Christmas is fast approaching and it's time to send some gifts to loved ones.

You go to send a package and the shipping company says your package's gross weight is 10 lbs (4.54 kg) and its net weight is 9 lbs (4.08 kg).

Learn the difference between gross weight and net weight so you'll never be confused at the post office again!

Net Weight

Whenever you want to weigh an item, whether for shipping or a science experiment, that item's weight by itself is the net weight.

Image from Vecteezy

If you're trying to ship an item, you'll usually put it in a box to ship it. The net weight does not include the weight of the box, only the item inside the box.

Likewise, if you're weighing liquid for a science experiment, you're likely to put the liquid in a beaker, flask, or graduated cylinder. The net weight does not include these instruments, only the liquid itself.

Image from Vecteezy

Gross Weight

Obviously, any container that holds an item you want to weigh will add to the total weight. The total weight is the gross weight.

So:

• a package + an item = gross weight

• a beaker + liquid = gross weight

• a spoon + sugar = gross weight

Tare Weight

I bet you're wondering: if the item by itself is the net weight, and the item plus the container is the gross weight, what is the term for the container by itself?

The weight of the empty container is the tare weight.

How to Calculate Net Weight

Sometimes, it may be difficult to weigh an item directly. For example, you can't put liquid on a scale, and dumping sugar on a scale would make a mess.

Image from Vecteezy

In this case, follow these steps:

1. Weigh an empty container (package, beaker, bowl, etc.) to get the tare weight

2. Put the item you want to weigh in the container

3. Weigh the container with the item in it to get the gross weight

4. Subtract the tare weight from the gross weight to get the net weight

To sum it up:

Net weight = gross weight - tare weight

The cat is the item you want to send, so its weight alone is the net weight.

It equals...

...the gross weight, which is the weight of the package with the cat inside it...

...minus...

...the tare weight, which is the weight of the package by itself!

Quiz

You're at the check-in counter for your train ride with your beloved cat inside a travel carrier. The check-in agent says that cats must weigh below 12 lbs (5.44 kg) in order to board the train.

You don't know how much your cat weighs and you can't weigh her because she'll run away as soon was you put her on the scale.

A.

1. Weigh the travel carrier with your cat inside.

B.

1. Weigh the travel carrier with your cat inside.

2. Guess the weight of the travel carrier and subtract it from the weight of the travel carrier with your cat inside.

C.

1. Weigh the travel carrier with your cat inside.

2. Take your cat out and hold it while you weigh the travel carrier by itself.

3. Subtract the weight of the travel carrier without your cat inside from the weight of the travel carrier with your cat inside.

Quiz

Which is the correct course of action?

Take Action

Congratulations, you have earned your diploma from the School of Weights!

Now, as you consider the difference between gross weight and net weight, don't forget:

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