How to Choose the Best Laboratory Glassware for Distillation

When you’re setting up or running a laboratory, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the future experiments that will be conducted there. Not only do you want to ensure that the lab or cleanroom classification is being met, but you also need to have the right apparatus, such as laboratory glassware for distillation.

Distillation is not only done in professional laboratories but also in high school labs. As it is one of the most interesting purifying techniques, it is a cool process that can teach students a lot about chemistry. However, having the right glassware plays a bigger role, not only in ensuring that the experiment is done properly but also in maintaining the purity of the end product.

Here's a short guide for you on how to pick the best glassware: 

The Glass Type Matters

Always pay attention to the glass type or material of the distillation equipment. You’ll even find copper and stainless steel distillation equipment, but this isn’t always used in a laboratory. They’re usually meant for industrial purposes for bulk orders such as breweries or vineyards. In most laboratories, the glass based distillation equipment will do just fine. 

However, you do have to pay attention to the different types of glass. Based on this, the quality of your laboratory glassware for distillation can fall into the following groups:

  • Borosilicate Glass – This is favored because of its durability as well as chemical resistance. It also has thermal stability and can be used for higher temperatures due to its high point of softening and lower coefficient. 

  • Flint Glass – This is usually the common glass that is used for general application apparatus. It’s perfect for use for experiments where the nature of mixture, the temperature and the volatility of the compounds is not an issue.

Based on this factor, you can pick and choose from these two different types of glass. Apart from the type, there are also different glass categories or classes that the equipment will fall into. You have to pay attention to the following two:

  • Class A – This refers to glassware that offers higher accuracy in results due to its tolerance.

  • Class B – This is also known as student glassware and is often higher in accuracy than class A.

By focusing on these two areas, you can easily pick the right laboratory glassware for distillation purposes. 

Odoo text and image block
Image Text – Distillation setup
Description – Distillation equipment placed on a tabletop, ready to use

What Kind of Distillation Are You Going For? 

As previously mentioned, the nature of the distillation also impacts the kind of equipment you are getting, not only in terms of glassware but also regarding the equipment. For simple experiments, you might not need specialized distillation equipment, but for others, you might have to get equipment that can accommodate the larger volume or even higher temperatures.

Distillation for large volumes of water, alcohol or even fuel needs to be done in larger equipment. The laboratory setting can also be impacted since larger equipment will use up more space. For this reason, you can also pick and choose from materials such as copper or stainless steel distillation equipment. If you’re not opting for distillation on such a large scale, your laboratory setting with glassware will be more than enough in order to get the results you are looking for.

Getting a Complete Set or Only Components?

When buying laboratory glassware for distillation, many people choose to opt for single components instead of paying for the whole set. However, getting the set can save beginners a lot of hassle when it comes to deciding which components to use and which ones to avoid. Buying equipment piece by piece is not a good idea when you are setting up the distillation equipment.

Single component shopping is more suited for when you’re getting replacement pieces for your distillation set. Despite the best efforts, there are bound to be a few accidents, which can mean that you have to replace those pieces. Additionally, certain pieces such as the short path distillation head can be delicate and require more intensive replacement as they are prone to cracks from improper handling.


For over 40 years, Lab Pro has been committed to delivering the best laboratory glassware for distillation to our customers worldwide. Come visit the biggest Lab Supply showroom in the Bay Area or contact us online or at 888-452-2776.