weighing scales

Weighing scale for sugar

Weighing scales (or weigh scales or scales) are devices to measure weight or calculate mass.

  • spring balances or spring scales measure weight (force) by balancing the force due to gravity against the force on a spring
  • a balance or pair of scales using a balance beam compares masses by balancing the weight due to the mass of an object against the weight of a known mass or masses.

Either type can be calibrated to read in units of force such as newtons, or in units of mass such as kilograms



Do It
Challenges for you to work on…

  • Rubber Band newton Scale – newton, not Newton – When you weigh something with a spring scale, you are really measuring the force of gravity on the object. In the metric, or SI System, of units (see discussion in the What’s Going On section below), force is measured in newtons (with a small n).