Lotion Pumps: All you need to know

Lotion Pumps: All you need to know

There are a few things that really get me pumped. Some of those things are Ben & Jerry's Phish Food Ice Cream, college football and a Garth Brooks concert. But this post isn't about what gets me pumped.  It's about lotion pumps. So let's get pumped about pumps! Pumps are made to dispense viscous liquids.  Viscous means thick, sticky and somewhere in between a solid and a liquid.  This could mean lotion, soap, honey, etc. Like all great liquid products it's important that they be dispensed properly.  You wouldn't think of dispensing lotion with a fine-mist sprayer or just pouring soap out of a bottle.  One of the most common ways to dispense these products is out of a bottle with a pump. You probably haven't thought too much about a lotion pump.  You know what one is and you know its function but you probably haven't considered the different parts of the pump.  Let me explain.  I'll take it from the top.

Pump Parts


The actuator - The actuator is the top part of the pump that you push down on to dispense whatever viscous substance is inside the container.  It's what allows the pump to operate. It's common that the actuator will feature a locking mechanism so that the product isn't accidentally dispensed during shipping or travel.  Lotion pumps can either be locked in the upward or downward position.  Actuators are typically made from polypropylene (PP) which is a very durable plastic.

The closure - This is the part of the pump that screws onto the bottle.  Lotion pump closures are either ribbed or smooth.  A ribbed closure is easier to open because the little grooves allow for a better grip for your lotion-covered fingers.

The housing - The housing is the main pump assembly that keeps pump components (piston, ball, spring, etc.) in the right position and sends fluids into the actuator.

Interior components - The interior components are found inside the pump housing.  They are made up of a variety of parts including a spring, ball, piston, and/or stem that transfer the product from the container through the dip tube into the actuator.

Dip tube - The dip tube is the tube that extends down into the container.  The liquid travels up the tube and out the pump.  It's important that the length of the dip tube matches the height of the bottle.  If the tube is too short, you're going to have product that you won't be able to dispense with the pump.  If the tube is too long then it likely won't screw down on the bottle.  If you've found the pump you like but the dip tube doesn't match the height of your bottle, Citadel Packaging provides dip tube cutting or dip tube replacement services. That's right. If the tube is too short, we can swap it out with one that fits.  

Pump Output


The pump's output is typically measured in cubic centimeters (cc) or milliliters (mL). The output tells you how much liquid is dispensed with each pump.  Pumps come in a wide variety of output options.   Still have questions about lotion pumps? Give us a call! Or you can order samples of our items so that you can find the perfect pump for your application.