It’s difficult for safety managers to find disposable gloves that protect well, while also being comfortable to wear. According to a recent survey, comfort is one of the top challenges that safety managers face when choosing single use gloves for their workers.
The comfort of a disposable glove is important for several reasons. Comfortable gloves encourage use and make it easier to perform tasks. If a glove is stiff, fits too tightly, or is difficult to put on, it can lead to a variety of problems that inhibit productivity.
Comfort can be somewhat subjective, but it’s possible to tell if most workers would find a glove to be comfortable by understanding two particular metrics on disposable glove product data sheets.
- Elongation is a measure of how much material cut from a glove will stretch before breaking. More elastic gloves tend to have higher elongation and be more comfortable.
- Modulus is a measure of how much a material will resist changing its shape when stretched. Low modulus indicates a material will stretch more easily, which typically means it will be more comfortable. High modulus indicates a material is stiffer.
Disposable gloves made of latex tend to be among the most comfortable. Latex has high measures of elongation, indicating it can stretch far without breaking. Latex also has a low modulus due to its elasticity.
Because of the risk of allergies, however, as well as the unique resistance of nitrile and neoprene to many chemicals, many safety managers today have moved away from latex to nitrile or neoprene disposable gloves. Today’s gloves made of neoprene and certain types of nitrile (nitrile A) can be highly comfortable, with high elongation and low modulus performance. Many wearers today therefore prefer nitrile or neoprene gloves to latex. With an elongation at break measure of 500% before aging, and a modulus of 10.7 MPa, MICROFLEX XCEED gloves are an example of soft, elastic nitrile gloves that many workers find more comfortable than traditional latex disposable gloves.
Skin irritation is another factor that can impact the comfort of a disposable glove. Workers who wear gloves for long shifts often experience red, itchy, flaky skin as a result of dryness. Gloves with special inner coatings like MICROFLEX Soft White Nitrile with HYDRASOFT Technology can hydrate skin for greater comfort during wear.
Need advice on how to choose comfortable disposable gloves that also address your workers’ protection needs? Contact Ansell, and one of our sales or customer service experts will be happy to speak with you about your specific challenges.
 2019 Ansell Disposable Glove User Needs Research