A Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Right PET Cup Size

A Buyer's Guide How to Choose the Right PET Cup Size

When selecting PET plastic cups for your business, one of the most important decisions is choosing the right size. The size of PET cup you choose affects everything from portion control, inventory costs, branding, and even sustainability efforts. With so many factors to weigh, determining the ideal PET cup size can be challenging. This definitive guide provides an in-depth look at what you need to know when deciding on PET cup capacities for hot and cold beverages. We’ll explore popular sizes, pros and cons, customization options, and more to help you select the perfect PET cups for your needs.

Understanding Standard PET Cup Sizes

PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) cups come in a variety of standard sizes, usually ranging from 8 ounces on the smaller end up to 32 ounces for extra large servings. To decide what PET cup size suits your needs, it helps to understand typical uses across standard capacities. Here’s an overview of popular hot and cold beverage applications by size, along with the advantages and disadvantages of different PET cup size.

12 oz PET Cups

The 12 ounce PET cup is a popular choice for small to medium size cold beverages, including soft drinks, juices, slushies and fountain drinks. Th 12 ounce size also works well for hot beverages like specialty coffees and hot chocolates.

  • Small/medium hot & iced coffees
  • Small milkshakes
  • Slushy or icee-type drinks
  • Individual juices
  • Hot cocoa or tea
  • Specialty soda fountain drinks
  • Kids’ cold beverages
  • Smoothie samples
  • Frozen yogurt


  • Affordable per unit pricing
  • Efficient use of space
  • Limits overpouring/waste
  • Controls portions
  • Lightweight when filled
  • Promotes sustainability


  • Only suits smaller drinks
  • Modest branding area
  • Not shareable size

16 oz PET Cups

The 16 ounce cup size is ideal for larger cold beverages like soft drinks, ice teas, and slushy drinks. It also accommodates larger hot coffee drinks.

  • Large hot & iced coffees
  • Medium milkshakes
  • Iced tea or lemonade
  • Beer or cocktails
  • Medium sodas or soft drinks
  • Medium slushy/icee drinks
  • Water cup
  • Some wine servings
  • Boba tea
  • Adult size smoothies


  • Accommodates most medium drinks
  • Comfortable ergonomic size
  • Allows modest branding
  • nested storage
  • Great all-purpose size


  • Potential to overpour larger drinks
  • No jumbo serving options

20 oz PET Cups

For extra large cold beverages like smoothies, shakes, sodas, and more, the 20 ounce PET cup hits the sweet spot. It allows for generous portion sizes.

  • Extra large hot/iced coffee
  • Thick milkshakes
  • Large slushy or icee drinks
  • Beer or cocktails
  • Movie theater drinks
  • Extra large sodas or soft drinks
  • Boba tea
  • Bottled juice equivalents
  • Adult size smoothies
  • Frozen yogurt


  • Holds majority of large drinks
  • Comfortable easy-grip size
  • Generous branding/print area
  • Provides perceived value
  • Allows jumbo servings


  • Risk of overpouring waste
  • Higher per unit cost
  • Oversized for smaller drinks

32 oz PET Cups

When you need a high-capacity PET cup, the 32 ounce size is great for mega-sized cold beverages and drinks meant for sharing. Popular uses include movie theater drinks, gas station sodas, and convenience store beverages.

  • Mega milkshakes
  • Extra, extra large slushies
  • Soft drink refills
  • Bottled smoothie equivalents
  • Boba tea w/ extras
  • Beer towers or pitchers
  • Extra large fountain drinks
  • Shared drink specials
  • promo giveaways


  • Holds extra extra large drinks
  • Easy to double fist
  • Tons of branding real estate
  • High perceived value
  • Drives impulse buys


  • Heavy when filled
  • Highest per unit cost
  • Oversized for average use
  • Requires more storage

Custom PET Cup Sizing Options

Beyond standard capacities, many PET cup suppliers offer fully customizable sizing to perfectly match offerings. Exact volumes help limit waste while providing adequate headspace for frothy drinks.

Custom oval, rectangular, or u-shapes not only set customized PET cups apart but also accommodate specialized uses. Customized PET cups also allow flexibility as menus evolve.

Considering the array of factors impacting ideal PET cup size selections, custom sizing is often the best route to balance portion control, branding, budget, storage, sustainability, and convenience.

u shaped pet cups with custom sizes
Some of the PET cup sizes offered by GMZ.

Top 7 Factors to Consider When Choosing Size for PET Cups

When determining the right PET cup size, capacity is just one piece of the puzzle. As a buyer, you also need to consider factors like:

1. Portion Control

The size of your PET cups directly impacts portion control. Oversized cups can lead to overpouring, excess waste, and even loss of profits if drinks aren’t finished. On the other hand, undersized cups leave customers wanting more and can have negative brand impressions.

Selecting standard sizes that match common beverage servings ensures proper portion control. Offering an optional larger size also meets demand for shareable drinks or refillable options.

