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Neoprene vs Nitrile Gloves | Know Properties & Uses [Infographic Included]

Neoprene vs nitrile gloves, 🧤 confused about which one to use? Find a detailed explanation of the properties, protection, advantages of neoprene & nitrile rubber.

neoprene vs nitrile gloves

Gloves are a necessity in the majority of the workplace environment. In addition to being a protective measure against chemicals and physical damage, they also offer thermal protection and insulation. Neoprene Gloves and Nitrile Rubber gloves are two very similar-looking gloves with completely different functionality.

Often in the neoprene vs nitrile gloves comparison, their similar physical properties can make one mistake while choosing. While both of them are highly elastic, their chemical formulation is completely different.

Chemical Structure of Neoprene and Nitrile Rubber

Is neoprene rubber or not is one of the most commonly asked queries worldwide. Neoprene composition includes chemical polymerization of the chloroprene created by the rapid radicalization of the homopolymers of Chlorobutadiene.  The result is a highly flexible glove that is resistant to extreme stretching. It is not pure rubber, However, it shows similar properties which is why many confuse it with rubber.

Nitrile gloves on the other hand are composed of Acrylonitrile and butadiene polymers. Fillers are added to provide stability to the polymer compound. This makes Nitrile gloves extremely resistant to rising temperature changes and increases the glove material’s tensile strength.

While Neoprene gloves can also be referred to as Chloroprene, Nitrile Gloves also have various other chemical names like Buna N and NBR.

Infographics Depicting The Difference Between Neoprene Vs Nitrile Rubber Gloves

In a Buna N vs neoprene glove comparison, one can see that despite similar appearances and visible properties, both are very different in their characteristics, chemical nature and even usability quotient. 

  • Functionality:

Even in the comparison of their functionality, both nitrile gloves and neoprene gloves work in different ways. While Nitrile is resistant to chemicals, abrasion, and thermal changes, Neoprene gloves are far more resilient towards harsh weather changes and extremely durable and do not wear out easily.

  • Physical Feature:

Nitrile Gloves are chemical resistant as mentioned above. Nitrile Glove chemical resistance chart shows that Nitrile materials are non-reactant to oils, solvents, alkalis, acids, and petroleum-based products. 

Neoprene Gloves remain chemically inert without distorting during weather changes and prolonged exposure to elements. Neoprene UV resistance is remarkably high, making them perfect for use in conditions where there is exposure to radiation and ozone. Surprisingly the flexibility of neoprene is also not impacted when exposed to these harsh external sequences.

  • Fit

Neoprene Gloves are not easily distorted when stretched. The snug and comfortable fit prevent it from displacement while working without feeling constricted or tightened, especially around the cuffs and finger spaces. The dextrous character of Neoprene prevents the hands from feeling numb or uncomfortable while using the gloves for a long tenure. In a Neoprene vs Rubber gloves comparison, the stretchability without distortion is very good in Neoprene.

Nitrile Gloves are excellent choices themselves. However, the stretchability index is not as high as Neoprene Gloves. Is Nitrile rubber or is it something else is a well-known doubt. However, it is mentioned already that Nitrile may look and feel similar to rubber to a certain extent, it surely isn’t.  

Though it is far better than Latex, yet another alternative to natural rubber, Nitrile gloves are fairly average in stretchability. However, they make up for the lacking feature with their high abrasion resistance index. 

  • Chemical Resistance 

Nitrile Rubber is most resistant towards Aliphatic Hydrocarbon and Petroleum Fuel. Nitrile Rubber shows signs of decomposition when exposed to Aromatic Oils and Ketones.

Neoprene is non-reactive towards mild acids, chemicals, solvents and grease. However if exposed to chlorinated compounds and Nitro Hydrocarbon, they show signs of breakdown. 

  • Oil Resistance

Nitrile gloves are excellent for use while handling petroleum products. They provide complete protection against them and are often used for prolonged workable conditions where handling oil is an important task. 

However, Neoprene Oil resistance is moderate towards petroleum products. While it does not provide complete protection towards oil based compounds, it can be used for a short time while handling them.

  • UV radiation Protection

Neoprene is resistant to UV Ray exposure and Ozone exposure. However natural rubber, synthetic compounds like Nitrile show remarkable disintegration when exposed to UV or Ozone. This is the reason why Neoprene is preferred for prolonged outdoor usability.

  • Heat Resistance

Nitrile rubber is very resilient in nature. It has a wide temperature tolerance limit ranging between -30 degrees F to 210 degrees F.

Is Neoprene heat resistant like Nitrile Rubber?  Neoprene Temperature limit ranges between -70 degree F to 280 degree F. This makes them an excellent option while handling high-temperature exposure situations as they do not catch fire easily.

