Tare Weight vs. Net Weight

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 the difference between tare weight and net weight, and how to apply each form of measurement. Gross weight will also be discussed to ensure that the differences between the three measurements are understood.

Tare Weight

When packing for a vacation, have you ever asked yourself ''How much can I stuff into my luggage and still be under the 50 pound airline limit''? If so, you realize that you must account for the weight of the actual luggage bag to ensure you are below the airline weight limit. Luggage is sold on two features -- durability and weight. The weight of your empty luggage is the tare weight.

Tare weight, also known as unladen weight, is the weight of a container when it is empty. This type of measurement is important to know when shipping a product or when determining how much material you have added to a container.

Most scientific weigh scales include a button that resets the zero on the display. This allows the user to place a container of unknown weight on the scale and use it to measure the precise weight of the contents of that container.

Say you want to buy some peanuts from the bulk section of your local Co-op. You have brought your own Tupperware bucket so that you don't waste a plastic bag for transport. However, you don't want the weight of the bucket to affect your total price.

Therefore, before you put the peanuts in the bucket, you can put it on the scale, set the scale to zero, then add the peanuts. That way the weight of the bucket is not added to the weight of the peanuts, and you don't pay extra.

Net Weight

But the weight of the peanuts have their own name too. The weight of the contents of the container, excluding the container weight, is known as the net weight. Therefore, the bucket has the tare weight, say, 1oz, and the peanuts themselves have the net weight, say 16oz.

So, if tare weight is the weight of an empty container, and the net weight is the weight of the contents of the container, what is the total weight? Gross weight is the combination of the tare weight and the net weight, in other words, 17oz for our peanut example.

Application Example

Let's try another example. A truck traveling on US highways is required to check in at weigh stations to ensure that the truck is transporting cargo safely. On the back or side of the trailer, the tare weight, maximum gross weight and net weight (cargo weight) are usually listed.

Back of a truck indicating the maximum gross weight (MGW), tare weight, and net weight.
truck weight

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