Ampoule vs Vial – Difference and Comparison

What is Ampoule?

An ampoule is a hermetically sealed container made of plastic or glass, mostly glass to store sterile medical solution or powder which to be made up in solution. It’s tiny with a sealed neck for a single dosage. With using flame the neck of an ampoule is being sealed to prevent contamination. To open an ampoule you must break the seal. They are for one-time use which helps to preserve the purity and potency of the products because the ingredients are not exposed to sunlight or air which can degrade the contents inside the ampoule.

Reused after the sealed neck is broken, in pharmacies and other stores, it’s thrown away once the sealed neck is broken. However, the content inside the ampoule can be stored in a sealed sterile vial.

Besides being used by pharmaceutical companies to store chemical compounds, ampoules are used by the cosmetic, retail, dental, toiletries, and diagnostic industries. An ampoule is the most suitable for storing chemical compounds temporarily. The unstable chemical compound that in presence of any element or oxygen remains potent when it is stored in the ampoule.

Some of the application of ampoule-

  1. Retail industry
  2. First aid
  3. Pharmaceuticals
  4. Diagnostic
  5. Cosmetics
  6. Dental
  7. Toiletries
  8. Health and beauty aids
  9. Veterinary 

What is a Vial?

A vial is a small vessel for holding serums, liquid drugs, and other compounds that are mostly used in the medical industry. A vial is a multi-dose container that is closed or closable. They are made of glass. For glass vials, screw caps are used, while a crimp vial uses a metal cap and a rubber stopper. It has a flat base so it can be rested on a counter or flat surface. A vial is a wider term as compared to an ampoule.

Vials are more versatile than ampoules since their usage is varied. Vials are used by the cosmetic industry to store perfume and different types of serums and essential oils. They are also used by pharmaceutical companies to store vaccine dosage and medicine. Moreover, they are used for scientific sample vessels, research applications, and industrial applications.  Vials are not enclosed types and it is known for storing stable elements.

A vial is not a hermetic type like an ampoule and it’s best for storing stable elements. Vials can be reused for storing. It can be cleaned and reused many times unlike ampoule and has less risk of getting injury as compared to an ampoule. In short, it can be sterilized and used again.

Some application of vial-

  1. Autosampler devise in analytical chromatography
  2. Scientific sample vessels
  3. Pharmaceutical application (powder, liquid, or capsule)
  4. Research application
  5. Industrial application

Difference Between Ampoule and Vial

  1. Ampoules cannot be used more than one time once the seal is broken whereas vials can be reused for storing purposes after opening the cap.
  2. Ampoules are hermetically sealed on the other hand vials are not sealed hermetically.
  3. Ampoule doesn’t have a rubber stopper and you need to break it to have access to medication whereas the vial has a rubber stopper that you need to put the needle into it to get the liquid or the compound mixture.
  4. Ampoules are for temporary storage on the other hand in a vial the contents can be stored for a longer period.
  5. Ampoules are oddly shaped whereas vials have a flat base.

Comparison Between Ampoule and Vial

Parameters of comparisonAmpoule Vial
Seal UsedA heat or laser seal is used to lump any air contact.A wooden or rubber stopper is used to seal the neck of the vial
ShapeOddly shapeFlat shape
Re-usabilityAmpoule can’t be reused used againThe vial can be used again
Duration of storageThey are temporary storage.They can be stored for an extensive period.
Ease of AccessThe process of opening an ampoule is tough, as the glass neck needs to be broken and may consequence in injuries.The process of opening a vial is comparatively calmer as you simply need to remove the stopper to access the contents of the vessel.