This may come as a surprise, but there are quite a few different kinds of medical gloves doctors and healthcare providers use when examining and treating patients. Each type of glove has its benefits and drawbacks as well, making them ideal for specific situations. To learn more about what each kind of glove can do, read on:

Latex and Vinyl Gloves

Latex or vinyl gloves are what typically come to mind when describing doctor’s exam gloves. These gloves are elastic and fit snugly to the hand. Just about every doctor’s office has a stock of these kinds of gloves.


While latex and vinyl are pretty similar, there is one key difference between the two materials. While latex is made of natural rubber, vinyl is made using synthetic materials like PVC. This difference in the material makes latex gloves much stronger and more durable than vinyl gloves. Vinyl gloves are best used for patients with a latex allergy since they are synthetic. Latex gloves are biodegradable, while vinyl gloves must be disposed of more carefully to avoid PVC decay.

Nitrile Gloves

Similar to vinyl, nitrile is a synthetic material designed to work around latex allergies. Unlike vinyl, however, nitrile is a much stronger material and is, in some cases, up to three times more puncture resistant than latex. As nitrile manufacturing improves, these gloves are becoming more comfortable to wear and easier to produce, making them one of the most popular choices among medical gloves.

C2 Hybrid Gloves

Hybrid C2 gloves are yet another alternative to latex and vinyl and are made from a synthetic material that is both latex-free, PVC-free, phthalate-free, and are 100% recyclable. Unlike the other gloves on this list, hybrid gloves do not fit flush to the hand and are best suited for food service or cleaning. While not used for examinations, these gloves can still be found in a doctor’s office because they are affordable, eco-friendly, and easy to wear.

Powder vs. Powder-Free

All of the gloves available are either powdered or powder-free as well. Powdered gloves are made with cornstarch, which helps keep the glove material from sticking and tearing while putting them on. Powder gloves, especially latex ones, may cause skin irritation and allergies when worn for long periods. On the other hand, powder-free gloves are made less form-fitting to the hand, so powder isn’t needed to help put them on or off. Unfortunately, this looseness can weaken the wearer’s grip and make the gloves harder to remove.


There is a different kind of glove for every situation, and to browse them all, visit Medical Supply Depot.

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