Four Questions to Ask When Purchasing Laboratory Balances

the scale people laboratory balances

No matter the type of lab you work in, you’ll likely be working with laboratory balances.

Any lab worker knows how crucial accurate measurement is to virtually any research study or evaluation. QC/AC requirements can be tricky to comply with when working with inaccurate measurement methods. Even just the slightest of exaggerations could make the whole operation go haywire or even get it to shut down in serious cases. This is why having fully calibrated; reliable laboratory balances are so important. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when searching for the best quality laboratory balances for your workspace.

What is the Maximum Capacity of Laboratory Balances?

The load (or the weight of the item being measured) must be within a capacity rate for the specified laboratory scales. You’ll also have to factor in the weights of the containers that hold the items as well. Make sure to pick out laboratory scales that can safely weigh the largest items you will measure to about half its range. 

What Readability/Resolution do I require?

Readability is the smallest division at which a scale or balance can read and display.  It can range from 0.1g (precision) to 0.01 ug (ultra-micro).  

Keep in mind that readability is not accurate.  Accuracy describes how closely the determined result matches what the true weight value actually is.  Certain balances offer better accuracy which offers tighter tolerance specs.  How precise and accurate you’ll need the balance will be dictated by the application and your lab’s requirements. 

In what units will I weigh in?

Make sure that the balance you choose offers the correct weighing units, such as grams, pounds, or grains. While more modern scales allow for switching between similar units if needed, older and specialized models may not have this option, leading to possible errors from conversion equations. 

Do I need electronic or mechanical laboratory balances?

There are advantages to both electronic balances and traditional mechanical laboratory scales. For example, a mechanical scale is much more cost-effective than a digital scale, but the results may not be as accurate. These are typically found in academic settings. On the other hand, electronics are moisture, shock, and dust-resistant, easily calibrated, and programmable, but are usually more expensive and require power to run, meaning they aren’t very portable unless it offers a rechargeable battery. If you are working in an outdoor or research on-site lab environment where the accuracy of material weight is not a priority, then a mechanical scale is a great option. If your lab environment requires a lot of precision and complete accuracy on measurements of items, then an electronic balance is well worth the investment.

Does it have any overload and shock protection?

Overload occurs when an object is placed on a balance or scale that is far outside of the maximum weight capacity. This can lead to permanent damage of load cells if not careful, which is a costly fix, and if severe enough, sometimes the scale can never work properly again. This is preventable if you purchase laboratory balances with good electronically-powered overload protection measures in place to protect the delicate load cells. 


Since 1956, The Scale People have earned a reputation as the finest service provider for calibration and repairs of weighing equipment in the mid-Atlantic area. Our sales team can help work with you to find the best weighing equipment for your application.  We currently have offices in Columbia, MD, and Newport News, VA, but we offer our services nationwide. Over the years, we have built up a long list of satisfied clients from a wide variety of industries, including pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and government manufacturing. We are a fully ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accredited service company for calibration of balances, scales, pipettes, dynamometers, pad scales, moisture analyzers and more.  All of our services have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. We’re only a phone call away at +1 (800) 451-9593. To learn more about what we do, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

This entry was posted on Friday, May 14th, 2021 at 1:39 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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