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 this is why most digital scales have a tare function to zero the scale when it’s turned on. This is also why, for more accurate scales, it’s very important to calibrate them. Because gravity where you are could be different from where the scales were built.
What is the difference between Mass and Weight?
What is Mass
Is a measurement of the amount of material an object has, or how resistant it is to being moved, its inertia.
This is what a digital scale is displaying when you place an object on it to be measured. But a scale is actually measuring the force the object is
What is Weight
Is a measurement of the force a between two objects due to gravity.
The formula for calculating weight is: W = mg
or, Weight = Mass x Acceleration due to gravity
This is what a scales actually measures, but is then converted to a measurement of mass and this is what you see on the display.
For example, a digital scale that is supposed to work on earth would not show your correct mass on the moon. This is because the moon only has 16% the gravity of earth.
This means that the scale would read a small force between you and the moon and would not be correct. You would need a special scale calibrated for the gravity of the moon for it to work properly.
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 a greater precision than a traditional scale.
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.
How to determine the digital 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.
Analog vs Digital Scales
Digital 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 doctors ‘ offices may be more reliable and less likely to break since they have fewer working parts.
Capacity vs Precision of a Digital Scale
When looking for a digital scale there are two factors that you will need to think about the get the scale that is fit for your purpose. The capacity and precision of a scale work against each other in scales and you need to find the right balance between them to select the correct scales.
▲Increase Capacity▲ / ▼Decrease Precision▼
For example, a scale that is capable of measuring a truck may only have an accuracy that goes down to the kg or lb, or even 10kg or 10lb. This is not an issue when you are weighting something that is in the 10’s of tonnes.
But you would not be able to use the same scale for measuring yourself or ingredients for dinner as it would be wildly inaccurate for the size you are trying to measure on.
▼Decrease Capacity▼ / ▲Increase Precision▲
Alternatively, if you are trying to measure the correct dose of medication for someone then you will need to have an incredibly accurate scale for this. This also means that the overall capacity of the scale will be very small to allow the scale to measure very precisely.
Similarly you would not measure yourself on a scale like this.
Analytical Balances like this are extremely sensitive and need regular calibration and other changes to make sure they remain accurate to the level that is required.
This is why its very important to know 2 things when you go to buy a digital scales.
- Is the maximum mass of the objects that you will be measuring?
This is so that you can buy a digital scales that is capable of measuring the maximum weight of the object you will be producing.
- What precision do you need to measure?
This is very important to know how precise your measurements need to be. It can be to mix ingredients correctly or to meet regulations that require certain precisions in measurements.
Once you know these two things you may be able to simply find the scales that suit your needs. Its also possible that you will need several scales for a production line, for example. You may have a company producing bags of nuts.
Firstly you will need a scale to measure each bag of nuts. Each bag is 100g and you need it to an accuracy of 0.1g.
Then you need a scale to measure each box of nuts. Each box is 40 bags, at 100g so that’s 4kg and it needs to be measured to an accuracy of 10g.
Finally, you may also need a scale for a pallet of nuts so you can load the truck correctly for delivery. Each pallet contains 480 boxes of nuts at a weight of 4kgs each. So you need a pallet scale capable of 1920kgs with an accuracy of 1kg.
We hope this helps you choose the correct scales for your purpose.
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 a high capacity with less precision or a smaller capacity with more precision.
Digital Pocket Scales: These are small general use digital scales used to weigh everything from jewelry, letters, food ingredients, to ahem…medicine. They are usually battery powered and come in many shapes, sizes, capacities, and accuracy levels. Be careful to pick the one that has the right level of capacity and accuracy for your needs.
There is nothing more annoying than tryign to measure out 500g of flower for a recipie on a pocket scale with a capacity of 50 grams.
Best Digital Pocket Scale
AMIR Brifit Digital Pocket Scale
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: The Scale includes a calibration weight to make sure you always get a very accurate measurement. Perfect if you need to measure items down to the 0.01 g level, then this digital scale is for you. Great for jewelry, tea, food, CBD, and many other applications.
Capacity: 200 grams / 7 Ounces
Precision: 0.01 grams / 0.00035 Ounces
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.
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 damage 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.
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 of Lab Scales.