The manual capsule filling machine design has come a long way since I first started making my own capsules almost a decade ago. In this guide, I show you the top 10 best capsule filling machines, where to buy them, explain the parts, and how to use them to make your own capsules at home.
I used to sit for hours and hours making my own herbal capsules before trips abroad. Nowadays, you can make an entire batch of herbs, Kratom, vitamins, minerals, or other powders in just a few minutes.
Let’s start with my Top 10 chart.
|Model||# of Capsules||Capsule Sizes|
|24||1, 0, 00|
|100||1, 0, 00|
|100||1, 0, 00, 000|
||400||1, 0, 00, 000|
|25||0, 00, 000|
|100||Includes Size 0 and 00 Plates|
As you can see, the capsule fillers are made of mostly the same parts, except for the “The Capsule Machine” that makes smaller batches of 24 instead of 100.
Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a capsule maker to give you a better idea of how they work.
Capsule Filling Machine Parts
In this section, I’ll describe each part of the machine.
- Alignment Plate – The Alignment Plate allows you to quickly load the capsule bodies and capsule caps into the slots of the plates without having to load them one by one. The video in the next section shows you exactly how this process works.
- Body Plate – The Body Plate holds the longer side of the capsule aka “The Body”
- Cap Plate – The Cap Plate holds the shorter side of the capsule aka “The Cap”
- Middle Plate – The Middle Plate comes into play when you press the capsules together. Once you press the capsules together, the Middle Plate holds the finished capsules to make it easier to lift them out of the machine all at once.
- Tamper (Powder Pressing Plate) – The Tamper Plate packs the powder down into the capsules once you load your powder into the capsule bodies. I typically use the tamper 2 to 3 times to make sure my caps get fully packed. You’ll notice that lighter/fluffier powders require more tamper runs than heavier/denser powders.
- Spatula (Powder Spreader) – The Spatula makes it easier to load the powder into your capsules. You’ll use it after you dump the powder above the capsule bodies to evenly disperse your powder into the capsule bodies.
- Spill Guard (see photo below) – The Spill Guard goes around the edges of the Body Plate when you load your capsules to prevent the powder from spilling over the edges of the plate. When you’re done loading your capsules, the Spill Guard also makes it easier to dump out the excess powder without making a mess.
The Spill Guard is the white piece of plastic in the photo below:
Next, let’s go over how to use the machine.
How to Make Capsules with the Capsule Filling Machine
The video below shows you exactly how to fill the capsules and explains how each part of the machine works:
- Take apart 100 capsules and put the caps and capsule bodies into two separate bowls
- Use the Alignment Plate to load the capsule bodies
- After you load the capsule bodies and make sure they’re all in the correct direction, connect the Spill Guard and prepare your powder
- Use a clean metal spoon to load the powder above the capsule bodies
- Use the spatula to evenly disperse your powder into each of the pill bodies
- Grab your Tamper Plate and align it with the capsule bodies
- Press down firmly to pack the powder into the capsule bodies
- Repeat steps 5-7 until your capsule bodies are fully packed
- Carefully dump the excess powder out of the corner of the Spill Guard into a clean separate container (I like to keep my excess powder separate from the original bag of powder)
- Prepare your Cap Plate with the Alignment Plate and load your capsule caps
- Make sure all your capsule caps are in the right direction
- Connect the Middle Plate (with the grooves facing up) above the Cap Plate and be sure that the holes are aligned perfectly
- Place the Middle Plate with the Cap Plate on top of the Body Plate and align the four screws at the corners
- Firmly and evenly press down on the Cap Plate to join the plates and capsules together
- Repeat step 14 several times to ensure all the capsules are fully pressed together (you want to be sure to connect them all because you don’t want to have to go back later to press the capsules together individually)
- Remove the Cap Plate and inspect it to ensure that all the caps connected to the capsule bodies
- Pull up on the Middle Plate
- All your finished capsules will be suspended in the Middle Plate
- Push out the finished capsules into a clean container
- Inspect several capsules by gently pressing on the ends to make sure they’re fully connected
- Add the finished capsules to a clean plastic vitamin bottle or other airtight containers (I like to save my old vitamin bottles to reuse)
- After you finish, wash the machine and other parts with warm soapy water and a soft sponge to avoid scratching the plastic
- Allow everything to air dry and store your machine inside a large Ziploc bag or sealed container
Tips for Making Your Capsules
Here are a few things I picked up along the way that weren’t in the video above:
- I use nitrile gloves to avoid transferring any oil or dirt from my fingers onto the capsules
- A surgical face mask also comes in handy to avoid breathing in any powders and keeping the machine sterile during the process
- Work on a clean, hard and large enough surface because some of the powder will spill
- I like to use a chair or stool while I work because it’s more comfortable than leaning over to do everything while standing
- Play some relaxing music while you’re working
- Depending on the type of powder, you may not want to dump the excess powder back into the original container
- When you press the capsules together, make sure to apply even pressure from the middle of the machine first because if you apply uneven pressure, it’ll crush your capsules
Where to Buy the Best Empty Capsules
You have two choices when it comes to buying your empty capsules: vegetarian capsules or gelatin capsules.
I prefer vegetarian capsules and have never had any problem using them.
