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Nitrile Gloves vs Vinyl Gloves

Author: Geym

Nov. 16, 2023

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Nitrile Gloves vs Vinyl Gloves


In our years of experience, we’ve developed a deep understanding of the needs of our customers, and know that choosing the right glove means not only avoiding unnecessary risk to workers but can also mean increasing productivity, lowering costs, and even reducing risks to end-users and customers. Here, we cover the key uses and benefits of nitrile gloves vs vinyl gloves, to help you choose the right type of glove for your application – without compromising on quality, comfort, or value.  

 

Nitrile gloves and their applications

Nitrile is a synthetic rubber (or ‘man-made’) compound composed of acrylonitrile, butadiene and carboxylic acid monomers. This man-made rubber is free from natural rubber latex (NRL), and thus, offers a great alternative to latex, as it is safe for use by those suffering from latex allergies.
 

Nitrile gloves are often classed as medical-grade or examination gloves, and the monomers used in nitrile gloves allow for a high level of resistance to a range of hazards, including oil-based chemicals and solvents, and biohazards (such as blood, viruses and other infectious material). Nitrile gloves are also strong and flexible, making them more puncture resistant relative to latex or vinyl gloves.

 

Nitrile gloves have seen a surge in popularity in recent years due to advances in manufacturing which have seen them become more flexible and comfortable with a high degree of touch sensitivity, meaning that contemporary nitrile gloves are more latex-like in feel and fit. This is especially important in roles where extended use is necessary. In fact, nitrile gloves are increasingly being used in fields where latex gloves have traditionally been favoured; these include medical and hygiene fields such as nursing and dentistry, as well as in automotive industries, tattooing and piercing.

 

Nitrile gloves are available in powdered or powder-free varieties and come in a variety of colours which make puncture detection easy. Another of the key features of nitrile over latex gloves is that the material tends to tear rather than pinhole puncture, adding to the ease of puncture detection.


Nitrile glove

 

include:

Chemical resistance against a range of hazardous chemicals

High levels of durability and puncture resistance (versus latex or vinyl gloves)

Medical grade (if to EN455 standard)

Latex-free

Protection against biohazards and infectious material

Are most puncture resistant

Mould to your hand for a greater fit

Available in powdered or powder-free varieties

Available in a range of colours

Have a long shelf life

Our PRO.TECT Orange HD gloves were recently awarded the Best Buy score of 9/10, beating 11 other heavy-duty gloves on the market in an independent glove test. This is one of our most popular nitrile gloves, due to the high level of comfort, grip and durability they offer. Shop the full PRO.TECT range here.
 

Vinyl gloves and their applications

Vinyl gloves are a synthetic disposable glove made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride). This type of glove is widely available, generally a less expensive option, and offers protection against a range of household and industrial hazards. Typically less durable than latex or nitrile gloves, vinyl gloves are usually used for shorter periods of time and preferred in fields where loose fit and ease of use are important, but where durability and protection are less of a concern. These include food preparation, cleaning, assistance and care, manufacturing and processing, painting and dyeing fields.

 

Due to their composition, vinyl gloves are also less elastic than nitrile or latex gloves and are therefore less form-fitting and can shift around on the hands.

Although vinyl gloves are often used in the food industry, it is worth noting that they are not approved for use with fatty foods. For this reason, certain food processing and handling firms often prefer the use of nitrile gloves.


Vinyl glove attributes include:

Flexible and easy to use

Latex-free

Inexpensive

Preferred for short-term, low-risk tasks

Have a looser fit

One of our most popular Unigloves product ranges is the Unicare range, featuring a selection of medical grade vinyl gloves and includes food-approved options which meet both EN1186 and EN420 standards. The low-friction inner polymer coating used in our Unicare range makes for easy donning, and our beaded cuffs offer extra strength and tear resistance. Explore the full Unicare range here.

 

Nitrile gloves vs vinyl gloves – Why choosing the right glove is so important

Both nitrile and vinyl gloves offer a great safety glove solution, depending on the field of work in question. The nitrile gloves vs vinyl gloves debate usually comes down to three factors: cost, comfort, and level of protection.

Although vinyl gloves tend to be a more cost-effective option in the short term, their lack of durability can mean spending more over time. See our recent article discussing glove quality and price for more information on the hidden costs of cheaper gloves.

Another important factor to consider when choosing gloves, especially when it comes to choosing a manufacturer, is quality. In 2019, an urgent recall was issued for Danone’s Cow & Gate baby food, after it was found to contain small particles of nitrile synthetic rubber. Incidents like these prove just how important it is to select a glove manufacturer with an excellent record for quality.   
 

Chris Wahlers, Unigloves Managing Director, UK

“By understanding both our distributors’ and our end-users’ needs, anticipating how they will evolve in the future, and focusing on hand protection solutions for them in the long-term, we can build on the Unigloves brand promise: “Safety through quality.”

 

Since 1989, Unigloves has been protecting hands and preventing the spread of disease. Today, we are one of Europe’s most trusted and respected gloves manufacturers. Our range of disposable nitrile and vinyl gloves are second to none, and offer our customers great value, comfort, and ease of wear, without compromising on quality. Browse our range of nitrile and vinyl gloves to find the perfect glove for your application today.

