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What Are the Main Types of Gloves?

May 16, 2023 10:00:00 AM posted in Infection Prevention, Exam Gloves, General Purpose Gloves, Veterinary, Industry Trends, Dental

If disposable medical gloves are something the employees of your facility don’t talk about, congratulate your purchasing officer. 

Workers take disposable gloves for granted until they are not available, are the wrong type for the task to be done, or fail because of poor quality. Choosing the right glove–or the wrong glove–has consequences related to the safety and satisfaction of workers and patients, employee productivity, and the company’s bottom line. 

The buying process for disposable gloves starts with understanding the tasks to be accomplished while wearing the gloves. While General purpose gloves are not suitable for direct patient care, the more expensive medical gloves aren’t necessary for basic sanitation tasks. A lab worker, a janitor and a surgeon will all have different needs and priorities for the disposable gloves they use. Features such as glove thickness, durability and porousness can affect the wearer’s health, comfort and dexterity.

Often, the type of glove material is predetermined by the tasks to be done, such as chemo-rating or latex vs. non-latex in patient care. The table below summarizes the three main types of materials used to manufacture disposable gloves, their pros and cons, and their best uses.

Type of glove 

Pros and Cons

Best uses


Pros: durable, chemical resistant, puncture resistant

Cons: less flexible than latex, tends to shred if torn

Healthcare, dental, industrial, food service, janitorial


Pros: comfortable fit, touch sensitivity, tear resistant, biodegradable

Cons: potential latex allergy, short shelf life

Where touch sensitivity and flexibility are highly desired; such as performing surgery or in dental settings


Pros: cost-effective, good shelf life

Cons: least durable, loose fit

Janitorial, food service


 (For more information, read our blog about the different types of glove materials.)  

Besides the glove material, there are other features available to accommodate the wearers’ preferences. Fit, textured or non-textured surface, coatings and finishes, and even color can affect how satisfied a worker may be with using the gloves. Once the healthcare buyer understands these preferences, they can begin to narrow the choices of suitable products.

Regardless of their duties, it’s certain that healthcare workers will change their gloves often. To make the gloves easier to take on and off, manufacturers can treat their disposable gloves with chemicals to give them a smooth finish. For latex gloves, the coating also reduces the amount of latex proteins that come off the gloves, helping to reduce the risk of a latex allergic reaction. This table shows the most common finishes manufacturers add to disposable gloves.

Finish options

Coating Process

Pros and Cons


Powder coating added inside the glove, usually made from corn-starch

Pros: makes donning and doffing gloves easier, better moisture control

Cons: banned in healthcare settings in some countries 


Gloves are dipped in a diluted chlorine solution

Pros: makes donning and doffing gloves easier

Cons: residue of chemicals can cause allergic reaction 


Polymer bonded to the inside of the glove

Pros: makes donning and doffing gloves easier

Cons: residue of chemicals can cause allergic reaction

Aloe, vitamin E 

Coating of aloe and vitamin E applied to the inside of the glove

Pros: protects and soothes dry, sensitive skin

Cons: more expensive



Together, we can Outsmart Infection ® 

Choosing the wrong disposable medical gloves wastes time, money, and storage space. To avoid costly mistakes, your company should partner with a reputable supplier who can explain the different types of gloves available and suggest the right products for your needs.

Sri Trang is a leading global manufacturer of top-quality disposable gloves, offering a full line of Ventyv ® brand nitrile and latex medical gloves to choose from. Browse our products page to see all the options available. Whether you need exam gloves or chemo-rated hand protection, we have a glove to suit your needs. 


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