What’s the difference between two piece capsules and soft gel capsules?

Your capsule form might not be something you’ve thought about, but the casing you choose can actually make a bigger difference than you think. Two piece capsules and soft gel capsules are the two most popular options on the market today, and each comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. To help you make the right decision, we’ve compiled a handy list of everything you need to consider when deciding which casing to use for your product.

Two piece capsules are comprised of two rigid shells, often created using gelatin, in which dry powder or pellets are placed inside before the two ends are sealed together. On the other hand, we have the soft gel capsules – formed in one single piece, soft gel capsules contain a portion of your product held within an appropriate solvent that has been hardened. Soft gels are typically used for products that need to be dissolved for digestion, or are difficult to dissolve on their own. They use an oily solvent to help the process along which often means much faster effects.

Ultimately, both capsules operate on a similar level, however there are some key differences that can be deal breakers depending on your current situation or intended market.

We’ll start from the beginning. Two piece capsules hold an advantage during development, as they can be used at all stages of product testing. This makes for a simpler process, and ultimately a faster development meaning your product can hit shelves safely in less time. However, the machinery required for the manufacturing of these capsules can be complex. What’s more, with liquid fills it’s reasonable to expect some wastage due to their 90% average fill. Soft gel capsules may reduce your wastage during development, but they do also require a large amount of space and a host of specialist equipment to manufacture. That’s a lot of capital for what will ultimately be a slower manufacture time, compared to two piece capsules, but there’s always the option of outsourcing to ensure you retain all the benefits of soft gels.

After development you might also want to consider storage concerns. With both types of capsule there will be concerns over which fills will work well with ingredients used within the container itself. Unfortunately this is a drawback that both capsules share, with the shell of the two piece capsule posing the same potential issues as the solution used in soft gel variants. Thankfully, both options will look after any odor leakage or oxygen diffusion during storage. The band sealing used to hold two piece capsules together prevents all this, as well as providing extra strength to the shell itself, while soft gel capsules fully protect all sensitive ingredients within them.

Once your product hits the shelves, you’ll need to take consumer needs into account. Generally, most consumers prefer soft gel capsules. They mask any taste, and not only do they take effect much quicker but their high absorption efficiency means less product needs to be taken. This means you need much smaller capsule sizes and therefore easier to swallow. In contrast, two piece capsules have been known to be difficult to swallow, and often take longer to take effect.

Overall, your choice of capsule is going to depend on your personal situation and goals. Ensure that you match your product to your capsule as well (making sure that ingredients will work well with the coating you are applying) and that the manufacture costs will be suitable for your financial position. After that, it’s down to making it easier for your consumers. Soft gel capsules are the most user-friendly, but ultimately you’ll have to keep other considerations in mind to ensure they work for you as a company.