Glove Coatings & Materials – What is right for you?


Article written with information courtesy of Wells Lamont, Liberty Glove & Safety, Majestic and Cordova Safety Products.

Determining the appropriate type of glove, coating or features is vital to ensuring the protection of you and your co-workers. What type of leather will provide the most abrasion resistance but not break the bank? Will a latex or Nitrile glove be better for use in oily applications? I need level 4 cut protection; what’s the best material for this cut level requirement? Below is some information about a variety of glove components and some of their characteristics. As always, it is recommended that you first test out the glove options you are considering to make sure that they will meet your specific job’s requirements.

NITRILE – An alternative to latex, nitrile offers superior resistance to snags, punctures, abrasions and cuts. Coated nitrile effectively replaces and outwears leathers in a broad range of dry and light wet/oily applications. In most cases, nitrile dipped gloves are machine washable.

  • Applications: Most medical environments (check with manufacturer to ensure approval), automotive assembly, wet/oily applications, glass handling, chemical usage

VINYL/PVC – Also known as PVC (polyvinyl chloride) it is available in disposable, coated or vinyl impregnated styles. In addition to offering excellent sensitivity, vinyl/PVC disposable gloves are chemical resistant and ambidextrous. Vinyl/PVC coated is an inexpensive choice for applications where cut and abrasion resistance is needed. Rough PVC coatings make handling wet surfaces easier and safer. Vinyl/PVC impregnated gloves on an interlock knit liner stretch to a snug and sensitive fit, are liquid repellent and provide superior grip.

  • Applications: Cleaning tasks, food preparation (check with manufacturer to ensure approval), light industrial

LATEX – Offers superior strength, dexterity, and both liquid and chemical resistant protection in disposable styles. Coated rubber is a great choice for additional cut resistance, comfort and value. For a versatile solution, latex coated options are an ideal choice for abrasion resistance such as for handling sharp edges or building materials like concrete block, tile or lumber.

  • Applications: Automotive repair and assembly, chemical plants, aircraft assembly, food processing (check with manufacturer to ensure approval), pesticide/insecticide manufacturing

POLYURETHANE (PU) – Mainly used as a coating in knit gloves, PU offers great dexterity, softness and strength with a comfortable fit. Resistant to oils, solvents, greases, gasoline and more it also contains no latex proteins or chemical accelerators, both of which can cause allergic reactions. Many polyurethane coated gloves offer good protection from minor cuts and scrapes.

  • Applications: Small parts handling, electronic parts handling and assembly, general assembly, metal stamping

KEVLAR® – One of the strongest man-made fibers available, Kevlar® offers excellent cut protection and heat insulation; Kevlar® gloves are flame resistant so they will not burn or melt, and can protect against temperatures up to 700° F. It is designed to protect hands from the sharp edges of metals, ceramics, glass and other materials. Pound for pound Kevlar®  is five times stronger than stainless steel.

  • Applications: High heat environments, glass handling, metal cutting/stamping, recycling/sorting operations

TAEKI5® – Developed in Europe, this versatile multi-filament yarn combines high strength Taeki® fiber, fiberglass and synthetic fiber to provide excellent abrasion, cut and contact heat resistance. The high cut- and abrasion-resistant properties give it an outstanding performance-to-price ratio. In addition, Taeki5® is launderable (minimal shrinking) and is unaffected by chlorine bleach and exposure to UV light, thereby extending glove life.

  • Applications: Glass handling, metal cutting/stamping, recycling/sorting operations

ALYCORETM Patented AlycoreTM offers cut, puncture and needle resistance like no other product has before. Composed mostly of super-thin threads of iron and carbon, AlycoreTM is lightweight, flexible, breathable, recyclable and washable. It provides over six pounds of cut resistance and is tested using actual 25-gauge needles, which break when impacted with an AlycoreTM glove.

  • Applications: Glass handling, metal cutting/stamping, recycling/sorting operations

COWHIDE LEATHER – Offers good abrasion resistance, an attractive appearance and good thermal protection. It is the most commonly used leather in the glove market and is generally the most cost-effective available.

PIGSKIN LEATHER – Offers the greatest breathability due to larger pores in the hide and is flexible even after repeated exposure to moisture; it also will not shrink when dried. Pigskin leather offers the highest resistance to heat and abrasion and has good tensile strength.

GOATSKIN LEATHER – When tactile sensitivity is required, goatskin leather is the ideal option. It is soft, pliable, provides excellent wear, abrasion resistance and tensile strength. Goatskin leather, due to its high lanolin content, is one of the softest leathers available.

SYNTHETIC LEATHER – A man-made fabric that looks like leather, it is used for basic protection against abrasion and offers good insulation depending on construction. Often used as a substitute for real leather, it is light-weight and easy to clean, durable and stain resistant.

  • Applications for most natural and synthetic leathers: Construction, foundries, warehouse tasks, shipping/receiving/loading docks, agricultural labor, industrial facilities, cabling, welding, general labor duties

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