What is the difference between Analytical and Precision Balances?

Laboratory balances, in general are used to measure the mass of an object. They are used to measure solids, liquids, tissue and have a wide range of uses in any of the laboratories including clinical, research and environment settings. There are variety of balances, each with different features and recommendation for use, are available to choose from. A few example of such balances include the triple beam balances, which is also known as precision balance or chemical balance, micro and semi-micro balances. These balances can be used to measure variety of substances such as, a single grain of a chemical solid using a micro balance and as big as the weight of a large beaker on triple beam balance.

Difference b/w Analytical and Precision Balance

Analytical Balance

         They are designed to measure small mass at great precision.
         They are used in quantitative chemical analysis (i.e., to find out the amount of percentage of one or more constituents of a sample mixture).
         Analytical balances are made extremely sensitive which means that even an air current can affect the measurement. That’s the reason behind providing a draft shield to prevent inaccurate readings.
         It can measure upto four decimal places to the right of decimal. They are capable of measuring the samples between sub milligram range upto kilogram.
         In order to prevent environmental interference, a designated place should be dedicated for the analytical balance.
         They even require to be carefully calibrated and monitored on frequent basis.
         Though external balances can be used for calibration, still most of the balances include an automatic motorised calibration weight.
         They find their application mainly in chemistry and pharmaceutical labs.

Precision Balance

         Also known as top loading balances and are considered as semi-analytical balances.
         In terms of accuracy the precision balances are less accurate than a standard analytical balance.
         It can measure upto three decimal places to the right of decimal. They are capable of measuring the samples ranging from several grams upto kilogram and also they are less costlier than analytical balances.
         Also, they do not get affected by environmental conditions and give reading within seconds.

Thus, before purchasing a balance, there are a few questions which should be considered before final decision and should be kept in mind. The application which is to be measured, what is the maximum capacity needed, and of course the accuracy needed. For extreme accuracy, an analytical balance is a much better option than precision balance. An analytical balance can provide the accuracy of 0.0001 to 0.00001g. And in case if this much accuracy is not required then top loading or precision balance will work just fine in measuring the accuracy of 0.001g. Many other types of balances are also available in the market which provides different features and ranges but it is equally important to know your requirements and purchase the laboratory equipment accordingly. Do analyse before purchase and be precise in your choice.

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