Alternatives to Nitrile Gloves

Alternatives to Nitrile Gloves

Gloves are essential for preventing the transmission of pathogens during patient care and can be a useful tool for personal protection. However, there are several considerations for glove selection, particularly when the gloves will be used in areas where chemical hazards exist.

One of these protective gloves is nitrile gloves. They are popular disposable personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect your hands against chemicals that may be present in work settings. Nitrile disposable gloves are used extensively in health care, and their disposable (single use) nature means that large quantities are being consumed.

So, if a box of nitrile gloves seems to have gone missing, or you’re out of your normal disposable gloves and simply can’t get it from the supplier in time, are there alternatives? What are you supposed to do if your go-to gloves are no longer available? Fortunately, there are other glove types available.

This article looks at the best alternatives to nitrile gloves which may offer similar or better protection for workers handling hazardous chemicals.

Vinyl Gloves

If you want to keep your hands clean, you might want to try vinyl gloves. With these vinyl disposable gloves, you can handle household chemicals or industrial solvents and not worry about getting your hands dirty.

Vinyl gloves are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and are a favorite among many household and industrial cleaners. If you are looking for a budget-friendly disposable glove, this is the best alternative that you can have because vinyl gloves are easy to find (whether online or in physical stores), a less expensive option, and can provide protection. Moreover, vinyl is also latex-free, protein-free, and allergy-free.

Vinyl gloves are more comfortable to wear than other kinds of disposable gloves. They're also easier to put on and take off, and they're good for non-critical jobs such as food handling, general cleaning, health care, manufacturing, and painting. However, vinyl gloves are less durable than nitrile gloves and aren't as protective. They're often used for short-term tasks only.

Nitrile vs Vinyl

Nitrile and vinyl gloves have different strengths and weaknesses. Nitrile gloves can withstand temperature extremes, chemicals, and oils and fats but aren't very resistant to tears. Vinyl gloves are resistant to water, oils, and fats but can tear easily.

Although vinyl gloves can be cheaper to purchase initially, they tend to wear out faster than latex or nitrile gloves, meaning you will end up spending more money in the long term.

Latex Gloves

Everyone knows how useful latex gloves are. They’re the best when you need a pair of durable, long-lasting gloves for whatever needs you might have—whether it’s inspecting products in an industrial setting or tending to patients during surgery.

Latex gloves provide strength, flexibility and tactile sensitivity, which make them a good alternative choice. These disposable gloves are great to wear when you’re doing tasks that require a lot of work and precision, like surgery. They give the wearer dexterity and the ability to do delicate and detailed things without compromising protection. When powdered, they offer a soft surface and that makes them easier to put on and take off. 

While latex gloves do have many benefits, there are a few drawbacks to using a disposable glove like them. Because latex is a common allergen, it’s important not to use latex gloves when dealing with patients in healthcare settings. Since latex gloves are powdered, use of them can sometimes cause allergic reactions in some people.

Aside from allergy concerns, the texture of latex gloves makes them less detectable when they’re torn or punctured. Latex gloves offer limited protection from chemicals and solvents.

Nitrile vs Latex

If you’re considering whether to buy a latex or nitrile glove, it’s a good idea to take into account what they can be used for. Each type of glove has pros and cons.

Latex gloves are used for a variety of purposes, including general usage, dishwashing, janitorial tasks, and medical exams. However, it is important to note that food preparation is not one of them. The powder used to ease the putting on and removing of gloves can leave behind a residue on food. Latex gloves are the best alternatives instead for situations where greater sensitivity and dexterity are needed like dentistry and surgery.

On the other hand, you can use nitrile gloves for the same tasks that you use latex gloves for. However, since they are powder-free and latex-free, they can also be used to cook and prepare food.

Butyl Gloves

Butyl rubber gloves protect against a variety of industrial chemicals. They're tough enough for the tough jobs, but sensitive enough for details. The quality and chemical resistance of butyl rubber protect against a wide variety of industrial chemicals, highly corrosive acids, strong bases, ketones, and other harsh chemicals while providing a good tactile grip.

Nitrile vs Butyl

One major advantage of many butyl gloves is they are reusable compared to disposable nitrile glove. Butyl gloves offer an economical solution to many industrial applications. Yes, nitrile is priced competitively with butyl, but they don't stand up as well to certain chemicals. If you looking or alternatives that will hold out chemicals well, you can use one butyl glove repeatedly instead of wasting money on disposables.

Neoprene Gloves

Unlike natural rubber, neoprene is made from a synthetic rubber called chloroprene, created through a free radical polymerization process. The chemical treatment of the polymers allows for the material to be flexible and resistant to chemicals.

The advantages of neoprene gloves are numerous, but the best ones are their resistance to impact and weather. Neoprene gloves won't let you down. They provide excellent finger mobility and flexibility and are puncture, cut, tear, and impact resistant.

Neoprene gloves are suitable for outdoor use and display resistance to degradation by sunlight, weather, oxidation, ozone, aging, freons, and mild acids. Moreover, these neoprene gloves are highly flexible, durable and elastic. They will easily bounce back to their original shape if they are stretched out.

Nitrile vs Neoprene

Neoprene can be a good alternative in certain situations. However, neoprene glove types also have limitations. Nitrile offer better protection against toxic materials and chemicals than neoprene gloves. But neoprene gloves are more durable and resistant to the effects of weather. Choose the right kind of glove for the work you will be doing and the environment in which you need protection.


You have likely found yourself in a situation where you can’t locate your nitrile gloves. Or maybe they ran out and you need to find an alternative solution. Rather than running to the hospital supply store or searching under the desk, you can choose from several other glove types that will also provide great protection for your hands against chemicals. While they are very useful in hospitals, clinics, and ambulatory care centers, there may be instances where latex or vinyl disposable gloves or others are better suited for the job.

Interestingly, there are alternatives that you can use just as effectively as your normal, go-to gloves -- so you won't be completely left out when you run out of your nitrile brands at the most inopportune time. They are formulated with different levels of durability and puncture or tear levels to suit your needs.

Ultimately it depends on what works for you. So when looking for the glove that's right for you consider whether a disposable or reusable is more suitable, different materials may be more appropriate for certain users.