Scales and balances are used for the same function – to weigh objects. But if these weighing devices perform a similar task, why are they different? How do you determine what is precisely being measured on a scale and balance?
To find the answer to these questions, it is important to know the key differences between weighing scales and balances, so that you can choose the correct option for weighing anything.
This article describes the 5 key differences between weighing scales and balances.
The main difference between a weighing scale and a balance lies in what they are used to measure. A balance is used to measure the mass of an object, i.e., the amount of matter in an object. On the other hand, a scale is used to measure the weight of the object, i.e., the force of gravity on an object.
While the mass of an object stays the same irrespective of location and gravitational forces, the weight of an object will change depending on the gravitational force and location.
The weighing mechanism of a scale and the weight of an object placed on a scale changes with the gravitation pull of the earth. The strength of the gravitational pull on the object depends on the latitude of the location as well as the distance of the weighing location from the Earth’s core.
Even though weight is a measurement of force using the newton, weighing scales show the weights in mass units such as kilograms. A balance shows the weight in kilograms.
A balance is considered to have more precision as against a scale. This is because there is more readability in a weighing balance and thus it is often used to measure tiny increments in weight. There are common analytical balances that are used to weigh masses from lower weights of 0.1mg up to 200g. Research labs often use analytical micro balances that are capable of reading weights as less than 0.01 µg.
Scales are often used to weigh objects with larger masses, both in commercial and domestic settings. For example, scales are commonly used in grocery stores or to weigh ingredients for baking. Weighing scales displayed the weight by measuring a deflection using springs or strain gauge load cells.
Due to the precision and advanced features of a balance, they are usually costlier than weighing scales.
If you need a weighing scale for your business, see the range available at RS Components.
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