Precise and Accurate Measurements: Taking a Look at Analytical Balances

Precision and accuracy is crucial in numerous researches for scientists to obtain better results. Using the correct balances can make a huge difference in measurements. While there are an abundance of different variations of balances and lab scales, analytical balances are designed to measure masses in the sub-milligram range, and can offer precise and accurate measurements within 0.0001 gram. If you're concerned with accuracy and precision, here is what you will need to know about analytical balances.

The Basics of Analytical Balances

Unlike top-loading balances and other balance variations, analytical balances feature a measuring pan that is placed inside a transparent enclosure that is often made from plastic, acrylic or glass. The enclosure, also known as a draft shield, has a door for you to add or remove the chemicals that you are measuring.

The draft shield is a crucial element of analytical balances because it is responsible for preventing dust and other air-borne particulates, along with air currents, from affecting the balance's operation and performance. The specially designed enclosure features uniquely designed airfoils that are responsible for allowing a smooth turbulence-free airflow and loss of product from the air currents. As a result, fluctuations in the measurements are prevented.

How Analytical Balances Work

The precision of analytical balances can be attributed to the electronic scales. The electronic component of the analytical balances have calibration adjustments that are meant to compensate for gravitational differences that may affect the accuracy of the readings. The electronic components are also called electromagnetic force restoration sensors, as they are responsible for measuring the force that is needed to counter the mass of the products that are placed on top in the measuring pans. 

How to Ensure Further Accuracy and Precision When Using Analytical Balances

If you are interested in using analytical balances to obtain accurate and precise measurements, you will need to familiarize yourself on how to properly use the equipment. Most analytical balances come with instruction manuals; however, you will need to remember:

  • To use samples that are at room temperature. This will prevent the products that are being measured from forming air currents within the draft shield, which can cause errors in the measurement readings. Generally speaking, room temperature falls between 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit
  • To tare the analytical balances before each use. The gravitational differences will vary. Before measuring products, tare the analytical balances. Taring will cause the electromagnetic force restoration sensors to determine what the pressure of the force that is needed when there is no product placed on top of the measuring pan. 
  • To close the sliding doors of the draft shield before measuring. This is to prevent air currents from entering the enclosure. You will want to wait until the stability detector lamp on the analytical balances indicates that the air current within the enclosure has reached equilibrium.
  • Use Kimwipes or tongs to handle the containers containing the products that are being measured. Your fingerprints contain oils and other substances that will add mass to the container and influence the measurement readings, so that they become inaccurate.
  • To check and record the mass of the container with and without the products for optimal accuracy and precision.
  • To carefully clean the area within the enclosure before and after each use. Most manufacturers will include brushes with the analytical balances for you to clean up spills that may be on the measuring pan.


Accuracy and precision is important for scientists and researchers. Analytical balances are the perfect equipment used for measuring products and chemicals to reduce errors in the readings. Although extremely practical, analytical balances are quite sensitive and need to be handled with extreme caution and care.