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Tare Weight: Definition & Calculation

Instructor: David Redmond

David has been an mechanical engineering manager, designing products for 20 years. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineer and is trained in Design for Six Sigma

In this lesson, you will learn what tare weight is and the formula that you would use to calculate it. Other terms, such as net weight and gross weight, will be reviewed so that each is clearly understood.

What is Tare Weight?

When you need exactly seven pounds of potatoes for a Thanksgiving recipe, how do you ensure that you buy enough? Every grocery store has a scale in the vegetable aisle for precisely this reason. However, I always wonder if the weight of the container on the scale is included in the total weight. So first, let's assume the store is reputable, and they have compensated for the weight of the container. They have essentially zeroed out the scale to compensate for the weight of the container. The weight of any container without the contents is called the tare weight. On any scientific scale or weigh scale, the button labeled 'zero' is used to compensate for the weight of a container of any size. Before you weigh your item, you must place whatever container you will use on the scale. Let's say that you want to use a small bucket. When you place the bucket on the scale, the scale reads 0.70 lbs. By pushing the zero button you zero out the scale and remove the tare weight of the bucket from the total weight.

Calculating Tare Weight

Now that we know what tare weight is; how is it calculated? Let's look at our example. Visualize placing our 7 pounds of potatoes in a plastic container. Then place this container on a scale that has not been zeroed out. The total weight on the scale is 7.70 pounds. This is known as gross weight. Gross weight is the combined weight of both the container and what the container holds. The weight of what is in the container is known as net weight. Therefore, to calculate the tare weight of the container, all you need to do is subtract the net weight (the weight of the potatoes) from the gross weight to obtain the tare weight of the container. In this case the equation would be 7.70 lbs. (gross weight) minus 7.00 lbs. (potatoes net weight); therefore the tare weight for the plastic container is equal to 0.70 lbs. The equation for this calculation is as follows:

Tare Weight Equation

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