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Glass vs. Plastic Dropper Pipettes

by Janet Freund  |   Jun 24, 2021


When it comes to enhancing your customer’s experience, selecting the right Dropper Pipette Dispensing System is important. Packaging decisions for your oils, tinctures, serums and flavorings can make or break the user experience with your brand.

Having been in the dispensing business for over 30 years, we know selecting a pipette solution can be a daunting task. (That’s why we created a Dropper Pipette Buyers Guide to explain your options.)

But one of the most basic questions to ask is - should we use glass or plastic pipettes?

Before we jump into that, let’s talk a little about what dropper pipettes are and how they can be used.



An eye dropper, also known as a Pasteur pipette, or dropper, is a device consisting of a small tube with a vacuum bulb that is used to transfer liquids one drop at a time. Back in the late 1800s there wasn’t a system to transport a solution without exposing it to the external environment, so Louis Pasteur invented the dropper pipette.

Most pipettes function by creating a vacuum above the space that the liquid shall fill and then control the uptake of the liquid by releasing this vacuum, suctioning the liquid upwards.

A Dropper Pipette Dispensing System has 3 key components – a bulb, cap, and pipette. We’ll focus here on the pipettes. Pipettes are available in glass or plastic and can be custom printed or marked with measurements, for accurate dosing.

We have a large selection of both glass and plastic pipettes. To see the full line, visit our Dropper Pipette product page



With the increasing market demand for wellness products, dropper pipettes are playing an increasingly important role in consumer applications. You see them used often to dispense liquid medications, essential oils or CBD/THC oils, beauty tinctures, and beverage flavorings.

Dropper pipettes are ideal when there is a need to dispense a small, controlled amount of liquid. They also work very well where child resistant or tamper evident packaging is needed.

The primary drivers for pipette usages are:

  • Safety
  • Purity
  • Aesthetics
  • Measured dosing
  • Consistent functionality


In addition, wide user acceptance, ease of use, portability, and availability are common reasons to use pipettes across all markets. Included below are the primary drivers for pipette usage in selected markets.



Safety and measured dosing are the leading drivers for choosing a pipette system in the CBD/THC market. Main concerns are to keep children away from contents or to trust that the dosage is correct.


We have recently introduced a new line of Child Resistant and Tamper Evident Pipettes. Explore our safety-oriented packaging options here.  



Aesthetics and functionality have long been the key considerations for the primary packaging of serums, lotions and oils. Manufacturers want to convey quality, purity, and luxury. Recently, consumers have begun demanding luxury brands offer environmentally conscious materials as well. That’s why we offer bottles with the highest percentage of PCR (Post-Consumer Recycled Content) glass in the packaging industry.


Health & Wellness

With herbal extracts and liquid vitamins, purity and controlled dispensing are key. Primary packing, including pipettes, should come with documentation of the source materials to ensure they cannot react with the contents and cause contamination.


Food & Beverage

With the growth of flavored beverages, pipettes are used more and more for flavor enhancers, water infusion and cocktail bitters. Like with Health & Wellness, source documentation with material tracing are important to the Food & Beverage market.




Now that you have seen the applications for Dropper Pipette Dispensing Systems, we’ll share the pros and cons of the two material types – glass and plastic – to help you make your packaging decision.


Advantages of Glass Pipettes

In the beginning, all pipettes were made of glass. However, over the years plastic pipettes have become increasingly popular.

When it comes to pipettes, glass offers the following advantages.

