When choosing a pair of surgical gloves, it is important to consider the strength, durability, thickness, and material of the medical gloves. Here are the things to keep in mind when buying surgical gloves.

How To Choose Surgical Gloves

Although surgical gloves are designed for use in the operating room, you can wear them for various tasks such as cooking and cleaning. If you’re concerned about protecting yourself or other people from infections, disposable surgical gloves are a great idea.

What Are The Gloves Being Used For?

Healthcare workers use surgical gloves in medical settings, but many other professionals use them in other industries. Surgical gloves are a safe choice wherever protection from bacteria, viruses, or harmful substances is needed. They are also used to avoid cross-contamination in sanitary areas. Occupational safety organizations such as OSHA require surgical gloves in many industries as dictated by state codes and regulations.


Surgical gloves are ubiquitous in the healthcare industry, from the operating room to patient treatment areas, laboratories, pharmacies, maintenance, and in all contact between patients and healthcare workers. They are required in the healthcare industry as a barrier to infection and are a standard component of personal protective equipment or PPE.

Food Service

Food service workers use gloves during food preparation and serving to ensure that the food is free from hand contamination.


Tattoo studios use gloves to protect the customer from bacteria and contamination during the tattoo procedure. The gloves also protect the tattoo artist from contamination if the customer bleeds.


Industrial and creative workshops use surgical gloves to protect hands from chemical solutions used to remove and refinish surfaces such as solvents and acids. Gloves also protect the hands from minor punctures and cuts.


In any situation where bacteria and disease may be present, surgical gloves protect your hands from contamination. Disposal of garbage and waste, as well as cleaning and disinfection procedures, require gloves for protection.

Things To Consider When Buying Surgical Gloves

When buying surgical gloves, different options are available, depending on your needs.


Medical gloves are made from polymers, including latex, vinyl, nitrile rubber, neoprene, and polyisoprene. Each type of material has benefits that suit particular types of jobs.


The ability to move the hand freely and maintain tactile sensitivity, especially in surgical procedures and close work, is an important consideration when choosing surgical gloves.


Gloves need to be durable enough to wear throughout the job you are doing, whether maintaining barrier protection in a medical situation or handling chemicals in workshop or sanitation environments.

Puncture Resistance

Surgical gloves need to be thick and durable enough to resist punctures from needles and cuts from sharp edges or objects.


The suitable gloves for the job will be thick enough to prevent punctures from needles or other sharp edges but thin enough to allow dexterity and ease of motion. Thickness also protects from chemicals, bodily fluids, and other substances that could penetrate the gloves and cause harm or infection.


Powdered Surgical Glove

Powdered surgical gloves usually contain cornstarch, which helps lubricate the glove and makes them easier to remove. However, many industries do not use powdered gloves because the powder could cause residue contamination.

Instead of a cornstarch powder, non-powdered gloves lubricate with a polymer coating.


Padding or lining on surgical gloves adds an extra layer of protection from heat and chemicals but decreases tactile sensitivity while wearing them. They are not ideal for the healthcare industry or other industries that require finger and hand sensitivity.

The Different Types of Surgical Gloves

Surgical gloves come in different polymer materials such as nitrile, latex, and vinyl. You can also find disposable gloves made from other materials such as neoprene.


Nitrile Gloves

Made of synthetic material, nitrile gloves are durable and stretchy, offering protection from chemicals and viruses. They feel like a latex glove but with more puncture resistance and durability. They also eliminate concern over allergic reactions to latex, such as anaphylaxis.

These are by far the most popular option for surgical gloves today, mainly because they are higher quality than most other disposable gloves. Nitrile rubber is also more resistant to oils, chemicals, and acids than other rubbers.  These gloves also have superior strength that makes them less resistant to tearing and punctures.


Latex gloves

Latex gloves are made of natural rubber latex and offer good protection from bacteria and viruses. They provide high-quality tactile sensitivity and the best comfort and fit for all hand sizes with a flexible and easy fit. Latex gloves are ideal for extended wear. Some people have allergic reactions to latex, so these may not be a universally acceptable glove choice, especially in a patient-contact situation.


Vinyl Gloves

Plasticized PVC or Vinyl is another material that is commonly used in surgical gloves. Because vinyl gloves are less flexible than other surgical gloves, it’s typically recommended to use latex or nitrile gloves in clinical settings – especially when you need manual dexterity. Vinyl gloves are comfortable and cost-efficient, and you might see them referred to as synthetic gloves.  They are made from synthetic materials and provide good protection against chemicals.

Surgical Glove FAQ

What size surgical gloves do I need?

To ensure you are wearing the right size, you will need to measure your hands. Measure around the knuckles of your dominant hand. Position the measuring tape above the “V” of your thumb.

Number sizes on surgical gloves correspond to the measurement in inches. For example, if your knuckles measure 8 inches, you will want to wear a size 8 or 8 ½ glove. Some glove brands convert the number sizes to XS, S, M, L, and XL. If you’re unsure about your glove size, consult the manufacturer of their recommendation.

What is the difference between surgical gloves and nitrile gloves?

The primary difference between surgical gloves and nitrile gloves, or any other variety of standard medical gloves, is that surgical gloves are sterile. Standard medical gloves of various materials often come in boxes or packages with many gloves. On the other hand, manufacturers individually wrap sterile surgical gloves to protect their sterility and ensure they have no damage that could result in contamination for the patient or the surgeon.

Can you reuse nitrile gloves?

You can wash and reuse nitrile gloves if they are the reusable type. The manufacturer’s packaging will tell you if the nitrile gloves are reusable or disposable. Do not wash and reuse any nitrile gloves contaminated with medical waste or hazardous chemicals.

What kind of gloves do hospitals use?

Hospitals use two main types of gloves: examination and surgical. These medical gloves are disposable and classified by the material they are made from, either nitrile, latex, or vinyl. Hospitals use all types.

Should gloves fit tight or loose?

Surgical gloves should fit correctly. If they are too tight, they can decrease your dexterity and cause cramping and fatigue. If they are too loose, they can be distracting and risk puncture, tearing, or contamination. Measure your hands and get gloves that are the correct size for your hands.

Do nitrile gloves leave fingerprints?

Nitrile gloves do not leave fingerprints. However, a forensic scientist can recover fingerprints from the inside of the gloves.

Do surgical gloves come in different sizes?

Surgical gloves come in whole and half sizes. Manufacturers recommend going a half size large when fitting yourself for surgical gloves to ensure proper fit and flexibility.

Shop OfficeCrave For All Your Medical Supplies

OfficeCrave.com carries a wide selection of latex, nitrile, and vinyl medical gloves, both reusable and disposable. If you are interested in purchasing medical gloves for the medical, industrial, or service industries, you’ve come to the right place.

If you need help selecting the correct type of medical glove for your needs or need assistance to measure your hand for medical gloves, contact us. Our customer service representatives will be glad to help you with more information.