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The Difference Between Each Type of Capsule

We have created a guide to show the difference between the capsules we have to offer. On our online store we offer Gelatin, Pullulan and HPMC derived empty capsules in all standard sizes. We only however currently offer our Pullulan (Vegetable) capsules in sizes #00, #0 and #1

In the video below we have created an overview of the capsules in our range and the difference between them to help you decide between your different options.

Capsule Type #000 #00 #0 #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Gelatin
HPMC
Vegetable

Benefits of Hard Caps

There are many advantages of using hard caps instead of tablets or raw powders. Some of the benefits are:

Capsule mask unpleasant tastes

They can be used to mask the unpleasant tastes or powders by creating a layer around the ingredients

Hard caps can contain uncompressed powders

They allow powders to be dispensed in an uncompressed form unlike when compressed into tablets

Empty capsules allow flexibility with dosages

They give versatility to prepare any doses easily comparatively to formulating a tablet that flows and binds correctly

People often find capsules easier to swallow

Due to their shape and texture people often find them easier than pills to swallow

Depending on the ingredients and type of capsule they can be used to create halal and or kosher formulations

HPMC and Vegetable capsules are suitable for a wide variety of dietary requirements including Vegans and Vegetarians

Our vegetable capsules are derived from Tapioca starch known as Pullulan. They can be used to create organically certifiable formulations

Due to the skin they create around the ingredients capsules formulations can be created to have a longer shelf life than tablets

Which Size Capsules Are Right For Me?

The most common size capsule used for food supplements are 00 capsules. However there are a total of 10 standardised sizes. We stock the most common 8 sizes but do not stock as standard #00E and #0E which are "extended" versions of #00 and #0. We can source these by request.

The right size for you is dependent on the final use of the capsule as well as the amount of active ingredients and excipients that will be used in your formulation. The reason 0 and 00 are the most commonly used is because they are large whilst still being easy to swallow. 

A size guide for empty capsules

Empty vegetarian capsules, HPMC capsules and gelatin capsule sizes are all standardized across the world. They may vary very slightly between different manufacturers however. It is always best to test that the capsules you purchase work in your filing application if purchasing from a different supplier to your equipment.

As we said before the correct capsule for each situation depends on the application and how much ingredients ultimately needs to end up in each capsule. This is why we have created a capsule size guide to help you work out which size of empty capsule is the right size for you.

The video below is a guide to the right capsule for you. Please keep in mind the density of your powder will dictate how much weight you will get in each capsule. For more details please watch our video on bulk density

Gelatin Capsules vs. HPMC Capsules vs. Vegetable Capsules

There are 3 main types of capsules available. Your choice will depend on your requirements for your final formulation. The main difference between Gelatin, HPMC and Vegetable capsules is what ingredient they are derived from. But there is also a change in the cost per unit.

Two-piece capsules have been made from gelatin since they were originally patented by James Murdock in 1847. Gelatin (also spelt Gelatine) is an animal protein which what know as Generally Recognised as Safe (GRAS) in pharmaceutical and food consumption by the majority of international regulatory bodies.

Our empty gelatin capsules are GMO free and derive from completely natural sources. Gelatin capsules are usually derived from beef or pork along with water and a plasticizing agent such as glycerine to provide durability. Gelatin is an essential component for human consumption and development.

HPMC capsules are manufactured from Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose and is globally referred to also as “Hypromellose”.

HPMC is derived from plant cellulose and was one of the first alternatives available for vegetarians. Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose rose to popularity in the early 2000s as it proved to be a stable polymer with a low moisture content that makes it suitable for moisture-sensitive ingredients. It is also extremely resistant to higher than average heat and humidity.

Our vegetable capsules or "veggie caps" as they are often referred to are manufacture out of tapioca extract. The benefits of empty veggie capsules over HPMC capsules is mainly how comfortable your customers or whoever is consuming the capsules are with which ever source they are consuming.

Our vegetable capsules offer a balance of performance within high output capsule manufacturing and clean label ingredients for health conscious manufacturers and consumers. Made from tapioca which is naturally fermented into pullulan, a starch-free vegetarian capsule, our Veggie capsules speak to the needs of the most discerning consumers.

We have created a comparison table to easily see the different types of empty capsules we provide are suitable for the most common dietary requirements. We also show the difference in cost of each type.

