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Types of Laboratory Balances

Types of Laboratory Balances

Weighing scales or balances have been part of trade transaction for ages now. They have been identified by many different names, weight balance, weight scales etc. However, scientifically there is a difference between scales and balances.

Difference Between Balance and Scale

As mentioned earlier scale and balance both are weighing instruments. Nevertheless, scale measures weight in accordance with the force of gravity, while weighing balances are used to compare the mass of two independent objects. Also, balances and scales are distinguished by capability and readability.
  • Scales

What is a Weighing Scale?

Traditional weighing scale has spring or strain gauge load cells. These devices indicate weight reading by measuring a deflection. Weighing scales are commonly considered less accurate. Thus it is typically used in large scale manufacturing industries from the food sector, commercial stock-keeping procedures, fitness and health monitoring at the gym etc. Mechanical scales, counting scales are some of the types of commercial weighing scales.
  • Balances

What is a Balance?

One of the primitive balances had two pans suspended from a fulcrum.  While weighing one of the pans holds an object with known mass and the unknown is added in the other pan. If this mechanism reaches equilibrium, it is considered that the mass of an unknown object is equal to as that of the known mass. Modern weighing balances are much more evolved with the development of technology. Today balances are precise and are able to produce accurate results. Microbalances and precision balances are some of the examples.

Why Laboratories Require Weighing Balances?

As every industrial as well as commercial functional requirement, weighing balances are vital instruments for laboratories.  Balances are typically more advanced and precise than weighing scales and thus are widely used by researchers and professionals in laboratories for advanced scientific weighing. Weighing balances are able to produce accurate readings consistently.

Laboratories select balances primarily on the basis of their ability to measure the mass of any material with the utmost precision. As laboratory scales involve handling different chemical substances, solutions for experiment or testing, the weighing balance must produce accurate reading every time. Furthermore, these balances must be able to efficiently weigh test material, sampling amounts etc. Additionally, weighing balances also plays an important role in quality control testing and performance testing.

Apart from small scale functions, precision weighing instruments are more often used in applications where there is a need for the implementation of new technology. The approach is beneficial in predicting short-comings and enhances quality for large-scale industrial operation.

How To Select Weighing Balances for Laboratories?

Modern weighing balances are sophisticated instruments equipped with the most advanced software to record and process output readings. However, the selection of a weighing scale also depends on its use and the environment in which it is going to be used. Precision balances are used in pharmaceutical industries, chemical industries and food and beverage industries.

Type of Balances Used in Laboratories:

The types of balances used in laboratories are compact balances, analytical balances and precision balances.
  • Compact Balances

Compact balances correspond to professional weighing balances that are compact in size. Their compact feature makes them portable and easy to move around. These balances are equally precise and accurate. Modern compact digital weighing balances are equipped with stainless steel weighing pan which enables easy cleaning of the scale. Additionally, these scales come with auto power-off options and overload alarm that warns about excess loading. Digital display eliminates the possibility of human error. While zero tracking feature ensures that the scale returns to zero reading automatically.

Also Read Here: How to Calibrate Weighing Scale

  • Analytical Balances

Analytical balances are able to measure mass in sub-milligram range. Analytical balances producer very accurate and precise results, but are also very susceptible to the environment they are kept in. Thus the weighing pan is usually isolated inside an enclosure in a temperature-controlled environment so as to protect it from dust particles, strong air currents etc. Additionally, their built and robust design provides excellent protection against mechanical and electrical interference.  These characteristics allow weighing balance produce output with a high level of accuracy and precision.  Being distinct from traditional weighing balances electronic analytical scales calculate the force required to offset the mass being weighed rather than the actual mass.
  • Precision Balances

As the name suggests these balances are known for their precise output. Additionally, precision balances can produce steady output in most diverse environmental conditions. Since these balances are less likely to produce faulty readings when subjected to temperature fluctuations, they are a better alternative for weighing. Also, you can choose from a wide range of precision balances with equally varied capacities. All of these advantages have made them widely accepted in different industries. However, these scales are often used in the pharmaceutical and medical sectors industries.


If you are sceptical about which weighing balance to choose, then primarily consider where and how you are going to use the weighing balance. Furthermore, consider the required capacity and readability of the balance. If not, feel free to contact us and we will assist you in your endeavour.