101 Guide of Different Types of Gloves and Their Uses

Gloves are an important part of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that are worn by workers in different industries to avoid injury while working. For workers, gloves are a second skin that protects them from harmful substances without limiting the dexterity needed to perform their jobs effectively.

Unlike some other PPE, like face masks, gloves are not a generic product. For efficient performance and optimal safety, the workers must be equipped with the right types of gloves. There are different types of gloves and they are unique to particular tasks in several industries. For example, in the medical industry, there are many medical disposable manufacturers who produce numerous types of gloves for various purposes, such as surgical, examination, etc.

So, in this post, we will cut across all the major industries and discuss the different types of gloves and their uses.

Different Types of Gloves

In the next series of paragraphs, we will highlight and discuss the kinds of gloves used in different sectors.

Types of Safety Gloves Used in the Industry

Industrial Safety Glove
Source: Shutterstock

As with the different types of safety gloves used in industries, there are a number of them. These gloves help to protect workers from hazardous occurrences, as well as improve their work rate.

Cotton/Fabric Gloves

These are the most popular types of gloves used in the industry. They serve as a thin, breathable layer between the hand, the tools, and the materials workers are working on. These types of protective gloves only offer little protection against punctures, sharp objects, hot surfaces, and open flames. Nevertheless, they are trusted for keeping the hands clean and preventing minimal scratches and abrasions.

Coated Fabric Gloves

Coated fabric gloves are used for universal purposes. They outperform normal fabric gloves in terms of functionalities, including resistance to puncture, cut, and chemical, as well as protection from alkalinity in concrete products. These gloves are usually coated with different materials like latex, nitrile, and PVC. The coating material to be used depends on the function of the gloves.

However, while coated fabric gloves possess more outstanding properties than standard fabric gloves, they cannot be used as substitutes for specialized chemical gloves like PVC examination gloves.

Metal Mesh Gloves

These industrial glove types are made up of interlocking metal rings or links and they provide improved cut-resistance. Metal mesh gloves are mostly used in industries that deal with sharp and heavy tools. They are constructed with corrosion-resistant stainless steel, making them simple to clean with soap and water.

Despite the fact that they are worn while working with sharp and heavy loads, they are lightweight and have a wide range of motion.

Cryogenic Gloves

Cryogenic gloves are worn to protect the hands from extremely cold temperatures. These types of protective gloves are most suitable when handling dry ice, and when working with liquid nitrogen and other cryogenic liquids.

Chemically Resistant Gloves

These types of hand gloves are designed to be resistant to chemical substances. They are used in applications that require that the hands are covered with chemicals. These gloves protect the hands from the effects of coming in contact with these substances.

Vibration-Resistant Gloves

In the ordinary sense, vibrations may appear to be harmless, but when you are exposed to them for a long time, they are very harmful. With growing awareness about the Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), glove manufacturers have designed professional gloves that reduce the amount of vibration energy by absorbing much of the impact of the vibrating tools. These industrial glove types are mostly used in the fabrication, construction, and automotive industries.

Impact-Resistant Gloves

These sets of gloves are similar to vibration-resistant gloves in the sense that they also protect workers from the effects of impacts. The impacts could be sharp objects, heavy objects, chemicals, vibrations, hot surfaces, etc.

Chemical and Liquid-Resistant Gloves

Chemical and harmful liquid absorption through the skin can lead to serious immediate or long-term health conditions that could be deadly. The function of these hand gloves is to secure your hands while you handle chemical and hazardous liquid substances. These protective gloves act as a defense on your behalf.

Puncture-Resistant Gloves

These industrial glove types are made to protect your hands from cuts and punctures. They can be designed to be in the form of woven Kevlar gloves or gloves that emulate fish skin. They detect and deflect sharp items that could puncture the hand. These types of gloves are mostly used in industries that deal with manual cutting, like food service, construction, and warehousing.

