A balance is a vital piece of equipment in a laboratory, no matter the type of work you need to do. Choosing a lab balance isn’t always a straightforward decision, as there are many different factors to consider. Having the right balance in your lab can ensure accurate results and efficient performance from your work. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about lab balances and how to choose the right option for your requirements.
What Is the Difference Between a Balance and A Scale?
Sometimes the terms balance and scales are used interchangeably, but there is actually a scientific difference between the two, which is crucial to know when choosing equipment for a lab. Both these pieces of kit are used as weighing instruments, but with slight differences. A scale measures weight using the force of gravity, whereas a balance works to compare the mass of two objects.
A traditional scale system will use a spring or strain gauge, and they indicate the weight by measuring deflection. This method of weighing is generally not as accurate as using a laboratory balance and are commonly used for large scale weighing, such as in the food industry. A balance, on the other hand, compares the weight of two objects. The first type of balance worked using two pans, and an object with a known weight was used as a comparison against an object with an unknown weight. Today, balances have become much more modernized, and technology has led to many new developments. Balances are now an essential piece of kit for labs as they can provide accurate and precise measurements.
Types Of Balances for Laboratories
There are various types of these sophisticated weighing instruments available, and each type is suited to different laboratory requirements. The main types of balances are:
A compact balance, like the Adam CB Compact Balance 1000g, is small in size and perfect for labs where there isn’t much surface space. This type of equipment is also ultra-portable, making it great for times when you need to move it around a lot. A compact balance is both accurate and precise and often comes with additional features such as auto-off functionality and an overload alarm.
For ultra-accurate measurements, you can use an analytical balance. These can measure masses into sub-milligram ranges, making them perfect for very accurate readings. Because analytical balances are so sensitive, they usually have a weighing pan that is isolated in a temperature-controlled enclosure. This helps to protect your materials from dust or strong air currents. This analytical balance is a popular option for laboratories of all sizes.
If precision is your main requirement from a lab balance, then this is likely to be your best option. This equipment is able to deliver a steady output in almost any environmental conditions. Unlike other balances, a precision balance will not provide faulty readings with temperature fluctuations. This type of weighing equipment is most commonly found in the medical and pharmaceutical sector. The Luna Precision Balance is an excellent example of kit that has been designed with efficiency, convenience and accuracy in mind.
What To Consider When Choosing a Balance for Your Lab?
If you are unsure of the type of balance or the best model for your laboratory, then there are a few things you should consider when making this decision. Most importantly, you need to determine the types of applications you will be using the balance for. Decide if you will need additional functions such as formulation or check-weighing, and also if portability is going to be essential for you and your team.
Next, you need to think about the balance’s readability. This is the smallest division that the equipment can display and needs to be correct for your applications. If you need to be able to measure chemicals to the nearest 10mg (0.01 of a gram), then you should consider a balance with a readability of 0.001.
Finally, you should evaluate the maximum capacity that you need from a balance. Don’t forget to take into consideration the weight of any containers that you could be using on your balance.
Here at LNS, we are experts in laboratory equipment such as balances and scales. We offer a wide range of lab balances, including compact, analytical and precision. If you need assistance choosing the right balance for your lab, or have a question about any of our products, get in touch with our team today.