How to Choose Disposable Gloves Guide

Whatever line of work you’re in, you need to make sure that you, your employees, and your customers are protected from any risks, whether that means germs in a sandwich shop or biohazards in a hospital. Disposable gloves are an excellent line of defense, but not all types of disposable gloves are right for every situation. Follow our guide to the different types of safety gloves and their uses and you’ll know how to choose the best disposable gloves for every task.

Types of Disposable Gloves

Disposable gloves are primarily differentiated by the material they are made from. The most common materials are latex, nitrile, vinyl, and chloroprene (also called neoprene). Let's look at each material more closely to find out which one best suits different projects.


Latex gloves were invented in the 1800s. For many years, they were the only kind of glove available. Latex is an extraction from the rubber tree, which is a natural resource. For a long time, latex gloves were the preferred type of glove for medical professionals, although this has changed due to latex allergies and the increased availability of nitrile gloves.

Latex gloves are very thin and conform to your hand. When using a latex glove, it is still easy to feel and touch. This is important for physicians and people that depend on fine motor control. Even though latex gloves are thin, they are highly resistant to punctures and tearing, making them one of the best types of PPE gloves.

Latex would be a great multipurpose material if it weren't for latex allergies. Some people are sensitive to latex, and it can cause various allergic reactions. These can be mild, like a rash or hives, or severe reactions like anaphylaxis. Because of this, it can be safer for some individuals or professionals to use other disposable glove types.


Nitrile gloves are the most popular type of disposable glove in the United States. They are made from synthetic rubber. Nitrile gloves have many advantages over latex gloves: They are thicker, more chemical-resistant, and more puncture-resistant, and they are generally cheaper than latex gloves.

Nitrile gloves are an appropriate choice for many professionals. They are great for any situation where you might come into contact with bodily fluids. This makes them the best type of glove for medical professionals, ranging from doctors and nurses to dentists and even tattoo artists. Nitrile gloves are also suitable for those who work with caustic chemicals. This might include custodians or lab workers.


Vinyl gloves are the right choice for those who simply need the greatest number of gloves for the smallest amount of money. They are the least expensive type of disposable glove available. Vinyl gloves are still very reliable and perfect for certain applications.

These types of safety gloves are made from PVC, a petroleum-based material, and are very inexpensive to make. They are not as durable or as thick as latex or nitrile gloves, which means they don't offer as much protection. Their integrity can also be compromised when they are stretched.

Vinyl gloves are safe for people with latex allergies, so they can be used in a variety of applications. They are the best gloves for food preparation and light janitorial work. Vinyl gloves will protect their wearer from low-risk chemicals and can prevent cross-contamination.

Chloroprene (Neoprene)

Chloroprene is a synthetic material that is also called neoprene. This is a newer material than latex or nitrile, but it shares qualities with both. It offers the same level of protection as latex but is also safe for those with allergies. Chloroprene is less durable than nitrile, but it warms to your hand and becomes more flexible, offering a better feel than nitrile gloves.

Chloroprene gloves work great for those in food service or the medical industry. They are more expensive than the other kinds of gloves, however, so they may not be the best choice if you are watching your budget.

Other Considerations

There are other things you should consider when you’re trying to buy the right type of disposable gloves for a project. Gloves can be smooth or textured for different applications. Textured gloves are suitable when you’ll be getting your hands wet but you still need tactile control.

Some gloves may offer varying degrees of protection. Gloves come in different thicknesses. The thicker a glove is the more protection it can offer from punctures or tears. A longer cuff can also offer more protection by extending the glove up your wrist and arm. A glove with a rolled cuff is also easier to take on and off, reducing the risk of contamination.

You want to be sure that the glove you choose conforms to the standards of your industry. The Food and Drug Administration and other agencies like Underwriter Laboratories set standards to make gloves safe for consumers. The gloves that are best for food preparation may not be the right type of glove for a medical setting. It's important to be knowledgeable about these standards to protect yourself and your clients.

Buying Disposable Gloves for Your Business

Now you know a bit more about the different types of materials safety gloves can be made from. If you're ready to shop for gloves, search Glove America’s online store to find the best deals on bulk gloves. We are an American business that has been providing quality gloves to professionals in various industries for many years. If you still have questions about different types of disposable gloves and their uses, we’ll be happy to give you the answers.