2. Drink Type & Volume

Match your PET cup size to the beverage type and volume you’ll be serving to prevent overflow, waste, and mess. For example, a 12 oz cup holds an average canned soda with a little extra room, whereas a 16 oz accommodates most medium fast food drinks.

If you serve a variety of drinks, have a selection of PET cup sizes on hand to suit different offerings.

3. Branding & Promotions

Printed PET cups allow for branding, graphics, and promotional space for seasonal offerings, new products, contests, etc. When factoring in branding needs, make sure to choose a cup size with adequate usable surface area.

12-20 oz cups offer modest branding real estate. But move up to a 32 oz and you’ve got ample front and back space for vibrant graphics, logos, and special promotions.

4. Storage Constraints

Available storage space might limit what PET cup sizes you can stock. Standard 12-20 ounce capacities nest efficiently, maximizing shelf space. But jumbo 32 oz cups take up more room both in storage and when serving.

Before picking a size, evaluate onsite storage space, shelving dimensions, fridge/freezer capacity if needed, and serving area limitations.

5. Sustainability Goals

Sustainability is a growing priority for consumers. Using recycled PET cup materials and minimized packaging supports green initiatives.

But cup size also impacts environmental footprints. Choosing standard sizes aligned closely with actual portions prevents overpouring and waste while requiring less material to produce.

Offering reusable cup discounts also encourages repeat business while reducing single-use waste – just accommodate receptacle size if allowing personal cups.

6. Customer Convenience

Convenience is key for PET cup sizing. A comfortable, easy-to-handle cup keeps drinks secure and pleasurable for patrons.

Oversize cups get heavy when filled and can lead to spills. Consider ergonomics and comfort when choosing PET cup capacity. Cup holders and lids further prevent messes and maximize convenience.

7. Budget Constraints

Larger PET cup sizes often have a higher per unit cost. When budget is a concern, calculate cost per ounce to determine what size maximizes value. In some cases, less expensive smaller cups plus an optional upcharge on larger sizes offsets profit losses from overpouring with a one-size solution.

Weigh all cost considerations pertaining to portions, waste, storage, custom printing, lids, and material expenses to determine ideal PET cup size ROI.

Tips for Choosing the Best PET Cups for Your Business

With so many factors to weigh in PET cup selection, choosing the right size and style for your business can get overwhelming. Keep these tips in mind to simplify the process:

  • Take Inventory of Offerings: Make a list of all drinks you currently offer or hope to serve, noting sizes. This helps match the right capacity PET cups to the menu.
  • Weigh Convenience Factors: Consider ergonomics, portability, lids, cup holders, and counter space when evaluating PET cup sizing. Easy transport and security prevents spills and messes while accommodating mobility.
  • Compare Budget Impact: Calculate per ounce PET cup costs across sizes and estimate product usages to determine the best fiscal option. Remember to account for losses from oversized capacities.
  • Identify Branding Goals: Envision your branding strategy on printed PET cups. Then match desired graphics, logos, promotional space, etc. needs to adequate surface area.
  • Get Input from Patrons: Talk to regular customers about ideal drink sizes and what cup features they value. First-hand input goes a long way in PET cup selection.
  • Ask Suppliers for Guidance: Reliable PET cup manufacturers and distributors offer sizing guidance based on typical customer applications, new innovations, and industry insights. Their expertise is invaluable during the exploration process.

The right PET cups elevate drink presentation while giving your business an economical vessel for dispensing beverages. By prioritizing portion control, branding potential, sustainability, and consumer convenience during the selection process, you’re sure to find a size and style that checks all the boxes.

Use this definitive guide to help demystify the complete range of factors influencing your PET cup buying decision. Taking a strategic approach reduces the guesswork so you end up with a sizes and customization combo tailored to current and future business needs.

PET Cups & Lids Supplier – GMZ

As an additional high-quality option for sourcing PET cups, GMZ offers a wide selection of cups across standard and customizable sizes. Their PET cup lineup includes 8 common calibers ranging from 78mm to 107mm, providing a cup volume well-suited to small to large capacity cold and hot beverages.

GMZ PET cups boast excellent transparency thanks to quality materials, allowing drinks to shine through. Custom printing services are also available from GMZ for branding or promotional messaging on cups. Beyond standard cylindrical shapes, GMZ also provides specialty U-shaped PET cups with rounded bottoms to deliver a differentiated cup style.

When considering PET cup sizing and customization from GMZ, they provide a breadth of standard sizes suited for everything from juices and fountain drinks up to mega-sized smoothies and slushies. Their U-shaped cups also create unique presentations. With options for custom calibers and printing, GMZ enables complete branding and sizing personalization potential.

For buyers looking for transparent PET cups in reliable standard sizes, or fully-custom print and shape options, GMZ delivers quality and variety worth exploring.

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