Scales may seem like complicated devices. Indeed, the more finely tuned they are to pick up minute differences in weight, the more complicated the machines are. However, even the most delicate scale is not complicated to use.

There are a few considerations to keep in mind when you set up your scale for the first time. First, you must place it so the top surface is level. If the top surface isn't level, the readings may be difficult to obtain or not accurate if they are obtained easily. Leveling the scale is very much like making sure a picture is level, but possibly easier since there is a built in level. This level is usually found on the back of the scale, and looks and just like a level you'd get at your hardware store. The principle is the exact same, too. To make sure your balance is on a level surface, just look at the bubble in the middle. It should be right on the middle, or as close to it as possible. If it isn't, adjust the height of the legs until the bubble is as close to the center of the circle as you can get it.

After your scale is level, you need to make sure it's calibrated, or adjusted to read accurately. Most of the time, the scales are calibrated at the manufacturers, so there is no need. However, sometimes the scale gets jarred in shipping, so checking won't hurt. Each scale is a little different, but the basics behind calibration is just adjusting your scale to read an accurate number. This is done by taking an item of a known mass, like a barbell. Take note of the number it reads, and follow the directions in your user’s manual to adjust the scale to obtain the correct readout.

Now, you're ready to start having fun! There are two ways to go about this: You can weight them in a container called a weigh boat (or a box for shipping) or without a container.

To weigh things without a container, you simply turn the scale on, hit the “zero” or “tare” button to make sure you are only weighing what you put onto the scale, then put the item on. Wait about a minute for the numbers to stop fluctuating. When they stop, that's the mass of the items. Easy!

Now, if you are weighing something in a container, it's really the same thing. However, first put the container onto the top of the scale, then hit the tare button to bring the starting point to zero. Add your items, wait for a minute, and then you have your results.

If you have any questions regarding how to set up and use your scale, we'll be happy to help.