​Glove Rundown: Nitrile vs Latex Gloves

​Glove Rundown: Nitrile vs Latex Gloves

Posted by Paul Roemen on 29th Jun 2020

Aren’t all disposable exam gloves the same? Absolutely not. There are important distinctions to be made when making the comparison between nitrile vs latex gloves.

Nitrile vs Latex Gloves:

Latex gloves:

  • Manufactured out of natural latex—a soft, flexible plant-based rubber
  • Used when dexterity and feel are important
  • Often lightly powdered in starch, making them easier to put on

The downside of latex:

  • Unfortunately, the all-natural proteins in latex gloves, as well as the powders, can cause severe allergic reactions, even anaphylactic shock. Latex allergies are becoming increasingly common, and healthcare workers can sometimes develop a latex allergy through frequent use.
  • Cannot withstand exposure to chemicals, oils, and solvents

Nitrile gloves:

  • The hypoallergenic choice. No rubber or powder here to cause allergic reactions, and the incidence rate of nitrile rubber allergy is extremely low
  • Are still easy to handle directly on removal from the box despite not being packed in powder
  • The ideal choice in emergency situations when the allergy status of a patient or user is unknown
  • Extremely durable and puncture resistant
  • More resilient material that can withstand exposure to chemicals, oils, and solvents

The downside of nitrile:

  • Not as soft as latex gloves; less easy to wear
  • Reduced tactility when dealing with applications that require fine movements and dexterity.

A few things important to consider when comparing nitrile vs latex gloves:

  • How important is sensitivity to touch?
  • Will the gloves be used in emergency scenarios when severe allergies could be a concern?
  • Will the gloves be exposed to chemicals or solvents that could break natural latex down?