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Medical and Industrial Grade Gloves: Is There a Difference?

Medical and Industrial Grade Gloves: Is There a Difference?

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Use the right type of gloves depending on their application and purpose with this guide. Visit to learn more about medical grade vs industrial grade gloves now.

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Due to the sensitivity and nature of their work, healthcare professionals, doctors, dentists, and other medical practitioners need to use durable, disposable gloves. They need to replace each gloves after each patient or procedure, to ensure their own and their patient’s safety. 

But medical practitioners are not the only ones who should wear disposable gloves. Other industries such as the food and industrial sectors have to wear non-medical gloves. However, not all gloves are made equal. Gloves are made from different materials, by various manufacturers, using unique methods. Hence, each type of gloves has its own purpose, durability, comfort, dexterity, and applications.

To make sure all the people who wear gloves use the right type of gloves, they are categorized and classified with varying grades, such as medical or non-medical grade. Each grade pertains to different levels of protection against abrasion, bodily fluids, pathogens, and more.

These classifications help all disposable gloves users choose the right type of gloves to ensure their and their patient’s protection. 

But do industrial grade and examination gloves really that different? Let’s find out everything you need to know about medical grade vs industrial grade gloves.

What is Medical Grade Gloves?

At first, medical grade gloves are designed and created for non-surgical applications such as physical examinations, x-rays, scans, tests, and more. Hence, they are also called examination glove. But today, medical gloves are also used in other industries such as food, caregiving, tattoo, pet care, cleaning, and beauty industries. 

person with gloves

(Photo by Sam Moghadam Khamseh from Unplash)

If you are handling hazardous materials or chemicals, it is best to wear durable Exam Grade Gloves to protect yourself and those around you from blood-borne pathogens or chemicals.

The main types of medical gloves are:

  • Surgical gloves are thinner and more flexible to provide dexterity and free movement.
  • Examination gloves are used for non-surgical procedures.
  • Chemotherapy gloves might contain some special ingredients to withstand the procedure

      Examination glove can be made from different materials such as latex, vinyl, or nitrile. They are also available with powder or powder-free.

      What is Industrial Grade Gloves?

      Industrial gloves are designed to withstand heavy tasks and provide 3 to 5 times more puncture resistance than medical-grade gloves. They are commonly used in the sanitation, janitorial, automotive, beauty, food, plumbing, chemical, industrial, and safety industries. Hence, they are also called general purpose gloves.

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      The durability and features of industrial gloves depend on the materials used. Here are different types of industrial gloves:

      • Kevlar gloves offer superior abrasion and tear resistance ideal for those that handle sharp objects or glass.
      • Butyl gloves are more expensive but very effective for protecting against liquids and chemicals.
      • Rubber or latex gloves are perfect for home use or lightweight tasks.
      • Nitrite or plastic disposable gloves protect the wearer from acids and oils.
      • Vibration-resistant gloves are commonly used in mining and drilling.
      • Polyvinyl chloride gloves offer protection against pesticides, detergents, and other irritants due to their waterproof properties.
      • Aluminum thermal proof gloves offer protection against extreme temperatures.

      Also, if you are handling heavy machinery and equipment, it is best to find the right size of industrial gloves to prevent accidents at work.

      Where are Medical and Industrial Grade Gloves Used?

      To ensure your medical gloves can provide the protection they promised to have, all exam grade gloves should pass the United States Food and Drug Administration or USFDA stringent technical test. All medical gloves should have at most 2.5 AQL or less to be categorized as safe for medical and surgical procedures. It means that the leak, stretchability, and durability should have at most 2.5 AQL.

      Because of this, medical gloves are perfect for tasks or procedures which handle bodily fluids, biological hazards, pathogens, and more.

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      As the name suggests, general purpose or industrial gloves are used for tasks that are not as delicate and sensitive as conducting surgeries or other medical procedures. Industrial grade gloves don’t come with a USFDA certificate. They can’t be used in medical procedures  but medical gloves can be used for general purposes.

      Medical and Industrial Grade Gloves: Differences in Material

      Gloves are commonly made from latex, nitrile, or vinyl. The type of gloves you use will depend on the tasks and their purpose and application.

      • Latex Gloves: These disposable gloves are comfortable to wear and offer superior dexterity compared to other materials. Latex gloves can be used for medical or industrial purposes. This type of gloves is affordable, convenient, and durable.
      • Nitrile Gloves: This type of disposable gloves offers chemical and puncture resistance. They are more durable but less elastic than latex gloves.
      • Vinyl Gloves: These disposable gloves are the perfect alternative to latex gloves but are less durable and loose. Vinyl gloves are perfect for tasks without hazardous materials. 

      Comparison Table

      To help you choose the best medical and/or industrial gloves, here’s a comparison table of gloves based on their materials.

      Glove Material

      Intended Use



      Latex (Natural Rubber)

      Incidental contact

      • Affordable
      • Easy to wear
      • Durable
      • Comfort and dexterity
      • Great flexibility
      • Fits perfectly
      • Protects against biological hazards, pathogens, and other contaminants.
      • Not ideal for people with latex allergies or sensitive skin.
      • Prone to holes or tears.
      • Dissolves when it comes to contact with grease, oil, or hydrocarbon products.


      Incidental and extended contact

      • More comfortable fit
      • Affordable
      • Puncture and abrasion resistant
      • Protein and latex free
      • Hypoallergenic
      • Dissolves when it comes to contact with acetone.
      • Less protection against hazardous chemicals.

      Vinyl or Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

      Specific use

      • Perfect for small medical facilities
      • Ideal for short term use or procedures
      • Can protect against bases, acids, fats, oils, amines, and peroxides.
      • Poor protection against some organic solvents.
      • Needs changing often.
      • Poor puncture and chemical resistance.


      Extended contact

      • Can protect against acids, bases, peroxides, fuels, phenols, and hydrocarbons.
      • Not ideal for aromatic and halogenated hydrocarbons.

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      Whether you are searching for medical grade or industrial grade gloves, you can find them here at Visit us today and browse through our top-of-the-line and high-quality gloves!

      We have different types of gloves available in various colors and sizes. From latex gloves to nitrile and vinyl gloves, you can find them here! When you are ready to get your gloves, browse through our collections, select the material, choose the size, and place your order. 

      Try our durable gloves today!

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