A Quick Guide to Trade Approved Scales and Balances

You’ll see the word “trade approved” on websites selling weighing scales and balances (also called legal for trade or trade approved scales), particularly if you’re looking for a retail scale. What exactly does ‘trade approved’ mean?

What is a Trade Approved Scale?

Broadly speaking, it means that the weighing scale was 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 requires trade approval?

You will require approved scales for most commercial buying or selling by weight, including the following products:


Buying & Selling by Weight

Weighing Items Prior To Dispatch

It can also apply to the medical and pharmaceutical sectors (to ensure medication and chemical compounds are sold in the right quantity, for example).

Is it mandatory?

If you work in an industry where weight affects the price of what you are selling your stock for or what price you are buying your stock for, then the answer is YES it is likely required by law to have your weighing scale trade approved.

For example, grocery stores selling their goods by weight require the scales to be trade approved, scrap dealers selling their materials by weight and when buying in scrap by weight require the scales to be trade approved. Jewellery stores selling their goods by weight and when buying in stock by weight require the scales to be trade approved. An organisation such as care homes, hospitals et who prescribe medicine based on the patient’s body weight require the scales to be trade approved.

The law and regulations vary slightly depending on the country or region you live in, but usually, any weighing instrument that is used to sell by weight, buy by weight or calculate a money value 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.

We have a wide range of trade approved scales for all types of industries to buy online today. Click here to see our complete full of trade approved scales. 

If you are unsure about meeting the required legislation for your new scale purchase please call us on 01902 490604 for free advice or contact your local trading standards office.