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Metalware or metal ware is a general name used for all lab items or tools made of metal or metallic alloys, that are not used as reagents, but rather as tools or lab equipment. Electronic or complex (read: multiple individual components) mechanical-powered equipment are excluded from this category.


Metal ware items are commonly made of corrosion resistant metals or alloys, such as stainless steel, nickel, titanium, platinum, gold, iridium, etc. Plain steel items are also used, but due to its moderate chemical resistance they are more commonly used in areas where corrosion isn't that much of a problem or in consumable products. Brass and copper vessels are sometimes used in distilling ethanol from fermented fruits.

Below there's a list of various metal lab items encountered in the chemistry lab, that are useful for the average amateur chemist. Obviously you will not need them all, but the most important basic and advanced items are necessary when doing any lab work.

Basic metalware

Aspirator pump

Similar to the glass and plastic type, they are used in vacuum filtration. Generally made of stainless steel or brass.

Burette rack

Useful for holding multiple burettes in a straight line. Often made of stainless steel.

Cell spreader

Used to spread individual microbial cultures across an agar Petri dish.

Cork borer

Metal tool for cutting a circular hole in a cork or rubber stopper, to insert glass tubing.


Metal crucible, made of nickel, titanium are commonly used to calcinate organic compounds and melt materials with relative low melting point. Crucibles made of refractory metals, such as tantalum, tungsten, iridium are commonly used in single-crystal growth techniques.

Crucible tongs

Scissor-like tools used to grasp hot crucibles, flasks, evaporating dishes, or even small beakers.


Useful when retrieving items or wastes from a hot solution. May not be useful for corrosive solutions.


Handheld, scissors-like tools used to grab and hold various items. They are commonly made of hardened stainless steel.

Frame stand

Similar in function to retort stands, frame stands are useful when needing many screw clamps for complex installations.

Funnel support

Similar to test tube racks, they have an opening which allows you to place the funnel from sideways, similar to open ring supports

Hoffman clip

Used to close the flow of liquid through a tube, it is similar in construction to a screw clamp.

Hypodermic needle

Come in various sizes, in both diameter and length. While most types of needle have their base made of plastic, all-metal needles also exist. Long or very long needles are commonly used in air-sensitive methods, to transfer air-sensitive or even pyrophoric chemicals from their storage bottles to the reaction flask. Syringe needles are almost always made of stainless steel.

Inoculation loop

A tool consisting of a wire with a loop at one end, used mainly by microbiologists to retrieve an inoculum from a culture of microorganisms. The wire is made of platinum, titanium or nichrome.

Inoculation needle

Commonly used in the field of microbiology to transfer and inoculate living microorganisms, as well as biological cultures.

Keck clip

Used to fasten ground glass joints. Come in two forms, a flat metal strip form and a wire form (also called wire clip).

Kettle clamp

Used for holding glass reaction vessels.

Lab tongs

Used for grabbing and holding beakers, flasks and crucibles. The appear like scissors, but its grabbers are rounded or bent for holding said vessels.

Mohr clip

Also known as pinch clamps, they squeeze the tube by default and to release it, you will have to press against the two heads releases the hose, which allows the fluid to flow through the tube.

Mortar and pestle

Although metal mortar and pestles are uncommon, such items are sometimes used in pharmacies and in kitchen to grind very soft materials. Stainless steel is commonly used as construction metal. Such items are easy to scratch, which makes them unsuitable when grinding anything that has abrasive particles like sand. Full metal mortars are also very heavy.

Pinch clamp

Spherical joint pinch clamp are commonly used in holding the rotary evaporator collecting flask, as well as holding the filtration tube and fritted glass disk from filtration units.

Retort stand

Retort stands consist of a heavy metal base frame and a sole support metal rod placed vertically, most often welded to the base. They are commonly used as stands for holding clamps and bossheads. The heavy base frame can be either a flat piece of metal, an A-shaped frame, H-shaped frame, L-shaped frame, T-shaped frame or a tripod.


Used to cut soft materials.


Spatula-like scoop utensil used primarily in chemistry lab settings to transfer solids in lab.


Spatula is a stainless steel spoon-like item, consisting of a rod with one end cup-shaped, while the other end it generally flattened, though some spatulas come with both ends either flat or rounded. They are the most common and important lab metal item, widely used to transfer reagents from one bottle to a weighting scale or in a reaction vessel. Metal spatulas are incompatible with a variety of solid reagents, such as metal halides (wet or hydrated) or iodine, and if used in a flame, they should not be heated to the point of red-hot.

Sterilizing can

A type of metal can used for sterilizing medical and biological equipment. Sterilization is done in an autoclave.


All-metal syringe are commonly used in medicine and by vets.

Test tube brush

Used to clean test tubes and other tubular glassware.

Test tube holder

Similar in appearance to pinch tweezers, test tube holders are commonly used for holding test tubes when heating them.

Test tube rack

Test tube racks consist of one or two metal plates where circular holes are cut inside for the test tubes.


