Top Rated Scales & Balances – Ratings & Comparison in 2017
In the course of a single day, we weigh things at least more than once. People on a diet always have a bathroom scale on which they stand on every morning just to find out how far they have come into their fitness routine. Before breakfast, those who count their calories literally do so by weighing out what they eat into a bowl of cereal. The letters or parcels we send are weighed by Post Office personnel. The items you buy from the grocery store will be paid for according to how much they weigh. Why, even in some countries, the value of your money is determined by a system of weight. Take for instance the Irish and British pounds that used to weigh exactly a pound. With the way much of the world is driven by weight, people need something as scientifically accurate and precise as scales and balances to do the weighing task.
The weighing scale is an instrument used to determine the mass or weight of an object by measuring those parameters. On the other hand, a balance compares the torque in the arm component using the sample weight against the torque on the arm and takes this against a standard reference weight that uses a horizontally positioned lever. While a weighing scale measures the weight of an object, a balance measures its mass. There was a time when equal-arm balances were employed in which the weight was placed on one side and an object was put on the other side. The mass between the two items were compared.
Nowadays, it’s not unusual to find balances used as scales for measuring an object’s weight. Contemporary terminology would designate a balance as a scale equipped with greater resolution. A balance comes with features such as counting, mass unit conversion, limit functions for checkweighing and specific gravity weighing. Scales feature tare, gross, printing, net indications and conversion from one unit of measure to another. Today, we have baby scales, food scales, jewelry scales, postal scales, hanging crane scales, luggage scales, weight scales, mini scales, livestock scales, industrial digital scales and wheelchair scales. The variety of balances range from analytical, college, hook, compact, jewelry, to household, laboratory, pallet, pharmacy, platform and water resistant models.
How to choose the best scale/balance
People who check out the best scales reviews do not necessarily do so because they are on a diet, in much the same way that people who read the best balances reviews are not always grocery store or farm owners or employed in a chemical laboratory. Scales and balances serve a wide range of functionalities in the modern world. How do you make sure you have the best scales and balances for your needs?
Suitability to your purpose
A weighing scale is engineered to measure the weight of an object. Often used to measure a person’s weight, weighing scales are also used in various commercial and industrial applications including measuring the weight of items from a feather to a loaded tractor-trailer. The force, such as the force of gravity, exerted on a mass by a towing vehicle or that of a person’s grip can be measured using a spring scale. Generally measured in newtons, with one newton equivalent to the weight of a mass of around a tenth of kilogram, this force is roughly equal to the weight of an apple. Spring scales are more appropriately called Newton meters since they are employed for measuring newtons. Spring scales operate based on Hooke’s law, which states that the force required to extend a spring is directly proportional to the distance the spring stretches from the at-rest position. This is why the markings on a spring scale are spaced equally apart.
The strongest and hardiest type of scale is the floor scale, which is used to weigh remarkably heavy loads. Employed for a wide range of industrial solutions, floor scales have a low profile and offer weighing ranges between 500 kilograms to over 10,000 kilograms. Used for different industrial weighing applications, floor scales are utilized in veterinary farms, labs and clinics. Considered the second best in load handling, platform scales are used for medium shipments and the air cargo industry in which a moderate flow of weight is common. Platform scales are used in supermarkets, shops, timber enterprises and other small scale industries for measuring approximately between 1000 to 5000 kilograms. Electronic platform scales offer multi functionality using load cells of high accuracy and built-in microprocessors. If you are after affordability and functionality, bench scales offer a good fusion of both. Bench scales go well in the receiving and shipping dock, post office and courier sorting offices, goldsmithing and others thanks to their compact frame and size.
You can also choose between analog and digital scales. Analog models do not run on electricity or batteries. Fewer components mean less likelihood of breakage or damage to working parts. Digital scales offer greater accuracy than analog ones, with many able to display ounces or increments of ounces. Digital scales run on electricity or batteries.
The beam or equal arm balance uses a lever and a uniform bar or the beam suspended at the exact center of that lever on a knife-edge positioned at right angles to it. The fulcrum denotes the point of support and equidistant to it are two pans of equal weight suspended from the beam. The midpoint is the uniform bar’s center of gravity, with the beams supporting the pans in equilibrium. A form of equal-arm balance is the platform balance where two platforms are attached to the beam’s top side, one at every end. A weight or rider is mounted on a bar with a calibrated scale and parallel to the beam while carrying the supports for the two platforms.
An unequal arm balance has the beam hung at a very short distance from one of the unit’s ends. The item to be weighed is positioned at that end while a small known weight is adjusted to that specific point at which balance is achieved on the longer arm. Determining the unknown weight is done by utilizing a formula using the known weight and the distance of each weight from the midpoint or fulcrum. The steelyard is one example of an unequal arm balance
The spring balance features a coiled spring mounted at one end to a support and with a hook at the other, where the object to be weighed is positioned or suspended. The distance through which the spring is stretched is directly proportional to the weight of the object, while adhering to the limit of elasticity of the spring itself. You can read the weight reading based on the conversion of this distance by the graduated scale and pointer attached to the spring.
