To understand the disposable glove kingdom, you ought to know the different types of materials that they are made of and what grade they would fall into before you purchase your first box.
Nitrile is a strong synthetic rubber (acrylonitrile-butadiene). It is a solution for latex allergies and those looking for protection against solvents and hazardous materials. They are extremely popular in the medical field because the material tends to tear when punctured, which is easier for users to discover and replace. Thinner nitrile gloves are perfect for jobs that require tactile sensitivity such as food service and tattooing. Thicker nitrile gloves (6 - 9 mil) are heavily used for industrial work. These gloves come powdered or powder-free. For those with allergies, a powder-free option is safer as some powder could be an allergen. Nitrile gloves are extremely versatile yet pricey when compared to vinyl gloves.
Vinyl gloves are latex-free just like nitrile and are also the least expensive of materials. This excels for high volume projects handling non-hazardous materials. Vinyl gloves generally have a looser fit compared to nitrile and latex gloves, which makes them uncomfortable to wear for long periods. Another thing to consider is that vinyl has a low resistance to chemicals and should not be used to protect against hazardous materials.
Made from rubber and often more favorable to nitrile for comfort and strength. Latex’s strong physical barrier performance is like nitrile, but latex does not protect against solvents. Nitrile is the material of choice for chemical resistance.
Food grade gloves are typically thinner (2 - 3 mils) and are excellent for projects that require tactical sensitivity and are popular for tattooing. Food grade gloves materials are considered safe for use with food handling. Nitrile is a great material choice because it is strong and free of contaminants and additives.
This grade is typically thicker (6 - 8 mils) and resists tears and rips better. All three materials are available for industrial use, janitorial, automotive and heavy-duty food service tasks. If your task required protection against a chemical material, you would want to use industrial grade nitrile gloves.
Medical / Examination
These gloves are mainly used for medical examinations and environments that involve a risk of bodily fluids and contaminants. To earn the FDA’s endorsement, all gloves marketed and sold as medical gloves must meet the FDA’s guidelines. Exam gloves are typically thicker and require rigorous factory-level testing and must meet the FDA’s acceptable quality limits (AQL). The FDA tests gloves under the following criterion:
- Chemical resistance
- Puncture resistance
- Tear resistance
These gloves are a much higher quality and are designed for surgical accuracy and sensitivity.