The term “tube” may refer to any type of small open-topped or open-ended containers used for solid or liquid sample collection, transport, storage, or testing. Laboratory tubes are also called test tubes, culture tubes, centrifuge tubes, microcentrifuge tubes, PCR tubes, cryo tubes, and a host of other names.

Each type of tube may have a specific purpose or may be for more general use. Some are suitable for heating or freezing, some are manufactured to endure pressure or stress, and others are used for molecular and biological testing.

Laboratory tubes are available in various styles, sizes, and materials.

  • Plastic or glass: choose from multiple kinds of glass and plastic resins based on durability, inertness, and other material characteristics
  • Shape: Choose open-ended or flat-, round-, or conical-bottomed based on your application
  • Disposability: Reusable tubes must be adequately and reliably cleaned between uses
  • Sterility: Choose pre-sterilized or nonsterile tubes as needed; some tubes may be sterilized after purchase or between uses
  • Closures: Options include screw, cap, or plug closures and closure linings made of various materials
  • Attached or separate closures: May be related to sterility or the need to maintain clean interiors
  • Shapes: Choose standard or specially shaped tubes
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