Polyisoprene vs. Latex

Synthetic polyisoprene and natural rubber latex are commonly used polymers for tubing and dip-molded products. While both polymers offer many of the same physical and chemical qualities and can both be a great fit for several applications, they do present some major differences that can make one better suited than the other for specific uses. In this article we will be specifically comparing synthetic polyisoprene with natural rubber latex. 

KEP Synthetic Polyisoprene

Synthetic polyisoprene is a synthetic polymer produced by polymerizing petroleum-derived raw material. This process creates a versatile and pure polymer. The K-440 synthetic polyisoprene compound offered at KEP provides many of the same properties as natural rubber latex, without the latex allergen concerns. K-440 is FDA food grade compliant and passes USP XXII biological Class IV Testing for medical compatibility.

KEP Natural Rubber Latex

Natural rubber latex is derived from Hevea brasiliensis, also known as rubber trees. KEP is the only domestic manufacturer of natural rubber latex tubing and is dedicated to high-quality solutions. We follow all labeling regulations to minimize the risk to individuals sensitive to natural latex proteins. Choose from three natural rubber latex compounds at KEP for your product. K-100 meets FDA food grade requirements, K-600 is specially formulated to absorb x-rays, and K-912, and K-770B to K-734B. K-912 uses an existing KEP compound (K-734B) for the neoprene layer. We can make this in virtually any quantity.

Polyisoprene & Latex Similarities

Polyisoprene and natural rubber latex offer comparable properties, like excellent flexibility, tensile strength and high resistance to abrasion. However, natural rubber latex does offer slightly increased tensile strength, tear strength and elasticity. Both polymers offer good resistance to most alcohols, acids, bases, and polar solvents and are well-suited for low temperature environments. Natural rubber latex and polyisoprene are in high demand by manufacturers due to their value and versatility for many applications. Their dynamic sterilization properties also make both compound groups great choices for the medical industry.

Polyisoprene & Latex Differences

Synthetic Polyisoprene

  • Does not contain latex proteins
  • Synthetic rubber compound
  • More pure since production is controlled
  • Lower tensile strength, tear resistance and elasticity
  • Offers increased processability and consistency

Natural Rubber Latex

  • May contain latex proteins
  • Naturally-derived from rubber trees
  • Less pure since it is natural
  • Higher tensile strength, tear resistance and elasticity
  • Offers decreased processability and consistency

Polyisoprene Applications vs Latex Applications

Synthetic Polyisoprene

  •  Industries where latex-allergens are a concern
  • Outdoor applications
  • Applications that require resistance to inorganic chemicals
  • Applications where manufacturing efficiency and great value are important

Natural Rubber Latex

  • Applications where the highest tensile and tear strength are needed
  • Applications that require high flexibility and elongation properties
  • X-ray absorbing applications (K-600 compound)
  • Applications where ozone and UV light exposure are a concern (K-912 compound)

KEP Solutions

Have an idea about which compound is better suited for your product, or looking for expert guidance? KEP is here to help! We’ll work with you to decide between synthetic polyisoprene, natural rubber latex and other polymer compounds. Choosing the right compound – that offers the properties your industry and specific application demand – is an important first step for manufacturing your product. From there, we offer prototype development, high-quality manufacturing and more value-added services, like assembly, custom labeling and more. Just tell us what you need!

Talk with KEP

We're accessible any way you want.

PO Box 668
Kent, OH 44240



KEP Customized Tubing Solutions

We love a challenge.

What's yours?

Optimize efficiency?
Build a prototype?
Improve product or customer service?

Let's make it happen!