  • Oxidation Resistance

Neoprene is non reactant to the process of oxidation. Even prolonged outdoor use does not affect its overall properties and built quality. The nitrile temperature range may be good, however, when exposed to oxidation, Nitrile Gloves show rapid significant changes. 

  • Tear Resistance and Impact resistance

Nitrile rubber is very resistant to abrasion and tears while Neoprene is super resistant to impact and weather.  Hence it can be clearly stated that Nitrile is best suited for use in the Health Service and Food Industry where cuts, tearing and puncture is common. 

Similarly, because of high weather and impact resistance, Neoprene is best suited for use in work that involves Radiation exposure and High-temperature work environment.

  • Germ Resistance

Nitrile Rubber and Neoprene both offer good resistance to germs. However, due to the better resistance towards tear and abrasion, nitrile rubber is predominantly used in the making of laboratory gloves where exposure to germs is very common.

  • Water Proofing

Neoprene is a common material chosen for wetsuits for deep-sea divers as it protects the body from lower water temperature exposure and helps in maintaining buoyancy. Though Nitrile Rubber also offers excellent waterproofing, Neoprene is preferred in industries that require constant water exposure like fisheries.

  • Cost

Though Nitrile gloves have a wider user base, there is no doubt that Neoprene Gloves fare better when affordability is considered. At an average of 8$ to 12$ per box of 100 gloves, it is more affordable.

Suggested Read: Know the difference between Nitrile, Vinyl & Latex Gloves. before you buy your safety gloves, it’s important to know which gloves material can serve the purpose.

Difference in the properties of Nitrile and Neoprene gloves

PropertiesNitrile GlovesNeoprene Gloves
CompositionAcrylonitrile-butadienePolychloroprene
ElasticityGoodExcellent
Resistance to ImpactAverageExcellent
Abrasion ResistanceExcellentVery Good
Protection against UV raysAbsentResistant to UV and Ozone Exposure
Heat and Fire ResistanceFlammable due to low-temperature when affordability is considered there is no resistanceHas a high melting point that prevents it from easily catching fire
Usable Temperature range-30 degrees F to 210 degrees F-70 degrees F to 280 degrees F
Water resistanceVery goodExcellent
WeaknessHeat, weather, UV rays, OilsNitro Hydrocarbons and Ketones
Weather resistance and durabilityPoorExcellent

Neoprene vs Nitrile gloves: Application 

Though at first glance Neoprene and Nitrile gloves appear to be similar physically, their usability is remarkably different due to the composition and chemical structure of the glove material.

  • Application of Neoprene Gloves –

The Neoprene Temperature range is very high due to its chemical structure. This increases its versatility in industrial applications far more than rubber or latex gloves. Heat, oil, and abrasion do not alter their physical properties easily. 

So Neoprene Gloves are widely used in –

  1. Automotive repair work
  2. Resistant to shock waves makes them ideal for use in drilling and mining
  3. Non-conductive glove material makes it a safe choice for use while working on electrical repairs
  4. Hazmat Suits due to resistance to UV exposure
  5. Disinfection and cleaning of materials exposed to radiation
  6. Handling of compounds and products with Ozone.
  7. Diving gloves due to all-weather resistance and waterproofing ability
  • Application of Nitrile Gloves include – 

The nitrile temperature range is comparatively lower than Neoprene. However, chemical polymers used in the making are resistant to the majority of petroleum and alkaline products. They do not easily react with most chemical solvents. In comparison to Nitrile rubber, they are also much more resistant to outdoor weather conditions. So, Nitrile Gloves are widely used in – 

  1. Management of cooling system of refrigerators and air coolers
  2. Aerospace and defense industry for management of the machinery parts
  3. Petroleum industry like oil rigs, seals, fuel system, hose management, etc
  4. Carburetors and hydraulic component management and repair
  5. Disposable medical gloves  for surgical intervention
  6. Food Service Industry
  7. Used in the making of gaskets, washers, and rubber tubing.

In a study of Nitrile vs Neoprene glove comparison, both have their prospects and advantages that make them perfect as workable gloves in a designated area. The chemical composition of either of the gloves is far more distinctively different which is the reason the usability of the gloves are completely different. Choosing the wrong gloves can be a problem if these aspects are not noted beforehand.

Frequently Asked Questions: FAQs

Yes, Neoprene is not only much more stretchable and dextrous in comparison to Nitrile Gloves, but is also more affordable among the two.

Is Nitrile Better Than Latex?

Nitrile gloves have a better chemical structure than Latex and are far more durable and resistant to various elements. Additionally, Nitrile gloves do not have allergens unlike Latex, which are sometimes known to cause allergic reactions.

Does Neoprene Cause Cancer?

The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States of America has declared Neoprene as a cancer-safe product due to the absence of any carcinogenic agent in its composition.

Which is better, Chloroprene Gloves or Neoprene Gloves?

Both are the same thing. Dupont registered the patent name of their Neoprene gloves and named it Chloroprene.

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