Chemistry Lab Equipment

When you step into the lab for the first time, you may be overwhelmed with all the different equipment available to you. While the sheer amount of equipment may be overwhelming, don't fret! Today we will be walking through the different common chemistry lab equipment, so by the end, you can tell the difference between a pipette and a buret like a pro!

Chemistry Lab Equipment Chemistry Lab Equipment

Create learning materials about Chemistry Lab Equipment with our free learning app!

  • Instand access to millions of learning materials
  • Flashcards, notes, mock-exams and more
  • Everything you need to ace your exams
Create a free account
Table of contents
    • This article covers chemistry laboratory equipment.
    • First, we will look at a list of the different common lab equipment based on their category: glassware, devices, and miscellaneous.
    • Next, we will cover the important Lab Safety equipment.
    • Finally, we will look at some advanced chemistry equipment used in organic chemistry labs and Analytical Chemistry labs.

    Common chemistry lab equipment

    While the exact pieces of lab equipment will vary from lab to lab, there are some common pieces of equipment found in every lab. Different labs specialize in different things, so of course, they are going to have different equipment.

    In the next section below, there is a list of some common chemistry equipment that you will likely encounter and use in the lab.

    Chemistry lab equipment list

    We are going to break this very big list down into sections based on the general use/type of equipment.

    Glassware

    Glassware refers to the different measuring tools made of glass. These can be used just for measurement, but also to contain different reactants/products.

    1. Erlenmeyer flask: Used to measure volume and/or used as a container

    2. Beaker: Used to measure volume and/or used as a container

    3. Volumetric flask: Used to measure volume

    4. Graduated cylinder: used to measure volume

    Chemistry Laboratory Equipment Different Glassware StudySmarterFig.1-Different glassware

    5. Graduated Pipette: Used to dispense specific volumes of liquid

    • Pipettes can also be plastic or be disposable tips. Which type of pipette you used is based on the task and how much liquid needs to be dispensed
    • Pipette bulbs may also be added onto the top of the pipette. When you first squeeze and release the bulb, the liquid will be drawn upward. By squeezing the bulb a second time, the liquid will be dispensed

    Chemistry Laboratory Equipment Different types of pipettes StudySmarterFig.2-Different types of pipettes

    6. Buret: Used to dispense specific volumes of liquid

    Chemistry Laboratory Equipment Buret on a clamp StudySmarterFig.3-Buret on a clamp

    7. Test tube: Used to contain liquids or solids

    Chemistry Laboratory Equipment Silver Chloride in a test tube StudySmarterFig.4-Silver chloride (AgCl) in a test tube

    8. Funnel: Used to transfer liquids

    • Funnels can also be plastic
    • If a filter paper is placed in a funnel, it can be used to separate a solid from a liquid. This specific type of funnel is called a Büchner funnel

    Chemistry Laboratory Equipment Two types of funnel StudySmarterFig.5-Two different shapes of funnel

    Keep in mind that these aren't all the glassware you will see, but they are the most common

    Cleaning glassware

    Cleaning glassware is an important part of working in the lab. If glassware isn't cleaned properly, residual chemicals can react with your experiment and cause all kinds of error!

    Here are the general steps for cleaning glassware:

    1. Remove organic residues by rinsing with an organic solvent (acetone or ethanol)
      • This waste will be discarded in your lab's organic waste bin, not the sink!
    2. Use warm, soapy water to clean the glassware
      • This waste can go down the sink
    3. Rinse with deionized water to avoid harsh water stains
      • Can be rinsed again with acetone, this waste should also be place in the organic waste bin

    You should always allow your glassware to air dry. Wiping with a paper towel can cause impurities.

    Devices

    While in the lab, there will be a number of devices you can use to perform specific functions.

    1. Bunsen burner: Used to heat substances

    Chemistry Laboratory Equipment Bunsen burner StudySmarterFig.6-A Bunsen burner

    2. Hot plate: Used to heat substances

    • Hot plates are more precise than Bunsen burners since they often can be set to a specific temperature and/or have a temperature display
    3. Magnetic Stirrer: Used to stir a substance A magnetic stir bar is placed inside a flask. The stirrer causes the magnetic stir bar to vibrate/spin, which mixes the solution in the flask Are usually part of a hot plate, but can exist as its own equipment

    Chemistry Laboratory Equipment Hot plate with magnetic stirrer StudySmarterFig.7-A hot plate with magnetic stirrer

    4. Microscope: Used to magnify objects

    Chemistry Laboratory Equipment Microscope StudySmarterFig.8-A microscope

    Miscellaneous

    For this section, we are going to look at some pieces of equipment that didn't fall under the previous two categories, but are just as important!