Aluminized Gloves

When working with heat, these are the kinds of gloves to work with. They can withstand extremely high temperatures, which is why they are usually used in welding, foundries, and laboratories. These types of gloves can handle temperatures as much as 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Reusable Latex Gloves

These are gloves that are made from latex. They are designed to be reusable i.e., after every use, they can be washed and dried for the next usage. They are usually used for maintenance, general heavy-duty cleaning, and industrial purposes. In fact, reusable latex gloves are ideal for scrubbing and scouring pots and pans.

Reusable Nitrile Gloves

Just like reusable latex gloves, these types of gloves can also be washed, dried, and reused. However, they are made from nitrile materials. They are applicable to maintenance, automotive, plumbing, and food processing industries. Reusable nitrile gloves are capable of resisting punctures, chemicals, and high temperatures.

Neoprene Gloves

Neoprene gloves are tough, versatile, and typically liquid-resistant, making them a good choice for situations where the skin and hands will be exposed to substances like acids, bases, alcohol, peroxide, hydrocarbons, gasoline, hydraulic fluid, or fuel for a long period of time.

Butyl Rubber Gloves

Butyl rubber gloves are made from synthetic rubber with outstanding properties like high tensile strength, flexibility, and long shelf life. But it’s most notable for being one of the few materials and the only elastomer that’s resistant to gasses.

Butyl rubber gloves can withstand several dangerous components, such as acids, ozone, hydraulic fluid, and ketones. They can also withstand temperatures ranging from -50 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Even though these gloves are tough, durable, and provide superior protection against toxic substances, they are too thick, bulky, have low touch sensitivity, and are unsuitable for precision work.

Kevlar Gloves

Kevlar gloves are made from a synthetic fiber that’s five times stronger than steel per unit weight, and these gloves are extremely resistant to cut.

Kevlar gloves are also relatively light, comfortable, and flexible. Their heat and flame resistance abilities make them a perfect choice for restaurant and kitchen protection, as well as a variety of other uses.

Viton Gloves

Viton gloves are one of the most chemically resistant rubber gloves on the market today. They can protect against a variety of chemicals, including chlorinated solvents, benzene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons.

Norfoil Gloves

Norfoil gloves can withstand prolonged contact with even the most dangerous chemicals. The industrial glove types are usually silver in color, identical to aluminum foil, and they are made up of five layers of compacted fabric. These gloves are usually laminated with high and low-energy polymers, allowing them to withstand a wide range of chemicals for many hours.

Norfoil gloves can be used as a liner for further protection. The only downside to these gloves is how they limit movement and dexterity.

Dyneema Gloves

Dyneema gloves are made from polyethylene (PE) materials that are 15 times stronger than steel and 40% stronger than aramids. They are UV-resistant and they provide excellent heat & cold protection.

Spectra Gloves

Spectra gloves are a form of PE examination gloves. They are one of a kind in that they have the capability to withstand cuts even wet. These gloves are lightweight, flexible, comfortable, and UV & chemical-resistant.

Types of Gloves for Healthcare

Healthcare Glove
Source: Pexels

As with the different types of gloves for medical purposes, we only have two unique gloves. To get the right types of gloves used in hospitals, you have to contact a specialized medical glove manufacturer. These gloves are manufactured with optimal quality intent in certified cleanrooms.

Surgical Gloves

Surgical gloves are sterile types of gloves used in healthcare by surgeons, nurses, and doctors to administer treatment to patients. They are primarily used to curb the transmission of diseases between patients and medical practitioners.

OEM surgical gloves are more precise in terms of sizing and are made with higher quality standards. This is because medical operations are extremely sensitive and must be handled with sterile equipment. If the glove is loose, it could lead to a fatal mistake during surgery.

Exam Gloves

These are disposable gloves used in medical examinations and procedures to prevent cross-contamination between healthcare staff and patients. They can be made with different materials. The most popular exam glove types are latex, vinyl, and nitrile medical examination gloves.

These gloves eliminate the risk that medical workers are exposed to. Also, it ensures cleanliness in the healthcare environment.

