1
$\begingroup$

I'm in the lucky position to building my own home lab and I'm looking to get a nice balance, but I don't want to waste money on something I won't use though.

I'm currently about to start second year chemistry (Organic) and I plan to take at least a few courses beyond this as time allows (I already have my Comp Sci degree and a full time job and I've been in and out of grad school for Mathematics and Computer Science). So this is just a hobby. As far as what I'll be doing I honestly don't know chemistry well enough to say exactly, but I think it'd be fun to synthesize various molecules you come across and see what kind of purity I could get after running the experiment a few times.

I probably won't ever get much past 4th year undergrad or 1st year graduate level knowledge since I can only take one night class at a time.

I understand that analysis and p chem have a decent amount of use for sub-mg level accuracy, but how often do these situations come up in practice?

Should I spend the extra on a 0.1mg balance or just go for a 1mg balance? This decision won't affect future lab purchases much more likely just the timeline of the purchases. Eventually I'd like to get additional useful instruments as I start needing them like a centrifuge and/or autoclave. But I probably won't ever get a FT-IR for example.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ What's the cost differential you're looking at? $\endgroup$ – J. Ari Apr 28 '17 at 13:42
  • $\begingroup$ Around $800. So 0.1 mg balance would be about 2x price. $\endgroup$ – Joshua Olson Apr 28 '17 at 15:42
2
$\begingroup$

Either of these balances will require some care to set up. It will need to be on a solid surface away from any drafts, etc. However, neither would have the more expensive setup and maintenance requirements of say a $\pu{0.001mg}$ balance. And in either case you can take care of the cleaning and calibration yourself, particularly as it's just a hobby with no certification requirements.

I would seriously consider looking at used equipment from a place like LabX (I have no affiliation whatsoever). I would hesitate to purchase a used $\pu{0.001mg}$ balance because that is a very sensitive piece of equipment, but a $\pu{0.1mg}$ analytical balance; my lab always bought that sort of thing used.

You can probably get a good used $\pu{0.1mg}$ Mettler for example for the same or less than a new $\pu{1mg}$ balance and there is really no downside. It's easy to imagine you wanting to weigh out a few mg of some reagent and having the ability to do that with the extra accuracy of at least a $\pu{0.1mg}$ balance would probably be desirable.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the link. LabX looks great. I plan to get much of my equipment used, but I'm fine with buying a new balance. I was looking at the Ohaus AX series. $\endgroup$ – Joshua Olson Apr 29 '17 at 1:27
  • $\begingroup$ I'm glad it was helpful. I really can't speak to Ohaus directly, but I knew other labs that used them and I never heard complaints (and lab people do like to complain about troublesome equipment ;) Best of luck. $\endgroup$ – airhuff Apr 29 '17 at 1:31
1
$\begingroup$

Analytical balances require special care in setup (e.g. air current shielding) and some maintenance so if you think the environment is going to be a bit more "rough and tumble" it might not be worth the money. Given the price differential, I think the prudent move would be to purchase the precision balance.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.