    1. Ring stand: Used to hold equipment, such as glassware

    Chemistry Laboratory Equipment Ring Stand StudySmarterFig.9- A ring stand

    2. Buret clamp: Used to clamp in place burets

    Chemistry Laboratory Equipment Buret Clamp StudySmarterFig.10-A stand with a buret clamp

    3. Utility clamp: Used to hold glassware. Usually attached to a ring stand

    Chemistry Laboratory Equipment Utility clamps StudySmarterFig.11- Two utility clamps attached to a stand

    4. Crucible tongs: Used to grasp hot things

    • Often used with a crucible, which is a small porcelain container used to hold hot substances

    Chemistry Laboratory Equipment Crucible tongs StudySmarterFig.12-Crucible tongs

    5. Wash bottle: Plastic bottles used to dispense liquid, usually for cleaning

    • Wash bottles often have distilled water, which is pure water without any minerals or impurities

    Chemistry Laboratory Equipment Wash bottles StudySmarterFig.13- Different wash bottles

    6. Watch glass: A glass plate used to place substances

    • Watch glasses are often put on hot plates to heat the substance on it

    Chemistry Laboratory Equipment Watch glass with salt StudySmarterFig.14- A watch glass containing sodium chloride (NaCl)

    Chemistry lab safety equipment

    After looking at those long lists of chemistry equipment, you might be wondering, "But what about safety equipment?"

    Safety is of the utmost importance in the lab. While working in the lab, you might end up coming into contact with some dangerous chemicals! Below is a list of the personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to keep you safe in the lab.

    1. Eye protection: Goggles or Eyeglasses are worn to protect the eyes from any chemicals that might get in them.
      • Even if you wear glasses, you still need to wear eye protection since they have a higher safety standard
    2. Lab coats: Lab coats protect your clothes and skin from any harmful irritants
      • Not all labs require lab coats, but it is always best to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to cover the skin
    3. Gloves: Protective gloves protect your hands from harmful irritants.

    But what about when something goes wrong? There are also several pieces of equipment in the lab to be used in case of an emergency. The location of these pieces of equipment can differ between labs, so always ask someone where each is located before performing any experiments.

    1. Fire extinguishers: Used to put out any fires
    2. Eyewash stations: Used to flush out harmful chemicals from the eyes
    3. Safety showers: Used to wash off irritants from the skin and clothes

    To learn more about the different Lab Safety equipment, please read our article "Lab Safety".

    Organic chemistry lab equipment

    When working in a more specialized lab, you will of course see more specialized equipment.

    Organic chemistry is the study of carbon-based compounds. Organic chemists focus on understanding the structure, properties, and reactions of these carbon-based compounds.

    Some equipment organic chemists use is:

    • Photoelectron spectrometer: Measures the energies of electrons emitted from different substances
    • IR spectrometer: Measures the vibration and rotation of covalent bonds
    • Proton nuclear magnetic resonance: Used to determine the structure of organic molecules

    Not every organic chemistry lab will have these specific devices, but they are widely used.

    Analytical chemistry lab equipment

    Analytical Chemistry uses instruments to quantify and understand different properties of matter. Analytical chemistry relies heavily on different analytical machinery, so there is plenty of specialized lab equipment for this purpose. Some of these are:

    • Gas chromatographers: Used to separate and analyze samples that have been vaporized
    • High-powered liquid chromatographers: Used to separate and analyze components in a mixture
    • Mass spectrometers: Measures the mass-to-charge ratio of molecules/elements in a sample

    Analytical chemistry is all about measurements, so there is a lot of different equipment to choose from. The equipment in the previous section could also be used for analytical chemistry. Labs often combine different subtopics of chemistry, which is why you may analytical tools in an organic chemistry lab and so on.

    Chemistry Laboratory Equipment - Key takeaways

    • Glassware refers to the different measuring tools made of glass. These can be used just for measurement, but also to contain different reactants/products:
      1. Erlenmeyer flask.

      2. Beaker.

      3. Volumetric flask.

      4. Graduated cylinder.

      5. Graduated Pipette.

      6. Buret.

      7. Test tube.

      8. Funnel.

    • While in the lab, there will be a number of devices you can use to perform specific functions:

      1. Bunsen burner.

      2. Hot plate.

      3. Magnetic Stirrer.
      4. Microscope.
    • There are also some important miscellaneous equipment
      1. Ring stand.
      2. Buret clamp.
      3. Utility clamp.

