Metal spring deformed on an arch on a blue background.

Dynamometers are devices that are used to calculate the force, mass and weight of objects, and are used for a variety of different applications. These tools are easy to use, with the latest models offering advanced on-screen features which allow detailed control of the various measurements the devices take.

These devices are very simple to operate. They are comprised of a frame, a spring, a hook on one or both ends of the device and a calibrator. These instruments have evolved significantly in recent times, with both analog and digital models now available on the market. In this article we will explain everything you need to know, so that you can buy the dynamometer that is best for you.

Key Facts

  • It is important that you know exactly how you intend to use a dynamometer, before making your purchase. There is a big range of very different models on the market, which are designed for specific uses. Handheld units are the best instruments for use in hospitals and sports clinics, whereas hydraulic and mechanical dynamometers are used in the agricultural sector.
  • All models have different options, functions and features. This is something that you really should take into account when choosing the product that is best for you. Cheaper models will generally have a much more limited number of functions. The most sophisticated units can save information and make different types of measurements. Make sure you choose a dynamometer according to your needs.
  • Each model has a maximum weight capacity. The strongest can support up to 650 pounds, while pocket models are able to handle a load of around 12 pounds. It is important that you take into account the maximum weight capacity of a device you are considering purchasing, and whether it is suitable for the way you intend to use it.

Our Selection: The Best Dynamometers on the U.S. Market

Currently on the market you can find a wide variety of dynamometers. Finding the model that is best for you can be an overwhelming task. This is why we have prepared this guide with the best products available on in the market right now. We hope that you find it helpful and it makes the purchase process easier.

3B Scientific U20030 Silver Precision Dynamometer

Here we have a very simple and easy to use dynamometer, that is perfect for anyone who is looking to spend as little as possible. Color-coded precision dynamometer, with a transparent plastic casing and an easy-to-read scale. Protection against over-extension of the spring and zero-point calibration capability. This is a fully manual analogue unit, that therefore requires no battery power to be used.

Positive reviews for this product, reporting that the device functions well and the build quality is good, even if it is made of plastic. This dynamometer is a great option for someone who doesn’t need any of the additional features found in more expensive models.

CAMRY Digital Hand Dynamometer

The Camry digital hand dynamometer is engineered as a professional training device for hand-grip strength suitable for any doctor’s office, physical therapy clinic, engineering lab, or the gym. Adjustable center knob allows the device to be adjusted for different hand sizes and preferences. 19 definable users with options for gender and age can be stored, along with the ability to save and recall test results for each user.

Great reviews for this inexpensive product that is equally useful in the home as in a doctor’s office or on a construction site. Happy buyers report using this product for testing their hand strength as part of their training sessions, measuring recovery from injuries and as part of their regular daily health check.

Baseline 12-0241 Hand Dynamometer

The Baseline LiTe hydraulic hand dynamometer has a 200 pound capacity. The unit has a red body and 2-1/2” analog gauge. This dynamometer gives accurate grip strength readings without the subject being able to “feel” the handle move. The internationally accepted design ensures reliability, user convenience and super accurate measurements. The five position handle and body design yield results that are consistent with published Baseline and Jamar studies. The strength reading can be viewed as pounds or kilograms. CE Certified. Comes in a protective carrying case.

Top reviews for this product from satisfied users. This is one of the most expensive products on our list, but it is suitable for professional applications and is most widely used in the health industry. It is a precision instrument, although it does lack the features found in digital devices, so it is not suitable for all applications.

Beslands SF-500 Digital Force Gauge Dynamometer

Here we have a moderately priced digital dynamometer, which has lots of great features. It is easy to carry, lightweight and small in size. It includes an LCD digital screen, which displays measurements in Lbs and Kgs, with a max load of 50kg/ 110Lb. The battery will last for more than 300 measurements.

Positive reviews of this product, which delivers accurate readings and is simple an intuitive to use. If you want a device which can do everything you’d expect from a digital dynamometer, that is moderately priced, this is the model for you.

CNYST Digital Handheld Force Gauge Push Pull Dynamometer

Here we have the most expensive product on our list, that is perfect for anyone looking for a digital device that is suitable for professional applications. It has a 3 measurement unit for selection and conversion, N, kg, lb. Force Range: ±1000 kgf; ±9800 N; ±2200 Lbf. Double reversed LCD digital display with Auto Power Off after 10 minutes of standby. It offers peak value hold function, very easy operation and good stability, with very low power consumption.