 

Vinyl vs. Nitrile Gloves

Disposable Gloves

From food processing to industrial applications to scientific work to medical applications – disposable gloves are essential to protect products, processes, and people from contamination and infection. Designed to fit like a second skin, disposable gloves are designed for single use. Originally made from natural rubber, other materials have been developed with different properties to meet users’ needs.


Medical vs. Industrial Disposable Gloves

All disposable gloves are manufactured from materials complying with FDA and USDA accepted materials for optimal health and sanitation levels. Vinyl disposable gloves are manufactured in general compliance with

All disposable gloves are manufactured from materials complying with FDA and USDA accepted materials for optimal health and sanitation levels. Vinyl disposable gloves are manufactured in general compliance with ASTM D5250 which was designed for medical vinyl gloves. Nitrile disposable gloves are manufactured in general compliance with ASTM D6319 which was designed for medical nitrile gloves. The essential difference between medical and non-medical (industrial) disposable gloves is the extra quality inspection that the FDA requires for medical examination gloves.


Vinyl Gloves vs. Nitrile Gloves

The choice of glove materials depends on how the gloves will be used. Both glove materials offer barrier protection against dry materials and many wet materials. Vinyl gloves generally have a lower cost than nitrile gloves. However, nitrile gloves will perform better and last longer due to superior strength and chemical resistance. For extended wear, nitrile gloves are the usual choice because they stretch more to fit better.


Vinyl Gloves

Vinyl gloves are made from plastic (vinyl) resin which provides the strength and a plasticizer which provides the flexibility. The actual performance of vinyl gloves depends on the ratio of resin to plasticizer. The higher the resin, the stronger but less flexible the glove will be. Vinyl gloves have limited chemical resistance because solvents and harsh chemicals extract the plasticizer from the gloves.


For non-medical applications, vinyl gloves offer a lower-cost solution for general hygiene. Vinyl gloves are often an ideal option for food preparation and food service workers. In medical applications, vinyl gloves meeting FDA requirements are used as non-sterile examination gloves.


For non-medical applications, vinyl gloves offer a lower-cost solution for general hygiene. Vinyl gloves are often an ideal option for food preparation and food service workers. In medical applications, vinyl gloves meeting FDA requirements are used as non-sterile examination gloves.


Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile gloves are made from a synthetic rubber designed to build upon the best features of natural rubber without the drawback of potential latex allergic reactions. Nitrile synthetic rubber has superior resistance to abrasion (wear), puncture, oil, grease, and many solvents. Nitrile gloves stretch more and generally fit better than vinyl gloves. In addition, the nitrile glove manufacturing process includes a textured grip-enhancing finish on the fingers and thumb.


For non-medical applications, nitrile disposable gloves provide a longer-lasting disposable glove for meat and poultry operations due to superior resistance to animal fats and greases. In medical applications, nitrile gloves meeting FDA requirements as non-sterile examination gloves are the choice of medical professionals due to the enhanced sensitivity, flexibility, and fit.


For non-medical applications, nitrile disposable gloves provide a longer-lasting disposable glove for meat and poultry operations due to superior resistance to animal fats and greases. In medical applications, nitrile gloves meeting FDA requirements as non-sterile examination gloves are the choice of medical professionals due to the enhanced sensitivity, flexibility, and fit.


Connect with Saf-T-Gard to Learn More

Hand protection is our legacy going back 9 decades. For an overview of our disposable gloves and to order for immediate shipment, please visit 

Hand protection is our legacy going back 9 decades. For an overview of our disposable gloves and to order for immediate shipment, please visit Gloves

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Vinyl Gloves vs Nitrile Gloves: What Is The Difference?

You absolutely need to protect your hands and keep them as clean as possible when working in the medical field. Or really, any field where you are prone to handling all kinds of hazards that can and will be harmful if you are not wearing the proper gloves.


Of all the gloves that are available for these kinds of situations, there are two kinds of gloves that are ideal: Vinyl gloves and nitrile gloves. Which of these is right for you, though?

Both kinds of gloves have their own unique qualities. Vinyl gloves are more useful for certain situations than nitrile gloves are and vice versa. The key to understanding your ideal choice is understanding the characteristics of each glove type.


The best way to approach the vinyl gloves vs nitrile gloves debate is to be informed about both types then make your decision from there. That’s why we’re going to break down the nitrile vs vinyl gloves debate for you in-depth. By the end of this article, you’ll know which gloves are best for you. Let’s get started! 

 

Vinyl Gloves vs Nitrile Gloves: What Is The Difference?

The main difference between nitrile and vinyl gloves has to do with their material, even though the materials of vinyl and nitrile gloves generally protect against the same kinds of hazards.


Nitrile gloves are made from a base of acrylonitrile and butadiene. This means that they are latex free and ideal for anybody with a latex allergy. These days, finding 

While vinyl gloves are made of a different material, they do contain traces of latex. While vinyl gloves can stretch to fit all hands, there is a possibility that you might have a reaction to them if you are allergic to latex. These days, finding gloves that are latex-free is so important.


