Graduated Cylinders

Graduated Cylinders are available in glass or plastic. Our variety of sizes can meet all your laboratory needs. Available in sizes ranging from 10ml to 2,000ml. Single-scale graduations from 0.2 to 20ml etched on the cylinders allow precise measurement of liquids. Cylinders are roll-resistant and reusable.


  • Glass Cylinders are made of durable borosilicate glass, and have large, stable bases that are resistant to rolling. These acid-resistant cylinders are etched with single scale graduations on the cylinder. The cylinders offer wide rims and tapered pour spouts to ensure ease of filling and pouring.
  • Plastic Cylinders are made of quality polymethypentene (PMP), which greatly reduces breakage and safety issues in the lab, and can withstand repeated autoclaving cycles. With single scale graduations etched on the body, these cylinders accurately measure the volume of liquids. Their wide, roll-resistant bases keep them steady while they are filled, and their wide rims and tapered pour spouts offer ease of pouring.

Common Questions

What is a graduated cylinder used for?

Many laboratory chemicals are liquid solutions that must be used in precise amounts, so they must be measured accurately. The long length and narrow width of the cylinders allows for more accurate measurements compared to beakers or other laboratory glassware.

What unit of measurement do graduated cylinders use?

They measure the volume of liquids in milliliters (ml).

How do you read a graduated cylinder?

Place the graduated cylinder on a flat surface. Bend or kneel so that your eyes are level with the height of the liquid inside the cylinder. The liquid in a graduated cylinder typically bends downward due to surface tension; this is called the meniscus. Remaining at eye level with the height of the liquid, use the graduation markings on the cylinder to read the measurement at the center of the meniscus (curve).

What sizes of graduated cylinders are available?

Our cylinders range in volume capacity from 10 to 2,000ml and we offer eight different sizes: 10, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1,000 and 2,000ml.

Can graduated cylinders be heated?

Yes, although the glass models, which are made of borosilicate glass, can take more heat than the plastic cylinders. Borosilicate glass cylinders can withstand temperatures of 329°F (165°C) and are also resistant to thermal shock. Polymethypentene (PMP) plastic cylinders can resist heat to 275°F (135°C).

Where can I buy graduated cylinders?

Depending on your needs and test application, Gilson offers a wide selection of cylinders stocked and ready to ship. Choose from our selection of glass or plastic cylinders.

Beaker vs graduated cylinder — what’s the difference?

The most obvious difference between a beaker and the cylinder is shape; beakers are larger with a wider-shape while the cylinders typically have a smaller capacity and are shaped taller and narrower. Gilson’s glass beakers range in size from 50 to 1,000ml and the stainless steel beakers range from 500ml to 12qt. Markings on a beaker are not precise and are designed more for estimation rather than obtaining a precise measurement. The graduated cylinder offers a higher level of precision and accuracy.

Why is a graduated cylinder more accurate than a beaker?

A Graduated cylinder is used routinely for measuring volume and is considered more accurate than a beaker because of the permanently-marked incremental graduations incorporated in the clear cylinder. A beaker has approximate graduations and could be made of glass or metal such as stainless steel, which makes accurate measurements difficult to obtain. The accuracy of a graduated cylinder is higher because the graduations on the cylinder make it easier to more precisely fill, pour, measure and read the amount of liquid contained within. Ensuring accuracy in measurement of liquid within a graduated cylinder requires that the cylinder be placed on a flat surface and at eye level.

It should be noted, however, that when 100% accuracy and absolute precision is required; e.g., in laboratory testing to an ASTM or AASHTO standard, a Volumetric Flask is your best choice.

Volumetric flask vs graduated cylinder — which should I choose?

While a graduated cylinder offers more precision and accuracy than basic laboratory flasks and beakers, it is not designed specifically for volumetric analysis. The volumetric flask offers the highest level of precision and accuracy in accordance with ASTM E288 and E694 standards governing laboratory glass volumetric flasks and laboratory glass volumetric apparatus. Graduated cylinders have several etched graduations in ml divisions specific to each cylinder’s capacity. The volumetric flask has one marked graduation on the neck of the flask which indicates the volume of liquid within the flask up to that marking.