Disposable Glove Material Comparison

Disposable gloves are a great way to add a barrier of protection between your hands and what you are handling. This blog (or video below if you prefer) will explain the different glove materials and the differences between them.


Latex Gloves

Most people are familiar with latex gloves since they have been around the longest. Latex gloves are:

  • The most form fitting and tactile glove
  • Puncture resistant

Heavy duty latex gloves are commonly used for industrial use. They are no longer used to handle food and are being replaced in the medical industry with nitrile gloves since some people are allergic to proteins in latex.

Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile gloves are made from synthetic rubber and are latex-free. They are:

  • Strong, with superior chemical and puncture resistance
  • Offered in a range of colors, textures and thicknesses

We recommend them for all food handling longer than a minute or two. Nitrile gloves’ durability and comfort are why they are also commonly used throughout a range of industries.

Vinyl Gloves

We do not recommend them, because they have:

  • Inferior barrier protection
  • Potentially hazardous chemicals in them

Vinyl gloves are made from PVC, which makes them rigid, inflexible, poor fitting - they rip and puncture easily compared to nitrile gloves. Vinyl gloves need to be changed frequently and are commonly used in the food industry due to their perceived cheap price point.

Polyethylene Gloves

These gloves are extremely thin and loose fitting. They are a cheap glove option and commonly used for handling food for very short periods of time. There are a variety of PE glove types available that vary in quality and durability.

Glove Elasticity & Fit

To recap:

  1. Latex gloves have superior elasticity which creates an excellent fit.
  2. Nitrile offers the highest puncture resistance of all the gloves and with new tech manufacturing they are quickly closing the gap to rival latex’ elasticity.
  3. Vinyl gloves have very minimal elasticity and provide poor protection. 

Chemical Resistance

When it comes to chemical resistance nitrile is more chemical resistant than latex, but it’s best to read the glove’s SDS sheet or verify with the supplier if the glove is appropriate for the chemicals being used. Vinyl gloves should not be used to handle chemicals.

If you have any questions, our team of glove experts are here to help. Contact us so we can help make sure you select the most suitable glove for your needs. Or you can look through our line of high-quality, ethically sourced nitrile gloves.

To help you get started, our Sensitive nitrile gloves are accelerator-free and great for people with sensitive skin. Our FineTOUGH nitrile gloves, available in indigo and white, are our thinnest and most tactile glove. And our STRETCHPoly are a flexible, cost-effective glove option.

Shop Nitrile Gloves Shop STRETCHPoly



Customer service associate photo

Industry Insights, Product Information, Pricing, Samples & More.