Balances are used to determine the mass of an object or a reagent. There are many types of balances, such as spring balances, beam balances, analytical balances, portable balances, and top balances. This report compares analytical and portable balances. These two types of equipment were chosen because they offer the same features, such as dynamic weighing, conversion of units and even counting of many pieces, for example, books and cars. However, they do contrast in their criteria, for example, price, simplicity, accuracy, durability and spare parts availability.
The methodology used was descriptive research design with an individual survey of certain factors relating to problems under investigation. The report adopted a descriptive research design as a method of investigation because it provided clear and more defined information. It also eased on the collection of the required information and analyzed it into a more detailed form. This method was preferred because it allowed for the in-depth study of the case.
A research was conducted through the Internet which compared the criteria of analytical balances and portable balances mentioned above. Articles and books were used to research the two types of balances. Lastly, questionnaires were developed, which were sent to some selected sample respondents. The evaluation of the acquired information assessed their reliability. Validity was also assessed to a great extent, by the relevance of the concepts used and by whether these concepts were able to elicit the information required for the study. Data was collected and the reports were saved.
After collecting the data from the Internet market and the responded questionnaires, the results were compared and analyzed according to the set objectives of the research. According to the answered questionnaires and the results from the markets on the Internet, different results were obtained. First, most respondents indicated that analytical balances are more expensive compared to portable balances. This is because they are not only costly to buy, but they are also expensive to maintain. Analytical balances require a high level of maintenance, such as regular calibration. They should also be kept in clean rooms away from dust, unlike portable balances, which are convenient for field work. This was also the case in the Internet markets. The analytical balances were priced higher than the portable balances (Labcompare, 2011). This implied that people preferred to use portable balances as far as price was concerned.
Secondly, most respondents indicated that analytical balances require highly trained personnel to handle them because they are sensitive, complicated and delicate to use. This is not the case with portable balances which are very simple to use and carry around. In the Internet markets, the spare parts of analytical balances are not easily available whereas portable balances have readily available spare parts. This is because the analytical balances are not mainly used because of their sensitivity and delicacy thus causing the spare parts to be rarely available.
On the other hand, analytical balances are very accurate. They are only used by very well trained personnel and are not exposed to environmental changes such as temperature fluctuations and dust. They are also used to handle large amounts of weight. Some of the analytical scales have automatic recalibration, thus making them more accurate and efficient (Skoog et al., 2013). They are mostly used by large companies that deal in the measurement of heavy weights. Portable balances, however, are not very accurate especially when being used in weighing a large number of samples.
Analytical balances are also very durable since they are not subjected to a lot of contaminants. They are kept in separate rooms which are free from disturbance and any harsh environment (Labcompare, 2011). Portable balances, on the other hand, are not very durable since they are likely to be heavily used and possibly misused.
I would recommend the portable balances. This is because, firstly, they are relatively cheaper than the analytical balances, which have almost the same features. Secondly, the portable balances are also flexible to use anywhere because they are not affected by environmental changes. Thirdly, the portable balances do not require to be handled by trained personnel only, like analytical balances. Therefore, they are convenient to use in the classrooms because any person can handle them.
Portable balances are also found in many forms and can be advanced according to the user’s specification. For example, if a large number of samples is being weighed, the portable balances can be designed to be user-friendly and to respond quickly. This makes them more durable since they will adjust to however way a user wants them to work. Portable balances are also easy to maintain, unlike the analytical balances. They are easy to clean up because they only require stainless steel platforms and sealed keypads which are easily available. The spare parts of portable balances are easily available unlike those of analytical balances which are very rare.
According to the report, both analytical balances and portable balances are important in the laboratories. However, organizations should consider the criteria such as price, durability, spare parts availability, simplicity and accuracy before purchasing them. Most importantly the price of the balance should measure up to their performances. Portable balances are the most used in the institutions more than analytical balances. Both analytical balances and portable balances serve the same purpose so it’s up to the user to decide which one to use. The methods used to collect the data were very helpful because they enabled me to compare all the criteria of the analytical and portable balances. The results were very reliable and consistent.
Labcompare (2011). Choosing a laboratory balance: It’s all about accuracy. Retrieved from http://www.labcompare.com/10-Featured-Articles/34706-Choosing-a-Laboratory-Balance-It-s-All-About-Accuracy/
Skoog, D. A., West, D. M., Holler, F. J., & Crouch, S. R. (2013). Fundamentals of analytical
chemistry. Scotland: Nelson Education.
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