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Analytical Balance vs Top Loading Balance: Which One do I Need?

Analytical balance vs top loading balance - if you’re in the market for a weighing device that offers accurate results and reliability, which one is best?

At Inscale we’ve been asked this question a number of times, because on the face of it there probably doesn’t appear to be much difference between the two.

The reality, however, is that when comparing an analytical balance vs top loading balance, there is no relation. Allow us to explain.

Analytical balances - sub-milligram accuracy

The key benefit of analytical balances is their sub-milligram increments. This makes them suitable for weighing very light subjects with superb accuracy.

The downside of this, of course, is that the weight reading on the display can be affected by the very slightest disturbance. So, if you’re using an analytical balance and someone opens a door nearby, you’re going to see the weight reading fluctuate as the wind passes over the weighing pan!

The downside of this, of course, is that the weight reading on the display can be affected by the very slightest disturbance. So, if you’re using an analytical balance and someone opens a door nearby, you’re going to see the weight reading fluctuate as the wind passes over the weighing pan!

To protect an analytical balance from such disturbances a draft shield is provided. Additionally, to improve the accuracy of an analytical balance further, an anti-vibration table can be used. This provides a stable surface for the balance to be placed on and absorbs any potential disturbances.

So what is a top loading balance?

A top loading balance, typically regarded as a precision balance, is a balance that does not have a draft shield. The weighing pan is open meaning that items can directly be added to the scale.

Without a draft shield, a top balance is more open to outside disturbances - however, given that most top loading balances have an accuracy of around 0.1g there is less chance of disturbances in the same way there is for analytical balances.

So, simply, the difference between an analytical balance and a top loading balance is that an analytical balance has a draft shield, whereas a top loading balance does not.

When would I need a top loading balance?

Top loading balances, also known as top pan balances, are one of the most popular types of balance found in the laboratory. This is because there are so many options available - capacities range from around 62kg down to 60g.

Therefore, you would use a top loading balance when sub-milligram accuracy is not required, or if you need an accurate balance but you are buying on a budget.

When would I need an analytical balance?

If you need to weigh to sub-milligram accuracy - whether you’re weighing powders, liquids, granular substances or other objects - choose an analytical balance.

The pharmaceutical, food and chemical industries all use analytical balances and, when used on a suitable surface - such as an anti-vibration table - analytical balances provide precision accuracy.

Analytical balance vs top loading balance: which model do I need?

We have a huge range of top loading and analytical balances in the Inscale range, from Adam Equipment, A&D and Kern.

To ensure you choose the right balance for your needs we recommend you speak to our expert team on 01908 972 660, who can advise according to the application.

If you need more help with choosing, or background information on balances, we recommend reading this guide to analytical balances, and this blog post about using precision balances when making concrete may also be useful, depending on which industry you’re in.

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