Graduated cylinders are tall, narrow containers used for accurately measuring volume in most lab applications. They are more accurate than beakers or Erlenmeyer flasks (but not volumetric flasks or pipets). Graduations on a graduated cylinder are generally accurate to 1%. While this is significantly better than beakers or Erlenmeyer flasks, it is not precise enough for higher level quantitative analysis processes.
Graduated cylinders come in a variety of sizes with varying levels of precision indicated by their graduations. Smaller graduated cylinders will generally have more precise graduations. For example, a 100mL graduated cylinder generally is graduated every 1mL and 10mL graduations will be marked every 0.1mL. When measuring a volume, the smallest graduated cylinder capable of containing that volume should be used to gain the highest level of precision.
Graduated cylinders may be fitted a plasitic bumper that protects the cylinder from shattering should it be tipped over. This ring should always be located near the top of the cylinder to adequately protect the glass.