So, I'm looking for drip style containers to keep in my messenger bag and my home shop to dispense bike chain lube. I want to just buy a 32oz container of lube for cheap on amazon and fill my own dispensing bottles since I need to clean a lot of chains on a lot of bikes.


However, I have maybe one small bottle of chain lube, which I'm not sure how to refill (it doesn't appear to be made to be dissassembled). Does anyone know where I can find dispensing bottles that can be securely closed for transport with all the other crap in my bag? I've checked a few science supply places online, but havn't found anything that would drip dispense and also have a screw cap.

  • 1
    It's amazingly difficult to find a supply of good small bottles. Lab-style drip bottles and "wafer top" bottles do not seal securely. You need either a flip-nozzle bottle or something like the Finish Line bottle with screw cap (which can generally be refilled by prying out the squirt plug). But I don't know of a source of these other than to reuse existing. (Ah, here's a source, if you don't mind buying them by the case lot.) Mar 27, 2012 at 20:37
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    Look for "eyedropper bottles" in Google Images, some of the results are from suppliers, and they're FinishLine style bottles (flip-nozzle + screw cap). Mar 27, 2012 at 22:36

5 Answers 5


In my experience, the best kind of lube container is the Finish Line one, or similar. It has a nozzle that can be snapped off easily for refilling, and a threaded cap which covers it all. The "secret" is the threaded cap, which actually presses the removable nozzle against and into the bottle's neck.

Then, I guess there are three ways to use it:

  1. Buy one, use it, and then refill it indefinitely with the lube of your choice (that's what I do at home and in my carry-along toolbag. Have not had any spilling so far, and I shake them a lot while riding);
  2. Find a product that has the same design (medicines, hair products, etc.), buy some, use them, and then reuse the containers. I found the last image I post below looking for "eyedropper bottles" on google images;
  3. Find similar ones to buy off the shelf. I don't have experience with that.

That's what I am talking about (this is the 100ml bottle, there are smaller ones):

enter image description here

The "eyedropper bottles", showing the inner removable nozzle on the second bottle from left to right (with threaded cap removed):

enter image description here


Ask around at bike shops and community bike shops for empty lube bottles. They're sure to find one or two in the recycling bin.


If you need to pick up a large number of bottles quickly then I would look for Drip Bottles like these: enter image description here

Otherwise I would just pick up a couple of bottles of lube from my local bike shop that had screw off lids and refill them when they are empty.

  • Are these going to be safe for transport being tossed around with my lunch and spare clothes in a messenger bag?
    – Benzo
    Mar 27, 2012 at 19:13
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    I would do what I do when I pack any liquid that might leak - put the bottle in a zipper-type plastic bag.
    – Gary.Ray
    Mar 28, 2012 at 2:14

Just about any drug store sells travel bottles in small sizes for those who need to stay within TSA limits for carry-on. There's a large assortment of sizes & cap designs including applicator caps suitable for chain oil.

Be careful about the conical snip-off caps pictured above unless you're using them on a bottle small enough for one shot use. The little red caps at the tip don't hold on well and will leak in your pack.

  • Most of the drug store bottles are "wafer top" bottles (push down on one side to pop up the other side) that are highly untrustworthy. Mar 28, 2012 at 15:48

I use 8 oz. flip-top bottles. They're inexpensive, easy to find, and the top does double duty as a spot applicator.

They cost forty-seven cents a piece. I bought four so I could have extra bottles of lube in my car, on my bikes, and in my garage. Their 2-3 business day shipping was very reasonable for where I live (Maryland).


enter image description here

  • 2
    The problem with these is they don't have the depth of seal that the thread-on lids have. If this was my only choice I'd store it inside a plastic clipseal bag as a second layer of seal.
    – Criggie
    Jul 1, 2016 at 22:15

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