10% - 25% Off All Orders. Free Expedited Shipping (1-3 Days) On All Orders $150 and Up

Nitrile vs Vinyl Gloves - A Detailed Comparison

nitrile vs vinyl gloves

What are the differences between nitrile vs vinyl gloves? Which is better for what purposes?

While nitrile gloves are generally more expensive than vinyl gloves, they offer a number of advantages over vinyl. When choosing disposable gloves, the main issue to consider is which ones are appropriate for the task at hand.

The purpose of this guide is not to give you a definitive answer on which type of glove is better. Rather, it will provide information about nitrile and vinyl gloves that allow you to make your own decision based on your needs.

What are Nitrile Gloves?

Nitrile is a synthetic rubber that offers flexibility, long-life durability, and chemical resistance. Nitrile is a synthetic elastomer designed to be moisture resistant. Disposable nitrile gloves are flexible and durable making them ideal for industrial tasks, the food industry, and health care applications. They are also great for most medical environments.

What are Nitrile Gloves Made From?

Nitrile gloves are made from synthetic rubber called acrylonitrile-butadiene rubber. This material provides users with heightened tactile sensitivity, allowing you to pick up small items such as screws and needles more accurately. They are also more puncture resistant.

The disposable glove materials were first developed to solve the common problems of allergic reactions to natural rubber latex gloves and low protection against solvents. They are the most popular glove materials used in many industries and the ideal alternative to disposable latex gloves.

What are Nitrile Gloves Used For?

Nitrile gloves are used for a variety of industrial, domestic, and healthcare purposes. Nitrile gloves are the popular choice for health care workers, dentistry, beauty shop owners, healthcare providers, laboratory work, food handling, chemical handling, and general industrial tasks.

Nitrile protective gloves can also be found in the automotive industry and janitorial industry. Nitrile was found to be more durable than vinyl when performing gripping tasks with power tools and picking up tools like wrenches and screwdrivers.

What are the Advantages of Nitrile Gloves?

Because nitrile is naturally resistant to oils, it can offer extra protection for people working with oily substances such as motor oils, adhesives like epoxies, and other petroleum based chemicals or lubricants.

Nitrile gloves offer many advantages over vinyl gloves that include:

  • High chemical resistance
  • Highly resistant to oils, fats, and petroleum-based products
  • Superior puncture resistance
  • High level of touch sensitivity
  • Mimics the fit and feel of latex gloves
  • Best for high-risk situations around infectious materials
  • Great fit molding to hand
  • Long lasting durability and flexible
  • Lightweight and breathable material, easy to use
  • Available in powdered and powder-free
  • Can be worn for longer periods of time
  • Latex-free, protein-free, and allergy-free
  • Long shelf life

What are the Disadvantages of Nitrile Gloves?

  • Costs are often higher than vinyl gloves making it a more expensive option
  • Not biodegradable but this is changing

What are Vinyl Gloves?

Vinyl gloves are also made of a synthetic polymer but are often less thick and, as a result, less durable. Vinyl is great for non-hazardous situations but does not have the flexibility of nitrile.

What are Vinyl Gloves Made From?

Vinyl gloves are made from a blend of synthetic rubber, plasticizers, and additives called PVC. They were also developed as a great option for those suffering from latex allergies.

What are Vinyl Gloves Used For?

Vinyl gloves are frequently used for food handling, food preparation, low-risk health care applications, light clean-up jobs, and repetitive assembly line or manufacturing tasks. These products are commonly used in non-hazardous situations and low-risk infection environments because of the low level of protection offered. They work great for the food and beverage industry.

The following table summarizes some benefits and drawbacks of nitrile vs vinyl disposable gloves.

What are the Advantages of Vinyl Gloves?

  • Cheapest option making them cost effective
  • Resistant to water, oils, and fats
  • Better for low-risk tasks and non-hazardous materials
  • Anti-static
  • Latex-free, protein-free, and allergy-free
  • Reports of allergic reactions are extremely rare
  • Best for short-term tasks
  • Lightly powdered making them easier to put on

What are the Disadvantages of Vinyl Gloves?

  • Less durable and flexible than nitrile gloves
  • Limited protection against biomedical exposure
  • Susceptible to puncture and damage by cuts
  • Not as chemically resistant as nitrile gloves
  • Protective barrier is compromised when stretched
  • Low protection level
  • Loose fit and less elastic

Is Nitrile Better than Vinyl?

Nitrile and vinyl gloves both have advantages and disadvantages which make them better suited for particular tasks. Nitrile is more resistant to chemicals, temperature extremes, and oils and fats. Vinyl gloves are resistant to water, oils, and fats but not as durable as nitrile. 

When Should You Wear Nitrile Gloves?

They are great for food handling, health care, and many other industry-specific applications that require a glove with high protection to chemicals.

When Should You Wear Vinyl Gloves?

They are best for repetitive assembly line or manufacturing tasks, light clean-up jobs, and general light-duty use.

Can Vinyl Gloves Be Used in Hospitals?

Yes, but most hospitals choose to use nitrile gloves when dealing with chemical and patient contact.

What Kind of Gloves Do Hospitals Use?

Nitrile, polyvinyl chloride, and vinyl gloves are all used by hospitals.

Are Nitrile and Vinyl Glove Differences Just About the Environment?

No, there are major differences in the strength and durability of each brand of disposable gloves. The flexible properties of nitrile make it a better option for many industrial applications.

Which is Better Vinyl or Nitrile Gloves?

It is important to ask what your specific needs are and then choose the glove that best fulfills them. If you are looking for a durable, long-lasting industrial glove that will protect you from cuts and abrasions, nitrile gloves will likely be a better choice. If you need disposable gloves for food handling or light clean-up jobs, vinyl is probably more appropriate.

When working around hazardous chemicals or high-risk infection situations, nitrile is the best choice. Vinyl is better for every day, low-risk tasks.

latex vs nitrile vs vinyl gloves chart

Nitrile vs Vinyl Gloves

Both types of gloves excel in prevention against latex allergies. The synthetic materials provide the best allergy-free glove protection.

We hope that you are able to make a better decision on which type of glove is best for use with each task. By the way, if you need nitrile gloves or vinyl gloves, we have a full supply to meet your needs.

Please contact us if you have any questions. We are happy to assist you further!