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Difference Between Polyurethane Gloves vs Nitrile Gloves vs Latex Gloves – Which One Is Perfect for You?

Polyurethane Gloves vs Nitrile Gloves vs Latex Gloves

Gloves are an essential commodity for a wide range of industrial purposes. From the food and packaging to the healthcare and processing industry, gloves are a mandated necessity. Their functions are also categorized based on when and where they are to be used. Gloves used in metalwork or even the construction are widely different from each other in material, the coating used, thickness, functionality, and many other retrospects.

This is the reason it is important to understand which is the right pair of gloves one must choose in accordance with the profession and type of work to be done.

The most common scenario is the confusion of polyurethane gloves vs nitrile gloves. Both are so identical in their usability that it is often a difficult choice to pick the right one. This post is detailed content about various glove coating materials and their specific areas of usability.

Difference between nitrile, latex, and polyurethane coated gloves. 

Coated gloves are extremely popular that’s because they’re economical, comfortable and dextrous. Coated gloves protect workers hands from hazards and protect the products from workers hands.

The gloves shell is typically made from a knitting material such as nylon polyester or engineered yarns. The shell conforms to the hand for maximum flexibility and comfort. 

The coatings are dipped onto the shell of the glove as a full dip, a three-quarter (3/4) dip or a palm dip depending on the use for the glove.

The most common gloves coating used is Nitrile, Latex, and PU or Polyurethane. These coating materials are mostly applied on the exterior of the gloves side which gives the gloves its unique functionality, protective capability and also alters usability quotient.  

The individual properties of each of the types of glove coating vary based on its composition and inert nature.

Suggested Read: Types of materials used in gloves

Difference between Polyurethane gloves vs Nitrile gloves vs Latex Gloves.

PropertiesLatex CoatingNitrile CoatingPolyurethane Coating
Oil resistanceNoYesYes
UV protection
NoNoYes
Abrasion ResistanceExcellent
ExcellentExcellent
Waterproof
MildExcellentExcellent
Chemical resistanceYes
YesYes
Flexibility
Very goodGoodVery good
Tear resistance
ExcellentExcellentExcellent
Oxidation resistance
PoorGoodGood
Germ resistance
Mild
ExcellentExcellent
Allergic reaction
MildMildAbsent
Breathability
GoodModerateGood
Grip SensitivityGoodModerateGood
Temperature range-50 C to +85 C degrees Celcius
-40 C to +140 C degrees Celcius-63 C to +93 C degree Celcius

Properties of Nitrile, Latex and PU coated gloves

Properties of Nitrile, Latex and PU coated gloves

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Nitrile Coated Gloves 

Nitrile is also a thinner coating that improves your tactility and dexterity. It also resists cuts abrasions and tears. This is also a good alternative for people with latex allergies or an alternative to leather.

There are two primary types of nitrile coatings, flat and foam. Foam nitrile gloves are breathable with a coarse surface so it sucks up the oil and the liquid so you can maintain your grip and tactility.

These glove coatings are made of a synthetic copolymer combination of Acrylonitrile and butadiene. It is also called Buna-N or NBR. This nitrile rubber coating enhances certain properties that it is very popular for making safety working gloves.

Protective capability – These are far more resistant to abrasion, puncture, and chemical reactions. These properties make them perfect for use in handling abrasive materials, corrosive elements 

Advantages

  • Dextrous and breathable ( foam nitrile ) 
  • Abrasion and chemical resistant
  • Puncture and tear-resistant
  • Foamed texture provides a good grip and is slip-resistant due to the increased suction ability of the palm surface
  • Has a wide range of temperature usability. Can work smoothly between – 40 degree Celcius to 108 degree Celsius.
  • Impermeable to fluids, especially water. This keeps the hands dry for a long time.

Functionality 

We recommend using nitrile coated gloves if you are dealing with oil, gas, water, hydrocarbon or other chemicals & high threat to cut and punctures such as Heavy-duty carpentry, metal fabrication, automotive industry, rigging, plumbing and in the warehouse for handling cardboard packages etc.

