# Does 15 drops equal 1 mL?

Whether 15 drops equals 1 mL depends on the type and size of dropper used. There is no universal conversion between drops and milliliters because the size of drops can vary. However, as a general rule of thumb, most standard eyedroppers will deliver about 15-20 drops per mL. So for these common droppers, 15 drops is approximately 1 mL. But again, this can vary based on factors like dropper nozzle size, viscosity of the liquid, and technique. To be precise, you need to count the number of drops per mL for the specific dropper you are using.

## What factors determine drop size?

There are a few key factors that affect the size of drops from a dropper and therefore the drops per mL ratio:

• Nozzle diameter – Wider openings produce larger drops.
• Viscosity of liquid – Thicker liquids form larger drops that contain more volume.
• Surface tension – Liquids with higher surface tension produce larger drops.
• Angle of tilt – Holding the dropper more vertically produces larger drops.
• Squeeze force – Harder squeezes on the bulb produce larger drops.

Because of these factors, not all droppers will produce the same size drops. For example, an eyedropper with a wider nozzle and used with a thick, viscous liquid will produce larger drops compared to a narrow nozzle and watery liquid. So you cannot reliably convert between drops and mL without counting the specific drops per mL for your dropper and liquid.

## How many drops are in 1 mL?

As a general guideline, most standard eyedroppers designed for medical or laboratory use will deliver around 15 to 20 drops per mL. So in these cases, 15 drops would equal close to 1 mL.

However, eyedroppers from companies like Sklar and Bel-Art Products report anywhere from 20-33 drops per mL for their droppers. Consumer product companies also report a wide range – anywhere from 10-33 drops per 1 mL depending on factors like bottle and dropper type.

To demonstrate how much drop size can vary, here are some reported drop per mL ratios from various sources:

• Sklar glass dropper – 20 drops/mL
• Bel-Art Products LDPE plastic dropper – 33 drops/mL
• Baptisia Botanicals glass dropper – 25 drops/mL
• Young Living essential oils plastic dropper – 20 drops/mL
• Aura Cacia essential oils glass dropper – 22 drops/mL
• Nature’s Truth aromatherapy oil plastic dropper – 10 drops/mL

As you can see, even for eyedroppers designed specifically for liquids, there is nearly a 3x difference in drops per mL depending on the exact dropper. So there is no universal rule that 15 drops = 1 mL.

## How to calculate drops per mL for your dropper

To accurately convert drops to mL for your specific dropper and liquid, you should experimentally determine the number of drops per mL:

1. Use a graduated cylinder or pipette to measure out exactly 1 mL of the liquid.
2. Transfer the 1 mL to your dropper bottle.
3. Count how many drops it takes to empty the dropper bottle.
4. Repeat steps 1-3 several times and average the number of drops per mL.

This will give you the drops per mL conversion factor for your specific setup. You can then use this number to convert back and forth between drops and milliliters.

As an example, if you counted an average of 22 drops to empty 1 mL from the dropper, then for that dropper setup 22 drops would equal 1 mL. And 1 mL would equal 22 drops.

## Common eyedropper sizes

Here are some typical eyedropper sizes and their estimated drops per mL:

Dropper Size Drops per mL
1/4 mL (0.25 mL) 15-20 drops
1/2 mL (0.5 mL) 15-20 drops
1 mL 15-20 drops
2 mL 15-20 drops
5 mL 15-20 drops

As shown, the standard drops per mL does not change significantly with different sized eyedroppers. This makes sense since the nozzle diameter stays consistent. So for general calculations, you can assume 15-20 drops per mL for common plastic or glass laboratory/medical eyedroppers.

## Tips for consistent drop sizes

When measuring liquid by eye dropper, follow these tips for consistent drop sizes:

• Hold the dropper vertically straight up and down.
• Gently squeeze the bulb with consistent force.
• Allow the bulb to fully refill between drops.
• Count drops slowly and carefully.
• Work over a clean flat surface to see drops.
• Verify drops per mL for each new dropper and liquid.

## Alternatives to counting drops

For critical applications where accuracy is important, measuring by drop counting can lead to errors and inconsistencies. Instead, consider using volumetric lab equipment for better precision:

• Graduated cylinders – Allow measurement of liquid volumes from 1 mL up to 2000 mL.
• Volumetric flasks – Precisely measure a single volume like 10 mL, 25 mL, or 100 mL.
• Pipettes and pipettors – Accurately measure and deliver small volumes down to 0.1 mL.
• Analytical balances – Weigh liquids based on their mass and known density.

Lab equipment like this removes the variation associated with counting drops. The volume measurements are precise and consistent. For applications that depend on accuracy,gravimetric or volumetric measurement is preferred over counting drops.

## Conclusion

In summary, there is no universal rule that 15 drops = 1 mL when using an eyedropper. The size of drops can vary greatly depending on the dropper and liquid used. The typical range is 15-20 drops per mL for most standard eyedroppers. However, to be precise, you should determine the number of drops per mL for your specific dropper experimentally by counting drops of a measured 1 mL volume. This drop count will allow accurate conversion between dropper drops and milliliters for your setup. When accuracy is critical, consider using lab equipment like graduated cylinders, pipettes, or analytical balances to eliminate the variation associated with drop counting.