Scales are instruments used for measuring weight, whilst balances are used to measure an object’s mass. The main difference is in accuracy, balances are more precise than scales and analytical balances can measure highly accurately to 0.0001g in lab conditions. There are many different uses for scales and balances and each application has a type of scales best suited to it, this review concentrates on use in labs and small industrial premises. They range from very cheap handheld models right up to highly accurate state of the art machines with outputs to computer software. The measurement technique also varies widely depending on the use, from balance beams and springs to highly sophisticated electronics.

The following are the top 5 best scales and balances available to buy on Amazon in 2014:

Starting with #5…

#5 Adam Equipment HCB Highland Portable Precision Balance


First up we feature the Highland HCB range of precision balances from Adam Equipment which offers high precision without a premium price to match it. These are available in a wide range of sizes, from the HCB 123 with its 120g capacity and a readability of 0.001g, up to the HCB 3001 which has a capacity of 3000g and 0.1g readability. This conventional balance has a two second settling time giving less unproductive time and an automatic internal calibration system. Backlit digital LCD display makes it readable in all conditions. A hook is suspended below the HCB to suspend items that are too bulky for the 120mm stainless steel plate. To prevent accidental damage to the weighing cell and balance from over weight samples, an overload protection is also built in. Data can be transferred easily to printers and computers though the RS232 and USB slots. Mains AC or battery powered through an integrated rechargeable battery (up to 24 hour use). ABS plastic housing. Built-in security slot. Accessories available include: ATP Thermal Printer, Adam Data Collection Program, RS-232 to PC cable, USB cable.


#4 Ohaus 8004-PN Pull Type Spring Scale, 4.5lb/20N Capacity, 1lb/0.5N Readability


Our next choice is the Ohaus 8004-PN pull-type spring scale, which If you are looking for ease of use at a rock-bottom price, combined with excellence in manufacture from one of the world’s leading brands, is definitely the one for you. Ideal for use in a range of applications from science projects to measuring torque in-situ where the component can’t be easily moved and put on a fixed set of scales. Also great for any other hand-held application. Reading in pounds (lb) / grams (g) /ounces (oz) or Newtons (N) force. Capacity up to 4.5 pounds (2000 grams). The product is of sturdy construction with ABS plastic housing and metal face plate, spring and hook and pointer action.


#3 Intel-Lab Lab Balance 320 g X 0.001 g, RS232, Rear display


The Intell-Lab PMW-320 range of balances have been developed for simple weighing applications and their design is hard to fault. They are designed with simplicity and ease of use as a main priority with the large backlit LCD display a stand-out feature, providing a impressive easy to read screen which is visible in all lighting conditions including bright sunlight. Ideal for use throughout a wide range of industries with flexible weighing suited to many disciplines. Along with the display the ease of use is carried through to the large user-friendly menu. Communication with peripheral devices is easy via the configurable RS232 port which allows the user to interface with printers, hanheld readers or laptops/PCs. 320 gram maximum weighing capacity and readout is to 0.001 gram making this a highly accurate device.


#2 Duda Energy DE-938 Pocket Scale 500g Max Weight / 0.01g Accuracy Auto Shut off LCD Backlit Screen g oz T gn ozt dwt ct


Our second top selection is the Duda DE-938, these pocket scales are lightweight and extremely portable at only 5 ounces, making them ideal for any application where you need to have scales ready all the time and you want to have a set handy in your pocket. Weighing capacity is up to 500g (half a kilogram) and accuracy of the instrument is very impressive, within 0.1 gram. The LCD Backlit Screen runs off 2 x AAA batteries which come supplied and has an auto-shut off feature. You can set the scales to choose from various measurement units including grams, ounces, carat, grain, pennyweight and troy ounces. This is a great pick if you are looking for very inexpensive pocket scales.


#1 Ohaus 750-S0 Triple Beam Mechanical Balance with Stainless Steel Plate, 610g Capacity, 0.1g Readability


Our top pick is the Ohaus 750-S0 Triple Beam Mechanical Balance, an excellent choice for all small scale counter-top applications like weighing ingredients and powder, science labs or for eductional departments. The triple beam design gives unparalleled accuracy in measurement and the simple technology of these balance scales means that they will last a lifetime and never break down. The beams are notched and tiered and have a centre reading and the balance is magnetically dampened so that weighing is quick and the zero adjust compensator is spring loaded. Ohaus is just about the most respected name in weighing aparatus so you can be sure that this product delivers on precision, accuracy and durability.