The best capsule size is “00” in my experience. The 00 size gives you a large enough dose while the capsule is still easy to swallow.
The “0” capsules are good for people who have trouble swallowing capsules. There are also “000” size capsules that are good for larger doses.
The “000” size is good for BCAA powders or other supplements that require larger doses. In the next section, I’ll show you how to calculate how many mg of powder is in each capsule.
First, let’s check out the capsules I’ve been using for years now.
Click here to check the current price at Amazon. I usually order bags of 1000 “00” vegetarian capsules. This brand is very reasonably priced, and their capsules have always arrived undamaged.
It’s best to stick with a reputable capsule company that knows how to pack the capsules to avoid buying crushed capsules.
If you prefer gelatin capsules, click here for 00 capsules offered by the same company.
They also sell separated empty vegetable capsules if you prefer the convenience of not having to separate them by hand.
How to Calculate Milligrams per Capsule
To find out how many milligrams are in each capsule, you need a pocket milligram scale to calculate the density of your powder.
Here are the steps:
- Scoop out a level teaspoon of your powder
- Since you’ll be packing your capsules with the tamper, be sure to pack the powder into the teaspoon before weighing it
- Weigh the teaspoon of powder
- Record the weight of 1 tsp of powder
- Divide the weight by 5 to calculate the density of your powder in g/mL
Most powders are between 0.6 g/mL and 1.2 g/mL.
The chart below shows you how much powder is in each capsule (align your density with the capsule size to match your mg per capsule):
|Density||0 Capsule||00 Capsule||000 Capsule|
|0.6 g/mL||400 mg||575 mg||820 mg|
|0.8 g/mL||540 mg||755 mg||1095 mg|
|1.0 g/mL||675 mg||955 mg||1375 mg|
|1.2 g/mL||815 mg||1135 mg||1640 mg|
If you’re like me and want to know exactly how much powder is in each capsule, there’s an easier way to do it:
- Fill all your capsules first
- Weigh a full capsule, record the weight
- Dump out the powder of one capsule and weigh the powder only, record the weight
With this method, you get the exact weight of your powder in mg per capsule and the weight of an empty capsule.
I prefer to do it this way since each powder is a little different.
Best Automatic Capsule Filling Machine
Automatic capsule filling machines are a lot more expensive than manual capsule filling machines and unnecessary unless you plan to use one for business purposes.
The manual machines above are more than adequate for personal use. Once you get the hang of filling your own capsules, it’ll only take you a few minutes to make 100 at a time.
Click here or the image below to read more about an automatic capsule machine at Amazon:
There are also semi-automatic capsule filling machines.
Click here or the image below to read more about a semi-automatic capsule filling machine:
My Top Picks
All the selections in my top 10 best capsule filling machines are basically the same.
The most important thing to remember is to buy the correct machine size. If you want to make “0” capsules, be sure to choose a 0 machine.
If you want to make “00” or “000” size capsules, be sure to choose a 00 capsule machine or 000 capsule machine.
- The Capsarior Elite Model capsule machine is your best bet for a 000 capsule machine.
- I prefer the ALL-IN machine for 00 size capsules because it’s the most reliable and comes with the clearest directions.
- The SAHRA machine comes with a spoon and brush, which I thought was cool.
- The original Capsule Machine is the last machine in the Top 10 chart above, and it’s good for smaller batches of 24 capsules. Click here to check out all the available sizes.
- Be sure to refer to the Top 10 chart to see each available size for each machine
Which Powders Can You Use?
You can make capsules with any dry powder and even make your powders with a mortar and pestle set. You may also want to crush some of your powders into finer powders using a mortar and pestle.
Below is a list of some of the powders you can use to make capsules:
I’m sure you’ll think of some others.
How to Store Your Finished Capsules
Once you finish making your capsules, store them in airtight containers (food grade and BPA-free preferably).
- Old plastic or glass vitamin bottles (wash and allow to air dry before reusing them)
- Any airtight food-grade plastic container
- Amber glass bottles
It’s best to store your capsules in a cool, dry, and dark place.
You may also want to purchase desiccant packs to place inside your bottles containing the finished capsules to avoid any moisture buildup inside the bottles.
Click here to check out a bag of 5-gram silica gel rechargeable desiccant packets at Amazon.
Now you know everything there is to know about filling your own capsules and the best capsule filling machines.
All you have to do now is start filling your capsules and before you know it, you’ll master the art of making your own capsules at home.
The Advantages of Making Your Own Capsules
- No fillers or preservatives
- When you make your own, you know your capsules are fresh and haven’t been sitting on a hot shelf somewhere
- You control the exact dosage
- You control what goes in the capsules
- Save a bunch of money
- It’s fun to do
- No more gelatin capsules
- Healthier living
Once I started making my own capsules, I never looked back. I find that I get more of the benefits I’m after when I make my own.
I prefer to take herbs individually instead of in proprietary blends since proprietary blends typically don’t provide adequate doses of each herb. Plus, I like to cycle my herbs to avoid building up tolerances.
You’ll find that once you start making your own, you won’t want to go back to buying capsulized herbs, vitamins or bodybuilding supplements anymore.
Best of luck filling your own capsules and with your new capsule filling machine!