Types of Gloves for Sports

Sports Glove
Source: Shutterstock

Below are the safety gloves that are used for sports. These gloves help sportsmen and sportswomen to have a better grip on equipment. Also, they help to prevent accidents.

Cycling Gloves

Cycling gloves are manufactured with microfibers, making them strong and durable. They have comfortable pads that your fingers will conveniently slip-on. Wearing them while cycling ensures that your wrists are protected from strains and injuries.

Cycling gloves are made to allow breathability, making them easy to put on and take off.  Their functionality extends to riding an automated bike.

Driving Gloves

Driving gloves provide you with better control over the steering wheel. You will have more grip and agility, making highway driving a lot more enjoyable. They also aid in the preservation of the wheel by preventing your hands from sweating and becoming oily.

Even in high temperatures, driving gloves will make the ride much easier. Above all, they give an unexplainable stylish look.

Skiing Gloves

Skiing gloves are manufactured of premium cotton, making them ideal for triple insulation. Ski gloves include a thick fleece fabric lining that absorbs moisture while keeping your hands very warm.

These gloves are windproof and normally come with an elastic wrist band to keep them in place on your wrists. They are also ideal for winter and snow activities.

Golf Gloves

Golf gloves serve a variety of purposes, but one of the most important is grip. These gloves provide sweaty palms with a strong grip, keep hands dry when it’s raining, and provide the necessary friction to thrive at the game.

While calluses and blisters can be caused by gripping the golf club too tightly or repeating the swing, these golf gloves ensure that players are safe from having blisters.

Baseball Gloves

Baseball gloves improve the player’s grip on the bat, which tends to be slippery, especially during games, which can cause the player to lose the game. These baseball gloves are comfortable and feel soft on the hands, making it easier to hold the bat firmly. They are lightweight and do not add extra weight to our hands, so your swings will not be compromised.

Gardening Gloves

Your nails and skin can be damaged by repeated exposure to mud and water. Also, people prick their fingers on thorns or splinters while gardening, which is why it’s critical to keep your hands clean and free of injuries, as dirt and germs can infect them.

If you wear a durable pair of gardening gloves, any soil-borne hazardous bacteria, animal excrement, or chemical will not injure your hands. Wearing these gloves is a low-cost approach to keeping your hands safe.

Weightlifting Gym Gloves

Wearing weightlifting gloves is also essential for weightlifters. They provide a better grip, making it less likely that the weight will fall off and probably can an injury. These gloves also keep the weight from becoming slick due to sweat.

Weightlifting gym gloves are also comfortable to exercise with because the cold metal weight isn’t very appealing. These gloves also offer considerable wrist support.

Types of Gloves Used in the Food Industry

Food Industry Glove
Source: Freepik

Below are the types of gloves to use for handling food. These gloves are made in compliance with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards.

PVC Gloves

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is a low-cost type of glove used in the kitchen. It’s capable of resisting alcohols, salts, and water solutions. These types of kitchen gloves are widely used in food preparation, especially for food that demands little exposure to harmful chemicals and pathogens as they are not very strong.

PE Gloves

Polyethylene (PE) is a type of polymer that is commonly used today. PE gloves are often regarded as the best types of disposable gloves as they are very cost-effective. They are light and easy to wear, as well as remove, thereby maintaining a hygienic environment. This is a type of gloves used for food preparation and serving food as they keep bacteria away, however, they don’t provide any protection against food-grade oil.

Vinyl Gloves

A common question in many people’s minds is: can vinyl gloves be used for food preparation? This is major because these types of gloves are made from a petroleum-based film, PVC.

To answer the question, vinyl gloves are amongst the types of gloves used for serving food, however, they cannot be used for oily and fatty food. The main advantage of vinyl gloves is their low cost of production and effectiveness. Vinyl gloves are a cost-effective alternative for food handling services that require regular glove removal and disposal.

Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile gloves are made from synthetic rubber, making them very strong and resistant to chemicals and punctures. Also, they are allergy-free and suitable for food application. Nitrile gloves are considered one of the best types of gloves for food service.  They protect against biohazards, chemicals, grease, and oils.