Users love this digital dynamometer, and report it is reliable, durable and very precise. The peak value hold function is a convenient and practical feature that is very popular. If you need a professional standard instrument to use on the job, we highly recommend having a look at this great product from CNYST.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about dynamometers

Before choosing a dynamometer it is important that you know about the different features of these instruments. There are many models with different functions and applications currently available on the market. In this section we explain the most relevant information that you need to know. Keep reading and we will give you all the answers to the most frequently asked questions about dynamometers.

Young male physic standing in front of the green board

Don’t worry, dynamometers will help you to measure the force of different objects.
(Source: Amikishiyeb: 115750398/ 123rf.com)

What is a dynamometer?

A dynamometer is an instrument used to measure force (or torque), or to calculate the weight, of objects. This device was invented by Isaac Newton and it functions by using a spring that is stretched, making calculations according to Hooke’s law of elasticity. Although they are operated in a very similar way to scales, these two types of instruments should not be confused.

Dynamometers are comprised of a spring, which is contained inside a cylinder. The device has two hooks or rings, with one at each end, and a scale marked on the side of the cylinder. When weights are suspended, or force is used to separate the hooks, the dial moves indicating the value of the force or weight.

What are dynamometers used for?

Dynamometers have many different applications. They are used to measure the weight of an object and to determine its mass. The big disadvantage of these instruments is the fact that they need to be calibrated every time you change location. This is due to the variation in the relationship between mass and weight, which is called acceleration of gravity.

Dynamometers are also often used in universal testing machines, which test the tensile strength and compressive strength of different materials. They can also measure the the breaking point of an object or different materials by using a stretch test, the number of cycles in a fatigue test and also the resistance to penetration when performing a hardness test. They are used in dentistry, to measure the force exerted on teeth by orthodontic components.

Isaac NewtonEnglish mathematician

“Just as the system of the sun, planets and comets is put in motion by the forces of gravity, and its parts persist in their motions, so the smaller systems of bodies also seem to be set in motion by other forces and their particles to be variously moved in relation to each other and, especially, by the electric force.”

What advantages do dynamometers have over other instruments?

Of all instruments used to calculate the weight of an object, dynamometers are the most precise. They can be used to take various readings very quickly and accurately, without the need of another other tool. In addition to the mass you can measure the force of an object. Their main benefit is that they can rapidly perform tasks and are very easy to use.

Another big advantage of dynamometers is the ease with which the data can be read. Unlike traditional scales, which require that you calculate the results, these devices have an LED backlit display. Some models are integrated with an internal memory, that can store up to 19 different readings with the ability for them to be cataloged according to age, sex and weight.

What is the difference between dynamometers and scales?

Confusing dynamometers with scales is a mistake that many people make. They may look alike at first glance, but they are actually very different. Scales can only be used for weighing. Dynamometers go much further and can be used to determine the mass and force of the objects, in addition to measuring their weight.

Scales Dynamometers
What does it measure? Measures mass and weight Measures force, including the force of the gravitational pull at which an object is attracted to the earth
Size Are very large Are compact and lightweight

What components make up a dynamometer?

Like all precision instruments, dynamometers are made up of several parts. As we previously mentioned, the basis of operation is an internal spring inside a cylinder. This spring is attracted to the ground by the force of the object that is suspended below. Here is a list of the parts that make up a dynamometer:

  • A spring that contains the scale
  • A internal cylinder that covers the spring
  • An exterior cylinder that covers the internal cylinder
  • A hook from which the device can be suspended
  • A hook attached to the base of the spring, from which the object can be suspended

How does a dynamometer work?

In order to measures various objects and materials, dynamometers rely on the elasticity of a spring that stretches according to Hooke’s law of elasticity. These instruments have two hooks or rings, with one in each end of the dynamometer. One of the hooks is attached to an outer cylinder, which hangs from the internal spring.

The outer cylinder is marked with a scale. When an object is suspended from the bottom hook, the spring will begin to lengthen and the cylinder will descend. This is how the force of the object is calculated, with the value displayed on the scale.

It is also common for the force to be marked with a needle or on an exterior LCD display that is easier to read and understand.

What different types of dynamometers are available on the market?

Dynamometers can be classified according to their method of operation. There are hydraulic dynamometers that measure the traction force, speed and pulling force of farm animals such as horses. There are also mechanical dynamometers that are used in schools, because they are very easy to understand when analyzing data on forces.

Dynamometers can also be either analogue or digital. Digital models are the most commonly used today, they use mechanisms to analyze the force and weight of of objects and display the results on an LCD screen.

foco

Advice: Digital dynamometers have more functions and can store results using their internal memory.

How precise are dynamometers?

Dynamometers are very precise instruments, however, as always the level of precision will vary according to the brand. Precision is not something you need to worry about, as the margin of error is always indicated by the manufacturer. This margin of error is usually less than 0.15 Oz, but can be more in some models.

