Are You Paying for Ripped Gloves?

Price matters. Any financially responsible person knows this. But what else should be considered when sourcing a product, in particular, a food safe disposable glove?

Often unit price is the only consideration, and very little emphasis is placed on product performance, material composition, shipping costs and food safety potential when handling items your customers will eat. When purchasing disposable gloves, facts about quality and failure rates are often never considered or even understood, leading ultimately to an increase in glove usage and cost and most importantly safety issues.

Factors to consider when selecting disposable gloves

1. Out of the Box Failure Rate

When you open a box of single-use gloves, you assume you can use them all. In reality, as a result of variable manufacturing standards and raw material quality, a certain number of gloves will already have holes and won’t be suitable for use.

In a combination of study results**, nitrile and vinyl gloves were removed from the box and immediately water leak tested, giving the following results.

Glove Type



Out of Box Failure Rate



2. During Use Failure Rate

Gloves also fail during use, but this does not happen at a uniform rate. Nitrile and vinyl gloves have been tested for failure after simulated use.

Studies have compared barrier integrity of new vinyl and nitrile gloves, with the gloves tested under conditions of activity in which they are normally used or manipulated to simulate actual use. The gloves are then subjected to water leak tests. As shown in the chart below, there is a 10-fold increase in average failure rate of vinyl gloves compared to nitrile gloves.

Past studies show nitrile and vinyl gloves under “conditions of activity” in which they are normally used or manipulated to simulate actual use, and then subjected to water leak tests. Alarmingly, 51.2% of the vinyl gloves failed, a 10-fold increase in average failure rate of vinyl gloves compared to nitrile gloves

Glove Type



Failure Rate During Use



How Glove Failure Rates Affect Your Business

1. Paying for Ripped Gloves

So, you can be paying for failed disposable safety gloves both from the box and during use, with over 50% of vinyl gloves failing during use. When you take into account these failures, what seems like a cheap glove increases in price significantly.




Cost Per Case (1,000 gloves)



Cost Per Glove



Unusable Out of Box



Failed During Use



Usable Glove Quantity



Actual Cost Per Usable Glove




Cheap gloves are cheap for a reason and one must consider these failure rates and actual unit costs during your procurement process.

2. Worker Efficiency & Disposal Costs

If gloves fail more frequently, glove usage increases when working. This inflates shipping, storage costs and disposal costs, and reduces worker efficiency as time is needed to switch gloves.

Ask your employees - We frequently find employees have great insights into the performance of their disposable gloves, but are not often asked.

Food Safety Implications

If you use vinyl gloves for food handling, we would urge you to consider these facts:

  • Glove studies* have shown that 50% - 96% of glove punctures go undetected by wearers.
  • A single glove hole can release tens of thousands of bacteria from overly moist internal glove surfaces.*
  • Over 50% of vinyl gloves fail during use.

    Protecting your food product from bacteria and viral transfer from a gloved hand is essential. Foodborne illnesses can financially cripple any food handling business found to have spread the disease.

    Read more about vinyl gloves and why a known glove AQL of 2.5 or less is essential for food handling.  

    Are you willing to take this chance on your food safety programs with inferior gloves?

    Eagle Protect supplies responsibly sourced disposable gloves, which exceed examination grade requirements for AQL, providing your workers and your product with a superior quality of barrier protection against bacteria, virus and contamination.

    Shop Nitrile Gloves


     *Full details and references for all the information included here are taken from the Glove Hazard Analysis & Mitigation Strategies Research Study conducted by Barry Michaels. More information about their research is available upon request.

    ** Rego & Roley (1999); Michaels et al. 2004b; Kerr et al. (2004); Wallemacq et al. (2006); Phalen & Wong (2011); Hubner et al. (2013); Eagle Protect specifications and testing

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