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Vinyl Gloves vs Nitrile Gloves: What Is The Difference?

Author: Geym

Dec. 06, 2023

159 0 0


Vinyl Gloves vs Nitrile Gloves: What Is The Difference?

You absolutely need to protect your hands and keep them as clean as possible when working in the medical field. Or really, any field where you are prone to handling all kinds of hazards that can and will be harmful if you are not wearing the proper gloves.

Of all the gloves that are available for these kinds of situations, there are two kinds of gloves that are ideal: vinyl gloves and nitrile gloves. Which of these is right for you, though?

Both kinds of gloves have their own unique qualities. Vinyl gloves are more useful for certain situations than nitrile gloves are and vice versa. The key to understanding your ideal choice is understanding the characteristics of each glove type.

The best way to approach the vinyl gloves vs nitrile gloves debate is to be informed about both types then make your decision from there. That’s why we’re going to break down the nitrile vs vinyl gloves debate for you in-depth. By the end of this article, you’ll know which gloves are best for you. Let’s get started! 

Vinyl Gloves vs Nitrile Gloves: What Is The Difference?

The main difference between nitrile and vinyl gloves has to do with their material, even though the materials of vinyl and nitrile gloves generally protect against the same kinds of hazards.

Nitrile gloves are made from a base of acrylonitrile and butadiene. This means that they are latex free and ideal for anybody with a latex allergy. These days, finding 

While vinyl gloves are made of a different material, they do contain traces of latex. While vinyl gloves can stretch to fit all hands, there is a possibility that you might have a reaction to them if you are allergic to latex. These days, finding gloves that are latex-free is so important.

Nitrile gloves

This is the fundamental difference between nitrile and vinyl gloves. However, there are some specific details about vinyl gloves that you should be aware of. To truly uncover your ideal glove type, let’s break down both styles before comparing them.


What Are Vinyl Gloves?

As mentioned earlier, vinyl gloves are similar to nitrile gloves in that they both protect against the same kinds of hazards and both are latex-free as well as powder free.

The only real difference here is that vinyl gloves tend to be a little less durable and a little less resistant to chemicals and biological agents than nitrile gloves are. This is because they are made from PVC, which is a cheaper material. 

Vinyl Gloves

This means that vinyl gloves are much more budget-friendly than nitrile gloves would be. Because of this, they are actually ideal for situations where you know you will not be exposed to chemicals or harmful compounds but still want to make sure your hands are not exposed to anything - or even just keep them clean. You end up getting what you pay for, though.

Nitrile gloves are a step above vinyl gloves and have been the standard in the healthcare industry for decades. Here’s why.


What Are Nitrile Gloves?

Nitrile gloves are considered standard equipment in the healthcare industry for a number of reasons. First of all, they are extremely resistant to punctures, biological agents, and chemical products, all three of which are commonplace in any healthcare setting.

The other reason why nitrile gloves are highly regarded as the best form of personal protective equipment is their shelf life. Latex gloves can go three years before they lose their effectiveness. With nitrile gloves, that shelf life is five.

In fact, you can increase that shelf life to ten years if you know how to store nitrile gloves properly. This is simply not possible with vinyl gloves, which tend to only last five years even if you store them like you would nitrile gloves.


Vinyl Gloves vs Nitrile Gloves: Which Are Right For You?

Now that you are educated about nitrile gloves and vinyl gloves, you need to determine which type is right for you. This really all boils down to a matter of preference as well as what you need your gloves to protect against. 

You’ll need nitrile gloves for situations where you know contaminants are going to be spread, such as medical use or handling chemicals. This is because they offer protection from acids, oils, and other substances that vinyl just cannot handle too well.

When it comes to food service functions, you really cannot go wrong with either type. Both vinyl and nitrile gloves are free from powder and latex, neither of which are food safe.

Something that might help you come to a conclusion when it comes to choosing between vinyl and nitrile is determining which one has the advantage over the other. Let’s go over each.

What Advantages Do Nitrile Gloves Have Over Vinyl Gloves?

Nitrile gloves cannot be beaten when it comes to overall function, even in industries where everything is fast-paced such as the food industry. This is because nitrile gloves are more durable than their vinyl counterparts. Vinyl gloves can be punctured. Nitrile ones cannot.

While both kinds of gloves can be recycled, it is much more difficult to contaminate nitrile gloves, making it possible to recycle more of them. As mentioned previously, nitrile gloves have a longer shelf life than vinyl ones. This also means they will indefinitely last much longer.

What Advantages Do Vinyl Gloves Have Over Nitrile Gloves?

Nitrile gloves can be difficult to get used to, and one of the biggest drawbacks to them is that they are limited in size. Indeed, you’ll be able to find vinyl gloves that fit everybody who needs them, but good luck doing that when it comes to nitrile gloves.

Therefore, you’ll get a lot out of vinyl gloves if you are looking for gloves that can fit most and provide very similar qualities to nitrile gloves. You can learn more by reading our article on nitrile glove sizing.

