When you purchase a scale, it comes with factory calibration, meaning that it was calibrated for perfection within the facility that it was made. However, the days that have passed since it was packaged and then sold to you may make more of a difference than you think. So calibrating it on-site is probably the better option. 

The change in elevations and the turbulence that the scale has gone through to get to where it is probably means that it needs to be re-calibrated for any faults. You may go to third party calibration services if you’re extra finicky about these things but not all of them are equal. Hence, if you’re trying that route, you should only go with trusted names that have been around for quite a while or which verified experts that have the seal of approval from federal or state authorities or an independent body. 

How often should you do it?

There are a lot of different variables to consider while thinking about this. There’s the manufacturer’s recommendation and then there’s a lot of stuff like transporting the scale and change of elevation, the environment they’re left in etc. Once per quarter checks are great and a weekly user spot check should also do. It’s also ideal to ensure the quality control of scales by using them fairly often so they don’t deviate from a set zero value.

Calibrating an Electronic Scale

Before you start you should have the technical characteristics of the scale down. You should the maximum weight it can handle, the accuracy it has, the adjustment procedure if the calibration fails like a reset button etc. 

Use quarters as substitute weights to get it to a small but steady reading first. A quarter weighs just 5.67 grams so it will register on the scale. Wait a few minutes to stabilize readings and then locate a calibration switch. Then put the quarter on the scale and if it doesn’t show the exact reading of 5.67 grams, then adjust the reading with the switch. 

Then get the maximum weight capacity and divide it by 5.67 grams to get the number of quarters you need to place on the scale. Then set them on the scale. If there is a difference between the weight shown and the calculated weight, note the difference. 

Odoo text and image block
Odoo image and text block

What is the Advantage of Calibrating Scales?

Scales like any instrument do have their faults and their errors but if kept in regular use and calibrated often, they can produce great results for you consistently. This is a necessary practice that you need to conduct in order to make sure that all your hard work and your investment doesn’t go bust.

Sure, if you buy a really expensive scale and invest heavily, you will get a scale that won’t lose its calibration as quickly as that of a less expensive model, but it will eventually need calibration as all scales do. Hence, it’s very important to learn how to calibrate your scale.

Note: There are Electronic scales that automatically calibrate, including all the models in our Ohaus Explorer Series, which make life much easier.