Back to Blog

What is the difference between Zero and Tare?

What is the difference between Zero and Tare?
Pictured above: Marsden M-300 Portable Baby Scale.

Zero and Tare are two very useful functions on weighing scales, designed to make the weighing process easier.

But most scales offer both of these functions, despite them both seemingly doing the same thing. So how do you know which one to use? We hope to clear up the confusion in this blog post.

What is Tare?

Usually when you’re looking to use Tare or Zero, Tare is the function you actually want.

When you place an item on the scale and need to remove the weight of this item, then you should be using the Tare features.

For example, when you’re weighing ingredients and need to remove the weight of the bowl, you should use the Tare function for this. Taring also means you can remove the weight of every additional ingredient to weigh each ingredient in one bowl.

Similarly if you’re trying to do a weighted feed, you can use Tare to remove the weight of the baby to see how much milk they’ve consumed.

To put it simply, if you need to remove the weight of an item in order to get an accurate weight for another item, then use the Tare function.

What is Zero?

Although Zero appears to do the same thing as Tare, it actually serves a different purpose.

The Zero function should only be used when there is nothing on the scale, but the reading doesn’t display Zero.

This is a permanent recalibration of your scale to remove unwanted weight from dust, rust or other build up.

What is the difference between the Zero and Tare?

To summarise, Tare should be used to remove the unwanted weight of an item from the scale, such as a container.

Zero, on the other hand, should be used to return a scale to zero when nothing is placed on it.

Further Reading

Did you know there’s actually a difference between weighing scales and balances? Find out what the difference is in this blog post: The Difference between Weighing Scales & Balances.

Unfortunately, even scales of the highest-quality can be affected by external factors. We briefly discussed one of them in this blog post, but you can review all the factors that can affect your scale accuracy in our blog post: What Factors Can Affect the Accuracy of Your Scale?

If you are confused about any other weighing terms, take a look at our industrial weighing scale glossary.