Glass beakers can be heated to much higher temperatures than the plastic counterparts, while offering higher clarity for content visibility and measuring. Glass beakers feature uniform sidewalls and bottom thicknesses with a flat bottom and a beak, or small spout, for easier pouring. Glass beakers may have graduated markings on their side that are accurate within 10 percent, though a graduated cylinder or volumetric flask is recommended for precise volume measurements.
Laboratory are available in a range of materials and in sizes from 10 mL to 6 L. Although glass beakers are common, beakers are also made from a variety of plastic resins (PMP, polystyrene, polypropylene, PFA, polymethylpentene, HDPE, ETFE, PTFE, and more). You may also find beakers made from stainless steel, quartz, and carbon.
A variety of beaker types are available:
- Griffin or Low Form: Shorter versions, with or without pouring lips and made of standard weight or heavy-duty borosilicate glass or polypropylene plastic
- Berzelius or Tall Form: Taller and narrower than Griffin beakers, but with similar characteristics
- Pharmaceutical: Taller and more narrow, these beakers are usually graduated in both milliliters and ounces and may have double pouring spouts
- Tri-Cornered: Plastic, disposable, and stackable, these beakers feature a triangular top opening that offers three dripless pouring spouts
- Handled: Glass beakers can have attachable handles and plastic beakers may have molded-in handles; larger handled beakers with spouts may be called pitchers
- Colored Markings: Most beakers have areas on the side suitable for writing; these marking spots are also available in white or your choice of colors