous or infectious materials and are comfortable to wear for extended periods of time too, which makes them an ideal choice for use for industrial and medical purposes. Nitrile is also more resistant to chemicals, so it can offer greater protection over latex gloves depending on the types of chemicals being used.
The other difference between latex and nitrile gloves is that they have a longer shelf life, as they’re made from an artificial rubber, plus this also allows them to be made in more distinctive colors, such as blue and black, which make it easier to identify any punctures to the gloves before or during use giving increased safety awareness.
So, in short, the main difference between latex and nitrile gloves is the material it’s made from, and the fact that latex can cause allergic reactions, making nitrile a suitable alternative. Both offer high levels of protection, although the nitrile does have a slight advantage due to its higher resistance to chemicals and punctures, perhaps making it more durable. However, if the allergy isn’t an issue then there isn’t much between them. You just need to decide what level of protection is right for you.