There are both similarities and differences between vinyl gloves and nitrile gloves. On a basic level, both gloves are meant to protect your hands. More importantly, both gloves are made from synthetic material. Vinyl, short for polyvinyl chloride (PVC), is essentially plastic. Glove manufacturers mix this plastic material with plasticizers to give it the flexibility that is needed. In contrast to vinyl, nitrile material share closer properties to rubber as a synthetic rubber material.

Nitrile gloves are considered to be more versatile in protecting the hands. The material is more durable protecting against punctures better than vinyl gloves. In addition, nitrile gloves have resistance to a wide range of chemicals. Vinyl gloves provide minimal protection against harsh chemicals. For this reason, the medical industry use nitrile gloves when handling chemotherapy drugs such as Triethylenethiophosphoramide and Carmustine. Chemotherapy drugs have alkylating agents that are toxic to normal cells and since coming into contact with these drugs is harmful to healthy individuals, using nitrile exam gloves are a necessary precaution.

When you compare vinyl gloves versus nitrile gloves, you would expect everyone to always use the latter given a choice; however, nitrile gloves are more expensive to purchase. Vinyl gloves are commonly used when minimal protection is needed, especially since nitrile tends to be 2-3 times more expensive than the PVC material. Since vinyl is cheap, this is also used in food preparation gloves. Saving money is not everything though since the primary reason for using gloves in the first place is to provide protection to workers. For this reason, you won’t see any vinyl gloves in factories. In high-risk environments, you are more likely to see nitrile gloves or even work gloves made from a stronger material such as Kevlar gloves.

So if you are still asking which is better: vinyl gloves vs nitrile gloves? I would pick nitrile gloves because of the versatility in its use. If price is not a factor, I will say nitrile gloves in a heartbeat.