IMAGE. Top view of an electronic balance.
A laboratory balance is used to measure the mass of reagents or laboratory equipment. Most modern laboratories are equipped with electronic balances (although occasionally counter-balance models such as triple-beam balances are available).
Electronic balances have a wide range of accuracy depending on the intended use. Most balances encountered in introductory labs can be classified as either ANALYTICAL or TOP-LOADING. Analytical balances are used when a high degree of accuracy is needed for the measurement. Top-loading or triple-beam balances usually provide less sensitive measurement of mass than do analytical balances.
The balance shown on the left is a three-place electronic balance. This balance has several features that are common to all electronic balances: a draft shield, a balance pan, a digital display, and a tare button.