Beakers, what are they and which one to choose?

November 2, 2021

The beakers are glassware the workhorse of any chemistry lab. They come in a variety of sizes and are used to measure volumes of liquid. The glasses are not particularly accurate. Some are not even marked with volume measurements. A typical beaker has an accuracy of about 10%. In other words, a 250 ml beaker will contain 250 ml +/- 25 ml of liquid.

A beaker is a cylinder with a lip and a spout with a curve on the edge of the beaker that makes it easy to pour liquids without spilling anything. A glass is usually about the same width as its height. This makes the glasses very stable and easy to handle.

They can be made of plastic, glass, or borosilicate glass. Some beakers have markings that indicate how much volume of liquid they contain. These cannot be used for exact measurements. Beakers are often used to make solutions and are probably the most widely used piece of laboratory glass.

Glassware is part of the everyday containers and utensils in a laboratory . Beakers play a vital role in laboratory work and particularly in a chemistry laboratory. With a full range of beakers available, each with specific functions, it is important for anyone in a laboratory to know which beaker is right for the task. Choosing the correct glass can make the process easier and improve your chances of getting accurate results.

Next, we will talk in detail about these artifacts that are usually used in laboratories for many experiments, together with Voltmeters or Velocimeters . Join us!

What are beakers?

Beakers are one of the multifunctional laboratory equipment used for various purposes in a laboratory. At its most basic, it contains samples to be used later. Apart from that, they can also be used to preserve small chemical reactions. The beakers are made of tempered glass and have a wide mouth for easy pouring of solutions. Any experiment that produces a liquid product uses a beaker to trap the liquid.

Beakers are also used for experiments like chromatography. Due to their optimal balance between thermal resistance and mechanical resistance due to the controlled thickness of the wall on the sides, radius and bottom, they are widely used in research, industry and education.

Structure of beakers

Standard beakers are typically about 1.4 times the diameter in height. The common low shape with a spike was devised by John Joseph Griffin and is therefore sometimes called a Griffin beaker. These are the most universal characters and are used for various purposes.

From the preparation of solutions and the decantation of supernatant fluids to the retention of waste liquids before disposal. And the performance of simple reactions. In short, low-form beakers are likely to be used in some way when conducting almost any chemical experiment .

On the other hand, “tall form” beakers are about twice their diameter in height. These are sometimes called berzelius beakers and are used primarily for titration.

Beaker Materials

Beakers are usually made of glass . Today, borosilicate glass is commonly used, but it can also be metal. Either stainless steel or aluminum. Or certain plastics, especially polyethylene and polypropylene. A common use for polypropylene beakers is gamma spectral analysis of liquid and solid samples.

Glass will always be a prominent laboratory material because its ability to remain unaffected by chemicals or samples contained in laboratory containers and withstand most chemical reactions. Glass is prone to breakage, due to improper handling, exposure to chemicals, and elements such as heat, so care must be taken.

Beaker shape

The beakers are usually graduated, that is, marked on the side with lines indicating the volume contained. For example, a 250 ml beaker may be marked with lines to indicate 50, 100, 150, 200 and 250 ml volume.

These marks are not intended to provide an accurate volume measurement. A graduated cylinder or volumetric flask would be a more appropriate instrument for such a task. But rather an estimate. Most glasses are accurate to within 10%. The presence of a spout means that the beaker cannot have a lid.

However, when in use, the beakers may be covered by watch glass to prevent contamination or loss of content, but allowing ventilation through the nozzle. Alternatively, a beaker can be covered with a larger beaker that has been inverted, although a glass watch is preferable.

Uses of beakers

Beakers have a general use. Griffin and Philips beakers handle the majority of daily laboratory use with measurement, containment, mixing and decanting tasks in the laboratory process. The Berzelius beaker is used for titration experiments where solutions are mixed to generate results.

Flat-shaped beakers are used to heat hot baths. Plastic beakers are specifically used for gamma spectral analysis and similar experiments. You may be wrong to use markings for an accurate measurement, but a graduated cylinder or flasks are used to generate accurate measurements.

This is how it is used:

Pour liquid into the beaker, slowly to avoid splashing the liquid. Use the measurement lines on the beaker to approximate the volume of liquid in the beaker. Stir the liquid into the glass with a spoon or stirrer.

Subsequently, center the beaker on a burner or over an open flame to heat the liquid, if necessary. Do not fill the beaker more than 1/3 when heating and always use safety tongs when handling a hot beaker. Finally, deposit the liquid from the beaker using the nozzle on the lip around the top of the beaker.

Types of beakers

There are four main types of glasses and they are classified by their shape.


Standard beakers known as the Griffin beaker are inferior beakers and their height is approximately 40% of their diameter.


The tallest beaker is known as the Berzelius beaker. It is thin and its height is twice its diameter.


The third type is a flat glass called a crystallizer. While many beakers will have markings, crystallizer beakers will generally not have measuring marks.


The fourth type is the Phillips beaker. While the Philips may look like a Griffins beaker on closer examination, you will see that the walls of a Philips are sloped and graduated towards the mouth of the beaker, so the mouth of the beaker is narrower than its base.

Another important distinction that can be overlooked is the level of heat resistance of different beakers. Some glasses are heat resistant and allow chemicals to be heated and boiled, while other glasses will measure predominantly cold liquids.

Beakers and liquids

A one liter beaker will be accurate to about 100 ml of liquid. The flat bottom of a beaker makes it easy to place on flat surfaces, such as a lab bench or hot plate. The spout makes it easy to pour liquids into other containers. Finally, the wide opening makes it easy to add materials to the beaker. For this reason, beakers are often used for mixing and transferring liquids .

Differences between plastic and glass beakers

Beakers can be heated to much higher temperatures than plastic counterparts, while offering greater clarity for content visibility and measurement. Glass beakers feature uniform sidewalls and bottom thicknesses with a flat bottom and a spout, or small spout, to facilitate pouring.

Basic beaker care

Chemicals can be abrasive and when using glassware it is important to remove any residue to protect the glass, standards and quality. Looking for the right cleaning solutions that will ensure that the cleaning process is successful in preparing beakers and glassware in general for reuse.

Once the correct cleaning liquid is chosen, the correct cleaning pads and brushes must be chosen to protect the glass from abrasive cleaning brushes and pads that can also affect the glass.

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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