      4. Crucible tongs.

      5. Wash bottle.

      6. Watch glass.


    References

    1. Fig.1-Different glassware (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2c/Different_types_of_lab_glassware.JPG/640px-Different_types_of_lab_glassware.JPG) by Community College Consortium of Bioscience Credentials on Wikimedia Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
    2. Fig.2-Different types of pipettes Left image: (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bf/Tip_of_Mohr_and_Serological_pipette.jpg) by Paweena.S on Wikimedia Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/) Right Image: (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f3/CSIRO_ScienceImage_1398_Pipette_at_sunset.jpg/640px-CSIRO_ScienceImage_1398_Pipette_at_sunset.jpg) by (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commonwealth_Scientific_and_Industrial_Research_Organisation) licensed by CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)(
    3. Fig.3-Buret on a clamp (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/05/Buret.png/640px-Buret.png) by (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/nl:User:Kristof_vt) licensed by CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)
    4. Fig.6-A Bunsen burner (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5c/Bunsen_burner_2.jpg/640px-Bunsen_burner_2.jpg) by Eunice Laurent on Wikimedia Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/)
    5. Fig.7-A hot plate with magnetic stirrer (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8b/Hot_plate_%2B_stirrer.png/640px-Hot_plate_%2B_stirrer.png) by Eunice Laurent on Wikimedia Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/)
    6. Fig.10-A stand with a buret clamp (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/80/Retort_stand_with_a_burette_clamp.jpg/640px-Retort_stand_with_a_burette_clamp.jpg) by Tsaenmai on Wikimedia Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/)
    7. Fig.11- Two utility clamps attached to a stand (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/58/Laboratory_support_stand.jpg/640px-Laboratory_support_stand.jpg) by (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Nadine90) licensed by CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)
    Frequently Asked Questions about Chemistry Lab Equipment

    How to handle glassware and equipment in a chemistry laboratory?

    You should always handle your glassware and equipment with care. For glassware, you can clean it with either distilled water, acetone, ethanol, or a strong base bath for stronger chemicals.

    What equipment is used in a chemistry lab?

    Depending on the discipline of the lab, different equipment are used. In general, here are some common equipment in a chemistry lab:

    1. Bunsen burner

    2. Hot plate

    3. Magnetic Stirrer
    4.  Microscope



    What is an apparatus in chemistry? 

    An apparatus is a fancy name for equipment with a specific use. In chemistry, this can mean anything from an Erlenmeyer flask to a Bunsen burner.

    How do you set up a chemistry lab?

    To set up a chemistry lab, you need to first understand what experiment is being performed and what materials are needed. Once you have made sure that each piece of equipment has been cleaned and dried, you can set up your glassware at your station to be used later.

    What is an analytical chemistry laboratory?

    Analytical chemistry uses instruments to quantify and understand different properties of matter. Analytical chemistry relies heavily on different analytical machinery, so there is plenty of specialized lab equipment for this purpose. Some of these are:

    • Gas chromatographers: Used to separate and analyze samples that have been vaporized
    • High-powered liquid chromatographers: Used to separate and analyze components in a mixture 
    • Mass spectrometers: Measures the mass-to-charge ratio of molecules/elements in a sample

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    Which of the following can be used as both a container and measurement device?

    True or False: Pipettes are always made of glass

    What are the steps for washing glassware?

    Next

    Discover learning materials with the free StudySmarter app

    Sign up for free
    1
    About StudySmarter

    StudySmarter is a globally recognized educational technology company, offering a holistic learning platform designed for students of all ages and educational levels. Our platform provides learning support for a wide range of subjects, including STEM, Social Sciences, and Languages and also helps students to successfully master various tests and exams worldwide, such as GCSE, A Level, SAT, ACT, Abitur, and more. We offer an extensive library of learning materials, including interactive flashcards, comprehensive textbook solutions, and detailed explanations. The cutting-edge technology and tools we provide help students create their own learning materials. StudySmarter’s content is not only expert-verified but also regularly updated to ensure accuracy and relevance.

    Learn more
    StudySmarter Editorial Team

    Team Chemistry Teachers

    • 10 minutes reading time
    • Checked by StudySmarter Editorial Team
    Save Explanation

    Study anywhere. Anytime.Across all devices.

    Sign-up for free

    Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.

    Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App

    The first learning app that truly has everything you need to ace your exams in one place

    • Flashcards & Quizzes
    • AI Study Assistant
    • Study Planner
    • Mock-Exams
    • Smart Note-Taking
    Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App

    Get unlimited access with a free StudySmarter account.

    • Instant access to millions of learning materials.
    • Flashcards, notes, mock-exams, AI tools and more.
    • Everything you need to ace your exams.
    Second Popup Banner