How to Identify Counterfeit Nitrile Gloves

How to Identify Counterfeit Nitrile Gloves

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The demand for gloves worldwide has skyrocketed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a shortage in supply. The imbalance between demand and supply of gloves gave rise to the increase in counterfeit gloves.

Fake gloves are all over the market. Substandard and used gloves are packed and later sold as A-grade gloves. The purchase and use of such gloves puts many people's lives around the world at risk. Fraudsters have infiltrated the medical glove industry, selling unapproved products and illegal gloves.

You may unknowingly purchase second-hand nitrile gloves because it is difficult to identify them. Here is what to look out for to identify counterfeit gloves.

Glove Sizes

Each box of nitrile gloves comes in only one size, whether extra-small, medium, large, extra-large, or double extra-large. It is only a bogus box of gloves that comes in mixed sizes in the same box, a clear indicator of product fraud.

If the size does not match what you ordered, you could be dealing with counterfeit products. Typically, sizes of nitrile gloves are indicated at the bottom of the box.

Contact Information and Lot Number

Manufacturers will have their contact information on the dispenser box. Including the contact information ensures product incident management. Having that information displayed is also the best practice for quality assurance of the products.

Counterfeit nitrile gloves may not have the lot number and contact information and should be avoided if spotted. Sometimes they have fake lot numbers and contact information. You have to check to ensure the outside packaging on each carton matches the factory packaging. 


If the prices of nitrile gloves are far below the market price, it could indicate counterfeit gloves. Cheap nitrile gloves usually provide inadequate protection, and their price tends to indicate that they are substandard. Quality nitrile gloves are not cheap and always have a constant price known to everyone in the market. If an offer is too good to be true, it probably is. 

Glove Visual Check

Nitrile gloves have a smooth surface without wrinkles. They are easy to don and remove and are also not sticky. They have even beaded cuffs for a firm grip. The gloves come clean with no discoloration, stains, tears, or holes.

On the other hand, counterfeit and second-hand gloves may come with wrinkles, stains, and discoloration. They are also sticky, and not easy to put on, and in many cases, tear upon donning. These are warning signs of a counterfeit pair of gloves.


A genuine nitrile package has a barcode that identifies the product. Barcodes are also used to track a package. If the box of gloves you bought does not have a barcode, it is highly likely to be fake. All nitrile gloves packages have barcodes at the bottom or back of dispenser boxes.

Legitimate nitrile gloves have their packaging boxes clearly labeled with the price, count, type of material they are made of, bar code, contact information, and lot number. Some also indicate the use.

Fake nitrile gloves do not follow an industry's best practices. The packaging lacks all the essential labels that guide people during purchase.

The FDA has always encouraged bar codes, and therefore most manufacturers have them on cartons and the bottom of the dispenser boxes. 

Brand Name

Alphabet abbreviations used as product representations should be the first sign of nitrile glove fraud. Genuine nitrile gloves should have the exact name. If the pair of nitrile gloves you purchased has strange abbreviations, you may have bought a black market product.

Piece count

Most standard nitrile boxes come packed with 100 pieces of gloves, that is, 50 pairs. They have a clear indication of the piece count on the dispensing package. On the other hand, there could be less than 100 pieces in boxes of fake gloves. Additionally, the count of pieces on those boxes could be missing.


The color indicated on the box should always match the color of the gloves inside. Second-hand or counterfeit gloves come in multiple colors in one box. Original nitrile gloves are never packed in multiple colors mixed into one package.

Additionally, the color should be consistent. Second-hand nitrile gloves could be made to look new by dying. If there are indications of dye, then they could be second-hand gloves. 

Packing system

Nitrile gloves from the manufacturer use a patented packing system that ensures every piece of a glove is evenly and neatly packed. This type of packing provides no bulging of the glove dispenser box. It is easy to dispense the gloves from the dispensing package, a glove at a time, with an accurate packing system.

However, fake nitrile gloves tend to bulge from the packaging box due to the uneven packing, meaning that they did not follow the standard packing system. These gloves are also difficult to dispense.


The glove's thickness could be another indicator of whether the nitrile gloves are counterfeit or not. All gloves of one brand should have consistent thickness. The black market often has thinner gloves, or the thickness is inconsistent. They often tear very fast, even upon wearing, unlike the original ones. Such gloves do not provide adequate resistance to puncture, tear, rips, or against chemicals.


Genuine nitrile gloves are made of nitrile material. They are latex-free, and most of them are powder-free. On the other hand, fake nitrile gloves could be PVC and branded as nitrile. PVC and nitrile are two different materials with different qualities.

Nitrile gloves are recommended for different purposes. Buying fake gloves will risk the health of medical practitioners and their patients. There will be limited protection against pathogens and other hazards.

Bottom Line

With the COVID-19 pandemic still in the picture, the demand for disposable nitrile medical gloves is expected to increase. The surge in demand will create a loophole for counterfeit nitrile gloves fraudsters. The use of nitrile gloves in other industries is also expected to go up.

Do not be a victim of these black-market nitrile gloves. Be vigilant about the purchases you make. Before you buy, scrutinize the product packaging for barcodes, expiration dates, and any other writing that seems unusual. Ensure you order and buy authentic nitrile gloves only from reliable sources that will give you the proper protection you need.