This is the fundamental difference between nitrile and vinyl gloves. However, there are some specific details about vinyl gloves that you should be aware of. To truly uncover your ideal glove type, let’s break down both styles before comparing them.

 

What Are Vinyl Gloves?

As mentioned earlier, vinyl gloves are similar to nitrile gloves in that they both protect against the same kinds of hazards and both are latex-free as well as powder free.

The only real difference here is that vinyl gloves tend to be a little less durable and a little less resistant to chemicals and biological agents than nitrile gloves are. This is because they are made from PVC, which is a cheaper material. 


This means that vinyl gloves are much more budget-friendly than nitrile gloves would be. Because of this, they are actually ideal for situations where you know you will not be exposed to chemicals or harmful compounds but still want to make sure your hands are not exposed to anything - or even just keep them clean. You end up getting what you pay for, though.


Nitrile gloves are a step above vinyl gloves and have been the standard in the healthcare industry for decades. Here’s why.

 

What Are Nitrile Gloves?

Nitrile gloves are considered standard equipment in the healthcare industry for a number of reasons. First of all, they are extremely resistant to punctures, biological agents, and chemical products, all three of which are commonplace in any healthcare setting.


The other reason why nitrile gloves are highly regarded as the best form of personal protective equipment is their shelf life. Latex gloves can go three years before they lose their effectiveness. With nitrile gloves, that shelf life is five.


In fact, you can increase that shelf life to ten years if you know how to store nitrile gloves properly. This is simply not possible with vinyl gloves, which tend to only last five years even if you store them like you would nitrile gloves.

 

Vinyl Gloves vs Nitrile Gloves: Which Are Right For You?

Now that you are educated about nitrile gloves and vinyl gloves, you need to determine which type is right for you. This really all boils down to a matter of preference as well as what you need your gloves to protect against. 


You’ll need nitrile gloves for situations where you know contaminants are going to be spread, such as medical use or handling chemicals. This is because they offer protection from acids, oils, and other substances that vinyl just cannot handle too well.


When it comes to food service functions, you really cannot go wrong with either type. Both vinyl and nitrile gloves are free from powder and latex, neither of which are food safe.

Something that might help you come to a conclusion when it comes to choosing between vinyl and nitrile is determining which one has the advantage over the other. Let’s go over each.

 

What Advantages Do Nitrile Gloves Have Over Vinyl Gloves?

Nitrile gloves cannot be beaten when it comes to overall function, even in industries where everything is fast-paced such as the food industry. This is because nitrile gloves are more durable than their vinyl counterparts. Vinyl gloves can be punctured. Nitrile ones cannot.

While both kinds of gloves can be recycled, it is much more difficult to contaminate nitrile gloves, making it possible to recycle more of them. As mentioned previously, nitrile gloves have a longer shelf life than vinyl ones. This also means they will indefinitely last much longer.

 

What Advantages Do Vinyl Gloves Have Over Nitrile Gloves?

Nitrile gloves can be difficult to get used to, and one of the biggest drawbacks to them is that they are limited in size. Indeed, you’ll be able to find vinyl gloves that fit everybody who needs them, but good luck doing that when it comes to nitrile gloves.


Therefore, you’ll get a lot out of vinyl gloves if you are looking for gloves that can fit most and provide very similar qualities to nitrile gloves. You can learn more by reading our article on nitrile glove sizing.


It is much easier to get used to wearing vinyl gloves than their nitrile counterparts. This is because vinyl gloves have a much similar feel to latex ones.

 

So, Which Is Right For You?

When you compare them side by side, nitrile gloves are superior to vinyl ones. This cannot be contested: They have a longer shelf life, protect against more hazards, can be used in more settings, and are generally much more effective.


This does not mean that vinyl gloves do not have their place. For example, vinyl gloves have been the choice for hairdressers because they do not need all the added protection that nitrile gloves offer. They just need something that feels exactly like the latex gloves they used to use.


In most cases, nitrile gloves should be the ones you prefer. This is especially true if you have a lot of freedom with your budget. Nitrile gloves are only slightly more costly than vinyl ones, so they will be right for you in most cases.

 

Final Thoughts On Nitrile vs Vinyl Gloves

The debate between vinyl gloves vs. Nitrile gloves is important because the two appear very similar. However, you now know that nitrile gloves are more durable. And the benefits don’t end there. If you are looking for gloves that are a little more comfortable and cost a little less, go for vinyl gloves. However, be aware that you’ll sacrifice overall effectiveness and even shelf life if you do.


Nitrile gloves are your choice if you are looking for gloves that you know will not puncture, can resist nearly all chemicals, and that you can use in a barbershop then turn right around and use in the emergency room.


We have an impressive selection of disposable nitrile gloves that can last for up to ten whole years if you know how to store them properly.


Nitrile gloves are the perfect supplement to any other kind of personal protective equipment, we have them in our PPE shop as well. You never know what you’ll come in contact with in your line of work - and you don’t want to cross-contaminate anything at your profession, either. With the best nitrile gloves from Primo Dental Products, though, you’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing you and those around you are safe. Shop now!


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