No home should be without kitchen scales. Cooks rely on accurate measures to execute recipes, and dieters and healthy eaters need to control portion size and calories. There is a wide range of brands and prices on offer but they also vary almost as much in quality.
As with bathroom scales, digital scales are rapidly displacing analogue (or spring) scales for better accuracy; versatility; design and price. Mechanical spring scales rely on springs and levers and they are susceptible to wear and changes in temperature. Digital scales are consistent and accurate and use changes in electric current in a crystal under pressure as a proxy for weight.
Most digital kitchen scales have the following features:
- Auto shut-off; to save batteries
- Unit conversion; readout is available in metric or imperial units
- Tare function; the scales measure, separately, a second added weight
In addition, buyers will want to consider some or all of these issues:
- ‘Store-ability’: Will the scales live on the kitchen counter or will they be stored in a cupboard when not in use? Are the scales heavy or cumbersome?
- Readability: The readout should be large, bright and clear.
- ‘Clean-ability’: Look for wipe-clean surfaces that can be disinfected if necessary to maintain kitchen-hygiene.
- Capability: What is the maximum weight the scales can handle and how big is the weighing platform? Is the calibration fine enough for your purposes?
- Durability: Many budget-priced scales score low marks for ruggedness. Do you need a better quality machine?
- Design: Find scales with a ‘look’ that matches your kitchen décor or other appliances on your counter.
- Price: Practical, accurate scales are available at low-cost and we are confident you will be able to find a machine to fit your budget.
In researching our list, we’ve avoided the very cheapest scales (see ‘Durability’ above) but none of our picks are expensive. We hope we’ve provided some helpful pointers and are pleased to introduce our Best Kitchen Scales of 2017 (including a good-looking, well-reviewed, mechanical scale for nostalgia’s sake):
Hanson H500 Traditional Kitchen Scale
A handsome retro-look kitchen scale with a large, easy-to-read dial on the front, graduated in 1oz or 20g increments. The maximum weighing capacity is 5kg and the stainless steel weighing bowl is washable in hot water and soap or detergent. The scale is ‘zeroed’ by turning a knurled wheel on top of the body, beneath the weighing bowl; its footprint is approximately 10 ½” x 8”. The scales are available in cream or red, to brighten your kitchen, and are offered with a 10-year manufacturer’s guarantee.
Home Treats 5kg Digital Scale
The Home Treats machine has a simple, clean design, with an unadorned, tempered glass platform on a black base with a small 3/4-inch-high LED-display and two silver, bar-buttons for ‘on-off-zero’ and ‘unit’ (of measurement). It is powered by a single 2032 lithium battery, with a one-minute ‘auto-off’ to prolong battery life. The scale incorporates a tare function and can display weights in the metric or imperial system. The platform is 7 inches square and has a 5kg weighing capacity. This HomeTreats machine receives excellent reviews and is a good, budget-priced choice.
Amazon Home Basics 5kg LCD Kitchen Scale
The Home Basics has a table-tennis-paddle shape measuring 9 inches front-to-back; the round weighing platform is just over 7 inches in diameter. Two control buttons (Tare and Unit) and an LED display are fitted in a sloping panel at the front of the machine. It uses two AAA-batteries that are supplied with the unit, and it has a two-minute auto-off. Several testers have used gym weights to confirm its accuracy. We have had good experiences with various Home Basics appliances and are confident of their quality and value-for-money.
Etekcity Stainless Steel 5kg Digital Kitchen Scale
These ultra-thin scales feature a slightly larger than usual measuring platform (7 1/2” x 8 1/2”) and a stand-out, bright-blue, backlit LED readout. The surface is stainless steel. It has a 5kg maximum capacity and weighs to the nearest 0.1 oz or 1g. Two round buttons in the top surface engage the tare and unit functions, which includes liquid measures of water and milk in millilitres and fluid ounces (the machine automatically translates the weight of water or milk into the liquid measure). The scale is powered by three AAA batteries (included) and has a two-minute auto-off. It comes with a 2-year guarantee. We would recommend this scale for its clear display alone but it also enjoys overwhelmingly positive reviews and is a deserved best seller.
Salter 1036 Disc Kitchen Scale
The Salter 1036 is a smallish (8” x 6”), well-designed scale that is offered in a choice of six different colours to fit your kitchen. It has a capacity of 5kg. Two round buttons on the top surface control ‘on-zero-off’ and the unit of measurement; Salter advertises the ‘Aquatronic’ feature which means the scale can also display liquid measures (mL and fl.oz) as well as weights, to the nearest 0.1 oz or 1g. The Zero control allows ‘add-and-weigh’ operation, with multiple ingredients in a single measuring bowl:
Place bowl on scale; press ‘Zero’; add and weigh first ingredient; press ‘Zero’; add and weigh a second ingredient; press ‘Zero’, and so on. The weighing surface is stainless steel, which is easy to clean, and the scale is powered by a single CR 2032 battery with a two-minute auto-off. Salter is a solid brand and this is a neat machine that will have special appeal to any buyer with limited counter-space.
Etekcity 5kg Stainless Steel Scales with Mixing Bowl
Bakers give this machine high marks. The design incorporates a large (2.15L), detachable, stainless steel mixing bowl and special features include an ambient temperature sensor and a kitchen timer. It can weigh up to 5kg in 0.1oz or 1g divisions and has tare and auto-zero functions. All functions are controlled via two up-and-down buttons on either side of the backlit LED display, in the round weighing stand. It uses two (included) AAA batteries and has a two-minute auto-off. Its very practical design earns it a place on our list.
Smart Weigh Culinary Kitchen Scale
The Smart Weigh features a large and small stainless steel weighing platform with weighing capacities of 10kg and 300g respectively. A strip-panel across the entire front of the base includes a clear, backlit LED display and five control buttons: On/Off; Tare 1; Tare 2; Unit (imperial/metric; dry weight or liquid measures), and Full (which combines the weights on the two scales). A two-minute auto-off prolongs battery life. Three AAA batteries and a 200g calibration weight are included with the scale. The Smart Weigh will occupy a 10” x 7 1/2” space on your counter and comes with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty. These scales receive excellent reviews and are included on our best list for more ambitious home chefs and bakers who want to pay a little extra for a quality machine with two-scale functionality.