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Neoprene vs Nitrile Gloves - Which Hand Protection is Best for You?

neoprene vs nitrile gloves

Wish you could get extra protection against toxic materials, chemicals, and weather? You can! Learn how in the next few minutes.

Both neoprene gloves and nitrile gloves are great for use in different applications and have numerous benefits. Both glove types offer excellent elasticity which means they will easily return to shape when stretched. Let's explore further which type of protective gloves are right for you.

What is the Difference Between Neoprene and Nitrile Gloves?

Neoprene excels in durability and weather resistance. Nitrile is resistant to temperatures, abrasion, and a wide range of chemicals. But which is best for your needs?

Neoprene vs Nitrile Gloves

Anytime you are looking at a rubber glove, it is important to note which type of rubber the glove is made from. This is especially true when comparing neoprene and nitrile gloves. Both neoprene and nitrile gloves have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages depending on how they will be used.

Neoprene Gloves

Neoprene gloves are made from a synthetic rubber called chloroprene. They are made through a free radical polymerization process using different chemical reactions. The chemical treatment of the polymers turns it into a more flexible material. 

Advantages of Neoprene:

  • Finger dexterity and good pliability
  • High density, impact resistance, high resilience, cut resistant, and resistant to tears
  • Superior resistance to degradation from sunlight, weather, oxidation, ozone, aging, freons, and mild acids
  • Excellent for use outdoors
  • Moderate resistance to petroleum products and oils
  • Mostly resistant to fats, greases, and solvents
  • Superior protection against many chemicals
  • Highly flexible, durable, and elastomeric 
  • Returns to original shape easily after being stretched

The biggest advantage of neoprene gloves is the superior resistance to impact and weather.

What is Neoprene Rubber?

Polychloroprene or neoprene is part of a synthetic rubber family. Polymerization of chloroprene is how neoprene is produced.

Is Neoprene Better Than Nitrile? 

While neoprene is more durable, it is not suitable for use in cold weather environments. Neoprene can become too stiff and rigid when used in temperatures less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Do Neoprene Gloves Protect Against?

Neoprene gloves are used to protect against oils, flames, heat, and many other harmful environmental factors. They also provide protection against abrasion, hydraulic fluids, alcohols, gasoline, akalis, and organic acids.

Are Neoprene Gloves Waterproof?

Neoprene is not waterproof. This means they will hold water and become easily permeable to liquids. Nitrile is used to make waterproof gloves.

Why is Neoprene Oil Resistant?

The reason neoprene is oil resistant is because the chemical bonds in the production process create an intermolecular force that repels oils. The resistance to petroleum products and oils is only moderate in comparison to nitrile.

Is Neoprene a Good Material? 

Not all neoprene gloves are made the same. Different manufacturers use different amounts of chloroprene in their neoprene. This means different qualities and characteristics exist for each type of neoprene glove.

Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile gloves are manufactured from a synthetic rubber called nitrile. It is resistant to chemicals made from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) polymers that are formed through a free radical polymerization process. ABS is known for its high chemical stability, good flexibility, good elasticity, low compression set points, and high strength-to-weight ratios.

Advantages of Nitrile:

  • High chemical resistance and solvent resistance
  • Resistant to engine oils, acids, alkalis, aliphatic hydrocarbon, fuels, and gasoline
  • Superior resistance to petroleum-based hydraulic fluids
  • Good resistance to abrasion and does not tear easily
  • Will not become waterlogged or break down in water
  • Highly puncture resistant

Nitrile gloves are specifically made for use in wet-working environments. They provide the right balance of flexibility, durability, and strength that makes them popular in many industries.

What is Nitrile Rubber?

Nitrile gloves are made of a synthetic material called nitrile rubber, which has a butadiene based polymer. When the polymerization process is complete, it creates a synthetic material with many of the same properties as natural rubber.

Is Nitrile Good for Gasoline?

Nitrile gloves are a good material to use when you are around gasoline, since nitrile is chemically resistant and tough.

Is Nitrile Oil Resistant?

Nitrile is resistant to petroleum products and oils. It can resist mechanical scratching, abrasion, and most hydrocarbon solvents.

What Chemicals Do Nitrile Gloves Protect Against?

Nitrile gloves are highly chemical resistant to the following chemicals: engine oils, acids, alkalis, aliphatic hydrocarbon, fuels, gasoline, and petroleum-based hydraulic fluids.

Will Muriatic Acid Eat Through Nitrile Gloves?

Muriatic acid resistance is considered good, but not excellent, in nitrile gloves. They offer a mid-level range of protection against muriatic acid.

Are All Nitrile Gloves Chemical Resistant?

The quality of nitrile gloves varies. They are manufactured with different amounts of chloroprene. Different manufacturers use different amounts in their manufacturing processes. The amount of chemical resistance will depend on the amount of chloroprene used. For example, nitrile gloves are poor in chemical resistance to acetaldehye but have excellent resistance against amyle acetate.

Can Nitrile Gloves Be Punctured?

Nitrile gloves are puncture resistant. They can protect against cuts, punctures, gouges, and slashes. They have a hard surface that is resistant to cutting and tearing from sharp edges.

Are All Nitrile Gloves Medical Grade?

Nitrile gloves are the most common type of glove material for medical use. They are usually called nitrile exam gloves and are made in different thicknesses. The thinner the nitrile, the more flexible it will be. This allows it to better conform to the hand and still allow for a sense of feeling on the surface of the glove.

Nitrile disposable medical gloves or surgical gloves are a popular option since they are highly durable and protective. They are great for incidental contact. A thicker reusable glove is needed for extended contact.

When Should You Use Nitrile Gloves?

Nitrile gloves are especially useful when working around acids, solvents, or oils. They will provide a good level of chemical resistance and still be flexible enough for touch sensitivity. This makes them perfect for use in labs, in the processing industry, whenever there is contact with bodily fluids, and in the automotive industry.

Are Nitrile Gloves Safe to Use?

Disposable nitrile gloves are safe to use for most individuals, especially when properly sized.

Do Nitrile Gloves Protect Against UV?

Thick nitrile gloves do offer some protection against UV light, especially if you wear two pairs. Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when using UV light.

Neoprene vs Nitrile Gloves Summary

Both types of gloves offer a variety of benefits. Nitrile gloves excel in protection against toxic materials and chemicals while neoprene gloves are high in durability and weather resistance. Which type of glove is right for you will depend on how you will use them and in what settings.

By the way, did you know that we carry nitrile gloves at the lowest prices? Yes, it's true! Stock up now on PPE and save.

Now, back to you. Which type of disposable glove do you prefer, nitrile or neoprene?