Balances & Accessories

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A laboratory balance or scale is a precision instrument for scientific and industrial weighing operations. Staples® offers a good selection of laboratory scales and accessories, as well as wide range of scientific supplies, to help educational and industrial laboratories in their testing, dispensing, production, and quality control operations.

Choose from Different Types of Lab Balances
First, decide between getting a mechanical or digital scale. Digital models produce more accurate readings and have additional features for complex weighing operations. The major types of laboratory scales are analytical, micro, portable, and top-loading balances. Each of these is suitable for specific weight ranges and the type to buy depends on the materials a laboratory usually handles. A micro balance is for weighing the smallest samples. Analytical scales are the most common types of lab balances. They are very accurate and very sensitive but require carefully controlled environments and regular calibration.

Portable balances are perfect for fieldwork and offer most of the features of analytical scales. These are more durable and have user-friendly designs that make it easy to quickly and accurately weigh samples. Top-loading lab scales are for weighing large samples. Typical weights measured with these range from 500 grams to a few kilograms.

Key Features to Consider When Comparing Laboratory Balances
Weighing a sample that’s heavier or lighter than a scale can handle will produce inaccurate results. Make sure the heaviest and lightest samples handled by the laboratory fall within the weight capacity range of the balance chosen. It's also important to ensure the pan supplied with the scale is large enough for the samples commonly weighed. Other weighing accessories you need to consider are weighing dishes and bottles, scoops, pour boats, scale pans, and attached weight sets. These are replaceable parts sometimes supplied with laboratory balances. Look for dust covers and carry cases to protect scales when they’re not in use. For digital balances, important accessories include communication and printer cables as well as desktop software for recording, collecting, and using weight data on connected computers.

What Is the Difference Between Accuracy and Precision in a Laboratory Balance?
Accuracy describes a scale’s margin of error or the closeness of its measurement to a sample's true weight while precision captures a balance’s ability to provide reproducible results. A lab scale used to weigh small amounts of food, pharmaceutical raw materials, or highly potent chemicals needs to be highly accurate and very precise.

What Is the Minimum Readability of a Lab Balance?
The minimum readability is the smallest weight division that a scale will display. This is different from accuracy and also known as resolution. A laboratory scale that can weigh samples up to 0.01 grams has a higher resolution than one that can only measure weights up to 0.1 grams.

What Sort of Weighing Pans Should You Get for a Lab Balance?
Look for oil-free aluminum lab sample pans and dishes. These are lightweight and sturdy and can serve as moisture pans since aluminum is rust-proof. Use them as disposable weighing platforms to avoid contaminating samples when weighing different materials on the same laboratory scale. Aluminum weighing pans are also good for oven-drying and storing samples.

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