  • High clarity affording great visibility of contents and an accurate recording of volumes.
  • Glass is heavier, leaving the consumer with a more luxurious product “feel.” This aesthetic may be important for beauty brands trying to convey a higher quality image.
  • Sealed glass containers are impermeable to atmospheric gases. This prevents the contents from experiencing any oxidative degradation.
  • Glass offers inertness and impermeability ideal for sensitive products in the pharmaceutical or personal care industries, as well as liquids that store for long periods of time such as spirits and other alcoholic beverages.
  • Glass is non-toxic, free from potentially harmful chemicals and generally not associated with a negative impact to your health. It is less porous than plastic. It also has a high resistance to leeching into your product even when contained for long periods of time.
  • Glassware is capable of reuse after prescribed cleaning, which appeals to sustainability-conscious consumers.
  • Glass items are easily sterilized in comparison to plastic items. Glass can withstand high temperatures without any breakdown in composition.


The Disadvantageous of Glass Pipettes

The biggest drawback of glassware is breakage. Accidental breakage results in loss of valuable product, harmful spillages, contamination, and even potential injuries to consumers. At Carow Packaging, we pride ourselves in our quality assurance/safety procedures which are exceptional at ensuring that broken pipettes do not get packaged. We care about protecting your consumers from any potential harm and your company from leakages or spoiled product.

Another disadvantage is that glass containers or pipettes cannot be used to handle hydrofluoric acid, which readily attacks glass.

A final disadvantage or consideration is that glass can be more expensive than plastic contributing to a higher total cost for your product. Glass costs more to produce primarily due to the amount of heat required during production.


Want your product to stand out on the shelf? Grab attention with our new Multi-Colored Pipette Caps


Advantages of Plastic Pipettes

But don’t rule out plastic! There are a few big advantages to using plastic pipettes in your packaging. The main reasons are its unbreakable nature, cost, and compatibility with common laboratory chemicals.

Some of the major advantages of plastic materials in pipettes include:

  • Safety – Plastic is non-breakable and shows some degree of flexibility to help avoid any skin punctures.
  • Potentially save you time and money - Traditional glass Pasteur pipette units can be damaged during shipping or handling. This breakage and waste adds to your product cost. With plastic, and no breakage, you can use every pipette in the box.
  • Plastic is generally light in weight and therefore it is easier to handle. (Potentially keeping shipping costs lower, too.)
  • Non-leaching of inorganic species makes plastic containers a preferred choice in trace metal studies. However, plastic containers are not suitable for use with most organic solvents.
  • Plastic items such as vials and micro pipette tips are usually considered disposable.
  • Plastic items are commonly less expensive compared to glass items. 


Disadvantages of Plastic Pipettes

Some of the drawbacks with plastic are:

  • The clarity may not be as good as the glassware. If you want to convey a sense of purity, glass may look better.
  • If your product process needs higher temperatures for any reason, plastic is not the best choice.
  • Sometimes plastic provides inaccurate results due to unclear graduation marks. 
  • Purity - All plastic must contain a small amount of stabilizing additives so the material doesn’t break down during molding. While critical to the plastic, it is important to be leery of additives and select only plastic pipettes that use the lowest trace amounts necessary, if product purity is a concern.


We have a large selection of both glass and plastic pipettes. To see the full line, visit our Dropper Pipette product page.


Glassware and Plasticware: How to Decide?

Technology improvements have contributed to development of new plastics with wide ranging properties that narrow the advantage gap between glass and plastic. The decision on whether to use glass or plastic pipettes in your dispensing system is something only you can decide. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you decide on glass vs. plastic pipettes.

  1. What is the chemical make-up of the product inside?
  2. How accurate does the dosing need to be?
  3. How aggressive is the oil/liquid/serum product?
  4. How important is look, feel, brand image, etc…?
  5. How cost sensitive are you?
  6. How important is sustainability?
  7. How important is safety – will children be using this product?
  8. Does your dispensing system need to be disposable?

We hope these tips helped to educate you on what pipette material would be best for your product and consumer experience.

Want to learn more about pipette dispensing systems? Download our complimentary Dropper Pipette Buying Guide or talk through your product application needs with one of our Solution Specialists. Give us a call at 815-455-4600. We are happy to help.




Janet Freund

Author: Janet Freund

Marketing Manager



Let’s talk about your market and your unique packaging needs.