Things to Consider When Choosing a 3-Decimal Balance


Laboratory balances are one of the pieces of equipment that is often taken for granted. However, these analytical balances are an important instrument in any laboratory – without a functional, accurate balance proper sample preparation and data analysis would be impossible.

An assortment of various balances will allow the flexibility and customization of the laboratory weighing stations ensuring that you have the correct piece of weighing equipment for the task.

There are 3 main types of laboratory balances, each with their own set of applications.

Top-pan balances:  The most economical type of balance, top-pan balances typically weigh in the 150 to 5000 g range and offer quick measurements to be made.  These balances do not provide protection from air disturbances and have lower readability in the 0.1 g to 0.01g range.  Westlab has a range of top-pan balances to suit the requirements of lab, with capacities from 600g to 10 kg.

Micro and Ultra microbalances:  These balances are generally used for extremely sensitive applications and as such are the most expensive.  Microbalances typically measure between 1 µg and 0.1 mg and usually have a maximum capacity of 50 g.  Ultra microbalances provide the most accurate measurement possible with readability of 0.1 µg and a maximum capacity of approximately 5 g.

Analytical balances are one of the most common type of balances used in laboratories and are designed for high precision in quantitative measurement of chemicals and samples.  Analytical balances are available in a range of weighing capacities and readabilities.

Before you choose your next laboratory analytical balance, it is important to understand the reasons a 3-decimal analytical balance could be the right choice for your laboratory.


5 Reasons to choose a 3-Decimal Analytical Balance.

The newly released Westlab 3-Decimal Analytical Balance is an excellent choice to replace your old inaccurate balances or to expand your laboratory weighing stations.  This analytical balance works on high precision strain gauge load cell, offering high speed stabilization and accuracy in a robust easy-to-use instrument.  The balance has a readability of three decimal places or up to 0.001 g (1 mg).

When you are looking to buy a new analytical balance, these are the 5 things you should consider.

  1. Capacity: The capacity is the maximum weight that can be placed and measured on the balance. When you are deciding on the capacity of a new balance to purchase, remember to include the weight of any measurement container that will be used.  Most analytical balances typically have a capacity of 200g.  The Westlab 3 Decimal Analytical Balance has a capacity of 300g, which would accommodate the majority of applications for precision measurement in the laboratory.  If capacities are important, the 3-decimal analytical balances generally have higher capacities than 4- and 5-decimal balances.


  1. Readability: Readability or increment size is the smallest unit the balance will display.  In a 3-decimal analytical balance this means that the balance will measure 0.001 g (1 mg) and will be able to display increments of 0.001 g.  For most applications in the laboratory, the 3-Decimal Analytical Balance will provide sufficient readability.


  1. Accuracy: The accuracy of the balance relates to the uncertainty of each measurement or how close the measurement is to the actual value (± tolerance). This means that if you regularly weigh out 100 g of a fine powder and you need an accuracy of +/- 1mg, a balance with an increment size of 0.01g would not be suitable for you to determine an accurate measurement reading. By using a balance with an increment size of 0.001 g, you will be confident that your measurement is within the required level of accuracy.  The Westlab 3-Decimal Analytical Balance combines a level of accuracy to 1 mg with a maximum weighing capacity of 300 g meaning that this one balance will be able to perform most measurements in the laboratory.


  1. Versatility: The versatility of an analytical balance needs to be taken into consideration when you are considering a new purchase.  Where in the laboratory will the balance be located, how much use will be required and what are you weighing.  The Westlab 3-Decimal Analytical Balance is the perfect instrument for all laboratory environments including: research, education, hospital and healthcare facilities and chemical or pharmaceutical companies.
  • It is a robustly constructed, compact instrument that can be located anywhere within the laboratory or preparation room. Unlike some precision instruments the Westlab 3-Decimal Analytical Balance does not require to be in an enclosed, dedicated space.
  • The Westlab 3-Decimal Analytical Balance is durable and can be used all day- every day.
  • It is easy to use and does not require specialized training.
  • The 90mm weighing pan is large enough to accommodate the items while being weighed.
  • Samples can be loaded directly onto the weighing pan from above making it easy for laboratory personnel to use.
  • The draft shield protects from air disturbances -especially important when measuring powder-based samples – ensuring increased accuracy.
  • The Analytical balance has a fast stabilization time of 2 to 3 seconds.
  • The display is high contrast and easy to read under all light conditions.


  1. Affordability: As with any equipment purchase, you must weigh up (no pun intended) the cost versus the benefits to the laboratory.  Analytical balances with a readability of 4- to 5-decimal decimal places (up to 0.00001 g) are available.  However, the smaller increment size of the analytical balance will also mean a large increase in the price.  The Westlab 3-Decimal Analytical Balance is cost effective addition to any laboratory where precision weighing is important.


3-Decimal Analytical Balance Applications

The Westlab 3-Decimal Analytical Balance with a readability of 1 mg and maximum capacity of 300g has many applications in research, formulation, material testing, quality assurance in academic, research, food, pharmaceutical, plastics, chemical, and environmental industries.

  • The measurement of chemicals and samples to a high degree of accuracy (1 mg).
  • Formulating medicine as well as for check weighing medications before prescribing to patients.
  • Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) and other quality management systems, weighing, dynamic weighing, interval weighing.
  • Weighing small animals and insects.
  • Comparative measurements in which measurements are taken before and after processing.

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