Cost of Latex vs Nitrile Cleanroom Glove – The Answer May Surprise You

While Cost is the fifth criteria in the “Five C’s” for cleanroom gloves, Greg Heiland explains why it really falls secondary to the higher priority considerations of cleanliness and comfort. He also illustrates how rising latex prices due to raw latex shortages have made the nitrile glove emerge as the undisputed best value.

Video Transcript

After you've identified what's the most appropriate construction, how comfortable are they, recognizing 30% of the people won't like the new glove? How clean the glove needs to be? And what the chemical compatibility is? Typically the least important factor for selecting the glove is cost.
The customer will always say, “How expensive is it?” They'll say, “Oh, I need a lower cost.” But really, in my experience, the number one criteria is cleanliness with the technical people, and comfort with the transaction people. But let's talk briefly about cost.
PVC glove is the low cost leader. We can deliver this PVC glove to market for seven to eight cents. It's very, very clean and it's very, very low cost. Seven to eight cents. Why do we sell so few of these?
They're not comfortable, right? But if you have a buyer that just says, “Hey, I want a low cost glove,” just say, “Well, hey, try these, they’re seven and a half cents.” “Oh, well we can't have them.” Well then
what you're telling me is, cost really isn't important, right? Because if cost is important, you'd be in PVC. Oh, you want comfort? Then let's talk about something else. So seven to eight cents, PVC. Very clean in a dry setting.
Latex. You’d think the latex would be low cost because latex is a very dirty material. But latex gloves now are 10, 11, 12, 13 cents based upon the cuff length and the cleanliness. So you're looking at a basic cleanroom nitrile glove at ten cents apiece.
And the reason why they're expensive is because latex, there's a global shortage on it. The real sleeper, the real surprise in gloves, is going to be nitrile. And the reason why nitrile is such a pleasant surprise for a lot of people is the new nitrile gloves are thinner.
If we make a glove thinner, there's less material. If there's less material, it's not going to cost as much. So an operator can be in a very good, clean nitrile glove for nine cents. A short cuff glove. They can be in a long cuff glove for twelve to thirteen cents.
So for no premium over latex, they can be in a much cleaner glove. So if cost were the criteria, everybody in North America would be in PVC. Right now, less than 2% of the market, maybe less than 1% of the market’s in PVC.
Very few people are in the low cost glove, but this is definitely something to talk about. Oh, you want to impress your boss? Why don't you do an evaluation on PVC glove? I can save you a lot of money.
It's very clean, provided the process is, the process is a dry process. The huge opportunity with latex is people. It's like putting a frog in a frying pan. Over time latex has gotten more expensive, more expensive, more expensive.
A lot of people don't realize that latex is now more expensive than nitrile and it's not as clean. So the real cost opportunity is to educate people that, hey, you know, it used to be you paid a premium for nitrile.
Now, most users could go into nitrile for paying the same price or less. Thank you.

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