Reliable accuracy and range
Of primary importance is the accuracy of a scale or balance. There has to be automatic zero calibration to zero out the starting weight. Adjusting to start exactly at zero should be doable. A digital scale should be programmed to zero calibration right from the factory and with nothing placed on it. Accuracy can be influenced by the positioning of the unit. Readouts tend to be off if the surface on which the scale is placed is uneven and the scale’s sensors may be thrown off if the unit is placed on a carpet or bath mat of any thickness. When using the scale on a carpeted surface, make sure it has adjustable feet that lift the sensors away from the soft surface.
The range refers to the limit at which the scale can measure. Older versions of home use scales have a limit of 300 pounds while being less accurate at measuring over 250 pounds. On the other hand, newer scales can come with ranges up to 650 pounds or greater.
If you primarily use a weighing scale to track your progress in your weight loss program, you will want to be able to read the results of your weigh in effortlessly. With most weighing scales positioned on the floor and the user standing, the numbers should be easy to view, so big and bright number displays are a must. Digital scales feature large electronic characters that can be read five or six feet away, while spring-operated models show numbers in increments of 10 plus small hash marks to indicate individual pounds.
Types of measuring meters
There are many types of measuring meters on the market. We have decided to discuss only those types of meters that have found their way readily into our lives on a quotidian basis. Since the average consumer has no use for large weighing scales, we decided to feature only those types of scales that have influenced how we weigh things in general. We have also based our choices on the best ones in each category according to how different types of products have been featured in expert review sites because of their performance, functionality, accuracy and easy readability, and according to actual owner feedback.
Best digital pocket scale
Digital pocket scales are designed with a small and compact frame while offering incredible accuracy. Much too small for weighing people, pocket digital scales are found in most hobby shops and some large department stores. They are available from department stores, electronics suppliers, specialty scale sellers and online marketplaces. The most common use of this type of scale is for postage applications to ensure that parcels and letters are not too heavy for posting. A postal scale provides the overage charge should a package or letter weigh more than the first class amount.
Digital pocket scales are also used in model building, which requires utmost precision and exact balance in the model building components. Jewelry digital scales are used to determine the carat weight of gems. They are designed for three weightable materials: precious metals, such as gold, silver and platinum; precious stones including sapphires, rubies and diamonds; other metals such as brass, copper and pewter. Food pocket digital scales are ideal for those who watch what they eat, with some models also able to evaluate calorie information. They enable nutritionists and culinary professionals to measure the quantity of ingredients that have to be added to recipes.
Spirit Digital Pro
The Spirit Digital Pro is made strong, fast and accurate while being easy to operate. This compact and user-friendly tool works best for cooking, postage, reloading and jewelry applications. It works nicely as a postal scale, with the added pcs function providing you an accurate count of the items weighed.
The T function delivers a net weight while the M function enables you to select the proper unit of measure to use. Providing consistently reliable weighing results, this scale uses high-precision sensors to ensure the most accurate readings, weighing up to 3000 grams in 0.3 increments or 106 ounces in 0.03 increments so you can weigh to the smallest decimal.
This pocket digital scale boasts an easy to read, clear LCD screen with bright blue backlighting that enables easy viewing of readings in grams, ounces, troy ounces, pennyweight, grains and carats.
Aside from two batteries and two plastic trays, the unit also ships with a platform cover and scale cover to protect the delicate parts of the instrument from damage. It also comes with the ability to convert between units at a press of a button.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($11.99)
Best analytical balance scale
The analytical or lab balance is designed to measure a small mass using the sub-milligram scale. It comprises a measuring pan placed inside a transparent housing called a draft shield, which is outfitted with doors to keep out the dust as well as the air currents in the room to ensure that those elements do not affect measuring operations. Weighing in an analytical balance requires that the sample is at room temperature, which ensures the absence of natural convection that tends to form air currents inside the enclosure, which can cause reading errors. Electronic analytical scales quantify the force required to counter the mass being weighed instead of utilizing actual masses. These types of instruments need calibration adjustments to offset gravitational differences. An electromagnet is used to generate a counteracting force to the sample being measured to achieve balance. Some models come with internal and external calibration along with connectivity to computers and printers. Those that come with stability filters are designed to compensate for drafts, vibration changes and temperature.
U.S. Solid USS-DBS8
Able to with work with extremely small quantities, the U.S. Solid USS-DBS8 is best used for experiments that require precision in measurement. Measuring weights up to 200 grams, this scale offers precision up to 0.1 milligram.
