Of the most common disposable glove materials, nitrile is far and away the most popular. Latex may have better fit, feel, and comfort—and vinyl may have a lower price point—but it’s difficult to beat nitrile for its all-around appeal.
Nitrile disposable gloves have for years been a popular alternative to latex in many industries, especially those that require more interaction with harsh chemicals and solvents, such as automotive work.
What’s the difference between the two? It seems pretty basic, but the more you know about what separates them, the better you can help your customers choose the right glove for the job.
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Latex is the byproduct of a natural substance, the sap of the mature Hevea brasiliensis tree. Once collected, the sap is chemically treated through a process called vulcanization, which converts the polymers into a more durable, stretchable material.
Nitrile, meanwhile, is a synthetic co-polymer that combines two monomers, acrylonitrile and butadiene, into nitrile butadiene rubber or NBR. It resists oil, gasoline, and other petroleum-based chemicals, so it is a favorite for automotive applications and in aeronautical use to make seals and gaskets.
Despite latex losing its appeal for many users in the last decade, it remains popular for certain applications including beauty & salon, plumbing, electronics assembly and, oddly, food service (despite allergy concerns being a red flag in the food industry). Nitrile is popular in, well, just about everything.
The Top 3 nitrile talking points
When talking with your customers about nitrile, you can start with its top 3 attributes:
- As a synthetic material, nitrile contains none of the allergens found in natural rubber. Even among those who are not outright allergic to latex, prolonged exposure to it can lead to conditions ranging from contact dermatitis to anaphylactic shock. The more it is worn, the greater the risk. Nitrile eliminates those concerns.
- It has a broader range of usability. Call it the Goldilocks zone, so called because, like the third of the three bowls of porridge in the fairy tale, it is neither too hot nor too cold, but just right (in this case, for most any use case). It’s always easier to find the right one because it offers the best of all worlds: comfort and protection, flexibility and durability.
- It is available in a wide variety of styles and specifications, including Raised Diamond Texture (RDT), so it is the most adaptable of glove materials. Any innovation in the glove industry involves nitrile gloves.
AMMEX has a wide variety of nitrile gloves to suit any number of use cases. The more you know, the better you can adapt a glove to a customer’s specific needs.
Follow the good-better-best principle
It’s advisable to have at least three nitrile glove SKUs in your inventory: a lightweight 3-mil, like X3 (blue) or BX3 (black); a middle-weight 5-mil, like GPNB (black); and a heavy-duty 8-mil, like any of our RDT line (GWON in orange, GWGN in green) or 6-mil (GWBN in black, GWRBN in royal blue).
While it’s impossible to beat the fit and comfort of latex, nitrile comes close. Nitrile is flexible and allows for optimal tactile sensitivity. As nitrile gloves are warmed by body heat, they conform to the contour of hands, which adds dexterity.
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