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Glove Glossary

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) shot atop the global lexicon at the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Today it's mostly recognized as a medical necessity, but long before it became one of the year's top terms, it was (and still is) an essential resource at dozens of job sites, ranging from tattoo parlors to oil rigs.

Some of the most recognizable pieces of PPE are disposable gloves. They come in a variety of colors and sizes and can be seen on hands around the world. They may all look similar, but knowing the differences among them can be the difference between safety and catastrophe.

Glove Comfort Durability Elasticity Tactile Sensitivity Non-allergic Chemical protection
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Vinyl Checkmark CheckmarkCheckmark CheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
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Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile gloves are powder-free gloves made from synthetic rubber. They don't contain any latex, so you don't have to worry about triggering a latex allergy when wearing these. They're stretchable, durable, and offer good protection against chemicals and punctures.

Most commonly used by: medical professionals; those handling electronics; tattoo artists; physicians; food vendors; mechanics; technicians; and those handling hazardous or corrosive chemicals.

Pros Cons
Latex free - won't trigger allergies More expensive then vinyl
Reasonable resistance to corrosive chemicals Less tactile sensivity than latex
Durable Less elastic and flexible than latex
Superior Puncture resistance

Latex Gloves

Latex gloves are usually the least expensive of all glove types and they offer the greatest tactile feedback. They're ideal for procedures where sensitivity is of utmost priority, like intricate surgery. Their main fallback is they can trigger skin reactions for people allergic to latex, but according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, less than 1% of the US population suffers from a latex allergy.

Most commonly used by: surgeons; medical professionals; those needing protection against bacteria, viruses, and bodily fluids; veterinarians; auto technicians; hairdressers; cosmetic professionals; forensic examiners.

Pros Cons
Superior tactile precision Can trigger reactions in those allergic to latex
Reasonable durability Little protection against chemicals and solvents
Highly flexible Can not be used in food services due to allergies
Superior comfort

Vinyl / Nitrile Blend Gloves

Vinyl/nitrile blend gloves were created to offer customers a less expensive alternative to nitrile gloves, while maintaining durability and strength. They’re made from Vinyl paste and nitrile latex, offering wearers the flexibility of Vinyl and the durability of nitrile.

Most commonly used by: medical professionals; food handlers; those with sensitive hands; those working in clean rooms; those working with electronics; beauty professionals; tattoo artists; cleaning professionals; dentists.

Pros Cons
Latex and powder free - non-allergic and non-irritating Less Durable than latex or nitrile
Comfortable Less tactile sensivity than latex
More Durable than normal vinyl Limited stretching and flexibility
Can be used on touch screen devices
Easy to wear with wet hands

Vinyl Gloves

Vinyl gloves are also known as PVA gloves,, which stand for polyvinyl chloride and polyvinyl alcohol, respectively. They can be manufactured to varying durabilities and the thickest gloves can stand up to acids and some solvents.

Most commonly used by: medical professionals; food handlers; janitors; housekeepers; staffers in low-infection or non-hazardous situations; painters; employees in the chemical and oil industries.

Pros Cons
Latex free - won't trigger allergies Limited protection against chemical substances
Less expensive than latex or nitrile Less Durable than latex and nitrile
Comfortable Less tactile sensitivity than latex
Good chemical protection Limited stretching and flexing
DOP or DEHP free
High tensile strength
Dry and smooth coating
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