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# How scales work compared to balances?

###### Wiki User

###### February 11, 2008 7:12AM

In simple terms, the following can be said:

A **balance** is used to **caluculate the mass of an
object** in comparison to a known weight.

A **scale** is used to **measure the force exerted on a
mass** by the gravity of the earth, then to convert that
measurement into a calculation of the object's mass.

Therefore, we actually measure **mass**, not weight.

A scale provides much more precise calculations than does a balance.

## Related Questions

###### Asked in Science

### What do mass balances do that weighing scales don't?

Mass balances compare the force of gravity on two masses, while
weighing scales use a spring and measure the force of gravity by
studying the extension of the spring.
A mass balance would give the same answer on the Moon, while the
weighing scales would give an answer about a sixth of the correct
value.