Capsule Size Overview

Before filling your own capsules, it’s important to decide on the correct capsule size for your formulation– it may be the key to preventing you from wasting time and money.

At Vivion, we carry standard capsule sizes of 000, 00, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, and they are compatible with most capsule filling machines. The largest sizes of capsules are designated by the lower numbers, and the smaller ones are named after higher numbers; so for example, the largest capsule size we provide is 000, and the smallest size is 5. If needed, we are also able to provide you with elongated capsule sizes in 00E and 0E.

To help you visualize the differences in capsule sizing, we have created a responsive chart that displays each capsule size available in Vivion’s stock. Simply click on one of the capsules in the top section, and the chart will highlight that capsule size’s specifications in the table below.

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

Capsule Terminology

Here are some important definitions of terms used in the chart above and in capsule sizing in general:

  • Tolerance: The allowed limits or variations in the capsules’ dimensions.
  • Individual Lengths: The separate measurements of the capsule body and cap in millimeters.
  • Overall Closed Length: The entire length of the closed capsule in millimeters.
  • Volume Capacity: The approximate volume inside of the capsule in milliliters.
  • Weight Capacity by Formulation: The approximate weight capacity of the capsule based on formula’s bulk density in milligrams.

Capsule Sizing Variables

Knowing the characteristics of your formulation, the type of capsule material and size you want to use, and the required dosage of your active ingredient is central in choosing the perfect capsule for your product.

Capsule Type

Some capsules made of different materials that Vivion supplies are only stocked in certain sizes, which can factor into making a choice of what kind of capsule you want for your product. The table below displays the sizing options for each type of capsule that we carry.

Formulation Volume

The bulk density of your formula directly affects the volume and dose of your active ingredient in each capsule. Depending on the bulk density, you may have to use a smaller or larger capsule than you originally intended.

Product Consumer

It is important to know who is going to be consuming your capsule product. How easily a capsule can be swallowed also influences what size of capsule your product needs. Capsule sizes such as #000, #00, and #0 are ideal for adults and large animals, while capsules as small as #4 or #5 may be best for children and smaller animals.

API Dose

How much API, or active pharmaceutical ingredient, needs to be in each capsule also should be considered when choosing a capsule size. The ingredient’s dose might be too large for the capsule size that you’ve been considering, so you might have to fit the powder in one larger capsule or spread the dose over multiple one smaller capsules.

Gelatin and HPMC capsules allow you more options in choosing a size. However, if the preservative-free, tapioca-based pullulan capsules appeal more to you, you have the choice of the three most commonly used sizes in manufacturing: #00, #0, and #1.

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

Capsule Scale

To help you see the differences between capsule sizes in scale, we made the chart below to compare the different sizes of capsules measured in millimeters and inches:

Most Commonly Used Capsule Size

Sizes #0 and #00 are the most commonly used capsule sizes due to their volume and being easy for people to swallow. Here’s how their sizes compare to some common coins:

The Numbers Behind Capsule Sizes

Although it seems counterintuitive, smaller capsule sizes are indicated by higher numbers. #000 is the largest capsule size that Vivion offers, while #5 is the smallest.

Size 000

Commonly called “triple zero,” #000 capsules are the largest size of Vivion’s capsule range.

● Volume: 1.27 ml
● Overall length: 26.1 mm
● External diameter of cap: 9.91 mm

Size 00

#00, or “double zero,” is the most commonly used capsule size for medicinal formulations and supplements.

● Volume: 0.9 ml
● Overall length: 23.4 mm
● External diameter of cap: 8.56 mm

Size 0

#0 capsules are the second most popular size are #00 and are mainly used in pharmaceutical products and nutraceuticals.

● Volume: 0.68 ml
● Overall length: 21.6 mm
● External diameter of cap: 7.64 mm

Size 1

#1 capsules are also commonly used, with just being slightly smaller than #0 capsules.

● Volume: 0.48 ml
● Overall length: 19.4 mm
● External diameter of cap: 6.96 mm

Size 2

Although not as commonly used in food supplements, #2 capsules are popular in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

● Volume: 0.36 ml
● Overall length: 17.6 mm
● External diameter of cap: 6.39 mm

Size 3

Because of their smaller overall volume, #3 capsules are used more in pharmaceutical manufacturing rather than food supplements.

● Volume: 0.13 ml
● Overall length: 11.1 mm
● External diameter of cap: 4.91 mm

Size 4

The second smallest capsule size in Vivion’s capsule lineup, #4 capsules are uncommonly used outside of specialized medicinal applications.

● Volume: 0.2 ml
● Overall length: 14.3 mm
● External diameter of cap: 5.33 mm

Size 5

The smallest capsule Vivion offers, #5 capsules are primarily used in pharmaceuticals.

● Volume: 0.13 ml
● Overall length: 11.1 mm
● External diameter of cap: 4.91 mm

If you still aren’t sure which capsule size is right for your production, Vivion has a team of capsule experts waiting to support you. Contact one of our capsule experts today.
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