Weighing scales and balances are often confused for one another. They do indeed have some similar purposes, and are used in similar settings. But ultimately, comparing the specifics of what each can do really is akin to thinking apples and oranges are the same simply because they are fruit. So let’s look now at what’s the difference between scales and balances in-depth.

What Do Scales and Balances Measure Precisely?

Many people who only occasionally cast a casual eye over a scale may presume they are all the same. But in reality, scales can actually measure weight in a wide variety of formats. Commonly in kilograms, pounds and grams, but they’re available in many measurements beyond these three. Balances by contrast compare the weights of two goods in mass, and in direct comparison to one another.

Where Are Scales Used Each Day?

Just about everyone has a pair of bathroom scales at home. It’s less often known the huge variety of places scales find an application every day in a professional setting. In business uses, scales can assist with establishing the correct counts of parts, with the checking of stock on-hand, and other purposes. As a result, industries as diverse as medicine to shipping utilise scales each day.

Where Are Balances Used Each Day?

Balances are very commonly seen in a medical setting, for example in pharmaceutical pursuits. But this field is certainly not the only one in which balances find widespread use. Those who deal with precious metals such as jewellers can also find balances very useful.

So What Are the Differences In-Depth?

While there are some similarities concerning what scales and balances do – both the traditional and contemporary type of balance – ultimately they’re used for different purposes. In a nutshell, scales measure weight. Conversely, when it comes to the modern balance, it measures mass digitally and directly, by comparing it to a known mass. A traditional balance with two pans, two chains, and a hanging hook seeks to determine the weight or mass of something placed upon it too, but only in contrast and comparison to another item either of lesser, equal, or greater weight.

Weighing in on the Scales

Properly understanding the ins and outs of weighing scales and balances is an important part of selecting the perfect tool(s) for the job. By being able to distinguish what measurements scales and balances can offer – and the difference between scales and balances accordingly – there’s a strong foundational knowledge in-hand to make the right selection between these two tools for any task. Such knowledge is sure to be helpful on the first day of use and the 1000th day of use of any weighing scale or balance.