While searching for the glove you need, you must have heard “nitrile vs. neoprene.”
Gloves protect your hands from toxic, harmful materials such as chemicals and debris.
Moreover, extreme weather conditions, and infections caused by bodily fluids, pathogens, and many microorganisms.
Are you looking for the most suitable rubber glove for your needs?
One that can effectively protect your hand?!
You are presented with many options, but you can’t decide.
You’ve been introduced to nitrile and neoprene gloves, and you don’t know the difference?
Well, look no further. We are here to tell you what the difference is.
This article will show the difference between rubber nitrile and rubber neoprene in different aspects; what each material is used for; and we’ll see which one is the best and what fits your needs most!
So that you have a comprehensive guide on neoprene vs. nitrile.
Nitrile gloves vs. neoprene gloves
Which is the best for your purpose, and on what basis should you select?
So, both nitrile and neoprene are types of highly elastic synthetic rubber.
They can be confused due to their similar appearance and properties.
They both have waterproof properties, are resistant to chemicals to varying degrees, and are latex-free, which reduces the possibility of latex allergy.
Both of them are safe to use on the skin contrary to others that cause severe rashes.
However, if we look closely, we will notice they have different structures.
Actually, this will lead to other functions and are used in various industries with broad applications.
So, let’s explore the differences between neoprene and nitrile and how they affect their properties and uses.
Nitrile vs. Neoprene…What are they made of?
The chemical structure is what compounds are made of and how they’re synthesized… Let’s delve in.
What is rubber nitrile?
Nitrile is a synthetic rubber discovered in the 1980s, but nitrile gloves were not introduced into the industry until 1990.
It’s also known as Nitrile, Buna-N, or NBR.
How is it synthesized?
It’s made from Polymerization.
You might be wondering what Polymerization is?
It is a chemical process where a small molecule (monomer) is repeated and merged to form one colossal molecule (Polymer)
Nitrile is composed of copolymers of butadiene and acrylonitrile.
Then chemically treated with different processes and additives to enhance its properties such as elasticity and resistance…etc.
The butadiene ratio to acrylonitrile (ACN content) contributes mainly to the elastic properties & resistance.
In fact, the higher the ACN content, the better resistance properties it has, but the less flexible it is.
What about rubber neoprene?
In 1930, Neoprene rubber was the first synthetic rubber to be made.
It’s called chloroprene as it’s synthesized from the Polymerization of chloroprene (2-chloro-1, 3-butadiene), which is carbon, hydrogen, and a chlorine polymer.
In the early 1950s, neoprene was the first material to make wetsuits.
In terms of manufacturing and chemical structure, they’re both synthetic type of rubber, and the polymerization process produces both.
Neoprene is made of chloroprene, whereas nitrile rubber is produced from copolymers of butadiene and acrylonitrile.
And each of these polymers with different amounts is what furthers each one of them!
Nitrile vs. neoprene…. the characteristics and advantages!
Nitrile has High chemical and solvent resistance.
It’s also resistant to engine oils, acids, alkalis, aliphatic hydrocarbon, fuels, and gasoline, with maximum resistance to petroleum-based hydraulic fluids.
Moreover, an exceptional water resistance makes it well-suited for working in wet-environment and places where you need to work with oils and oily parts.
While maintaining both flexibility and durability due to their high puncture resistance and good resistance to abrasions
Now we’ve talked about nitrile properties, let’s move on to neoprene.
Neoprene has moderate resistance to petroleum products and oils but is resistant to solvent and grease and highly protective against various other chemicals.
It’s highly flexible with excellent Finger dexterity and high resilience to impacts, and with good cut and tears resistance.
With a Superior resistance to environmental factors such as weather conditions, sunlight oxidation, ozone, UV, radiation & Freon, it’s great when it comes to outdoors tasks and work environment,
It is also perfect for flame spread resistance; nitrile and neoprene are distinctive and widely used in many industries.
Nitrile is widely recognized for its outstanding chemical resistance; it’s also highly resistant to water with exceptional abrasion and tear resistance.
Neoprene excels in flexibility and dexterity with suburb weather resistance and excellent impact resistance.
Now we’ve talked about the advantages of each one of them and what nitrile and neoprene are most distinguished in.
Let’s dive a little deeper into each of the properties one by one, so we can tell which type of gloves is best for your needs…
This brings us to our next question…
Nitrile vs. neoprene, which is better …?!
