Why Every Scientist Needs a Measuring Cylinder: A Comprehensive Overview of Its Uses and Importance

As a scientist, you know that accurate measurement is essential for reliable data and results. And when it comes to precise measurement of liquids, there's no better tool than a measuring cylinder. In this article, we'll provide a comprehensive overview of the uses, importance, and history of measuring cylinders.

Uses of Measuring Cylinders

Researchers use measuring cylinders to accurately measure the volume of liquids. They come in different sizes, ranging from small ones used in chemistry labs to large ones used in industrial settings. Some common uses of measuring cylinders are:

In Chemical Experiments 

Measuring cylinders are essential in chemical experiments where precise measurements of liquids are required. They are commonly used in chemistry labs to accurately measure the volume of reactants and products. 

Moreover, measuring cylinders help chemists determine the exact amount of reactants needed for chemical reactions. They come in various sizes and shapes, and the choice of a measuring cylinder depends on the volume and accuracy of the measurement needed.

In Medical Applications 

Measuring cylinders are also used in medical applications, such as measuring the volume of blood or other bodily fluids. In medical laboratories, accurate measurements of fluids are important for diagnosing and monitoring diseases. 

Another example is when healthcare providers use measuring cylinders to accurately measure the dosage of medicines and administer the correct amount of medication to their patients. They are available in different materials, such as glass or plastic, to suit different types of medical applications.

In Industrial Applications 

Measuring cylinders are widely used in various industries such as food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, and petrochemicals. In the food and beverage industry, they are used to measure the volume of ingredients needed to produce a product. Meanwhile, in the pharmaceutical industry, they are used to measure raw materials and finished products accurately.

Importance of Measuring Cylinders

Measuring cylinders is an essential tool for scientists and researchers. Here are some reasons why they are important:

They’re Great For Accurate Measurements 

Measuring cylinders provide accurate measurements of liquids, which is crucial in scientific research. Let’s say you’re in a chemistry lab preparing a standard solution, it is important to measure the precise volume of the solvent. Not only will you be able to replicate results by measuring volumes, you’ll also be able to adjust them when necessary.

Measuring Cylinders Help With Consistency 

In relation to the accuracy, measuring cylinders ensure consistency in measurements, which is important for reproducibility of experiments. 

In a biology lab, researchers commonly add a specific volume of a reagent to a test tube for experiments. To maintain consistency and accuracy in the results obtained by different researchers, it is important to use the same measuring cylinder for all measurements.

They’re Easy To Use

Lastly, measuring cylinders are easy to use. This makes them ideal for a wide range of applications. When preparing a prescription for a patient, the pharmacist may use a measuring cylinder to measure out the precise amount of liquid medication. That’s just one of the few applications for a measuring cylinder.

Things to Consider When Shopping for Measuring Cylinders

When shopping for measuring cylinders, there are several things to keep in mind to ensure that you get the right equipment for your needs. Below are some important factors to consider:

The Type of Material 

Measuring cylinders can be made from different materials, including glass, plastic, and polypropylene. Glass cylinders are durable and offer high precision, but they can break if dropped. Plastic cylinders are lightweight, shatterproof, and ideal for general laboratory use. Polypropylene cylinders are resistant to most chemicals and are ideal for use with aggressive solutions.

How Much Its Capacity Is 

Measuring cylinders come in different sizes, ranging from a few millilitres to several litres. When shopping for a measuring cylinder, consider the volume of the liquids you will be measuring and choose a cylinder with an appropriate capacity.

The Different Classes  

The accuracy of a measuring cylinder is determined by its class. Class A cylinders have the highest accuracy and are suitable for precise measurements in research and analytical applications. Class B cylinders have a lower accuracy and are ideal for general laboratory use.

Take Note of Graduation Marks 

Graduation marks on measuring cylinders help to ensure accurate measurements. Look for cylinders with clear, well-defined graduation marks that are easy to read.

when choosing a measuring cylinder


It is important to consider the compatibility of the measuring cylinder with the liquids that you will be measuring. Keep in mind that certain liquids may react with specific materials. For instance, plastic measuring cylinders may react with certain solvents, while glass may shatter when used with highly viscous or corrosive liquids. 

Similarly, some metals may corrode when exposed to certain acids or bases. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the cylinder you choose is compatible with the liquids you use. To be on the safe side, it is recommended to have all three types of measuring cylinders available in the lab so that you have more options to choose from.

Shop For A Known Brand 

Consider the brand's reputation when shopping, especially if you have the budget for a branded measuring cylinder. Choose a brand known for producing high-quality, accurate equipment that meets industry standards.

And you’re in luck! Science Equip has thousands of high-quality selections for all your laboratory needs. From Class A Measuring Cylinders all the way to Borosilicate beakers, we got you covered. 

Considering these factors, you can choose a measuring cylinder that meets your budget, laboratory needs and provides accurate and reliable measurements.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I choose the right measuring cylinder for my application?

The choice of measuring cylinder depends on the volume and accuracy of the measurement needed. Consider the volume range you will be measuring and choose a cylinder that has a capacity slightly higher than the maximum volume you expect to measure. Also, consider the accuracy and precision you need and choose a cylinder with the appropriate graduations.

How do I clean my measuring cylinder?

Cleaning your measuring cylinder is essential to maintain accuracy and prevent contamination. To clean a glass measuring cylinder, rinse it with distilled water and then wash it with a mild detergent. You can also use a cleaning solution of equal parts water and vinegar. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a lint-free cloth. For plastic measuring cylinders, follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning.

Can I use a measuring cylinder for hot liquids?

Yes, you can use a measuring cylinder for hot liquids, but be sure to check the maximum temperature rating of the cylinder. Some cylinders are not designed to withstand high temperatures and can crack or break if exposed to hot liquids. Always refer to its manual or  your laboratory supplier. If you have bought from Science Equip, we have a dedicated line to help you out with your questions. You can reach out before and after your purchase.

Can I use a Bunsen burner with a measuring cylinder?

If the measuring cylinder is made of glass, it can be used with a Bunsen burner. However, if the measuring cylinder is made of plastic, it should not be used with a Bunsen burner. It is always important to check the manufacturer's specifications and guidelines before using any laboratory equipment.

Can I use a measuring cylinder for corrosive liquids?

Measuring cylinders made of glass or plastic can be used for corrosive liquids. But you need to choose a cylinder that is resistant to the corrosive substance. Check the manufacturer's specifications to ensure that the cylinder is suitable for the substance you will be measuring.

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