Posted by Fred Koenig on Jul 25th 2022

Nitrile Gloves vs. Vinyl Gloves

Understanding personal protective equipment or PPE has entered the mainstream population and you’re seeing more glove use outside of the medical or industrial arena. But how do you know if you’re using the right gloves and what if you have a latex allergy or sensitivity? We can help clear up some of the confusion and tell you about two popular PPE glove options that are both latex-free, they are nitrile and vinyl gloves.

What’s the Difference Between Nitrile and Vinyl Gloves

The main difference between these two gloves is the material that they’re made of. They both have many benefits and a few shortcomings. They can also be used in different fields and for different applications.

It should be noted that if you’re using a glove simply for PPE in an environment where there are no dangerous chemicals and there aren’t medical applications, you don’t need gloves designed for that level of protection.

What Is a Nitrile Glove

Nitrile gloves are made of a synthetic copolymer which is created by combining acrylonitrile and butadiene. This is a latex-free compound which has chemical resistant and puncture resistant properties.

What Are Vinyl Gloves Made Of

Vinyl gloves are made from PVC which is a petroleum-based film. These gloves are less expensive than many other options, but they don’t offer the same level of protection against chemicals or biomedical compounds. That said, they’re a practical choice for many PPE situations.

Why Choose Vinyl Gloves

Cost is often one of the biggest factors in selecting vinyl gloves over other non-latex options. In some situations, it’s better to frequently change vinyl gloves to prevent any contamination than it is to have more durability that might not be necessary. The following are a few of the main benefits of vinyl gloves and why people choose them.

  • Inexpensive
  • Practical for low-risk tasks and non-hazardous materials
  • Latex-free, protein-free, and allergy-free (for the majority of users)
  • Designed for short-term tasks
  • Light powdering makes them easy to put on and take off
  • Anti-static
  • Resistant to oil, water, and fats
  • Disposable

Why Choose Nitrile Gloves

If price isn’t a factor and there are hazardous materials in play, then it’s best to skip the vinyl gloves and go with the more-protective nitrile option. It really all depends on the setting and the environment in which the gloves are being used. The following are a few of the main benefits of nitrile gloves and why they might be the right choice.

  • Durable nitrile can be worn longer without wear and tears
  • Latex-free
  • Protection from punctures, biomedical materials, and many chemicals
  • Come in both industrial grade and medical grade fabrication
  • Very resistant to oil, water, and fats
  • High degree of touch sensitivity
  • Disposable

When to Use Vinyl Gloves

It really all comes down to how the gloves are going to be used. Just determining that can help you decide between vinyl and nitrile. These tasks are great examples of times when a vinyl glove will do.

  • Food/beverage handling and preparation
  • Low-risk health care situations
  • Light clean-up jobs
  • Repetitive manufacturing work
  • Personal protection in public
  • When there a latex allergy or sensitivity

Most frequently, you’ll find vinyl gloves used in food and beverage preparation, whether in a plant that creates and packages foods or in a restaurant or institution where you’re served food. It’s a great option in these situations because you can afford to change them frequently and they provide an adequate degree of protection.

When to Use Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile gloves have their own wheelhouse when it comes to use, the following are some situations where nitrile is the PPE glove of choice.

  • Labs or industrial businesses with hazardous chemicals
  • When blood or other bodily fluids are being handled
  • Food processing facilities
  • Different color options can prevent cross contamination
  • Protection from some sharp materials
  • When there is a latex allergy or sensitivity

You’ll find a lot of nitrile glove use in the medical field, including people who deal directly with patients and those who work in labs. You’ll also find nitrile gloves in the food preparation and service industry as they’re more comfortable for extended use and do provide more protection.

What About Latex Gloves?

Latex gloves have been the go-to glove for many, especially in the medical field. They’re still a very popular choice as they have many benefits but for people who have an allergy to latex or are sensitive to it, it’s simply not an option. Latex still works as a PPE for people who don’t have problems using it and there are a variety of gloves that they can choose from.

Where Can I Find Nitrile and Vinyl Gloves

ROMI Medical is always a good place to buy PPE, including nitrile and vinyl gloves. It’s a good idea to do a little research before you purchase PPE from any company. Each brand may offer some subtle differences that might be important to you. The distributor you select can also play into your decision. At ROMI Medical, we carry the best and most reputable brands and pride ourselves on offering quality materials at fair prices. We carry both nitrile gloves and vinyl gloves on our website.