The key difference between burette and pipette is in their release mechanism. Burettes have a stopcock at the bottom while a pipette has a dropper like system that releases liquid in the desired amount by lessening the vacuum.
Burette and pipette are measuring tools that we use in chemistry labs, to dispense liquids in measured quantities. These are excellent devices we can use to add the exact amount of liquid chemical amounts to a titration process.
What is Burette?
The burette is a glass cylinder that is long and open at the top with a stop cock at the bottom to prevent the liquid filled in it from escaping from the burette. The tube has volumetric markings to allow the user to take only as much liquid as is desired in a particular chemical process.
Moreover, there are different size burettes that allow us to use different quantities of liquid. If you are using a 5 ml burette and release liquid in drops by releasing the stopcock, the amount used is determined by subtracting the final reading of the burette from 5 ml.
What is Pipette?
A pipette is a laboratory tool; we commonly use it in chemistry, biology and medicine to transport a measured volume of liquid, often as a media dispenser. In some branches of study such as molecular biology and analytical chemistry, we need to dispense minute amounts of liquid. In this endeavour, there are devices that help to dispense only as much liquid as we require. One such device that provides total control is a pipette. It is like using a syringe in a laboratory; thus, we call it also as a chemical dropper.
Therefore, pipettes are important to have accuracy and efficiency in dealing with small amounts of liquids. We use both micropipettes and macro pipettes in labs. Moreover, we can use micropipettes for very small quantities of liquid (1- 1000 micro liters). Pipettes work by creating a vacuum above the liquid level. It then allows the user to press to loosen the vacuum and dispense the required amount of liquid.
What is the Difference Between Burette and Pipette?
A burette is a graduated glass tube with a tap at one end, for delivering known volumes of a liquid, especially in titrations. On the other hand, a pipette is a laboratory tool commonly used in chemistry, biology, and medicine to transport a measured volume of liquid, often as a media dispenser. Hence, the key difference between burette and pipette is in their release mechanism. Burettes have a stopcock at the bottom while a pipette has a dropper like system that releases liquid in the desired amount by lessening the vacuum.
Furthermore, a pipette is smaller than burette. As another important difference between burette and pipette, pipettes are more accurate in releasing liquid in smaller quantities than burettes.
The below infographic on the difference between burette and pipette shows all these differences in tabular form.
Summary – Burette vs Pipette
Both burettes and pipettes are analytical tools. However, the key difference between burette and pipette is in the release mechanism. Hence, burettes have a stopcock at the bottom while a pipette has a dropper like a system that releases liquid in the desired amount by lessening the vacuum.
1. Flournoy, Blake. “What Is the Purpose of a Pipette?” Sciencing.com, Sciencing, 6 Dec. 2018. Available here
2. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Burette.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 4 Oct. 2013. Available here