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Digital Scale VS Balance: What's the Difference

Dec 28,2023 Unique Scales

Although weighing scales include both weight scales and balances, there are distinct differences between them. While digital scales and balances can be used interchangeably in some cases, they are actually different.


Scales measure the weight of an object, while balances measure its mass. Although they use similar principles, there are significant differences between them, especially in terms of technology.


Related Reading:Do Scales Measure Mass or Weight?


Digital scales utilize computer technology to determine the weight of an object, whereas balancing requires a manual operation that involves placing two objects together for mass comparison.

Let's dive into these weighing tools.


What is a weight scale?


A weight scale, also known as a weighing scale or simply a scale, is a device used to measure the weight of an object or a person. It typically consists of a platform or surface where the object or person is placed, and beneath it, there's a mechanism that measures the force exerted by the object due to gravity. This force is then translated into a numerical value, which indicates the weight of the object.


Weight scales come in various types and designs, ranging from simple analog scales with a needle pointing to the weight, to digital scales that display the weight in numbers on a screen. They are used in a variety of settings, including homes, gyms, hospitals, laboratories, and commercial establishments, for purposes such as monitoring personal health, weighing goods for sale, or measuring ingredients in cooking and baking.


At UNIQUE, we sell a wide range of weighing scales including body fat scales, medical scales, health& fitness scales and kitchen scales.


What is a Precision Balance?


Balances determine weight by comparing an unknown mass with a known mass. Various types of weighing balances exist, including Microbalances, which are precise to 0.000001g or six decimal places; Semi-micro balances, precise to 0.00001g or five decimal places; Analytical balances, precise to 0.0001g or four decimal places; and standard precision balances, precise to 0.01g - 0.001g or two to three decimal places.


Precision balance scales, also known as analytical scales, are sophisticated and highly accurate weighing instruments with low capacities and increments smaller than a milligram.


They are frequently utilized for precise measurements of small or lightweight objects and are applicable across various industries. However, precision balances are particularly common in applications such as weighing paint pigments, minute quantities of chemicals, medications, and jewelry.


Should I buy a Weighing Scale or Precision Balance?


When choosing the right weighing machine for you, it’s important to understand the differences and consider a range of factors so that you select the right weighing scale or precision balance for the job.


In terms of readability, balances usually offer higher readability than weighing scales and can be used to weigh in minute increments to ensure accuracy. You will also need to consider the scale or balances capacity, including how much you are likely to weight at once and how big the items are to ensure you gain an accurate weight reading.


The application of what you need to use your weighing equipment for is also a major factor e.g. do you require a bench scale for body weighing? Or a precision balance for accurately weighing chemical ingredients in a laboratory?


Digital Scales vs. Balances


The primary distinction between a digital scale and a balance lies in their measurement focus: digital scales gauge weight, whereas balances assess mass. Balances are renowned for their precision, having stood the test of time for centuries. They are prevalent in medical facilities and laboratories.


On the other hand, digital scales are frequently employed in households for swift weight assessments. They are particularly favored for kitchen and personal weight monitoring.




Digital weight scales utilize computer technology to determine the weight of an object, whereas balances require a manual operation that involves placing two objects together for mass comparison. Balances typically offer a higher degree of accuracy and are especially useful in situations where accurate measurements are required, such as medical facilities and laboratories. Digital scales, on the other hand, are commonly used in places like homes and kitchens for quick weight measurements.


When choosing the right weighing equipment for your needs, you need to consider factors such as the accuracy of its readings, its carrying capacity, and the scenario in which it will be used.

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