Useful to carry various fragile or heavy objects around. It's advised not to carry corrosive reagents, like acids or halogens with it.


A three-legged circular or triangular platform, made of carbon steel, stainless steel or aluminium, used to support or hold flasks, beakers or sometimes funnels during experiments. Often is used to hold a wire gauze in order to allow beakers and flasks to be placed on top of it, while a Bunsen or Teclu burner can be placed underneath to heat them up.

Alcohol burner stands are similar in construction, though they appear more like a miniature chair than a stand and have a heat resistant and fire-proof fabric.


Used to grab small objects.

Wire gauze

A wire gauze is a wire mesh-like fabric with a ceramic or asbestos fabric woven in its middle.

Wire basket

Come in two main forms, cylindrical and square, are commonly used to hold glassware, most often when drying them in oven.

Advanced metalware


Also known as clamp holders, they are used to hold various metal rods and extension clamps, like iron rings or other utility clamps. Generally made of stainless steel, brass, aluminium or zinc.

Burette clamp

Used for holding burettes. They generally have rubber knobs for holding the burette without scratching it. Often made of aluminium, but cast iron is also used.

Fisher burette clamp is a common model, due to it's simple construction and use.


Used as flame and heat source.

Chain clamp

Used to hold various glassware, especially odd form ones.


Used for storing cryogenic fluids.


Metal electrodes, made from zinc, copper, iron, nickel, tungsten, lead, titanium, either plated with platinum, rhodium, other noble metal or metal oxide are commonly used in electrochemistry.

Hook connector

Similar to screw clamps and bossheads, they are used to hold utility clamps in a hook like opening, which touches the support rod.

Iron ring

Iron rings are used for holding funnels or (rarer and not recommended) flasks. Some models have a built-in screw clamp, while others don't have one, but can be inserted in a screw clamp.

Some iron rings are open, which allow you to place the funnel on it without dripping potentially corrosive reagent on the metal ring.


A useful lifting device, which can be used to hold various flasks or installation at a desired height.

Some jacks also come with a support rod.

Lattice clamp

Useful when making a grid stand.

Round support plate

Used for holding heating mantles, Petri dishes or flat bottom flasks at a more elevated position.

Screw clamp

Used to hold various reaction vessels, like the lid of an autoclave. G-type clamps are the most common.

Bossheads are a special type of screw clamps.

Shaker clamp

Used to hold various glassware on the shaker, like Erlenmeyer flasks, separatory funnels, etc.


Metal sieves, like plain steel or stainless steel sieves are commonly used to sieve powders.

Thermometer clamp

A special type of screw clamp, it is commonly used for holding thermometers.

Utility clamp

Used in labs to hold flasks, more often glass joint flasks. It's composed of 3 parts: 2 or 4-prong adjust, metal rod, and a screwed clamp. Extension clamps lack the screwed clamp, and need a bosshead. Also referred to as

Double jaw utility clamps are an interesting form of clamp which can be used to attach the said clamp on any large-diameter cylindrical objects, like pipes or bars.

Some utility jaws also come in models where you can adjust the angle of the clamp.

More advanced models have a flexible neck, similar to that used in desk lamps, often attached to a metal stand.

Surgical instruments

Main article: Surgical instrument

While surgical instruments are something more often encountered in a hospital than a chemistry lab, some of them can be really useful.


Main article: Tool

Tools are important to anyone doing any work. While you may not need to store them in your lab, you should at least have a box or a drawer with basic tools.


Beakers, flasks and others

Basic glassware items, such as beakers, flasks, dishes, funnels, Büchner funnels, bowls, storage bottles, jugs, are also available in metal form, almost always made of stainless steel, or rarer titanium. They are often used when working with alkali.


Metal buckets don't have much use in lab work, but can be filled with water and used to quench hot bodies or hold sand as extinguishing powder.

Hose clip

Useful when closing tubing.

Ingot mold

Used to cast metal ingots.

Removable tray shelving unit

Consists of detachable shelves which can also be used as trays.

Shelf divider

Useful when wanting to sort bottles or other items on a shelf.

Shelving unit

Useful for storing reagents, bottles, glassware, equipment, etc. Very useful if your lab space is tight.

Slotted angle shelving units are commonly encountered.


Commonly used to transport or store large or numerous items. Often made of stainless steel.

Trolleys come in the classic double tray model or multi-shelf models.

Handling and storage

Metal items should be kept away from volatile corrosive reagents, as they are susceptible to rusting and corrosion.

They should also be kept in a different place from glassware, plasticware, ceramic and wood items, as there is a risk of damaging the former items if improperly handled. A tool cupboard is a good storage place, as is a tool rack.

When washing them, make sure you do not use acids, so avoid putting them in the acid bath after holding them in a base bath. Aluminium, brass, bronze, copper, steel and zinc items are incompatible with both washing bases, and organic solvents like acetone, alcohol (ethanol, isopropanol) or esters (methyl formate, methyl acetate, ethyl acetate) should be used instead to clean them.


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