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The Difference between Weighing Scales & Balances

The Difference between Weighing Scales & Balances

Although they are both weighing machines, there is a difference between weighing scales and balances. Weighing scales measure weight relevant to the force of gravity, whereas a weighing balance compares the mass of two different objects.

In this post, we’ll further explore the differences between weighing scales and balances and take a look at Marsden’s range of high-quality precision balances.

What is a Weighing Scale?

Weighing scales were weighing devices that can display a weight reading by measuring a deflection, such as a spring scale. Most modern weighing scales now work by using strain gauge load scales.

At Marsden, we sell a wide range of weighing scales including industrial scales, medical scales, gym & fitness scales and veterinary scales.

What is a Precision Balance?

Balances measure weight by balancing an unknown mass against a known mass. Types of weighing balances include Microbalances precise to 0.000001g or 6 decimal places, Semi-micro balances precise to 0.00001g or 5 decimal places, Analytical balances precise to 0.0001g or 4 decimal places, and standard precision balances precise to 0.01g - 0.001g or 2 to 3 decimal places.

Precision balance scales or analytical scales are sophisticated and extremely accurate weighing scales with low capacities and sub-milligram increments.

They are often used to accurately small or lightweight items and can be applied to various industries. However, precision balances are more commonly used to weigh paint pigments, minute quantities of chemical ingredients, medication and jewellery.

Should I buy a Weighing Scale or Precision Balance?

When choosing the right weighing machine for you, it’s important to understand the differences and consider a range of factors so that you select the right weighing scale or precision balance for the job.

In terms of readability, balances usually offer higher readability than weighing scales and can be used to weigh in minute increments to ensure accuracy. You will also need to consider the scale or balances capacity, including how much you are likely to weight at once and how big the items are to ensure you gain an accurate weight reading.

The application of what you need to use your weighing equipment for is also a major factor e.g. do you require a bench scale for weighing fresh produce? Or a precision balance for accurately weighing chemical ingredients in a laboratory?

What are Precision Balances from Marsden used for?

At Marsden, we offer a range of Shimadzu Electronic Balance Scales ideal for precision weighing very small amounts. Analytical balances and precision balance scales are often used for weighing paint pigments and measuring minute quantities of chemical ingredients.

Precision balances are also used for weighing tablets at medical companies and measuring out food additives and ingredients in the food industry.

Choosing the right Precision Balance for your needs

For assistance choosing the right Shimadzu precision balance for your needs, take a look at the table below to compare the key features of the balances we have available. Take a look at the capacities and graduations as well as the temperature coefficient of sensitivity and whether they are Class I or Class II Approved.

If you need extremely accurate weight readings in the sub-milligram range, then a Shimadzu balance is the right choice for you. Our precision balance scales also include features such as protective casing to protect the weighing platform from dust, wind and automatic calibration.

The TXB Series Analytical Laboratory with graduations ranging from 0.01g to 0.1g is the most affordable in our range of electronic balance scales and boasts a range of functions including Hold, Tare and a piece counting mode.

The Shimadzu BX Series Analytical Laboratory Balance has capacities ranging from 12kg to 52kg and is ideal for precisely measuring paint pigment.

The ATY Series Analytical Laboratory boasts UniBloc technology to provide highly-accurate weight readings in the sub-milligram range, making it ideal for quick, high-quality analysis and precisely weighing ingredients in the food industry. The chamber is to protect the weighing platform from external factors, making it ideal for forensic laboratory use too.

If you’d like to find out more about the difference between weighing scales and balances or are interested in our range of Shimadzu scales, then don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team of Marsden weighing scales experts on +44 (0) 1709 364 296 or email and we’ll respond as soon as possible.

Further Reading

Discover the difference between mass and weight.

How do modern weighing scales work?

Take a look at these seven uses of a weighing scale