Disposable gloves are a great way to add a barrier of protection between your hands and what you are handling. Selecting the best protective glove can be daunting. What material? What’s the difference between all of the gloves out there? It needs to provide the highest level of safety to protect your customers, your product and your brand. That’s a big task.
Our Eagle team is here to help make sure you select the best glove for your business. Don’t hesitate to contact us with questions. Here are the basics of disposable gloves. This will help you search for the best food handling or medical glove and decipher the spec sheets.
Nitrile butadiene rubber is a synthetic, latex-free rubber. Nitrile gloves have characteristics similar to latex such as their elasticity and strength but do not contain the latex proteins people can be highly sensitive or even allergic to. For multiple food safety reasons, we recommend them for all food handling longer than a minute or two. Nitrile gloves’ durability and comfort are why they are also commonly used throughout a range of industries.
Very durable due to their high elasticity and resistance to punctures, latex gloves provide the wearer with a great fit, but improvements in nitrile have drastically closed the performance gap. Most people are familiar with latex gloves since they have been around the longest. Heavy-duty latex gloves are commonly used for industrial use. They are no longer used to handle food and are being replaced in the medical industry with nitrile gloves since some people are allergic to proteins in the latex.
Vinyl gloves are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which makes them rigid, inflexible, poor-fitting; they rip and puncture easily compared to nitrile gloves. Vinyl gloves need to be changed frequently and are commonly used in the fast food / RTE handling or cleaning services due to their perceived cheap price point.
We have stopped sourcing vinyl gloves due to food safety and environmental risks as well as adverse health effects to the glove wearer. Read why cheap vinyl gloves are the best gloves to spread listeria.
Commonly called PE gloves, they are an inexpensive food safety solution to handling food when frequent glove changes are required (i.e. making sandwiches, serving food from a deli case, etc).These gloves are extremely thin and loose-fitting.
Our comparison chart below helps you see which is the best glove type to suit your business needs.
This measurement is straightforward and tells you how thick the material is. A thicker glove does not necessarily indicate a stronger or more durable glove. Read do thicker gloves improve food safety to learn more.
The weight of a glove indicates the amount of material in the entire glove.
The cuff measurement is the distance from the tip of the middle finger to the end of the cuff. Depending on the task different cuff lengths are preferable, for example, if more protection is needed a longer cuff would be the better choice.
The cuff length of a standard glove, 240mm, covers only a small area of the wrist. If lower arm protection is required, extra cuff length is then needed, such as our 300mm Blue Diamond Textured Nitrile gloves.
Ambidextrous / hand-specific:
Gloves formed to fit either hand, reduce waste and simplify ordering when compared to gloves specifically formed for right or left hands.
Gloves generally have textured fingertips, and some are fully textured including the palm area. The texture is a roughened part of the glove which improves their handling of smooth or slippery surfaces. A diamond-textured surface is a pronounced texture to provide enhanced grip, especially in wet conditions.
The role that the glove will serve will also determine which glove you will require. For example, a textured surface glove provides a more secure grip in wetter conditions.
Poorly fitting gloves reduce dexterity and tactile sensitivity, resulting in a need to use stronger muscle force and a huge food safety hazard as the glove can fragment and enter food. Companies can experience major costs and significant productivity losses due to injuries related to glove use.
Implementation of new gloving policy and products to match workers needs often results in improved safety productivity, job satisfaction and morale. Read more about this in The Top 6 Hazards of Disposable Gloves.
Palm measurement: Find your size below after measuring your hand as indicated in the image below.
Don't have a ruler? Download and print out our guide to help find the right size for you, by placing your hand on the glove.
GLOVE PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE QUALITIES
The acceptable quality level refers to a quality standard for measuring pinhole defects. It is a way to quantify the level of safety barrier between workers hands and the object being handled. The lower the AQL, the fewer defects and higher quality the gloves are. Read more about using AQL to select the right glove.
The amount of force needed to stretch a glove to its breaking point. A higher number reflects a higher quality glove material.
This is the length the glove stretches before it breaks. Higher numbers represent better elasticity and a higher quality glove.
Each chemical requires a different type of glove protection for the wearer. Conditions, exposure times, chemical concentrations and residues may effect glove performance. It is strongly advised that on-site testing of all gloves is important to determine safe usages. Download our Chemical Resistance Chart as advisory guide.
Those that are hyper-sensitive to powdered disposable gloves may require a powder-free option. Those that have latex allergies will need a latex-free nitrile option such as our Sensitive* Powder-free Nitrile gloves. These types of gloves do not contain accelerator chemicals normally used in the manufacturing process of nitrile gloves that can cause skin irritation.
Cost vs Value:
Cheaper gloves can be manufactured from cheap, low-quality raw materials, and subsequently have a higher failure rate. If you are experiencing ripping or breakage problems - moving to a thicker glove is not necessarily the best option, and increases cost and waste. Read more about Why Cheap Disposable Gloves Don't Save You Money.
Donning and Doffing:
Workers donning and doffing disposable gloves properly is a basic, but important food safety step / infection controal measure. Learn how to don and doff disposable gloves correctly.
At Eagle Protect we pride ourselves in supplying high-quality, ethically-sourced disposable gloves. Browse our collection of gloves proven safe for food or medical handling. Our glove experts are ready to help you select the best disposable glove for your business to help your company switch to a more sustainable glove option and to reduce your own environmental impact while saving money. Contact us today to find out more.
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RESOURCES TO FIND OUT MORE
Eagle Protect has produced various resources to assist in the education and decision making pertaining to disposable gloves. There is a lot of science behind a product that seems so relatively simple. Click below to learn more.