It is much easier to get used to wearing vinyl gloves than their nitrile counterparts. This is because vinyl gloves have a much similar feel to latex ones.

So, Which Is Right For You?

When you compare them side by side, nitrile gloves are superior to vinyl ones. This cannot be contested: They have a longer shelf life, protect against more hazards, can be used in more settings, and are generally much more effective.

This does not mean that vinyl gloves do not have their place. For example, vinyl gloves have been the choice for hairdressers because they do not need all the added protection that nitrile gloves offer. They just need something that feels exactly like the latex gloves they used to use.

In most cases, nitrile gloves should be the ones you prefer. This is especially true if you have a lot of freedom with your budget. Nitrile gloves are only slightly more costly than vinyl ones, so they will be right for you in most cases.

Final Thoughts On Nitrile vs Vinyl Gloves

The debate between vinyl gloves vs. Nitrile gloves is important because the two appear very similar. However, you now know that nitrile gloves are more durable. And the benefits don’t end there. If you are looking for gloves that are a little more comfortable and cost a little less, go for vinyl gloves. However, be aware that you’ll sacrifice overall effectiveness and even shelf life if you do.

Nitrile gloves are your choice if you are looking for gloves that you know will not puncture, can resist nearly all chemicals, and that you can use in a barbershop then turn right around and use in the emergency room.

We have an impressive selection of disposable nitrile gloves that can last for up to ten whole years if you know how to store them properly.

Nitrile gloves are the perfect supplement to any other kind of personal protective equipment, we have them in our PPE shop as well. You never know what you’ll come in contact with in your line of work - and you don’t want to cross-contaminate anything at your profession, either. With the best nitrile gloves from Primo Dental Products, though, you’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing you and those around you are safe. Shop now!

Latex vs Nitrile vs Vinyl Gloves: The Differences and When to Use Them


Vinyl Gloves

Vinyl is the most lightweight of the three disposable glove types. As such, vinyl gloves are the most widely available and cost-effective option but aren’t suitable for high-risk tasks involving a more significant infection or injury risk. 

Vinyl gloves won’t stand up to long periods of wear. They are usually more loose-fitting than nitrile or latex gloves that need to offer a close fit. Made from polyvinyl chloride, otherwise known as PVC, vinyl gloves are best suited to cleaning operations and other tasks that don’t involve any corrosive chemicals but where the extra degree of barrier protection helps to keep hygiene levels high and protect the skin on the hands from repeated exposure to substances and actions that dry it out. 

The difference between nitrile, latex, and vinyl gloves is usually in the degree of protection needed. Nitrile gloves are required when handling sodium hydroxide in a lab to protect against the risk of spillage. However, using nitrile gloves when preparing sandwiches in a commercial kitchen could be considered overkill. Staff could get through several pairs of gloves in a day in the kitchen, which could become an expensive investment for the business owner. Using vinyl gloves would be far more cost-effective and fulfil the purpose of protecting the food from skin contact. 

Blue vinyl gloves should be used in food prep environments under HSE guidance to minimise the risk of food contamination. While vinyl gloves are an excellent solution for various food prep tasks, they are not approved for handling fatty foods. This is because phthalate plasticisers are not chemically bound to the PVC from which vinyl gloves are made and can evaporate into the fatty foods and become soluble. In this case, nitrile gloves are recommended.

Vinyl is anti-static and protects against shocks and chafing when stripping back sheaths on cords and wires, so vinyl gloves are well suited to some electricians’ work.


Where are vinyl gloves used?

Cleaning (without highly corrosive chemicals)

Food preparation (apart from fatty foods)

Hairdressing to protect hands from chemicals and repeated exposure to water

Painting and DIY

Working with wires and cords

When comparing vinyl vs latex vs nitrile gloves, vinyl gloves are the best short-term solution in a wide range of cases. Generally, vinyl gloves are a cheap and easy option when you need temporary protection for a low-risk job. Vinyl gloves can protect from low-level hazards, maintain good levels of hygiene, minimise cross-contamination, and make certain jobs more tolerable by protecting the skin on the hands from contact.

Nitrile vs Vinyl Gloves: Which Is Better?

Nitrile gloves were introduced in the 1990s as an alternative to latex gloves, which were the dominant type of disposable glove at the time. Nitrile gloves aren’t quite as elastic or flexible compared , which you may have noticed if you’ve ever attempted to put on a pair. However, nitrile gloves provide superior protection, since they’re much more durable and capable of resisting chemical reactions.

Nitrile gloves are latex-free, effectively eliminating the risk of latex allergy reactions. They’re also puncture resistant, tough, and capable of providing protection in even some extreme environments. Accordingly, they are frequently used in medical-grade applications and industrial applications that require handling corrosive chemicals. One of the only downsides of nitrile gloves is that they tend to be more expensive to manufacture, making them less cost effective.

Some people also prefer nitrile gloves because they provide a high level of tactile sensitivity. In other words, while wearing these gloves, you’ll be better capable of sensing your environment and feeling what you touch. For this reason, nitrile gloves are especially important in applications that require precise dexterity.




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