What are the Different Types of Protective Gloves?

Nychole Price

There are several different types of protective gloves that help prevent hand injuries. They may guard against a variety of dangers including chemicals, blood, cuts, burns and frostbite. The type of material the gloves are made from determines the hazards the wearer is protected from.

Kevlar® fabric, which is used to make protective gloves.
Kevlar® fabric, which is used to make protective gloves.

When working with chemicals, there are several different types of gloves that a person may wear. Usually, they're made from rubber, neoprene, or vinyl. Neoprene, for example, helps provide insulation when working with cold or icy chemicals. Since chemicals can get into the glove, these safety gloves are often cinched at the wrist. People who are handling test tubes or flasks should make sure that the gloves have a non-slip grip to prevent dropping the fragile containers.

A person wearing protective gloves while cleaning.
A person wearing protective gloves while cleaning.

Gloves that guard against blood and other bodily fluids are usually made from latex, polyethylene, or nitrile. They're usually disposable since they're often used in delivering health care, and therefore need to be changed between patients to prevent the spread of disease. While latex is a popular material for this type of protective glove, some people are allergic to it, so polyethylene or nitrile versions are available. All varieties, however, seek to be puncture- and abrasion-resistant.

There are several different types of gloves that protect against cuts on the hands. Most of these gloves are made from metal mesh or Kevlar® knit, and they are usually worn by people who work in the glass handling, sheet metal, and fabric cutting fields. A majority of these gloves, though not all, are also puncture-resistant and can be worn by people who work with animals.

Leather and Kevlar® gloves are used to guard against extreme heat. Gloves made of leather are good for handling hot objects, but they aren't flame-resistant. Since Kevlar® is flame resistant, it's an ideal material for welder's gloves.

People who work in freezers, cold storage units, and outdoors in the snow and ice need protective gloves to guard against frostbite. These gloves are usually made from leather and lined with fleece. They have hook and loop closures or are cinched at the wrist to prevent the cold air or snow from entering the gloves. People who work with sharp objects in a cold environment may prefer insulated gloves that are coated with PVC for extra protection.

Safety gloves can be purchased at stores that sell uniforms and other types of work gear. They can also be purchased online at various websites. A majority of retailers offer a discount for purchasing in bulk.

Surgeons wear latex or nitrile gloves to protect both themselves and the patient.
Surgeons wear latex or nitrile gloves to protect both themselves and the patient.

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Discussion Comments


@orangey03 – PVC gloves are awesome for keeping your hands warm and dry. I used to have nothing but my cotton gloves to wear out in the snow, and my hands would soon become wet and frigid. Since I discovered how insulating and waterproof PVC gloves are, I have worn nothing but this kind in the snow.

I live in an area that rarely gets a big snowstorm, so when one does arrive, nearly every school and workplace shuts down. We all have a big play day outdoors to enjoy this rarity, and if we want to stay outside for any length of time, we need well-insulated gloves.

I love being able to build snow creatures without getting my gloves snow-soaked. I don't even have to go inside to thaw out my hands periodically when I'm wearing these protective gloves.


My husband uses PVC coated gloves as protective workwear. He works inside a refrigerated warehouse on eleven-hour shifts, so protection from the extreme cold is essential.

He has to grab boxes and stack them all day long. If any moisture is present on the boxes, they could slip out of his hands. The gloves let him get a good grip on the things he handles, so he isn't in danger of dropping them.

Also, your hands can ache and go stiff if you are constantly using them in a cold environment. The PVC gloves keep his hands warm and nimble so that he can do his work quickly and without pain.


My dentist wears latex gloves while working on patients. I've never seen him without the gloves on his hands.

I'm sure there are all kinds of dangerous germs a dentist could catch with his hands in someone's mouth. The gloves get coated in saliva, and sometimes strings of it will stretch from my mouth to his glove as he is pulling his hand away.

Also, if a child were to bite him out of fear or anger, the gloves would protect him. I don't even think a kid could break the skin with his teeth through these gloves.


I do a lot of painting with acrylics, and I have to apply toxic varnish when I'm done with a work. I wear disposable gloves whenever I paint the varnish on, and this keeps me from getting any of it on my skin.

I bought a box of fifty pairs of disposable gloves from a dollar store for just a few bucks. It will take me years to use all of them, so this was a great deal.

I'm not quite sure what the varnish could do to me if it did soak into my hands, but thankfully, I'll never have to find out. I never handle it without the protective gloves on my hands.

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