Fully electronic, the instrument enables you to read the results easily on the LCD screen that features blue backlighting. Switching between units is easy whether you use the metric system or carats and ounces.
The revolutionary RS-232 interface enables computer connectivity for serial data exchange between those two components. Use this state-of-the-art instrument where there’s a need to weigh extremely small quantities in the lab setting.
This model does not allow elements like humidity or drafts to reduce accuracy in measuring. The draft shield prevents inaccurate weighing results. Aside from a capacity of 0 to 200 grams, this analytical scale also boasts a readability up to 0.1 milligram and a repeatability of ±0.1mg. The 80mm pan size proves to be more than enough to handle various types of materials to be weighed.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($498.89)
Best mechanical balance
Essentially consisting of a rigid beam that moves around on a horizontal central knife-edge serving as the fulcrum, the mechanical balance has two end knife edges positioned equidistant from the center and parallel to each other. The items for weighing are placed on pans suspended from bearings. The best mechanical balance is designed with two or more other knife-edges mounted between the pan and the end bearing. One serves to prevent instability of the plane while the other fixes the center of the load at a specific point on the end knife-edge. To prevent damage during the loading process, the scale uses an arresting mechanism that separates the knife-edges from their bearings. A pointer attached to the beam and passing by reflection from a mirror mounted on the beam to a non-proximate scale or passing over a graduated scale indicates the deflection of the instrument. During the 20th century, the electronic balance was developed and it depended on electrical compensation instead of mechanical deflection.
Ohaus Specialty Mechanical
Manufactured in the USA, the Ohaus Specialty Mechanical provides superior craftsmanship and reliable weighing technology to ensure accuracy in measuring every time.
This mechanical triple beam balance provides a capacity of 610 grams plus consistent readability of 0.1 gram to ensure exceptional accuracy. It comprises three sliding weights plus tiered, notched beams that ensure accurate readings as well as effortless repeatability.
The instrument operates by simply positioning the 10g, 500g and 100g sliding weights, poises or riders along the three beams. To make the weighing task quicker, the scale features magnetic damping that causes the beam to come to the resting position fast without altering accuracy and sensitivity. The spring-loaded zero-adjust compensator enables you to make fine adjustments that ensure truly accurate readings.
The top loading weighing platform is available in different sizes, shapes and materials and allows hassle-free accessibility to accommodate samples. Designed for durability and functionality in the lab and classroom settings, the scale is equipped with metal beams and base that also ensure stability during weighing operations.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($112.77)
Best moisture analyzer
Covering a range of methods for determining moisture content in both trace and high level amounts, moisture analysis can be used for solids, liquids and gases. Highly useful in commercial food production, a moisture analyzer measures moisture in percentage quantities to assist in quality assurance and manufacturing processes. Professionals in the pharmaceutical, plastics and heat treatment industries trace moisture in solids for control, while liquid and gas measurement methods are vital to hydrocarbon and dry air processing as well as for bulk pure gases, pure semiconductor gases, dielectric gases including those employed in power plants and transformers, and pipeline transport of natural gas.
An online or inline moisture analyzer determines the dry mass remaining after a drying process employing infrared energy is used on the original matter that has been weighed previously. This way, humidity can be calculated relative to the weight of the wet matter. The display shows the eliminated moisture in the material during the drying process. This also gives an idea of the consistency or fixed and volatile substances with incredible accuracy.
Demo Unit- Ohaus MB25 M
Truly an affordable, high-capacity model, the Demo Unit- Ohaus MB25 M provides superbly accurate reading at 0.01% 0.001g.
This awesome measuring instrument boasts a large 90-gram capacity and is suitable for use in the agriculture, food, chemical, pharmaceutical and other sectors. Combining high quality and a durable construction, this tool also boasts a sleek, compact design for easy work space placement and storage. It can be used for a wide variety of moisture analysis applications.
Extremely easy to set up and operate, this model just needs you to set the drying parameters by pressing and holding the time or temperature buttons. Engineered expertly for carrying out tasks executed by users of all skills levels, this instrument provides percent moisture and percent solid determination.
The backlit LCD screen enables effortless viewing of weighing results. It also comes with an RS-232 interface for computer connectivity. It employs an advanced halogen heat source for consistent drying results, a durable ABS housing for years of use, a metal pan support for stability along with a metal pan handler, and an in-use cover.
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Best spring scale
Primarily designed for industrial applications, a spring scale is commonly used in science education as a basic accelerator. It can be used when accuracy can be compromised to achieve affordability, strength and simplicity while weighing. A spring balance measures weight by going against the force of gravity using the force of an elastic string that is extended. A spring is fixed at one end while a hook that attaches to the object to be weighed is at the other end. A spring scale only measures weight and not mass.