Cut Resistant Gloves

While processing some food, your hand is likely to come in contact with sharp objects that can tear your hand glove. And once the glove is torn, you are in the open for possible germs infection. But with cut-resistant gloves like spectra gloves, you can handle any food item without the risk of damage as they are designed to be very strong.

Heat Resistant Oven Gloves

These types of gloves are for food preparation in hot environments, like the oven. With these gloves, you eliminate the risk of glove damage due to excessive handling of hot substances. They are used in food preparation industries like the bakery.

Different Types of Gloves for Fashion

Fashion. Glove
Source: Freepik

In the fashion industry, substances used are made of chemicals, and these are components staff have to work with every now and then. It’s very risky not to be protected as the chemicals can be harmful. Described below are the different types of fashion gloves that offer optimal protection.

Touch Screen Gloves

They are also known as touch-capacitated gloves. These gloves are knitted with an incredibly lightweight, thin, and stretchy fabric used to protect the hands from harsh temperatures and chemicals. These gloves are lined with silicone grips on the inside to prevent your hands from slipping.

Silk Gloves Liners

Silk gloves liners are the only glove accessory that can give your party dress a royal and majestic look. They are very strong and at the same time, breathable. Also, with frequent use of silk gloves, aging signs and hyperpigmentation on your hands will be reduced. Silk is not just a beautiful fabric to wear, it’s also classy and relaxing.

Leather Gloves

Leather gloves are common types of fashion gloves that are worn to give more elegance to dresses. When properly cared for, they are extremely durable and maintain their beauty. However, when they are exposed to too much heat, they get hardened.

Elastic Velvet Gloves

Elastic velvet gloves are well-known for their regal softness. They’re stretchy, breathable, fashionable, and blend nicely with the Christmas theme. You can wear an elastic velvet glove when you’re attending a costume holiday party or festive dinner. They are not just soft and smooth but also stunning on short dresses.

Arm Warmers

Arm warmers are amongst the simple fashion choices that can make you look more elegant. Apart from adding to your beauty, they ensure that the delicate regions of your arms are warm. To add more elegance, you can put a few glittering beads on them.

Button Gloves

Button gloves are for everyday use in the winter. Even when they are not the most popular choice, they help you pull off a stylish urban appearance when worn with a soothing outfit. Button gloves are usually hand-knitted, therefore very soft. They look very beautiful in shades of gray, green, brown, and camel.

Fingerless Gloves

Fingerless gloves are cut-off finger forms of gloves that are very stylish, and are lightweight, thin, and stretchy, providing a lot of comfort. They are made from a cooling fabric that shields your hands from the sun’s rays. Fingerless gloves are a good choice of hand wears for outdoor leisure time, gardening, thrilling rides, and hiking.

Faux Fur Gloves

The main material of faux fur gloves is usually found around the wrist. The fur trim creates a warm atmosphere and is perfect to wear with a formal part cloth. They also look great with a long trench coat and a draping cape garment. These gloves are very fancy and elegant.

Fish Neon Gloves

These are the perfect gloves to wear for indoor, cozy parties in the winter season. They are very thin and woven with a delicate net, giving them a beautiful look. Fish neon gloves have fishnet cutouts and customized holes for sticking out of the fingers. They give off an 80s mood, enhance your costume style, and are suitable for dance events and parades.

White Parade Gloves

These gloves are for people participating in royal parades, funerals, and other royal services. White parade gloves are a great choice if you are or want to become a marching band member to show your patriotism.

Convertible Gloves

These gloves serve dual purposes. You can use them as a fingerless glove, as well as a full-hand glove. The convertible gloves allow you to make changes to your look as you please. All you need is one pair and it will seem like you have two different types of gloves fashion.

Military Fingerless Gloves

These gloves are either made without the finger parts or manually cut from the first joint. They are primarily used to protect the hands from danger while also providing great finger dexterity. These gloves are mostly used by the military and the police. Armed officials will be able to move their hands freely and protect them on the battlefield.

