Looking for Scales? Well you’ve come to the right place. Jewelry scales,
bathroom scales, kitchen scales, floor scales, digital scales, postage scales,
physician scales, balance beam scales, lab scales…we’ve reviewed them all and will tell you which one is best for you.
Whether you’re weighing yourself for health purposes, weighing gold,
diamonds, or other precious metals, or trying to calculate shipping costs,
we’ll cover the most precise and accurate scale that meets your needs. But
first, a little education.
Scale Terminology and Definitions
A balance scale measures an object’s mass. It does this by taking a known
weight of an object and comparing it to the other object, whose weight is
unknown of course. A weighing scale (whether analog or electronic) measures the weight of an object. It takes gravity into account and could even differ slightly based on your location.
Mass = purely a measurement of matter of an object; Weight = measurement of pull of gravity on said object.
Unless you’re a scientist for all intents and purposes, you’re going to want
the object’s weight, which is what’s commonly used.
You often see balances used as scales for measuring the weight of an object
these days. Basically, a balance is used to refer to a scale that has greater
resolution in contemporary terminology.
How to determine the scale that’s right for you?
First off, what are you weighing? How much precision do you need? Generally speaking, the more weight that a scale can accommodate, the less precise and granular it will be.
For example, a bathroom scale’s range is usually up to 400 pounds. Bigger commercial floor and platform scales have a wide range are designed
to accommodate a lot of weight so they will most likely only provide
precision down to the lb level and are used primarily for weighing large
objects between 500 – 10,000 Kgs. Think air cargo, livestock, pallets, tractor-trailers!
A good digital scale, however, though having a smaller range of measurement, will offer more precision within that limited range.
A milligram scale could provide you with accuracy down to milligram level, as precise as 0.01 mg, but may only accommodate up to 6lbs of weight. That said, a small digital scale may be just what you need to count and measure carat sizes, oz., food ingredients, etc…
Second, calibrate the scale. What does calibration mean? It just means that
the scale should read 0 whenever there is no weight placed on it. If it’s
either below or above 0, you need to re-calibrate the scale.
Many digital scales are shipped pre-calibrated right out of the box.
Regardless, you’ll often want to keep a small calibration weight handy in order to ensure your scale is consistently accurate and precise.
Analog vs Digital Scales
Electronic scales, which run mostly run on batteries or electricity, use
electrical resistance to determine an object’s weight. They are generally
more accurate than analog scales.
However, analog scales, such as physician scales found in many Dr’s offices may be more reliable and less likely to break since they have fewer working parts.
Types of Scales
We’ve collected reviews on a wide variety of scales that differ in terms of
price, accuracy, and design. They may be referred to by a category and/or name as covered below but again, keep in mind that they all fall broadly into either an analog or digital scale that provides either a wide range with less precision or a smaller range with more precision.
Digital Pocket Scales
Digital Pocket Scales: These are small devices used to weigh everything from jewelry, letters, food ingredients, to ahem…medicine.
Best Digital Pocket Scale: Smart Weigh SWS100 Elite Series
Design: It’s a compact, durable, and sturdy model with great reviews on Amazon. It has a smooth design with a blue LED light that displays easy to read measurements, along with big responsive buttons.
Features: There’s a special function to help you find the exact weight of an
item by subtracting its bowl weight. If you need to measure items down to
the 0.01 g level for, then this digital scale is for you.
Be sure to check our full review of the top digital pocket scales.
Need to measure precious metals such as gold, rubies, and diamonds? These scales are precise down the 0.01 milligram level so when every oz, milligram, or carat can mean the difference between hundreds of dollars, you’ll want to employ one of these.
Best Jewelry Scale: Ohaus NV1202 AM Navigator
Need to determine the exact value of a stone? You’ll want to check out one of our carat scales.
The Ohaus Navigator features a backlit display with a solid design that allows for easy access to functions such as tare, zero, and print. It has a maximum capacity of 1200 grams and can measure increments down to the 0.01g level.
It has overload protection to preclude damaging if items that are too heavy
are placed on the unit. It can measure in any number of units such as grams, kilograms, carats and ounces. Finally, it can be either battery-powered or plugged in.
Be sure to read our full review of the best jewelry scales.
These are the kind you see at the doctor’s office. There’s a platform on the
floor that the person steps on and a long vertical beam with a horizontal
balance beam attached to the top of it marked in the pound and/or kilogram weights that are measured with a sliding weight.
Best Doctor Scale – Detecto Model 339 Dr Balance Beam Scale
No surprise here with Detecto. It’s an established brand name that has been making top-quality doctor scales for years. These scales are also good for home, office, or gym use.
This model requires about 5-10 minutes of initial screwdriver and wrench
work (wrench included) to put together, but once complete, it could potentially last a lifetime. It is made of heavy gauge steel to provide durability.
The Detecto 339 comes with a height rod, dual side markings to enable one to read the scale’s results on either side, and has a capacity of 400 lbs. See our full list here.
Analytical Balance Scale: These are the most precise scales that you can buy when you need to measure a really small mass amount down to the sub-mg level.
Typically, only scientists need this level of precision, hence the hefty price
tag that most lab balance scales carry.
We won’t go into great detail but at a high level, a glass enclosure/ draft
shield is used to keep air currents from affecting measurement, which is done at room temperature after much calibration.
Best Lab Balance Scale: Torbal AGZN120 Analytical Balance
It offers extreme accuracy at an affordable price. When we say extreme accuracy, we mean precision down to the 0.0001 gram level. If you need more than that, you probably don’t need us to tell you which model to get.
It has a clear chamber that allows one to see inside the case, an easy to
read display with a number of programmable buttons for mass and density
measurements, and features that enable conversion to carats, grams and pounds. Be sure to see our full list.