Nitrile Disposable Gloves; Why Thicker Doesn’t Mean Better

Don’t Fall For The Trap Of Comparing Nitrile Disposable Gloves
Based Only On Thickness

It is logical to assume when it comes to Nitrile Disposable Gloves that the thicker the glove, the better the performance of the glove and the more protection it offers. As this is the case with so many safety products, normally thicker can mean better.

However, although they appear quite simple, Nitrile Disposables Gloves are a rather complicated product. To understand why you should not compare nitrile gloves based on thickness, you first need to understand how a Nitrile Disposable Glove is made.

To craft a reliable, high quality, high performance nitrile disposable glove, there are a lot of key factors that must not be overlooked.

Factors Such As:

 The Raw Nitrile Material

The Nitrile ‘Formula’

Surface Modified Texture


Appropriate Certification

Lets Breakdown What Each Of These Factors Mean In Terms Of Quality

There are different types of raw material nitrile. In very simple terms, raw nitrile can either be more elastic or more chemical/solvent resistant. Raw nitrile that has stronger chemical resistance is generally more expensive than elastic raw nitrile.

Quality gloves are made with formulas that have been engineered and refined over decades by experts in the Glove Industry, with the aim of delivering a high performing glove for the wearer.

Involves extra technology being infused onto the inner or outer surface of the Nitrile glove to give the customer the best experience. Inner surface modification (inside of the glove) provides a silky finish, meaning gloves are easier to put on. Surface modification can also create environments where the glove will react less with the wearer’s skin, meaning hands will not sweat as much and there will be less skin irritation.

In very general terms glove chlorination is an extra level of processing that ‘seals the nitrile.’ This process makes the gloves more silky and tact free, it also helps remove remaining odors from the manufacturing process. Appropriate chlorination results in a higher quality finish of the glove. Chlorinated gloves are significantly more comfortable than gloves that have minimal or no Chlorination. This will result in the glove user being able to wear gloves for an extended period of time with minimal comfort issues. 

Having appropriate standards & certification is vitally important. The most common standard that disposable nitrile gloves should feature is  EN 374; EN374 provides a framework to classify how well gloves provide protection against chemicals and microorganisms. The framework helps make it easier for the wearer to compare disposable nitrile gloves, and to find the glove best suited to their individual needs.

There are many parts to EN374. The most important to look out for is Part 1 and Part 5. Part 1 is about chemical permeability, the most current standard as of time of writing, measures 18 different chemicals, and assigns each chemical a letter.

Gloves are then classified as Type A, B or C, depending on how many Chemical Letters they could withstand during testing. Type A have to withstand at least 6 different chemicals, Type B has to withstand at least 3 chemicals, and Type C has to withstand at least 1. If a Glove has been EN374 part 1 tested the below shield symbol will display with the Type and the Letters that it withstood.

Part 5 of EN374 is about resistance to viruses and microorganisms. Part 5 is a simple Pass or Fail, the below symbol will display if the gloves have passed.

As you can see there are a lot of variables and factors that determine whether a nitrile glove is a quality, high-performing glove.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it an insatiable demand for nitrile disposable gloves, this means now in today’s market we are seeing an influx of subpar product from companies trying to capitalise on the rise in demand for nitrile gloves. A lot of these companies are cutting corners to access cheaper gloves and don’t understand all the important factors that should go into making a nitrile disposable glove.

Gloves that are manufactured by cutting corners, ie cheap nitrile ‘formula’, no surface-modified technology, not Chlorinated, not washed and only focusing on thickness or weight, will almost always give you a poor performance, ie tear easy, puncture easy, breaks easy and chemicals are more likely to permeate quicker & easier.

Remember the next time you need to compare nitrile disposable gloves, don’t only compare on thickness. A nitrile disposable glove made correctly should outperform a poorly made thicker glove. Look for reputable glove brands that have been successfully making high performance nitrile disposable gloves well before the pandemic, look for brands you know and trust, that have the certifications to back them up. 

Look for The Glove Company we are The Glove Experts.

Not Sure Which Glove Is Best For You?

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