Military fingerless gloves have a fine design, which is why other people like bike riders opt for them.

Winter Gloves

These gloves serve as the perfect protection from cold. Without them, the fingers can suffer from frostbite or worse conditions in which the fingers might freeze out. While winter gloves are made to withstand the cold, they are also designed to be beautiful and waterproof.

Different Types of Disposable Gloves

Disposable Glove
Source: Freepik

Disposable gloves are produced with the intention to use once and dispose of. They become damaged and unfit for another application. These are the different types.

Polyethylene PE Gloves

Polyethylene gloves are often loose-fitting and have low tensile strength, making them not to be reusable. After the initial use, they are to be displaced. Also, they are not good for clinical usage, but they can be used for preparing and serving food.

Rubber Latex Gloves

Latex gloves are capable of withstanding chemicals like alkalis, diluted acids, ketones, and salts. Also, they have good flexibility and tensile strength. However, prolonged use will lead to allergic reactions, which is why they are to be disposed of immediately after the first use.

Neoprene Gloves

Neoprene gloves have similar qualities to rubber latex gloves. As an extension, they have high density, offer better finger dexterity, and are usable in latex-free situations. However, they are not to be used more than once.

Vinyl Gloves

Vinyl gloves are appropriate for non-aseptic tasks that have a low chance of coming in contact with the body. The reason why they cannot be used more than once is that they are vulnerable to blood-borne viruses and have low tensile strength. This makes them prone to leakage.

Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile gloves serve as a reliable alternative to latex gloves as they are not allergic. Nitrile gloves are a good biological barrier and can be used to handle some chemicals. The reason why they are to be disposed of after usage is because tears and leakages tend to spread quickly once they occur. Even though there are many nitrile exam gloves suppliers, these gloves are still expensive.

What are Gloves Used for

Gloves are used by several industries basically for protection, for better grip of equipment, and for beauty purposes. Here are some industries and what they use gloves for.

Medical Industry

Medical Industry 1
Source: Pexels

The medical industry is one of the major users of gloves. All healthcare professionals are mandated to wear gloves when administering medical solutions to patients in order to curb the transmission of infections and diseases. The major types of gloves used in the medical industry are examination gloves and surgical gloves. China latex examination gloves are popular in the medical industry. Another is chemotherapy gloves. 

Laboratory

Laboratory Glove
Source: Pexels

Gloves are also used by experts when carrying out experiments. Most laboratory works require dealing with chemicals that are harmful to the human skin, so to prevent body contact, gloves are used.

Beauty and Tattoo Services

Beauty and Tattoo Services Glove
Source: Freepik

Beauticians wear gloves when they are set to work so that they won’t get stained by the substances used. The substances are of course made from the combination of several components, which could be harmful to the body.

Janitorial Work

Janitorial Work Glove
Source: Unsplash

Gloves used in the janitorial industry are usually selected by the nature of the chemicals used in cleaning. If harsh chemicals are used, then you should choose tough glove materials that are resistant to chemicals and other harsh factors.

Cooking and Food Preparation

Cooking and Food Preparation
Source: Freepik

Gloves used in cooking and food preparation are regulated by the FDA. This organization ensures that these gloves are safe and made up of materials that are not harmful to the body. The gloves are to be disposed after usage i.e., the same glove shouldn’t be used for different stages of food preparation.

Security Work

Security Work Glove
Source: Shutterstock

Security jobs require the handling of tools that can get slippery due to intense grip. To eliminate this, gloves are used. These gloves also provide better dexterity and comfortability.

Heavy Industries

Heavy Industries Glove
Source: Shutterstock

Industries that deal with heavy machinery make use of gloves in handling production processes. They wear gloves for protection and better grip on instruments so as to have better control.

What are the Benefits of Safety Gloves

Safety gloves provide a lot of benefits, especially when working with hazardous chemicals and substances because they protect the hands from contamination and infection. These are the major benefits of safety gloves.

