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Lab Manager General Lab Product Survey

What You Need to Know When Buying a Balance

Choosing the correct balance for your application, or a series of balances that suit all of your application needs, is the first step in good lab weighing practices

by Jason Kerkhof

If you choose the correct balance, calibrate it regularly— including any time the balance is moved to a new location—and keep it clean, your balance will reward you with many years of accurate operation.

Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Laboratory Balance

  1. What are the heaviest and lightest samples you will weigh (including container weight)?
  2. What is the required +/- tolerance of your lightest sample?
  3. How many decimal places in grams do you require for the displayed weight?
  4. What type of samples will you be weighing and do you need to take into consideration the size of the weighing surface or the securing of a tare container?
  5. Is on-site service available from a factory-trained service technician?
  6. Do you need to interface the balance to another device such as a computer, printer, bar code reader, etc.?

Types of laboratory balance used by survey respondents:

Analytical balance89%
Precision balance64%
Micro balance18%

Weighing applications, according to survey respondents:

Differential weighting51%
Dynamic weighing49%
Pipette calibration47%
Mass comparison32%
Filter weighting27%

Most common problems users experience when using their balance:

Weight readings do not stabilize55%
The unit is out of calibration17%
Display problems14%
Poor repeatability13%
Cornerload errors7%
The unit does not respond to weight addition6%
Readings moving only down3%

Factors that would help users overcome their weighing challenges:

Newer equipment46%
Improved maintenance38%
Better training22%
Better technical support18%
Newer accessories14%

For more information on balances, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit