A Complete Guide to Different Types of Gloves

Innovate ContinueAccording to reports on occupational health and safety, hand injuries are estimated to account for 40% to 60% of workplace injuries, with each claim amounting to a significant sum. It’s evident that hand protection is a crucial issue that cannot be ignored. In many cases, hand protection means safety gloves. This equipment acts as the first line of defense between your hands and the hazardous materials or extreme environments you may encounter during work.

However, not all safety gloves are the same. Understanding how to choose the right gloves for the corresponding job is the first step in preventing injuries. Below, you’ll learn about various types of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for hands.

Commonly Used Gloves for Safety and Hygiene Purposes:

Latex Gloves

The primary function of latex gloves is to protect the hands, preventing liquids from permeating the surface and shielding against pathogens, biological hazards, and chemical substances transmitted through blood. These gloves are made from the liquid of natural rubber trees. Due to the characteristics of natural latex, both latex gloves and gloves with latex coatings are highly resilient, have strong tensile strength, ample elasticity, excellent tactile sensitivity, and flexibility. They are suitable for professionals engaged in high-precision occupations who have a preference for latex gloves.

Best Uses of Latex Gloves

Latex gloves have a wide range of uses, including household cleaning, childcare and elderly care, food service, beauty salons, food processing, medical machinery, and some automotive and manufacturing industries.

Limitations of Latex Gloves

Each type of glove has its limitations, and latex gloves cannot provide sufficient protection against sharp objects, thus unable to prevent punctures. Additionally, some individuals may have severe allergies to natural latex, making it impossible for them to use or wear these gloves.

Nitrile Gloves

Unlike latex made from natural rubber, nitrile rubber is made from synthetic rubber. It is stronger and more puncture-resistant than latex, usually more economical, and offers better value for money. Additionally, using nitrile rubber can reduce the risk of allergic reactions.

Best Uses of Nitrile Gloves

Due to their ability to resist biological hazards, grease, oils, and chemicals, many professionals in the scientific and healthcare fields wear nitrile gloves. Gloves with nitrile coatings are also popular among tattoo artists and automotive repair technicians.

Limitations of Nitrile Gloves

The tactile sensation of nitrile gloves varies from person to person, and their flexibility and freedom of movement are not as good as latex gloves. Therefore, this is a crucial consideration when attempting to use precision instruments or small components. However, with advancing manufacturing processes, many users can hardly distinguish between nitrile gloves and latex gloves anymore.

In addition to the two main types of gloves mentioned above, you have many other options to choose from to meet your job requirements.

Chloroprene Rubber Gloves

Chloroprene rubber gloves are made from chloroprene rubber (also known as neoprene rubber). Chloroprene rubber is a synthetic rubber, a polymer typically produced by introducing vinyl chloride into butadiene monomers. This process, called chlorination of butadiene copolymerization, alters the molecular structure of the rubber. After appropriate processing and adding other additives (such as anti-aging agents, plasticizers, etc.), chloroprene rubber’s properties are developed.

Chloroprene rubber has excellent chemical stability and oil resistance, toughness, and wide applicability. It is generally impermeable to liquids, making it ideal for manufacturing wetsuits, hoses, gaskets, weatherstripping gloves, seals, pipes, and other products that require oil resistance, chemical resistance, and abrasion resistance.

Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) Gloves

Thermoplastic elastomers are polymers made from one or more thermoplastic elastomer materials. After heating, they are shaped into glove shapes through thermoplastic elastomer technology such as extrusion and injection. The final TPE glove products are soft, elastic, durable, and have similar flexibility and feel to natural rubber. These polymers are considered specialty resins with low production volumes and high prices.

The advantages of these gloves include good environmental performance, partial recyclability, and less negative impact on the environment than some traditional materials (such as latex). They are suitable for various environments, including medical care, food processing, laboratories, cleaning and hygiene, and industry, as polymers can be recycled and reshaped. In summary, TPE gloves have good elasticity and can replace disposable gloves in many cases for companies that prioritize sustainability.