Some instruments which are used in laboratories and hospitals, are specially designed for precision work. They are called “precision dynamometers.” They are used to establish the level of compression force and the traction of objects. Universal testing machines are used in engineering development and in the field of propulsion.

Shopping Criteria

When the time comes to buy a dynamometer, it is vital that you evaluate certain aspects of a product before you make your purchase. In this section we list the most important factors you need to keep in mind. Don’t rush in and just buy any model, there are so many options available on the market. If you want to get a quality item, make sure you follow these criteria:

  • Functions
  • Ease of use
  • Size
  • Memory and storage capacity
  • Screen size
  • Precision and resistance
  • Design and versatility

Functions

The available functions are one of the aspects that you need to take into account when buying a dynamometer. Most are designed to measure different parameters, although not every device incorporates every option. You must be very clear about why you need a dynamometer, and what you expect it to be able to do.

You will need to decide between a force, weight or mass dynamometer. You could also consider buying one with extra features. Some models have the ability to store the data from the measurements you take using the internal memory.. This allows you to check back and analyze them whenever necessary. Certain models have the option to create and compare different profiles.

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Ease of use

Dynamometers are very simple instruments to use. They are used to measure the force and the weight of objects and materials. They are very simple in design, consisting of a spring, a hook and a cylinder. Using a dynamometer is very straightforward, you just need to squeeze the pressure handle or hang the object to be measured from one of the hooks.

Digital models are even easier to use, as they display the readings on a screen. It is important that they have a large display, with numbers that are easy to read. Mechanical and hydraulic models have hooks, from which they can be suspended from a frame or support, then they are ready to use. It is important that you always calibrate a dynamometer before use.

Isaac NewtonEnglish mathematician

“I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.”

Size and weight

Dynamometers are very compact tools, and most weigh no more than a couple of pounds. These instruments are designed to be easily transported. Handheld dynamometers must be very lightweight for use in hospitals. They cannot be overly large or heavy, as they must be pressed and held in one hand – often by sick patients without a lot of strength.

In general dynamometers are not very heavy anyway, and as they usually only weigh a few pounds this is not something you need to pay too much attention to. However, do check the weight of the instrument you are going to buy, as something that is way too large or heavy could be more difficult to work with.

Memory and storage capacity

One of the great advantages of digital dynamometers is their large data storage capacity. This means you won’t need to carry notes with you from one place to another. These models are perfect for medical consultations, hospitals and also in schools, since they permit the data taken from readings to be analyzed in class.

Many models have a special function which allows you classify the stored files. They can be classified according to age, sex and weight. Although these instruments are more expensive than the traditional analogue devices, they are definitely worth the investment. It will make it so much easier for you to take measurements, and you will save time in the long run.

Screen size

Some dynamometers have LCD screens. These models are much more convenient than analog devices, because the data is so much easier to read. Modern screens are backlit, so they can be read in places with low light.

Find a model that displays the information clearly.

Analog models do not have screens. Typically the data is shown using a traditional method: a needle that indicates the correct measurement. Analog dynamometers can be less accurate due to the level of human error involved in readings. We strongly recommend always choosing a model with a screen.

Precision and resistance

Dynamometers allow you to measure weight and force in a very precise and reliable way. The high level of precision of these instruments is due to the extremely accurate technology of their integrated components. Some models have high precision sensors that allow you to weigh any type of object correctly.

The best thing about these instruments is that they have a very simple method of construction. A hook, a spring and a cylinder. This basic system of very few moving parts, makes them very durable and not easy to break. However, it is important that you look at the quality of the materials used by the manufacturer. The best dynamometers will be made of stronger  and more durable materials.

Design and versatility

Design is a something you should take into account before making your choice. Some models are very intuitive, straightforward and easy to use. They have buttons and a screen that displays all the information very clearly. These models are compact in size, lightweight and are made of durable materials.

Many dynamometers are shaped similar to a key ring, with a hoop at the top and a hook at the bottom. Handheld units usually have a large handle and are somewhat larger and less versatile, since they are only able to be used for measuring strength. The design will have a big influence on the way a unit can be used.

Summary

Dynamometers are very simple instruments for anyone to use. They are extremely precise and allow you to measure mass, weight and force. In addition, digital models incorporate LCD screens so you can easily check readings, while all the information collected is stored in the internal memory.

These devices are have many different applications and are used in sports medicine, physiotherapy and schools, with largest models are used in the agricultural and fishing industries. Remember all the important information that we explained in this guide, and you will be sure to make a great purchase.

If you liked the article, please leave a comment or share with your friends and family so they can also learn all about dynamometers!

(Source of featured image: Pakin: 7671294/ 123rf.com)

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