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Nitrile Glove Thickness Chart
When you need a glove to get the job done, how do you choose?
It’s easy to think that disposable gloves don’t require much thought. After all, you’ll pull them on for a quick task and then take them off. In theory, any glove could do the job. In practice, though, various qualities of the glove will dramatically impact how it handles various tasks--including things that might not seem to matter, like the thickness of the glove.
Here’s how to choose the right glove thickness for nitrile gloves.
Why Glove Thickness Matters
With any glove, thickness has a surprising impact on the kinds of jobs it can handle. It’s especially important with nitrile gloves, which are renowned for their durability but may also be inflexible because of it.
A thin glove is more economical and cost-effective, since it requires less material to produce. It also provides greater tactile sensitivity, which is important for tasks that require great precision. They’re also lighter on the hands, which is pleasant for people who stay in their gloves for a while, have sweaty hands, or only need a basic protective layer (depending on how the glove fits).
A thick glove uses more material, but that makes the glove much stronger. These are the gloves that can hold up to the threat of punctures and tears while still protecting your hands. In the case of nitrile, that also means a glove that’s even more puncture and chemical resistant.
This makes thick gloves a great choice for jobs that need a great deal of puncture resistance (like medical professionals or industrial workers), chemical resistance (like lab workers or cleaning staff), or both. That’s because there’s more material that has to be torn through, and since there’s more material in the way, the glove has a longer breakthrough time (i.e. the time required for a chemical to seep through it).
In the case of nitrile, it makes the glove less flexible, which is something to keep in mind for quick, precise tasks requiring tactile sensitivity. A thicker glove is also a bit harder to remove, which can be an issue for those who need to take gloves on and off quite easily (like food prep workers or doctors doing basic exams).
Glove Thickness Options and What You Get With a Thicker Nitrile Glove
Glove thickness is generally measured in mils, where 1 mil = 0.001” gauge. A glove of 2 mil and below is considered thin, while gloves above 2 mil are generally considered thicker. Gloves at 4 mil (like our black nitrile gloves) or 6 mil (like our 6 mil black nitrile gloves) are quite thick, with the highest tensile strength.
However, keep in mind that the thickness of the nitrile glove isn’t uniform. In fact, thickness changes depending on what part of the hand you measure. When you see a glove labeled 4 mil, that measurement is usually based on thickness in the fingers, which makes sense since your fingers will do most of the handling and are thus most susceptible to punctures and tears.
This is why we say that thinner gloves provide greater tactile sensitivity. Glove thickness is usually measured in the fingers--which is also the spot where tactile sensitivity is most important.
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Thickness for Various Industries
Since the need for tensile strength versus tactile sensitivity is often a direct byproduct of the work you do, different industries rely on different glove thicknesses. Here are a few examples:
- 2 mil to 4 mil: dentists
- 3 mil to 5 mil: healthcare workers
- 1.5 mil to 2.5 mil: food service workers
- 5 mil to 7 mil: industrial workers
At the lowest end are food service workers, who just need a basic barrier and otherwise need a glove they can shed quickly. Dentists and doctors are in the middle, with a glove thick enough to withstand punctures but still thin enough to retain tactile sensitivity. For industrial workers, the biggest priority is puncture protection, so they’ll reach for the thickest nitrile gloves they can.
Disposable Nitrile Gloves That Your Team Can Count On
No matter what nitrile gloves you and your team need to get the job done, we offer a great selection that you can count on to tackle your biggest tasks. Check out our collection of nitrile gloves today.