Calibrating a spring balance to ensure accurate mass measurement is performed in the location in which it is used. Do bear in mind that the spring in the scale can end up permanently extended because of repeated use. The spring scale is able to read correctly in settings where the spring axis acceleration is constant. When two or more spring balances are suspended one below the other, each of them will give approximately the same readings, which corresponds to the full weight of the object suspended on the lower scale.
Ohaus 8008-PN Pull Type
Suitable for general weighing, action-reaction demos and force experiments, the Ohaus 8008-PN Pull Type comes with an 11.25 lb./50n capacity.
The face shows measurements in 0.25 lb./1n increments for precise weighing and more effortless readings. The internal spring mechanism works nicely with the display for readings in pounds and newtons. To ensure effortless cleaning, the spring scale comes with a shatterproof plastic housing.
The metal face plate ensures durability and toughness for repeated weighing tasks. The pointer, spring and hook are also constructed of metal for long term use.
The metal tab located on the top of the unit is used to easily adjust the instrument to zero setting for accurate weighing every time.
Making repeatable results affordable, this spring scale is handy enough for easy portability with its 0.9 in x 7.59 in x 1.81 in dimensions. It has a large, brightly colored dial face with black gradations that are easy to read against the frosted aluminum background.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($13.5)
Best carat scale
A carat scale offers absolute precision for the jeweler to ascertain the genuine value of gemstones and diamonds. It should offer trustworthy, accurate and repeatable results since you have to deal with precious materials that come with high prices. You need to invest in a premium quality carat scale to ensure continuity of your business through the years. You and your customers should enjoy peace of mind that what is weighed on the scale is exact, accurate and reliable on value.
A carat scale should boast a top rated housing with protective cover and genuine overload protection for resilience against rough treatment. You want the scale to have no ridges to ensure effortless cleaning after use along with effortless retrieval of items that have been inadvertently scattered during the weighing process. You also want the instrument to have a compact footprint and a handy shape so it won’t eat up a lot of counter space and always be easy to handle. Choose from battery- or DC-operated models for versatility in power source.
GemOro Platinum PCT251
Belonging to an exclusive GemOro line of new generation carat scales, the GemOro Platinum PCT251 offers extra reliable precision with an accuracy up to 0.005ct along with a superb capacity of 100 carats and 250 carats, in grams, troy ounces, ounces, pennyweight and grain.
Choose the most convenient power source at your disposal, either using four triple-A batteries or the 100 to 240-volt adaptor. It comes with a parts counting function for easy tracking of the items being weighed. The scale functions are easily controlled using the four button control panel right up front.
The scale also comes with its own innovative, low-profile draft shield that expands easily to enable the weighing of larger parcels or stones.
The unit ships with its own stylish, rubberized compact carrying case to protect the scale from damage during transport while providing easy storage of the included calibration weight, diamond scoop, Swiss-style diamond tweezers, universal voltage AC power adaptor and stainless steel weighing platform.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($99.95)
The use of balances and scales in scientific studies
In the laboratory, professionals and students of science often have to measure the mass of different objects under study, and this must be done with utmost precision. To ensure a high degree of precision, laboratory balances are used. Whether using a laboratory balance or scale, the measuring instrument has to deliver extreme readability and accuracy aside from having a broad weighing range. This enables the lab technician or student to develop techniques that allow effortless transfer of material samples from one receptacle to another while making sure that the amount transferred is exact up to one-tenth of a milligram or one ten-thousandth of a gram (±0.0001 gram).
Laboratory scales and balances are equipped with a beam that moves against a frictionless fulcrum. It also has a pointer attached to the beam and that magnifies deviation from the balance position. Fractional weights are utilized or applied along the measuring arm of the beam. Typically, the weighing pan is sealed to prevent dust, drafts and other contaminants from influencing the final measurements made on the balance or scale. Samples of materials have to be kept at room temperature so that air currents or convection does not disturb the material in the housing to prevent inaccurate readings. Laboratory balances can also have errors in reading due to seismic disturbances, friction, buoyancy, misalignment, improper calibration, misalignment, evaporation, condensation and gravitational abnormalities.
The manufacturer of the balance or scale has to use Good Weighing Practice™ (GWP™), a global weighing standard that applies to both existing and new weighing instruments used in any work setting or sector. Analog displays can feature a needle while digital displays have an LED, LCD or vacuum fluorescent display. The interface for the laboratory scale or balance may be one of four types: parallel, serial, universal serial bus (USB) and wireless. The scale or balance also has to conform to ratings prescribed by Ingress Protection (IP) standards, certification by the National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) and ratings from the National Electronic Manufacturers Association (NEMA). Units sold on the European market should meet the standards set by the Waste Electrical and Electronics Equipment (WEEE) stipulation from the European Union (EU).