Inscale's Guide to Analytical Balances
Analytical balances are expensive pieces of weighing equipment used in laboratory environments. They are highly-sophisticated in design and offer a huge range of weighing functions and readabilities; they can also convert into multiple weighing units with ease. Due to their sophistication and expense, it can be difficult to know which option is best for you, can you make do with a cheaper balance with less resolution? Do you need your balance to conduct density experiments? Do you need your balance specifically to weigh pearls in mommes? These are all crucial questions to consider when choosing an analytical balance.
This short guide will prepare you with the knowledge you need when choosing the best analytical balance for your environment.
What is an analytical balance?
An analytical balance is a high precision weighing scale used to measure mass in micro measurement ranges (up to 0.0001g. Analytical balances are highly sensitive and typically come with draft shields in order to protect the weighing chamber from outside vibrations.
What is an analytical balance used for?
Analytical balances are used within a variety of different industries from science and medical applications to educational or veterinary use.
Laboratories use analytical balances due to the sensitive nature of scientific experiments. They can be used for density determination, pipette calibration and to measure the mass of chemicals and other hazardous compounds to a high degree of accuracy. Chemists or pharmaceutical companies can use approved analytical balances for formulating medicine as well as for check weighing medications before prescribing to patients.
Educational institutions such as universities or science classrooms may require an analytical balance for measuring chemical compounds for a scientific experiment such as density determination or percent weighing applications for materials testing, whilst a veterinarian can make use of the dynamic animal weighing features in order to record precise weight measurements of animals.
What is the difference between and analytical balance and a precision balance?
Analytical balances tend to be more expensive than precision balances as they typically have a higher readability (0.0001g) compared with precision balances (0.001g). Despite this, precision balances offer a wide range of models that cater to all but the most precise weighing needs.
One of the main benefits of precision balances are that they offer portable scale ranges with AC adaptors that are ideal for field experiments or when conducting research in areas without direct power mains.
Do I need an analytical balance?
This depends on how you intend to use your weighing balance. If you are looking to weigh chemicals or small mass to the highest possible precision then you will need to choose an analytical balance to obtain the most precise weighing results. Precision balances are altogether cheaper and are often more convenient for day-to-day weighing tasks as there are many portable precision balances on the market.
Analytical balance calibration
Certain varieties of analytical balance require external calibration using certified calibration weights in order to achieve the most accurate results possible. In most cases, calibration status is marked within the model name of the balance with an 'e' or 'i' (external or internal calibration) or can be found within the product description. It is important to consider whether you need an internal or externally calibrated balance before making a purchase.
See our article: internal or external calibration: which is right for you? for more information.
How to calibrate an analytical balance
Before starting, you will need: an analytical balance, set of approved calibration weights, tweezers, protective gloves, stiff cleaning brush/ wire brush.
- Set up your analytical balance on a stable work surface (an anti-vibration table is recommended for best weighing results)
- Check that you have a full set of calibration weights - There are several classes of weights to choose from and you need to ensure that your weights match the weighing requirements of the balance being used. See our range of calibration weight sets for more information.
- Whilst wearing gloves and using a stiff cleaning brush, carefully remove any dust or dirt from the calibration weights as this may distort weighing results.
- Once the weights have been cleaned, ensure that the balance has the correct weighing units enabled and that the calibration mode has been set (each model is different so please consult the specific manual for your balance for further information).
- Tare or 'zero' the balance.
- Using tweezers, place the first calibration weight onto the analytical balance weighing pan - The balance will now adjust to the calibration weight.
- Once the weight reading displayed matches that of the calibration weight, remove the weight from the weighing pan.
- Repeat this procedure for each calibration weight, ensuring that the balance returns to zero after each weight is removed from the pan.
- Once complete, exit calibration mode.
Analytical balance sensitivity
Analytical balances are highly sensitive pieces of weighing equipment that benefit from low-impact environments. Vibrations from external movement can affect readings and is therefore recommended that analytical balances are used alongside anti vibration equipment such as anti-vibration tables for optimum precision.
Recommended analytical balances
There are many types of analytical balance on the market and choosing the right one for your needs can save you time and money. Analytical balances vary in terms of portability, weighing capacity and applications and it is these marker points you should use when choosing an analytical balance. We have included a selection of some of our recommended analytical balances based on price, features and convenience:
1) Nimbus Analytical Balance - Adam Equipment
Nimbus analytical balances include percentage weighing and density determination features essential for measuring chemical compounds precisely. The Nimbus is A mid-range laboratory balance designed with laboratories in mind. Grab handles are used for safe and easy lifting, whilst a sealed keypad is used to protect form dirt and spills. Nimbus analytical balances can be used for a range of high precision weighing solutions including medicine weighing for hospitals and animals weighing through the balance's dynamic animal weighing feature. The Nimbus occupies less space than other analytical models.
2) A&D HR Analytical balances - A&D
A low to mid-range costing analytical balance from A&D. The HR analytical balance series comes complete with parts counting and checkweighing features in addition to density determination and percent weighing, ideal when weighing chemicals or medicines with an optimum weight in mind. Similar to the Nimbus, the HR has adjustable feet and uses space saving rotary doors to protect the balance weighing chamber.
3) Eclipse Analytical Balance - Adam Equipment
Relatively new on the market, the Adam Eclipse analytical balance is a premium weighing balance that includes a wide range of precision weighing features and one of the largest readouts available (0.0001g readability), making it one of the best analytical balances in the weighing industry. The Eclipse expands on the Nimbus and HR series in terms of applications with formulation and accumulation of weight features. The balance is equipped with sealed keypads, overload protection and protective weighing chamber, and can be used in laboratory and university environments for pharmaceutical, food and veterinary related tasks.
Inscale offers a wide range of analytical balances from A&D, Kern and Adam Equipment. If you require any further information about analytical balances or precision balances then please contact us, we are happy to discuss any queries you may have.