Disposable gloves are used in a variety of industries including medical, industrial, food prep and cleaning. The majority of workers in these industries use disposable gloves while at work. Gloves are used to prevent cross-contamination of chemicals, foods, bodily fluids and other substances that could be harmful to people.

But how do you know which gloves are the best? There are tons of choices on the market, with the top two being latex and nitrile. What’s the difference between them?

Let’s break it down.

Latex Gloves

Let’s explore the pros and cons of latex gloves first. These are the most popular type of gloves on the market and for good reason. But they do have some drawbacks.


They Fit Great and Allow Natural Movement

Latex gloves fit much closer to the skin than nitrile and are extremely soft. The flexibility of the material allows for fine motor skills. For this reason, many hospitals use them in surgery.

They Are Affordable

From a cost standpoint, latex typically wins. Although other materials are becoming more common and prices are coming down, latex is still cheaper than nitrile.

They Offer Excellent Virus Protection

These gloves are excellent for protection against viruses and bacteria. This is another reason why the medical field prefers to use latex over other materials.


They Can Cause Allergic Reactions

Latex is made from naturally-occurring plant material. Although this seems like it would be a benefit, it often is not. The latex can cause severe allergic reactions in some people. Even people without a latex allergy can develop one over time if they consistently use latex products.

They Don’t Have Great Chemical Resistance

Compared to other materials, latex is not the best option when working with chemicals. They do provide a barrier and some protection, but not enough. If you’re working with harsh chemicals, it is possible that the latex will not hold up.

Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile gloves are gaining popularity across multiple industries. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of this specific material.


They Have a High Chemical Resistance

Of all the synthetic gloves on the market, these offer some of the best chemical protection available. They can withstand harsh chemicals in a variety of environments.

They Are Hypoallergenic

Nitrile gloves have a definite advantage over latex in this category. They are the preferred substance in emergency situations for this reason. If your patient is unconscious and you’re unaware of any allergies they might have, it’s better to be safe than sorry.


They Can Limit Mobility

Nitrile gloves tend to fit tighter and can limit mobility in your hands. They are a little bit thicker than latex and therefore are not the preferred choice when performing fine motor functions.

They Are More Expensive

Although they are becoming more common and more affordable, right now, they are more expensive than other options. If you need the most cost-effective option on the market, nitrile is not it.


There are various reasons for which you would choose one glove over the other. They each have specific applications in different industries. Consider the above-listed pros and cons to decide which ones are the most important in your situation.