Knitted/Cotton Gloves

Cotton gloves are made through knitting processes and are typically made from fiber materials such as yarn or wool, serving as personal protective equipment. Therefore, they can provide relatively good warmth. Due to the open structure of knitted gloves, they have some breathability and can protect hands from rough surfaces and minor abrasions. They are suitable for cold weather. However, fabric gloves cannot prevent cuts or punctures, and generally, most fabric gloves have little effect on preventing contact with chemicals or other liquids.

Leather Gloves

As the name suggests, these gloves are made from animal leather, most commonly cowhide, sheepskin, or pigskin. Leather thickness varies and can effectively prevent cuts, abrasions, and punctures. They are comfortable to wear, fit well, and allow for ease of movement. They can also resist environmental attacks and even have some chemical resistance.

However, without proper care, leather can become dry and crack, reducing its protective properties. Leather gloves are also susceptible to heat damage, so adding a lining is advisable to prevent burns, a technique commonly used by welders.

Cut-Resistant Gloves

These gloves are made from a special high-strength fiber material that has been specially treated and woven to give it cut-resistant and abrasion-resistant properties. They are usually rated based on strength, hardness, lubrication, and rolling action. Gloves that meet all standards will have a higher rating than gloves that meet only one or two standards.

However, lower-rated gloves do not always mean lower quality and can be entirely suitable in many cases. However, they need to be identified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and official European Union organizations. However, in the end, most of the rating of cut-resistant gloves is based on the materials used in the glove structure.

Fluoroelastomer Gloves

These gloves are made from a special material of fluorinated polymer elastomer and synthetic rubber compound. They have extremely strong chemical resistance. This type of fluoroelastomer is the most resistant rubber to chemical corrosion, preventing various chemicals such as sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, acetone, toluene, ethanol, phenol, hydrofluoric acid, chlorides, and nitrites.

Aluminum-Plated Gloves

Aluminum-plated gloves are designed specifically for workers in foundries, laboratories, kilns, and other high-temperature environments. They are often made of fire-resistant materials, with the main feature being an aluminum layer on the surface. This aluminum layer can reflect environmental heat and radiant heat, effectively preventing hands from being harmed by high temperatures and flames, reaching temperatures as high as 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Electrically Insulated Gloves

Electrically gloves are typically made of latex or similar electrically insulating materials, capable of withstanding various degrees of voltage, effectively preventing electric currents, electric shocks, and arc flashes. They also need to meet specific requirements, such as those related to electrical protection, in tests like the EN388 test.

Considerations for Choosing the Best Glove Type

As you can see, there is a wide range of gloves available for protecting employees, from plastic gloves for food contact to specialized gloves for defending against highly hazardous chemicals. You need to choose gloves suitable for your needs. However, before doing so, you should also consider the following:

Industry requirements

Industry requirements are the best basis for ensuring that you buy the best gloves. Generally, suppliers provide corresponding certificates related to the products, such as CE certificates, ISO certifications. Still, some special types of gloves need to meet specific requirements. For example, if you work in the medical or dental field, the law may require you to use gloves that meet certain standards. These gloves are usually regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are considered Class I medical devices.

Additionally, you should be aware that the thickness of gloves may sometimes hinder dexterity and mobility. If dexterity is your requirement, you may need to avoid using thicker gloves.


Choosing the right size is essential to get the maximum protection from gloves. If gloves are too small or too large, too long or too short, they can cause discomfort and difficulty in work.

Shelf Life

Some gloves’ performance may start to deteriorate over time, which can be a significant concern when you or your employees rely on them to avoid harm. Choosing gloves with a long shelf life is crucial to ensure they perform effectively during use. Additionally, safe storage of gloves is also essential for them to reach their longest shelf life.

Comfort and Preference

While compliance and protection are essential, gloves should also be comfortable and not impede work.

Buy the Gloves You Need from Aibon

Aibon can provide a variety of gloves to meet your needs. If you’re unsure which type of glove is best for your situation, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to help you choose the most suitable gloves. With decades of experience in gloves, we are confident and capable of providing you with the best products and the highest quality service.

How to Measure Glove Sizes – Source: AIBON

Medical Gloves – Source: FDA

Nitrile Gloves or Latex – Source: AIBON

Medical Gloves Guidance Manual – Source: FDA

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