Collins Glass vs. Highball: Which Should I Buy?

And, what IS the difference between these two long cocktail glasses?

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Collins Glass vs. Highball Glass

The Spruce Eats

Collins glasses and highball glasses often get mixed up with each other. Both are tall, slender, and used interchangeably for gin and tonics, fizzes, and other tall cocktails. But there are slight differences between the two glasses. Both are chimney-shaped, but Collins glasses are taller in height and larger in diameter. On the flip side, highball glasses are slender, tall, and smaller in capacity—generally 8 or 9 ounces. Just like a Champagne flute, the thin shape is designed to keep drinks carbonated for longer. 

And while both styles of glasses are often used interchangeably, they are historically used for different drinks. The names hint at that—Collins glasses were designed for the Tom Collins, the classic and simple bubbly gin sour cocktail. And highballs are for, well, highball drinks, such as rum and coke, gin and tonic, or whiskey and soda. But, if you're going to invest in a pair or more, which set of glasses is right for you? We dug a little deeper into the differences and compared the top brands of both styles to help you make that choice. Here’s what you need to know about these tall, slender cocktail glasses.

Main Takeaways

Collins Glass
  • Chimney-shaped

  • Collins glasses have a capacity of 12 to 16 ounces

  • Wider mouth

Highball Glass
  • Chimney-shaped

  • Highball glasses sit around 8 to 12 ounces in capacity

  • Tall and slender

Collins Glass vs Highball Results

Winner: The Highball Glass

Every detail of a well-made highball glass, such as Riedel Drink Specific Highball Glasses, was crafted with good drinks in mind. The tall, elongated shape keeps bubbles bouncy and bright, and the heavy glass stays cooler for longer once chilled. Plus, the slim shape looks handsome with a citrus swirl or a mint sprig jumping out of the top. Collins glasses offer many of these qualities, but with the wider diameter,  chunkier profile, and a capacity that can range from 6 to 16 ounces tall across the category, the highball came out on top as our long drink favorite.

Keep reading for our in-depth comparison of the Highball versus the Collins.

Riedel Drink Specific Glassware Highball Glass

Riedel Drink Specific Glassare Highball Glass


Who It's For: Cocktail Enthusiasts

This glass was made in collaboration with historic glassware company Riedel and Zane Harris, a noted bartender, to ensure the shape is perfect for carbonated drinks. The design combines form and function: classic, tall, and slender with a ribbed, cut-crystal design, and a durable construction.

The tall profile is designed to increase and agitate the carbonation in the cocktail, and the heavy glass retains a chill for longer. (Plus, it protects your drink from the heat of your hand.) Not to mention, at about $20 a glass, the price is right for this kind of quality.

Price at time of publication: $40

Capacity: 11 ounces | Material: Crystal | Dishwasher-safe: yes | Quantity: 2

Crafthouse by Fortessa Collins Glasses, Set of 4

 Crafthouse by Fortessa Professional Barware by Charles Joly


Who It's For: Universal drinks glasses

Crafthouse’s Collins glasses are simple, versatile, and functional. That makes them excellent for a variety of situations—ice water throughout the day, lemonade at brunch, or mojitos in the evenings. It’s excellent for fluffy and frothy cocktails, like gin sours, Ramos gin fizzes, and other pillowy drinks. 

While this is a Collins glass by name, the profile of the glass is more similar to a highball—slender and narrow. The construction is quality: while they look delicate, each glass is made with Tritan crystal: a more durable version of crystal that adds titanium instead of lead into the glass. That means they’re lightweight but less likely to shatter.

Price at time of publication: $59

Capacity: 11 ounces | Material: Crystal | Dishwasher-safe: yes | Quantity: 2

The Differences


Winner: Highball

Yes, a highball glass is smaller than a standard Collins glass. But consider why: highballs are designed to hold one drink packed with ice perfectly. A standard highball glass is 8 to 10 ounces. A standard gin and tonic is 5 ounces. Add in a good serving of ice, and the highball glass is the perfect size for an icy G&T. Any larger than that, and you’ll have to add more tonic water, top up the ice, or double the alcohol. Collins can range more in size, from ten ounces to 16 ounces. If you’re looking for a glass to make sparkling cocktails with, the highball is the perfect size.  If you’re saving these glasses for lemonades or non-carbonated beverages, a Collins glass will certainly work, but highballs are ideal for a range of beverages. 

Riedel Drink Specific Highball

The Spruce Eats / Kate Dingwall


Winner: Collins Glass (sometimes)

When crafting cocktails, ice is crucial. Too small (think those tiny cubes most freezer trays make) will dilute your beverage more quickly and no one wants a watered-down drink! One issue with many types of highball glasses is the diameter isn’t wide enough to fit a big cube of ice. Collins glasses have a larger diameter (as do some highball glasses, but not all!). We want a glass that has a large enough diameter to fit standard cocktail ice without having to cut it down.


Winner: Highball Glass

The cut crystal design and elongated shape of the highball glass give it a classic look and a higher-end feel, balancing new and old design with modern construction. (Read: durable and dishwasher-safe.) Collins glasses are more utilitarian—usually chimney-shaped and stately in size. If you’re looking for simple, elegant, and excellent glasses, highball glasses like Riedel’s offer all of that. It is possible to find Collins glasses with details like etchings, flutings, or gold rims, but in general, highballs are more visually appealing.

To note: the design of glasses can change depending on the producer! These results speak to the broader category of each glass.

Price Point

Winner: Highball Glass

In the world of glassware, one can easily spend three figures on a single glass. But glasses break, chip, and crack—and with it, that money you spend on it. So when purchasing glasses, we look at value: what qualities are you getting for the price tag? Are the glasses dishwasher-safe? Can they withstand ice-cold temperatures and heat? Are they chip or crack-resistant? These highball glasses by Riedel hit all those marks, including a sophisticated design.

Riedel Drink Specific Highball Glasses

The Spruce Eats / Kate Dingwall

Is Riedel Drink Specific Highball Glasses Worth the Price?

If you love a crisp, cold, effervescent drink (who doesn’t), this glass is the perfect vessel for just such a beverage. They check off a lot of boxes: they’re visually gorgeous, high-quality, and specifically designed to complement the characteristics of a highball-style cocktail. The thin shape and fluted design captures light beautifully and has the appeal of a pricey, classic crystal glass.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Kate Dingwall is an experienced wine and spirits writer and a working sommelier. She has an extensive glassware collection, including highballs, collins, and plenty of coupes.