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Capsule Sizes - Your Detailed Guide To Choosing The Right Size

By Rylee in Blogs   •   Feb 15, 2022   •   12 minute read

The 4 things you must know about empty capsule sizes

As the internet gives us more and more power over our consumer choices, it's no surprise that diligent consumers of supplements and other medicinal and wellbeing formulations just love the ability to choose their own empty capsules. Not too long ago, you'd have to settle for whatever ready-to-swallow products your health store happened to have on the shelf. And now? Take your powder or oil formulations in the one hand, your choice of empty gelatin or veggie capsules in the other (and perhaps a handy capsule filling machine, too!), and make yourself comfy right in the driver's seat.

When you buy empty capsules, it:

  • Saves you money with discounted or bulk products
  • Makes your life easier and more empowered by putting choices in your own hands
  • Saves you time (especially with a capsule machine that can churn out 100s of filled capsules in mere minutes)
  • Reassures you about the precise content of your own hand-filled pill capsules
  • Enables you to hone and perfect your very own filler brews & special formulations/doses
  • Makes getting your worst-tasting supplements into your system as easy as a single "gulp"

For many, it's this "gulp" factor that makes the decision to buy empty capsules from the net so appealing. We're often gobsmacked to discover that most people have no idea whatsoever that capsules are available in any sizes whatsoever apart from the ones in your typical on-the-shelf, pre-packaged and filled medicine or supplement products. But perhaps it shouldn't be surprising, because size 0 capsules, and the bigger size 00 capsules, are most definitely the most common - for a reason. That reason? When factoring in the average human, and that same average human's average preferences, it's just a fact that those most common dosage sizes simply tick the most common boxes. So for wholesalers and retailers looking to make their money from putting average products on the shelf that will sell the most readily, it simply makes sense.

As we all know, however, the internet world is different. A lot different! In a nutshell, it's taken away all of those prudent 'on-the-shelf' considerations based on 'the average' to open up the full and colourful landscape of options to a vastly bigger and wider audience that prides itself on the ability to dodge those 'average' trends and really get detailed about individualised choice. Someone who has been making do with 00 capsules, therefore, can suddenly leap to a harder "gulp" with the biggest in the range - size 000. Alternatively, they may enjoy stepping down to a smaller dose or an easier swallow - all the way down to size 5, the smallest in the full range, whose capsule volume is a mere tenth of that whopping size 000.

Although there are 8 separate capsule size options, it's simpler to break them down into just 3 basic categories for your consideration:

Large: Size 000 is the biggie, easily holding up to 1000mg of your favourite fillers - depending on the density of your formulation, of course.

Average: Studies on capsule products have repeatedly confirmed that people tend to want the two sizes below size 000 the most - sizes 0 and 00 on the capsule size chart. 00 holds about 740mg, and size 0 about 500mg - typically the most common medicine dosage worldwide.

Small: Those same studies found that the most commonly prescribed children's capsules, however, are in the easier-to-swallow 13-16mm range - inside which sizes 1 (the biggest of the trio), 2 and 3 all basically sit. Size 1 contains about 100mg less (400mg) than the standard size 0, scaling all the way down to a teensy 60-120mg for the smallest in the range - size 5. These smallest sizes in the range are so manageable in terms of dosage and physical size that your toddlers and small pets will hardly even notice them go down.

But size and basic capacity isn't everything.

Choosing the perfect empty capsules sizes is also about these most important 4 metrics:

1. Weight

We give them headline size designations (sizes 000 through 5) for easy selection, but there's more to it than that. For instance, while we've been talking about milligrams (mg) so far, that's actually the weight - and for the very same capsule size, the density of the filler matters, as will the precise mg value you'll record on the scales.

Tip: Whether it's broken down on the size chart or not, vegetarian capsules tend to weigh just a tiny bit more than standard gel capsules.

2. Volume

Distinct from the weight is the volume - and that is measured by the millilitre (ml). Unlike average weight, the volume is exact per capsule size because it's a measure of the empty space within your empty gelatin capsules. However, good size charts may also convert the volume in ml into an easier-to-understand metric of capsules per teaspoon - which is invaluable for lovers of buying their own gelatine capsules as they may be more accustomed to simply measuring out doses with the trusty teaspoon.

3. Dimensions

Empty gelatin capsules, of course, are comprised of two parts so that you can fill them and click them together before swallowing. The dimension of your capsules measures the entire length of the clicked-together capsule, but good charts of standard gelatin capsule sizes will also include the body diameter as well - which is crucial, as it's usually the diameter rather than the length alone that determines just how hard that "gulp" will have to be.

4. Density

As we've already alluded to, the weight of your capsule is not most importantly about its empty form, but what it will show on the scales just before it's gulped down. As there are all sorts of different filler densities, the density per individual capsule of the exact same size can vary quite significantly. For instance, a topped-up capsule with a light powder inside might be 0.6 grams per millimetre (g/ml), but a medium or heavy density could tip the scales at 0.8g/ml, 1.0g/ml, all the way up to 1.2g/ml or even slightly more.

As you can see, there's a little more than meets the eye when it comes to capsules sizes - especially if your search for where to buy capsules for your particular wellbeing routines has led you to us! A detailed capsules size chart with all the most relevant and useful metrics is an absolute must when selecting the empty product that will work best for your preferences, supplements, dosages and family, so study it well, choose wisely - and keep enjoying your capsule adventure!

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