Camlab Limited

Buy Smarter – what questions should you ask when buying a balance?


Courtesy of Courtesy of Camlab Limited

From highly sensitive 5 decimal place analytical balances right through to industrial floor scales that can withstand tough use and hosing down, balances come in all shapes and sizes.

Choosing the right one is easy when you take the time to compile a shortlist of the features you need.

Take the time to think about what you really need before you start looking to help narrow down the huge range of balances available


  • What maximum capacity do you need?
    • This is the most the balance can accommodate at one time
  • What readability do you need?
    • This is how sensitive the balance can read down to

Balance Type

  • Does it need to be portable?
    • Some balances are available in portable models, though this is usually only suitable for less accurate models, going to 0.01g or so in readability.
  • Are you only weighing samples, or analysing moisture?
    • If you need to test the water or moisture present in samples, a moisture balance allows you to do this in one unit.
  • Does it need to be splash proof?
    • In industrial or manufacturing environments a splash proof balance will be more able to stand up to accidental splashing – the Adam WBW range are a great durable balance that can be washed down quickly, ideal for industrial sites or food manufacturing.
  • Do you need a draft shield?
    • For more sensitive balances this is recommended to stop air currents or drafts from affecting your results.
  • Where will the balance be sited?
    • Consider the space you have to think about the footprint on the bench and space around it for access.
    • For industrial balances, do you need a benchtop or floor based one? Should the display be on a fixed pole or on a movable cable?

Accessories and Extra Features

  • Do you need a balance table?
    • These reduce the effect of vibrations and are usually only needed for analytical balances of 4 or 5 decimal places.
  • What other accessories are available, which do you need?
  • Do you need additional calibration weights?
    • If so, what size and grade?
  • Do you need extra features like hands free draft shields?
    • These are available as an extra feature on some balances, to move the draft shield doors away without touching the balance – ideal when working with hazardous products to ensure you don’t contaminate the balance.
  • Do you need a static reduction feature?
    • If you’re often weighing powders to very sensitive levels, some balances offer additional ionizers to remove static electricity from the powder which can affect the results.


  • Do you want internal or external calibration?
    • Some models are available with either or both – internal calibration means you don’t have to buy a separate weight, but you may need specialist calibration such as UKAS depending on your company’s certifications.
    • For more information on this, see our recent blog post about calibration options on balances
  • For maximum accuracy, do you need AutoCal?
    • This unique Ohaus feature is internal calibration which automatically re-runs when the balance detects changes that could affect weighing, such as changes in room temperature. It’s available on some Ohaus models such as the Discovery models.

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