Fleet Maintenance Supply Experts

Nitrile Gloves Buyer's Guide

Nitrile Gloves

If you think all disposable gloves are alike, you might be letting a better solution slip through your fingers. In these unprecedented times, have you given much thought to the disposable gloves you use in your business? If not, you really should start.

What are Nitrile Gloves?

Nitrile gloves are so much more than “just gloves.” Nitrile gloves are made from synthetic rubber. This rubber makes them more resistant to oils and chemicals than their other disposable counterparts.

They protect your hands from oils and chemicals that can lead to injury and long-term illnesses, and also help maintain the integrity of your products and services, reducing opportunities for cross-contamination.

Are Nitrile Gloves Safe?

A study conducted by the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics looked at the toxicity levels of different glove materials. In comparing natural rubber latex to synthetic rubber latex, the study showed that the synthetic rubber (nitrile) exhibited a lower toxic response compared to natural rubber.

What is the Difference between Latex and Nitrile Gloves?

Latex gloves are made from plantbased rubber and have the feel of a second skin, where you can feel the object you are holding. One of the issues with latex gloves is their ability to cause serious allergic reactions. This is due to the plantbased proteins used in the manufacturing of latex gloves.

Nitrile gloves are made from a synthetic rubber. Due to the manufacturing process of nitrile, allergic reactions are very low. Nitrile gloves are more durable than latex gloves, but that durability comes at the expense of a natural feel to the objects you are holding.

From food service and manufacturing floors, to medical settings, janitorial and cleanroom use, nitrile gloves are quickly replacing latex gloves as the leader in workplace protection.

If you’ve been using latex gloves, switching to nitrile gloves might be a good idea. We’ve provided this guide to help you determine if they’re right for you.

Benefits Driving Popularity

Some of the advantages nitrile gloves have over other types of disposable gloves:

  1. Greater durability
  2. More resistance to higher temperatures
  3. Less likelihood of passing on contaminants
  4. Minimal allergic reactions

Nitrile gloves also offer protection when using sharp implements or equipment or when hands are experiencing regular friction. Mechanical repair, the medical profession and industrial cleaning firms love them. They’re generally more puncture resistant than regular latex gloves, meaning they offer improved protection while in use.

Making the grade

So now that you’re a little more familiar with nitrile gloves and their characteristics, let’s consider which type will best fit your needs. Nitrile gloves fall into two main grades – industrial and medical.

Industrial-grade nitrile gloves are those worn by people working with chemicals, including workers in the janitorial, food service and automotive industries. Industrial-grade nitrile gloves can offer differing levels of protection from disposable nitrile (low chemical resistance) to reusable nitrile gloves that offer high levels of puncture and chemical resistance. Some nitrile gloves are also anti-static, ideal for those working with machinery or for those working with electronics.

The thickness of your nitrile gloves will make a difference to your ability to carry out tasks. Industrial-grade disposable nitrile gloves will usually be around 0.06mm-0.08mm in thickness, providing splash resistance to chemicals. Thicker re-usable industrial nitrile gloves will provide a longer contact time resistance.

However, the thinner the gloves, the more dexterity the user will enjoy, making more intricate tasks easier to perform. If you require extra grip while working, then nitrile gloves with raised patterns are a good choice, as they increase grip strength on wet or slippery equipment.

Medical nitrile gloves are referred to as ‘exam’ grades. This type of nitrile glove is best for those working in medical professions where they require protection from contact with bloodborne pathogens or contaminants in the environment. You’ll notice dental practices, hospitals, doctor surgeries and laboratories opting for this grade of glove, as they have undergone rigorous testing to ensure they provide the protection those wearing them require.


Nitrile gloves are available in a full array of sizes, just as any other disposable glove. Before placing a full order, seek out samples to test first. This will ensure that the gloves actual fit and feel matches expectations (samples also allow you to assess the overall quality.)

Most nitrile gloves are available in sizes XS to 2XL. The right fit is important. Too small and the glove can be stretched excessively causing the material to break or fracture quicker; too large and it may not offer the right protection against chemicals.

Choose your colors

Nitrile gloves come in a variety of colors which can help improve health and safety further. Blue is the standard color for this type of glove but for the automotive industry, most will opt for black nitrile gloves that hide the appearance of oil and dirt or white that will show any contamination when handling upholstery.

Bright colors such as yellow, green or orange are also available and are ideal when working with dangerous contaminants. By wearing two layers of gloves, such as a brightly colored pair underneath a regular blue pair, you can easily see if any holes or tears have been created while working and ensure you are protected.

Powdered and powder-free

Powdered gloves absorb moisture and are a popular choice for those working within industries where gloves need to be taken on and off regularly. However, many prefer the non-powdered designs as they do not leave a residue when removed and can be taken on and off just as easily as their powdered counterparts.

Environmental Impact

Does your industry have a recycling policy in place? Switching to nitrile gloves is one way to reduce impact on the environment, as they are created using a man made material. Their durability allows them to have a longer life reducing the number of gloves you are disposing overall.

Don’t let the opportunity to get a better glove slip through your fingers! Imperial Supplies offers a wide range of disposable and reusable gloves. Check out our current inventory of nitrile, latex, vinyl, neoprene and PVC gloves, in addition to glove dispensing equipment and hand sanitizers. If you’d like to chat online or speak to us by phone to gather more information, feel free to Contact Us at any time during our business hours, M-F, 6 am to 6 pm.

Follow Us