You’ll see the word “approved” on websites selling weighing scales and balances (also called legal for trade, certifed scales or trade approved scales), particularly if you’re looking for a retail or commercial scale. What exactly does ‘approved’ mean? Is it really mandatory? Which industries require it? What do all these acronyms mean? We’ll explore the world of trade approved scales, whether or not you need one, and which acronyms you should look for.
What is a Trade Approved Scale?
Broadly speaking, a trade approved scale or trade certified scale is a weighing scale that has been tested and proved that it meets the standards outlined by the organisation that oversees said requirements in your location or industry (NMI, EU, NRCS, OIML, NTEP, Trade Stamped, Verified, Class III or Class II, EC Stamped, M Class Approved and Trading Standards Approved are some of the most common organisations you’ll see online). This is meant to ensure that customers get what they pay for.
Which sort of products require trade approval?
You will require approved scales for most commercial buying or selling by weight, including the following products:
- Livestock feed
- Firewood or logs
- Liquid fuel
- Landscaping materials
- Precious metals and stones (including gold)
- Mechanical and construction parts
- Prepackaged products that specify weight
It can also apply to the medical and pharmaceutical sectors (to ensure medication and chemical compounds are sold in the right quantity, for example).
Are approved scales mandatory?
If you work in an industry where weight affects the price of what you’re selling, yes, it is likely required by law. For example, grocery stores need trade approved scales to ensure produce is sold according to the correct weight. Sweet shops or ice cream stores also sell their goods by weight. The law and regulations vary slightly depending on the country or state you live in, but usually, any weighing instrument that is used to sell by weight or calculate using the weight as a factor is required to be trade approved.
What do the acronyms mean?
Usually, the acronyms are the name of the governing bodies who set the standards for weighing instruments. These are the ones you are most likely to encounter during your searches:
NMI: National Measurement Institute, Australia, the measurement standards body of the Australian government.
CE: European Conformity
NRCS: National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications, an agency of the South African Government Department of Trade and Industry.
OIML: The Organisation International de Métrologie Légale (International Organization of Legal Metrology) is an intergovernmental treaty organization based in France.
NTEP: National Type Evaluation Program evaluates and certifies equipment before it is sold in the United States for trade use.
M Class Approved: The Green M shows that the scale or balance meets criteria required for approval.
Class II or III: The number refers to the accuracy and division of the scale or balance to determine its usage dependent on scale type or application.
|Value of Scale Divistion||Class of Scale|
|1mg to 0.05g||II|
|0.1g or more||II|
|0.1g to 2g
0.0002 lb to 0.005 lb
0.005 oz to 0.125 oz
|5g or more
0.01 lb or more
0.25 oz or more
Trade Approved Scales and Balances
There are many different types of trade approved scales and balances. Adam Equipment carries several types ideal for various industries. We have trade approved commercial scales and shop scales like the AZextra or the WBW, perfect for commercial settings such as ice cream shops or grocery stores.
For industrial environments, floor scales and Bench scales such as the GBK or GFK also have checkweighing applications, can handle more rigorous environments and have a bigger capacity. Our PT platform scales and GK weighing indicators allow you to have more flexibility and a much higher capacity in demanding settings.
Our Highland approved portable precision balances (currently available in the UK only) are versatile products well suited for weighing jewelry as well as in laboratories, quality assurance departments and most settings requiring acute precision.