When to use Nitrile Gloves
When the workday begins, you need a pair of gloves you can trust to get the job done right. And when it comes to gloves, nitrile is the most durable material on the market.
But the question is: how do you know when you need nitrile gloves?
Whether you’re wearing gloves for heavy machinery or a medical exam, whether you’re donning a disposable nitrile glove for a single use or a reusable glove for the third time today, here’s a review of what you need to know about the proper use of nitrile gloves.
What are Nitrile Gloves?
Neil Tillitson and Luc DeBecker first formulated nitrile gloves in the 1980s as an alternative glove material for people allergic to latex gloves. Nitrile is highly popular today for several benefits that latex doesn’t offer--all of which come back to the material’s unique chemical composition.
Nitrile, a.k.a. a synthetic acrylonitrile-butadiene copolymer, is a man-made material created by fusing acrylonitrile and butadiene monomers into one material which can then be shaped into gloves. This means nitrile isn’t susceptible to the whims of Mother Nature like latex (which is a naturally occurring substance in the rubber plant).
You may also see the term nitrile rubber gloves. This can refer to nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) or a hybrid rubber glove treated with nitrile for extra durability. Either way, you’re still dealing with the same nitrile substance.
Benefits of Wearing Nitrile Gloves
A nitrile glove comes with many benefits you wouldn’t get from a latex or vinyl glove.
For one thing, nitrile gloves are usually hypoallergenic. Nitrile gloves don’t naturally contain latex unless latex is added to create a hybrid glove with greater stretchiness. Plus, if you get a latex-free nitrile glove without any powder, you won’t need to worry about aggravating skin allergies.
Nitrile also offers good chemical resistance to:
- Weak acids
- Weak caustics
- Some organic solvents
But the single biggest benefit of nitrile is its durability. Out of all the disposable glove options out there, nitrile gloves are the go-to choice for glove buyers who need durability above all, such as industrial workers and mechanics. Dentists also frequently use nitrile gloves because they offer good puncture resistance, even when the material is thinner to allow tactile sensitivity.
When to Use Nitrile Gloves
Nitrile gloves are the ideal choice for customers who need gloves to hold up to tough conditions. The material remains the gold standard for durable gloves, including puncture and tear resistance. This durability holds even when the glove is relatively thin.
Common industries for nitrile gloves include:
- Tattoo artists
- Industrial workers
- Machine operators
Nitrile gloves are also a good choice for workers who need a hypoallergenic glove. Remember, a latex-free, powder-free nitrile glove won’t have many of the common skin irritants.
When to Use Disposable Nitrile Gloves vs. Reusable Nitrile Rubber Gloves
There is a choice to be made between disposable nitrile gloves and reusable nitrile gloves. These days, disposable and reusable nitrile gloves offer the same level of durability, but they’re used for different applications.
Disposable nitrile gloves are a good choice for workers who need a durable single-use sanitary barrier that latex and vinyl cannot offer. Dentists and dental hygienists are the best example of this.
Reusable nitrile gloves are a good choice for workers who need a durable glove to last a long time and aren’t as concerned with cross-contamination. Industrial workers are a good example of this.
What to Consider When Choosing Nitrile Gloves
As with any type of glove, nitrile gloves deliver the best performance when you put some thought into selecting them for the task. This applies equally to disposable gloves and reusable gloves.
Basically any nitrile glove will give you the same benefit: durability and chemical resistance. However, the right nitrile gloves will also deliver certain benefits based on unique features of the glove, and these benefits make the glove more or less useful for the given task. Always choose gloves based on the task, rather than choosing gloves at random.
Fit and Sizing
Here’s the thing: gloves aren’t one-size-fits-all. They certainly aren’t universally fitted for tasks.
In any task that requires dexterity and tactile sensitivity, you want a fitted glove. A food service worker who prepares sandwiches, for example, can get away with a looser glove because they only need a basic protective layer. But a worker who uses machinery or utensils doesn’t want extra material catching in their tools or compromising their ability to feel what’s in their hands.
The fit of the glove will change its usefulness for a task. Because nitrile isn’t very flexible, you generally want a fitted glove to avoid any slippage.
A disposable nitrile glove (designed for frequent application and removal) should compensate for this with a stretchy fit and loose cuff--otherwise, the manufacturer has to rely on powder to help get the glove on and off. A reusable glove, which you may wear for an extended period of time over several days, may benefit from a more fitted cuff to protect your wrists and hold the glove in place.
Thickness Based on Task
Regardless of whether you’re choosing a disposable glove or a reusable glove, the thickness of nitrile gloves is always based on the task. The thicker the glove, the more durability, but on the other hand, the thinner the glove, the more tactile sensitivity.
Workers who use nitrile gloves for fine motor tasks requiring sensitivity need thinner gloves, as these provide the same durability of nitrile with a thinner barrier. Dentists and healthcare workers are a good example, and in those cases, gloves can be as thin as 2mm at the fingertips.
At the far end of the spectrum are industrial workers and mechanics. They need durability above all, which means a thicker glove (think 6 to 8 mm and up).
The Best Nitrile Gloves to Protect Your Team
Looking for nitrile gloves that you can always trust to protect your team when you need it most? Our selection of nitrile gloves is trusted by thousands of happy customers in essential industries across the U.S., from individuals to corporations to major government agencies.
Make sure to check out our store today for nitrile gloves you can count on.