Who should get a kitchen scale
Anyone who wants more consistent results from their baking, cooking, or coffee brewing should consider getting a kitchen scale. It’s also probably time for an upgrade if your current scale is damaged or isn’t reading properly.
For weighing very small amounts very precisely—such as espresso, spices, or leaveners—you’ll want to invest in a digital pocket scale. These models weigh in increments of 0.1 or 0.01 gram, and as their name implies, they’re small enough to fit in a pocket.
How we picked and tested
For this guide, we considered only digital scales, which combine accuracy and a slim design at a better price, and are the standard in professional kitchens. A good digital scale must read accurately in both grams and ounces, preferably using decimals rather than fractions, and should have a maximum capacity of at least 11 pounds. The best scales can quickly show a gradual increase in weight when you’re measuring, which allows you to anticipate when to stop adding an ingredient.
Any decent digital food scale has a tare button, which allows the scale to subtract the weight of the mixing bowl and report only the net weight of the ingredients. Also, the auto turn-off function shouldn’t kick in too quickly, as it’s frustrating when the scale turns off before you’ve finished measuring.
Beyond those basics, the buttons on the scale should preferably be covered in a plastic membrane, so that you can clean the unit easily. Also nice is if the scale has a good-size weigh platform that easily holds a large mixing bowl or sheet pan. Some models have removable platforms, which is convenient for cleaning.
We used a series of lab weights to test the accuracy of each scale. We slowly added flour to a bowl placed on each scale to evaluate the device’s speed at reading weights. Then, to get a better feel for how we liked each model’s specific features, we used the scales daily for about two weeks. We also sprinkled flour on each scale to see how easy they would wipe clean, or if they had any crevices that trapped grit.
The affordably priced Escali Primo Digital Scale is the best scale for most home baking and cooking needs. In our tests it read weights quickly and was one of the most accurate scales we tried. It’s capable of weighing ingredients between 1 gram and 5,000 grams (about 11 pounds), and has a simple design with an easy-to-use interface. The weigh platform is conveniently elevated, so you can still read the digital screen when using large, oversized bowls. It has a small footprint for convenient storage, and four rubber feet on the bottom to keep the scale from sliding on the counter. The Escali scale comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Unlike our upgrade pick, the My Weigh KD8000, the Escali Primo Digital Scale’s display isn’t backlit. Despite that limitation, our testers didn’t have any difficulty reading the digital screen. Also, although you can’t disable the auto-off function on the Escali, our testers found that the preset four-minute auto-off feature provided enough time to weigh ingredients.
An inexpensive but accurate scale
We think the Ozeri Pronto Digital Multifunction Kitchen and Food Scale is a great choice if you want something that’s very inexpensive but still accurate. Although it’s similar in appearance to our top pick, it has a shorter auto-off function (two minutes versus the Escali’s four minutes), and it’s slightly slower at reading weights.
In our tests, the Ozeri correctly measured lab weights to the gram, though we did notice a slight delay when measuring items as small as 1 or 2 grams. As on our top pick, the Ozeri’s digital screen isn’t backlit, but its elevated weighing platform still allows you to read the scale.
The Ozeri scale is covered by a one-year warranty, in contrast to the Escali model’s limited lifetime warranty, but because it’s so cheap, we don’t think that limited coverage is a dealbreaker.
A large scale for advanced bakers
We recommend the My Weigh KD8000 for serious bakers who make a lot of bread or want to prepare large batches of food at once. Its 17-pounds, 6-ounce weighing capacity was the highest in our test group. Unlike our other picks, the My Weigh KD8000 allows you to disable the automatic-off function and the backlight. This scale was also the only model we tested that allowed us to remove the weigh platform for easy cleaning. The My Weigh KD8000 comes with a 30-year manufacturer’s warranty.
In our tests, the My Weigh KD8000 was accurate to the gram and responded quickly, though it occasionally had trouble reading a weight of 1 g if we added an ingredient slowly. On all weights over 1 g, it quickly gave a correct reading.
A small scale for precision weighing
For precisely weighing small amounts of ingredients—such as coffee, spices, or leaveners—we recommend the American Weigh Scales SC-2KG Digital Pocket Scale. This scale weighs in increments of 0.1 gram, has a tare button, and offers a small but brightly backlit screen. It’s also covered by a 10-year warranty.
The American Weigh SC-2KG was very accurate when we used lab weights in our tests. It had a slight delay when reading ingredients measuring as little as 0.5 gram, but for all other weights, this scale was very responsive. When we used the 500-gram weight, the scale read about 1 gram off. Even so, we still think this scale is very accurate and precise, and a steal considering it’s so inexpensive.
Because the push buttons on this model are not sealed, they are more prone to water damage, so be careful when measuring liquids and immediately wipe up any spills that may occur near the interface.
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