Guide to Industry Standard Capsule Sizes

When it comes to medicine grade capsules, not all capsules are made the same or look the same. The reason for this is simple; individual applications of such capsules differ in the characteristics of the substance that will be held inside of the capsules. Factors of the most importance for selecting a size of your capsule are your filler material’s density, how much of the filler do you intend for the capsule to hold, the variant of capsule you desire, the size that is compatible with any equipment you may already possess, and the biggest diameter and length that can be ingested in form of a capsule.


The first and most imperative thing that you need to understand is the basic makeup of the capsule sizing system. Just like any other type of measurement references, it has its quirks. There are eight separate capsule sizes, and each is identified by a number. The smallest capsule size is going to be a 5, while the largest capsule size is going to be a 000. The physical capsule sizes increase while the numerical identifier increases by 1, and after 0 you simply have your 00 and 000. The measurement values in table such as density, volume, locked length, external diameter, cut length, wall thickness, and weight are what direct you toward which size capsule would best suit your application needs. The chart for reference is found at a site like


Prior to using the measurements and table to identify what size capsule you need, it would benefit you to first find out what type of capsule you are interested in, as some particular types of capsules do not come standard in every different size. More detailed information regarding the different types of capsules available can be found here. The next step that is most helpful to take is to find out what the measurements are in diameter as well as length are that the target of your application can comfortably ingest. This system of capsule measurements only appears in metric units; a calculator such as this one can help you convert other units of measure to metric units.


Once you have completed the previous step, you want to determine for each capsule the amount of your substance or filler that will be adequate enough for one capsule. This will help with figuring out how many capsules you will need per dose of our application. You also will need to find out the density of the substance or filler you will be placing in the capsule so that you know beforehand what sizes will or will not be able to accommodate it. The final element you need to take a further look into is if you already own equipment that you will be using in the encapsulating process, what size capsules are compatible with it? Often times this equipment is only made to accommodate one size of capsule, and if that is the case you want to be sure of which one that is. After gathering and recording this information, you are ready to take a look at the reference table and use the guidelines to choose the best capsule size for your application.

Bradley P. Bolden

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