Weighing the Right Way

Guidelines for Accurate Results and Better Weighing Techniques

Accurate weighing is a crucial element in many laboratory processes, whether you are working in R&D, quality control or manufacturing. Avoiding weighing errors is therefore essential to ensure accurate results and adherence to standard operating procedures.

Have you ever noticed that your balance sometimes takes longer than usual to deliver a stable result? This could be a sign that static charges are affecting your weighing process, unknowingly putting the accuracy of your results at risk.

Weighing is one of the most common, yet critical and time consuming, tasks undertaken in the laboratory. Weighing the right way is crucial, as factors affecting weighing accuracy can negatively influence the results of a whole analysis. From creating reference standards to preparing reagents, inaccurate weighing can lead to out-of-specification (OOS) results, the need to repeat experiments or the loss of valuable materials.

Balances have developed to the point that, in general, they provide accurate results in most lab environments. Technological advances in electronics and intuitive touchscreen operation have considerably simplified balance operation, reducing weighing times. However, this apparent ease of use can lead to insufficient care being taken to avoid the negative influence of multiple external factors and sample characteristics affecting weighing accuracy. These include:

  • Electrostatic forces
  • Airflow
  • Environmental vibrations
  • Effects of magnetism
  • Evaporation
  • Moisture uptake
This guide highlights the most common causes of weighing errors. It explains the basic rules of weighing the right way with laboratory balances and how to avoid errors, including finding an optimal location for the balance and its correct operation, as well as analyzing possible external influences and their effects, most of which are recognizable by a slow change, or drift, in the weight displayed.