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How food-service gloves compare

How food-service gloves compare

Below you will find a comparison of the four most widely used types of food industry gloves.

HDPE gloves


■ They can be found in many thicknesses and sizes and are generally the least expensive of all gloves, especially the thin, one-size-fits-all type.

■ HDPE gloves are designed to fit and squeeze on fingers so that they don't slip off.

■ If burned, HDPE does not produce harmful chemicals such as dioxins or bisphenol, so these are characterised as environmentally friendly.


■ Thin, one-size-fits-all gloves are not so strong and tend to tear easily especially when working with food in high temperature.

■ HDPE gloves may not fit larger hands.

■ The heat-welded seams on these gloves are typically where they tend to fail.

Vinyl gloves


■ These provide comfortable fit.

■ They are more resistant to oil than latex.

■ They can stand heat without melting.


■ They can begin leaking if stretched too much and therefore be the reason for contamination and infections.

Nitrile gloves


■ They are less elastic than latex but are significantly more durable.

■ They provide a good level of dexterity at an affordable cost.

■ They can resist many chemicals.

■ They cannot be punctured easily.


■ Like other glove types, nitrile gloves are sensitive to alcohol degradation.

■ They have been found not to be ozone degradation resistant and not as flexible as latex.

■ Once damaged, these gloves tear easily into smaller piecec that may end up in food.

■ Nitrile gloves may contain bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, or DEHP, recognized as carcinogenic.

Natural rubber latex gloves


■ These are the most commonly used and often among the least expensive of the comfortable, flexible and good fitting glove types.

■ Latex gloves offer good dexterity, a comfortable fit, good sense of touching and can withstand high heat.


■ Many people could be allergic to latex or to the chemical additives used in the manufacturing process.

■ Latex particles and other chemicals can slough off into food when the chlorinated glove surface breaks.

■ Latex gloves are not oxygen, ozone or ultraviolet light resistand and therefore can deteriorate in time or when exposed to oils and solvents such as alcohol