  • They prevent cross-contamination or touch contamination
  • Safety gloves ensure that pathogens are not spread
  • They protect you from unknown danger

How to Choose the Right Glove for Your Project

Choosing the Right Glove
Source: Moraindex

There are major factors that must be considered when choosing the right glove for your project. These factors influence the outcome of your project.

Industry Requirements

There are specific rules governing each industry, and these rules determine the right glove to be used. Before choosing a glove for your project, be conversant with the regulations that govern your industry. For example, all medical and food service gloves must comply with FDA standards.

Gloves Elongation

This has to do with how far a glove can stretch before tearing. Medical gloves, for example, are required to have a stretching capability of at least 300%. Before choosing your gloves, find out if you need a glove that stretches and how far should it be able to go.

Powder or Powder-free Gloves

Gloves could come in powdered form or powder-free form. The former is easier to wear and remove, however, they’ve been proven to be messy and spread pathogens. The latter, on the other hand, does not spread pathogens and helps to maintain a sterile environment.

Sterile vs. Non-Sterile Gloves

Another factor you need to consider is the sterility of the gloves. For applications like medical and food service, sterile gloves are preferable as they help to ensure that the environment is clean. They reduce the chances of a messy environment.

Possibility of Latex Allergy

Some people are allergic to latex. You have to be sure you are not one of them. Peradventure you are, it’s advisable to go for other glove options like nitrile gloves, vinyl gloves, PE gloves, etc.

Size and Length

Ensure that the size and length of the glove are in conformity with your needs. If the glove is too small, there’s every tendency that it will tear. And the length of the glove, which is measured from the fingertip to the wrist opening, should fit-in with no struggle. Also, if the work involves dipping hands in a solution, longer gloves are preferable.

Gloves Material

The glove material you choose goes a long way in determining the success of the project as each of them has their distinct advantage. Nitrile gloves function best against chemicals and infectious substances, while rubber gloves protect against low corrosive agents. Neoprene gloves, on the other hand, protect against most solvents, grease, and oils.

Glove Flexibility, Fit, & Comfort

The glove should be a proper fit and at the same time, it should be elastic, so as to provide optimal comfort. Gloves should be comfortable and not impede workflow. Also, workers will perform more efficiently if they have protective gloves that fit properly.

Glove Thickness

The thicker the glove, the more protection it provides, hence thicker gloves are required for more dangerous tasks. However, you should keep in mind that thickness can limit flexibility and dexterity. If you need more flexibility and dexterity, thicker gloves should be avoided.

Protection Gloves

These types of gloves are designed to protect the hands from harmful agents. They don’t appeal to the fashion industry. Protection gloves provide safety from extreme temperatures, sharp objects, burns, and chemicals.

Gloves Finishes

The finishing of gloves determines how they will react during usage. For thick gloves, the wearer will most likely feel heat and uncomfortably during intense use. Also, for gloves that have soft finishing, they tend to tear easily.

Chemical Resistance

Some gloves’ protective properties deteriorate with time, which can be a serious issue if you rely on them to be safe. Therefore, it’s critical to select gloves with a long shelf life so they will function more effectively.

Shelf Life

When dealing with mild chemicals in situations where accidental contact is possible, disposable gloves are good. But if workers will be in contact with chemicals over a long time, reusable gloves that are specifically designed to handle those types of chemicals should be used.

Common FAQ

What Types of Gloves are Chemical-Resistant

There are many chemical-resistant gloves, but all of them are suitable for all types of chemicals. Nitrile gloves, for example, protect against acids, bases, and solvents. Then, neoprene gloves work with products like alcohol and gasoline.

On the other hand, there are latex gloves that protect against ketones and other related toxins. While butyl gloves protect against numerous types of chemicals, as well as provide thermal and abrasion protection.

Can Vinyl Gloves be Used in Healthcare

They can be used for healthcare purposes to protect the hands against contamination. However, they should not be used in critical operations like surgery or where strength and durability are needed. This is because they have the tendency of tearing under pressure due to their low elasticity. Rather, other gloves like nitrile gloves should be used.

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