When comparing gloves, we should consider many things!
It determines which glove suits the task we will use it for, like its flexibility, tear-resistance, chemical resistance & many more properties that we will explore together in the next section.
Let’s dig in!
Flexibility & Dexterity
The glove’s flexibility means it returns quickly to its original shape even after being stretched.
While dexterity is the ability to move your hand freely without feeling it being hindered by the material, you’re coating your fingers with
So, which’s better when it comes to flexibility and dexterity?
Neoprene gloves are excellent compared to nitrile gloves when it comes to being pulled and returning to their original shape.
Because they are highly flexible and more comfortable if you wear them for a long time.
It’s almost like you are not wearing gloves!
Does this mean that nitrile gloves are not flexible?
No, they’re very flexible, but neoprene is better in flexibility!
We deal with chemicals such as acids, bleaching products, household cleaners…etc.
Some are dangerous and can damage our skin the moment they encounter.
That’s why it’s essential to select a glove that will not be easily affected by these chemicals, especially if they are highly toxic…
Chemical resistance is an excellent advantage of nitrile gloves.
They are highly resistant to chemicals, fuels, petroleum-based compounds, and acids compared to neoprene which is moderately resistant to these materials.
But is there anything that can affect them?
Nitrile gloves are affected by aromatic oils, and ketones make them erode with frequent exposure.
Neoprene gloves are affected by chlorinated compounds and nitro hydrocarbons.
Environmental factors (Weather conditions, sunlight, ozone…etc.)
Repeated exposure to sunlight and UV lights can affect some materials more than others.
One of the most remarkable things about neoprene is that it excels in weather resistance.
Neoprene is preferable to nitrile because neoprene is highly resistant to sunlight, ozone, and UV lights.
In contrast, nitrile is susceptible to damage by these conditions and doesn’t protect you against them.
That’s why neoprene is favorable for extended outdoor activities.
The oxidation process is a chemical reaction that happens when a material is exposed to oxygen or another oxidizing agent, then the properties of this material change.
Rusty doors happen because of oxidation and the brownish color of exposed apples.
Nitrile is affected by the oxidation process and can be damaged by frequent exposure, unlike neoprene, which has exceptional oxidation resistance.
Both neoprene and nitrile gloves can be used where oil resistance is needed.
However, just like chemical resistance,
Neoprene has moderate resistance to oils and petroleum products, while nitrile is highly resistant to them; it can easily withstand prolonged exposure to concentrated oils.
Heat & Fire-resistance
Nitrile can be used at (-40 to 228) degrees F while Neoprene has a more comprehensive range from (-70 to 280) degrees F
Nitrile has poor flame resistance, while neoprene has very good to excellent resistance against flame
Neoprene has a high melting point; it’s not easy for the neoprene to catch fire
Even in high temperatures, neoprene doesn’t degrade; it doesn’t usually burn until it’s 500-degree F.
And it doesn’t melt; more of it turns into rigid and stiff material.
Nitrile is used to make waterproof gloves
Because when exposed to water, nitrile will not break down or erode from consistent exposure to water.
It has high water resistance, but neoprene is preferred in swimsuits and swim gloves for deep-sea divers as it protects them against cold water with low temperatures.
Abrasion & tear resistance
Aberration resistance is required in handling rough materials like working with construction materials, metal sheets in industrial work, and gardening jobs.
Cut resistance is essential when you are in danger of being hurt by a cut, sharp edge, or instrument.
Nitrile gloves are highly resistant to abrasive forces and tears, whereas neoprene has good abrasion and tear resistance.
It’s not an easy task to tear through nitrile
Like outstanding weather resistance, neoprene has excellent durability and can resist impacts more than nitrile, which is considered average in this aspect.
This makes neoprene highly valuable for seals in high-impact industrial machinery & structural support such as expansion joints.
Germs are everywhere around us!
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing gloves is asking yourself, is the task I’m going to perform includes germs or might cause infection?
And if so, is this glove going to protect me against them or not!?
Nitrile vs. neoprene…
Both are very good at resisting germs, but nitrile is the most commonly used material in labs medical field. Why?
Given the fact that nitrile has a superior tear and cut resistance.
The bottom line is,
with their great flexibility and touch sensitivity, nitrile gloves are your favorite choice when it comes to working with acids, solvents, and oils, as they have high chemical resistance
Puncture and tear resistance makes them strong candidates and most helpful in processing industries, automotive industries, military industries, labs, & hospitals.
