How to Read a Scale by Weighing Grams

Written by mary lougee
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How to Read a Scale by Weighing Grams
Mechanical scales weigh in grams and kilograms. (scale image by timur1970 from

There are three types of scales to weigh grams. The triple beam scale has been in use from the time the pyramid were built in ancient Egypt and are precise to the tenth of a gram in weight. The most common scales are battery operated digital scales that generally weigh in whole grams. Mechanical scales weigh in grams and Kilograms like an older bathroom floor scale. It takes 522 grams to equal one pound of a material or object.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Digital scale
  • Mechanical scale
  • Triple beam scale

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  1. 1

    Place an object or item on the platform of a digital scale.

  2. 2

    Observe the display screen on a digital scale. Let the display stop on a measurement. The scale may waver between two numbers for a few seconds until the exact weight displays.

  3. 3

    Read the digital weight display in whole grams to tenths of grams. For example, a reading of 2.03 on the display signifies 2 3/10 grams.

  1. 1

    Place an object on a mechanical scale's platform.

  2. 2

    Read a mechanical scale by observing the pointer on the dial that shows the weight of an item. The dial in grams usually also has kilograms at the top and grams at the bottom or vice versa.

  3. 3

    Observe the pointer position and read the kilograms first. Then add the grams, located to the right side of the kilogram mark, for a final reading. The dial on a mechanical scale moves left as weight is added to it. For example, if the pointer is between the 2 and 3 kilogram mark and rests on the 20 gram mark, the total weight is 2 kilograms and 20 grams.

  1. 1

    Place an object on a triple beam scale to measure its weight in grams.

  2. 2

    Observe the placement of the three metal riders on the top, middle and bottom beams to calculate the weight.

  3. 3

    Read the measurement on a triple beam scale in grams by adding the top, middle and bottom measurements together. The top measurement is in increments of 100s, the middle is in 10s and the bottom is in tenths. For example, if the top beam reading is 200, the middle beam reading is 10 and the bottom beam reading is 3, the total reading of the object is 210.3 grams.

Tips and warnings

  • Digital scales weigh in whole grams though some may weigh as specific as in tenths of grams.
  • Digital scales are electronic and battery operated. Most digital scales will turn off automatically within a few minutes of inactivity.
  • Digital scales are often in use as kitchen scales for precise measurements of cooking ingredients.
  • Mechanical scales are widely in use for larger objects, such as freight, trucks and large manufactured parts.
  • Doctors and veterinarians use mechanical scales with a basket on top to weigh babies and small animals.
  • Triple balance beam scales are very precise for measuring gold and jewels.
  • Scientists often use triple balance beam scales for measuring chemicals in experiments.
  • Make certain that any type of scale is on zero before placing an object on its bed. This will help ensure an accurate measurement.

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