Capsule Material Gelatin Capsules HPMC Capsules Vegetable Capsules
Manufactured From Beef or Pork Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose Tapioca
Suitable for Vegetarians
Suitable for Vegans
Kosher
Halal
Organic *
Cost Lowest Medium Highest

*depending on ingredients used in the capsules. All products must be certified by a 3rd party

Capsule Size Chart

Empty Capsule Size
Capsule Size 000 00E 00 0E 0 1 2 3 4 5
Empty Capsule Weight (Gelatin)
Average Weight (mg) 158 143 123 107 99 78 61 48 38 28
Tolerance ±10 ±10 ±7 ±7 ±6 ±5 ±4 ±3 ±3 ±2
Empty Capsule Weight (Vegetarian)
Average Weight (mg) 163 152 136 107 105 79 63 50 40 30
Tolerance ±10 ±10 ±7 ±7 ±6 ±5 ±4 ±3 ±3 ±2
Empty Capsule Volume Capacity (ml)
Capacity 1.37 1.00 0.90 0.78 0.68 0.48 0.36 0.27 0.20 0.13
Empty Capsule Weight Capacity by Formulation Density (mg)
Formulation Density
0.6 g/ml 822 600 540 468 408 288 216 162 120 78
0.8 g/ml 1096 800 720 624 544 384 288 216 160 104
1.0 g/ml 1370 1000 900 780 680 480 360 270 200 130
1.2 g/ml 1644 1200 1080 936 816 576 432 324 240 156
Empty Capsule Overall Closed Length
(mm) 26.1 25.3 23.4 23.5 21.6 19.4 17.6 15.7 14.3 11.1
Tolerance (mm) ±0.3 ±0.3 ±0.3 ±0.3 ±0.3 ±0.3 ±0.3 ±0.3 ±0.3 ±0.4
Inches 1.029 0.906 0.921 0.909 0.85 0.764 0.693 0.618 0.563 0.437
Tolerance (inches) ±0.012 ±0.012 ±0.012 ±0.012 ±0.012 ±0.012 ±0.012 ±0.012 ±0.012 ±0.016
Empty Capsule Individual Lengths (cap)
Cap (mm) 12.95 12.95 11.80 11.68 10.85 9.85 8.80 8.00 7.20 6.20
Tolerance (mm) ±0.35 ±0.35 ±0.35 ±0.35 ±0.35 ±0.35 ±0.35 ±0.35 ±0.35 ±0.29
Cap (inches) 0.510 0.510 0.464 0.460 0.427 0.388 0.346 0.315 0.283 0.244
Tolerance (inches) ±0.014 ±0.014 ±0.014 ±0.014 ±0.014 ±0.014 ±0.014 ±0.014 ±0.014 ±0.012
Empty Capsule Individual Lengths (body)
Body (mm) 22.20 22.20 20.22 20.19 18.35 16.40 15.15 13.45 12.10 9.30
Tolerance (mm) ±0.35 ±0.35 ±0.35 ±0.35 ±0.35 ±0.35 ±0.35 ±0.35 ±0.35 ±0.29
Body (inches) 0.879 0.879 0.796 0.795 0.722 0.645 0.596 0.529 0.476 0.366
Tolerance (inches) ±0.014 ±0.014 ±0.014 ±0.014 ±0.014 ±0.014 ±0.014 ±0.014 ±0.014 ±0.012
Empty Capsule External Diameter
Cap (mm) 9.91 8.58 8.56 7.65 7.64 6.96 6.39 5.85 5.33 4.91
Cap (inches) 0.390 0.338 0.337 0.301 0.301 0.274 0.252 0.230 0.210 0.193
Body (mm) 9.55 8.25 8.23 7.36 7.35 6.63 6.12 5.60 5.08 4.68
Body (inches) 0.376 0.322 0.289 0.29
Empty Capsule Quantity Per Case
Capsules per box 50,000 65,000 75,000 90,000 100,000 125,000 175,000 200,000 250,000 350,000

Standard Empty Capsules Box Sizes

We offer different quantities of packet sizes from 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 as well as in wholesale quantities.

When buying wholesale quantities each type of capsules whether Gelatin, HPMC or Vegetable come in 1 standard box size. The quantity of capsules in each box changes depending on the size as the volume of the box stays the same. We have created a table below to show the dimensions of the box as well as the quantity of capsules in each.

Units Height (H) mm/inches Depth (D) mm/inches Width (W) mm/inches
Metric (mm) 730 mm 397 mm 600 mm
Inches 28 3/4" 15 5/8" 23 5/8"
Capsule Size Quantity In Standard Box
#000 50,000
#00 70,000
#0 100,000
#1 125,000
#2 175,000
#3 225,000
#4 300,000
#5 350,000
Standard box size for hard caps
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