On the other hand, neoprene gloves are known better for their weather resistance and durability; they are best made for working in a high-temperature environment, under UV lights, and ozone exposure
let’s look thoroughly into their uses in detail…
Nitrile vs. neoprene…what are they used for?
Due to their high oil & chemical resistance and because it’s not easy to tear or puncture,
Nitrile gloves are used in many fields such as waterproof gloves, agriculture, gardening, hair dying in hair salons…etc.
They are widely used in the following…
Nitrile gloves can protect the hand against tears, punctures, cuts, gouges, and splashes caused by sharp edges.
Why are they used in food industries?
Food industries involve packaging, serving, preparing, and cooking food and handling raw meat and vegetables.
They usually work with more than just a blade or knife; multiple tools used during each procedure put your hand in danger of being cut, splashed, or simply causing small tears in your skin.
Hence, using nitrile cooking gloves in the food industry is crucial to protect your hand from cuts and prevent cross-contamination.
Nitrile gloves have been used for a very long time in the medical field; it is the most common type of glove material in disposable examination gloves.
Doctors, nurses, dentists, and any health care provider needn’t only protect themselves from infections, body fluids (Blood, urine…etc.), and pathogens but also protect patients from contamination.
Because of their high resistance to cuts and tears, they protect hands from sharp objects like surgical instruments, dental tools, needles…etc.
Nitrile examination & surgical gloves are considered an essential part of Personal protective equipment.
In fact, sourcing cheap exam gloves could cost you a lot, here is why!
With their high chemical resistance, they can be used in labs when handling chemicals & solvents like acids and alkalis.
Automotive& fuel industries
Where people are working with automotive parts, changing oils, maintenance and painting, nitrile gloves can be used because of their high oil resistance.
They can also be used in Carburetors and hydraulic components management and repairs.
Okay, now, what about neoprene and neoprene gloves?
Due to their exceptional weather resistance, Neoprene gloves are used to protect against oils, flames, heat, and many other harmful environmental factors.
Because it’s a highly durable material, neoprene gloves are used in industrial
chemical processing, printing industries, oil refineries, pesticides handling,
agriculture, environmental waste cleanup, general maintenance, etc.
Neoprene gloves are trendy in the following:
Automotive repair work
They’re not easily affected or degraded by heat, oils, or weather
They also provide protection against abrasion, hydraulic fluids, alcohols, gasoline, alkalis, and organic acids.
So, they’re great in automotive repair work.
Neoprene gloves can be used in refining oils and when handling oil rigs, seals, tanks, gas hoses & fuel systems.
Mining and drilling
With their high impact resistance, they are preferred in drilling and mining, where the dangers of impact are very great.
you can also find the best leather work gloves here!
Neoprene is a non-conductive material.
It insulates sounds and vibrations in places like power transformers and insulating windows and doors.
They’re ideally used when handling electrical or electronic components
you should always wear gloves when dealing with electricity
Due to weather resistance and waterproof characteristics, it’s considered the most suitable material for diving suits and gloves.
Cleaning gloves and protective suits
Neoprene gloves and suits are used for cleaning and disinfecting areas exposed to radiation and for workers frequently exposed to UV lights or handling ozone & Freon components.
Safety & Construction gloves
Worn when handling things like preparing cement, metal sheets & heavy construction tools, and materials.
Deciding which is better is a complicated equation from the outside, but if you know exactly what you are looking for and what matters the most, selecting suitable gloves would be much easier.
What matters most…is flexibility? Or being able to work with different ranges of temperature without catching fire? Or high durability and weather resistance…
Suppose you’re looking for something that can withstand weather and be used in various low and high temperatures or a durable one with excellent flexibility. In that case, you’re going neoprene’s way.
But if you need gloves for working with oils with superior tear and abrasion resistance and good flexibility. Then it would help if you thought of nitrile.
We’ve reached the end of our article, which explored the advantages and disadvantages of neoprene and nitrile, compared nitrile vs. neoprene in various aspects …and went through their most popular uses.
We hope this article was a comprehensive guide about each of them, and we hope by now, you will be able to choose the gloves that can provide you with the protection you need to perform your tasks safely and efficiently.
If you still have any questions. Don’t hesitate to contact us.