In this helpful guide, learn how to wash dirty nitrile coated working gloves the right way

PU Coated Gloves

Polyurethane or PU is a thin coating that provides excellent dexterity and tactility. It has a very good grip in dry and oily conditions. It’s the most durable of any coating. 

PU contains no latex proteins which can cause allergic reactions. PU is incredibly tough but very flexible and comfortable. PU coated gloves have outstanding tactility. 

The PU coating of PU gloves mainly is composed of Polyurethane polymer compounds. This coating is specially used on knitted glove liners and other textile material glove base.

Polyurethane coated gloves are made of stretchable fabric that is cut resistant. Additionally, they are lightweight and resistant to puncture. 

Advantages:

  • The glove coating is very thin and supple. This makes them mildly dextrous and flexible to use
  • Optimal workability under low temperature
  • Very good suction capacity, thus increasing its usability in dry and wet conditions equally well.
  • Made of durable material which makes them a worthy investment for long-term use and rough handling.
  • Resistant to puncture and cuts
  • The high tactility and durability index makes them one of the perfect working gloves.
  • Resistant to chemicals, oils, and other corrosive mediums.
  • Has minimum particulate shedding
  • They are also available as Polyurethane disposable gloves in many sectors.
  • Cannot handle working temperature above 175 degrees Fahrenheit or 79 degrees Celcius.

PU coated gloves are widely used in small parts manufacturing units, construction, warehouse management, Timber industry, rigging, working with oil & gas.

Latex Coated Gloves

Latex coatings provide very good grip in both wet and dry applications. It also offers very good abrasion resistance, remains flexible and durable in all temperatures. 

There are three basic types of latex. Flat latex, foam latex and crinkle latex

Flat latex is a solid surface, so it keeps liquids away from your hands. Foam latex and crinkle latex have the thickest coating to provide the best abrasion resistance. 

Latex gloves are primarily composed of Polyisoprene latex compound. In addition to the primary component, there are a few additional ingredients used to make these gloves. They are sterol glycosides, natural resins, sterile water, resin, bone ash, zinc oxide, pigments, and accelerants, natural anti-oxidant, sulphur, and de webbing agents.

Suggested Read: Sterile vs Non sterile gloves . Know differences between sterile and non-sterile gloves and when to use which one.

Protective capability – Durable and resistant to abrasion makes them well usable in various fields of work. However, Latex is not a wise choice while working with certain chemicals like organic solvents and hydrocarbons. 

One of the main concerns in the nitrile vs latex coated gloves is the grip. Latex is by far regarded as the best material for grip and suction among all three types.

Advantages: Latex coated Gloves have a very high elasticity index making them very dextrous and flexible.

  • Can withstand a wider temperature range.
  • Is reactive to organic and hydrocarbon compounds
  • Resilient to cut and tear
  • Greater grip efficiency than most
  • Durable and abrasion-resistant
  • Can cause an allergic reaction sometimes
  • Works well in both dry and wet conditions. However, grease and oily surfaces are best avoided.

Functionality – The latex coated gloves are especially usable in cement block fabrication and fine wood carving. The gloves are one of the primary components of PPE kits due to their cost-efficiency. Ideal for use while handling sharp glass, metalwork, scaffolding, roofing, and barbed wires and even for preparing foods. Here you can find our reviews on the best gloves for food preparation.

When to use nitrile, polyurethane & latex coated gloves?

Based on the properties and the composition of the glove coating material every individual glove type has a designated use. The suitability of the work prospect of each glove type varies depending on numerous factors like temperature, chemical compounds, wetness, breathability, etc.

Nitrile coated Gloves: 

They are best for use in oil rigs and chemical plants due to the higher resistance to chemicals and oils. Has a higher temperature tolerance which is suitable for metal and automotive application. Additionally, they provide excellent suction to prevent slippage.

PU coated Gloves:

Ideal for handling oils, peroxides, acids, and bases. Is best usable in the cleaning industry, Painting properties, and automobiles, Timber cutting, and warehouse management.

Latex Gloves:

Best usable at lower temperatures, Latex gloves are commonly used for glass cutting, as PPE kits, concrete block making and other jobs done in a dry environment.

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