How to Use a Balance Beam Scale

Balance beam scales are the most accurate and common method of measuring the weight of an object or person. Different types of balance beam scales are used for different purposes. The most familiar type is found in doctor's offices everywhere, and is used to make accurate measurements of body weight.

Tare (zero) the scale. When properly adjusted, the beam should be perfectly parallel to the floor.

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Step onto the scale. The left end of the beam will drop toward the floor, and the right end of the beam will rise until it hits the stopper. Note that the beam is comprised of two rows of numbers with weights that slide along each row. The bottom row contains notches at increments of 50 pounds, along with a larger weight. The top row has a smaller weight, and is marked in two-pound increments.

Slide the weight on the bottom row to the right until the right end of the beam drops to the stopper.

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After the beam drops, move the weight on the bottom row back one notch to the left (the beam will rise again), and then move the weight on the top row to the right until the beam drops and is parallel to the floor.

Add the numbers marked by the weights on each bar to determine your weight. For example, if the weight on the bottom bar is at the 100 increment, and the weight on the top bar is at 24, your total weight is 124 pounds.


The scale must be properly zeroed in order to weigh yourself accurately. Make sure you zero the scale before stepping on.


Your body weight can vary by five pounds or more during the day, particularly after exercise or meals. In order to get an accurate picture of your weight over time, you should weigh yourself at approximately the same time every day. Many people weigh themselves immediately after waking up. Choose a state of dress that you will be able to maintain each time you weigh yourself.