Key glove Characteristics

Both surgical and examination gloves are medical-grade gloves for use during medical procedures.

Medical examination gloves: Used for patient examinations, blood tests and patient care.

Surgical gloves: Used by surgeons and operating room nurses. They must meet higher quality standards and are usually sterile because they are used for surgical procedures. Surgical gloves offer better fit with more precise sizing, as well as higher tactile sensitivity.

Specialty Gloves

Chemo Gloves: Chemo gloves are medical gloves that have been tested for use with chemotherapy drugs. When selecting chemo tested gloves, it is important to ensure that the gloves have been tested for the specific drugs being used.

Hand Care: Gloves infused with aloe or other moisturizers soothe and moisturize hands during use, which helps maintain the skin’s moisture barrier.

Additional Considerations
Finish: Some gloves have a smooth finish, while others are partially or fully textured to provide better grip.

Cuff Length: Some gloves have an extended cuff for better coverage and protection.

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Most medical and surgical gloves are made from latex, vinyl and nitrile. Some newer gloves are made from chloroprene. The table below summarizes the characteristics and benefits of each glove material.
Latex Gloves Made of natural rubber Highest level of comfort, flexibility, fit and tactile sensitivity
Nitrile Gloves Made of synthetic material Stretchy, durable
Vinyl Gloves Made of synthetic material Cost-efficient synthetic option, comfortable
Chloroprene Gloves Made of synthetic material Fit and feel similar to latex; durability and strength similar to nitrile

Latex Gloves vs. Latex-free Gloves

Latex gloves are often preferred by healthcare providers since they provide the highest level of elasticity, comfort and fit. Surgeons often prefer latex gloves because they offer greater precision with high tactile sensitivity.

Despite latex’s advantages, latex allergies have become more common, so many healthcare providers are opting for latex-free glove options such as vinyl, nitrile or chloroprene.

Vinyl gloves, which are made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), are usually the cheapest latex-free gloves. However, many prefer to use higher-end gloves such as nitrile gloves. Nitrile gloves are often preferred since these non-latex gloves best resemble the stretchy feel of latex gloves and are also highly durable and puncture resistant.

Another difference to consider when deciding between latex and latex-free gloves is the protection offered by each type of material. In general, latex gloves offer the best protection against bacteria and viruses, while synthetic gloves provide better chemical protection. Of the different types of latex-free gloves, nitrile gloves offer a higher degree of protection against viruses as well as protection against chemicals.

Powder-free gloves are available in chlorinated and non-chlorinated options.
Pros Cons
Chlorinated gloves Gloves treated with chlorine are easier to put on and particle free to prevent allergic reactions. Chlorine odor and shorter shelf life: chlorinated gloves become brittle after about a year and may last even less than a year if exposed to heat.
Non-chlorinated gloves Closer in color to regular exam gloves and no chlorine odor. Hard to put on and are not particle free, since a coating of tiny gel/silicone particles is applied to make them slightly easier to put on.

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