Eight Things to Consider when Buying Disposable Gloves

by Hans Martin on May 24, 2022
Selecting the best kind of glove for your specific needs is essential. You need to understand that various disposable glove types are different from each other. Different glove variants differ in their materials, thickness, and strength. They are also designed to be used for different purposes. We will review the most important factors when it comes to choosing the right gloves.

1. Type of Material

One of the first things you should consider is the material used. Different glove materials are useful for distinct purposes, so it’s a good idea to learn about the available options before making a purchase.
Latex Gloves - Latex is an inexpensive glove option for the medical field and they have been indispensable for many healthcare facilities. However, due to latex allergies, they are gradually being replaced by other gloves such as nitrile or vinyl as they won’t trigger allergies.
Nitrile Gloves - Nitrile gloves are inherently resistant to chemicals and their strength makes them resistant to punctures. This makes nitrile gloves suitable for work where gloves need to be worn for long periods. Nitrile gloves offer an excellent alternative to latex when allergies are an issue.
Vinyl Gloves - Vinyl or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a common synthetic substance that is simple to produce, making them a cheaper option. Vinyl is also another alternative to latex gloves if you have latex allergies. Vinyl is less durable than latex or nitrile so they are best used in low hazard situations.

2. Sterile vs. Non-Sterile

Strict FDA guidelines must be met for a glove to have sterile rating. Sterile gloves are required for medical and surgical use. Because their manufacture requires strict testing, sterile gloves may be more expensive than non-sterile gloves. The term non-sterile may seem worrying, however, non-sterile gloves are perfectly safe for any non-surgical use and reduces the risk of transmitting diseases. For household cleaning and food preparation, non-sterile gloves are perfectly fine.

3. Powdered vs. Non-Powdered Gloves

Powdered gloves have a cornstarch coating, this makes them easier to put on and prevents them from sticking. However, powdered gloves are banned for surgery and patient examination by the FDA. The powder can adhere to the patient’s skin causing inflammation and irritation. The loose cornstarch from powdered gloves may also cause contamination during food preparation. For healthcare and food handling, a non-powdered glove is required, but for other non-medical and non-food use, powdered gloves are perfectly safe.

4. Glove Thickness

Another thing to consider is thickness. Thicker gloves provide stronger protection and resist tears better than thinner gloves.  This allows thicker gloves to be worn and used longer periods. However, a thicker glove may have poor touch sensitivity, which isn’t advisable in certain situation. If your work needs a high level of touch sensitivity, you might choose thinner gloves made from a strong material like nitrile. Glove thickness is measured in mils.

5. Comfort and Fit

It’s important to choose comfortable gloves, as an uncomfortable glove can hinder someone’s ability to perform work properly. Size is an important factor. If a glove is too small, it may be very uncomfortable and impede blood circulation. A small and tight glove is also more likely to tear, which may expose the wearer to risk. On the other hand, if a glove is too large, the loose space between the glove and the skin may also expose the wearer to risk. Loose gloves also have the chance of falling off the hand. When buying gloves, be sure to get and test several sizes to find the perfect fit.

6. Tensile Strength

Tensile strength is the material’s resistance to tearing when it gets stretched. Both nitrile and latex have high tensile strength r, they can take a lot of tugging and pulling before tearing.  Tensile strength is critical as tears would compromise safety and protection. It’s an important factor for work situations where hand dexterity is required.

7. Glove Color

Though you may think glove color is only for preference, it could actually be very useful. You can color code your gloves to easily differentiate them. For example, you might choose black for latex gloves and blue for nitrile gloves, so those with latex allergies will have no problem  identifying which to use. You can also color code to differentiate between sterile and non-sterile gloves.

8. Shelf Life

The final factor to consider when buying gloves is its shelf life. Buying gloves by bulk guarantees you always have some available, but it may also mean some gloves are left unused for some time. The shelf life depends most on the glove material. Nitrile gloves last longer than vinyl and latex gloves. Always check the product specifications, and keep careful track of how long the gloves have been stored.