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Crane Scales vs Dynamometers – What’s the Difference?

When it comes to weighing heavy loads, crane scales and dynamometers are two of the most popular options. Although they may seem similar, they have different functions and features that make them suitable for different applications. However, many people are often confused about the difference between the two. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between crane scales and dynamometers, as well as their respective benefits and practical applications.

What are Crane Scales?

These devices are used to weigh heavy loads that are suspended from a crane. They come in both wired and wireless versions and have different measuring ranges, with some capable of weighing up to 30 tons. Some models have protective cages and attachable displays for added safety and convenience. Wireless Crane Scales and telemetry dynamometers are also available.

Crane Scales Benefits:

They offer several benefits for industries that require the weighing of heavy loads. These benefits include:

  • Accurate and reliable weight measurements of heavy loads
  • Increased safety by avoiding overloading and preventing accidents
  • Improved efficiency by reducing the time and effort required for weighing heavy loads
  • Easy to use and install, with options for both wired and wireless models
  • Protective cages and attachable displays available for added durability and convenience

What is a Dynamometer?

A dynamometer is a device that is used to measure force, tension, and weight. It is commonly used in applications such as weighing during lifting, drag force measurement . They can measure loads ranging from a few ounces to several tons and can be used in both static and dynamic applications.

They come in different designs and capacities. Some are designed to be portable and can be used in the field, while others are designed to be used in a laboratory setting. They can also be equipped with various features such as wireless connectivity, data logging, and overload protection.

Dynamometers Benefits:

They are devices used to measure force and load. They are commonly used in various industries, including aerospace, oil & gas, foundries and manufacturing, to test and verify the load, weight and force. The benefits of using them include:

  • They provide precise measurements of force, weight and load 
  • Overload prevention  Increased efficiency
  • Cost reduction
  • They come in a variety of types and sizes, with customizable options to fit specific needs.
  • Some of them have wireless capabilities, allowing for remote monitoring and data collection.

How do crane scales and dynamometers differ?

Although crane scales and dynamometers may seem similar, they have different functions and features that make them suitable for different applications. Here are some of the key differences between the two:

  • Function: Crane scales are designed specifically to weigh loads that are lifted by a crane, while dynamometers are designed to measure force, tension, and weight in a variety of applications.
  • Portability vs. stationary use: force dynamometers are more portable and therefore suitable for applications that require portability such as field proof load tests. Crane scales are generally heavier and equipped with a bottom hook, making them more suitable for a fixed installation.
  • Capacity: Crane scales are available up to 30t while force dynamometers are available up to 300t.

Practical Applications of using a Crane Scale and Dynamometer:

Crane scales and dynamometers are used in a variety of industries for different purposes. Some practical applications of crane scales and dynamometers include:

  • Proof load tests: Usually conducted at the customer’s premises. The highly portable force dynamometer is generally more suitable. Crane scales are less portable and therefore less suitable.
  • Construction: Crane scales are used in the construction industry to weigh heavy loads such as steel beams and concrete blocks. Dynamometers are used to test the strength of materials such as cables and ropes. Wireless crane scales also make it possible to read loads from great distances.
  • Shipping: Crane scales are used in the shipping industry to weigh cargo containers and other heavy loads. Dynamometers are used to test the strength of ropes and cables used to secure cargo as well as performing power testing of tug and other ship-assist vessels.
  • Manufacturing: Crane scales are used in the manufacturing industry to weigh raw materials and finished products. If installed permanently on a crane, then a crane scale would be more convenient. If the system serves several cranes then the dynamometer would provide the necessary portability. 

The Importance of the Bollard Pull Test

In addition to the benefits and practical applications of crane scales and dynamometers, it's also important to understand how these devices are used in specific tests such as the bollard pull test.
A bollard pull test is a test that is conducted on a  tugboat to certify its power and thereby its ability to perform ship assist operations.. The test involves attaching a rope or cable to a bollard on the dock and measuring the pull force  that the tugboat can exert. The test is typically conducted in a controlled environment, such as a harbor or port, and is used to ensure that a ship is capable of safely towing other vessels or objects.
Telemetry Dynamometers are  typically used in bollard pull tests to measure the tug boat’s dragging force Crane scales  may be used to weigh the anchors and chains that are used to secure the ship during testing .
The use of these devices in bollard pull tests is important because it allows for precise measurements of the tug boat’s dragging force. This information is critical for ensuring that the boat is capable of safely towing other vessels or objects, which is an important aspect of many maritime operations.


These devices provide accurate measurements of weight and force, which is critical for ensuring the safety and efficiency. Whether you're working in construction, shipping, manufacturing, or any other industry that requires accurate weight and force measurements, wireless crane scales and telemetry dynamometers are essential tools that can help you get the job done right. 
If you would like to learn more about our products, or if you have any questions, our friendly sales team will be happy to help. Give us a call or send us an email. We will work together to find the perfect solution that’s right for you.

You might also be interested in: Electronic Crane Scales | 1000 kg Crane Scales | 100t ton dynamometers

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US / Canada / International: 1-888-778-8064

UK: 0800 8620354


US / Canada / International: 1-888-778-8064

UK: 0800 8620354


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