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Updated September 2022
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Buying guide for best kitchen scales

Whether you use it for weighing ingredients or tracking meal portions – or both – a kitchen scale is an easy way to keep food measurements accurate and on track. While some kitchen pros are experienced enough to eyeball ingredient quantities fairly accurately, the majority of cooks turn out far better results using a kitchen scale.

There are a lot of kitchen scales on the market, however, so how do you know which one is best? That’s where we come in. At BestReviews, we work hard to provide honest, thorough product reviews and shopping guides that help readers find what they’re looking for.

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Kitchen scales aren’t just for food-prep purposes. You can also use a kitchen scale when making homemade soap or lotion. Some people use a kitchen scale to weigh their mail.

Why do you need a kitchen scale?

For cooking

If you do a lot of baking or cooking and tend to use recipes that list ingredients by weight, a kitchen scale makes your job easier. It’s much quicker to pop a bowl of ingredients onto a scale than it is to carefully fill measuring cups and spoons. And some would argue that weighing ingredients is much more precise than measuring ingredient volume.

For dieting

A kitchen scale is a must-have for anyone following a diet. Portion control can help you lose weight or maintain the healthy weight you already have. It’s all too easy to overestimate the size of a portion when eyeballing food, and those calories add up over time.

When you use a kitchen scale, there is no mystery about your food intake. You can keep track of exactly how much food you eat on any given day.

Different types of kitchen scales

There are two basic types of scales used in the home kitchen: mechanical kitchen scales and and digital kitchen scales.

Mechanical kitchen scales

Mechanical kitchen scales measure weight by way of a spring that lowers under the weight of a food item. There are two basic styles of mechanical scales: platform scales (you set the food to be weighed on a platform) and hanging scales (like you’d see in a supermarket produce section).

  • Pros: There is no need for batteries, and the weight limit is very high. Some people like the retro look and style of a mechanical kitchen scale.

  • Cons: It is hard to accurately weigh small quantities, and as the springs wear out, a mechanical scale becomes less accurate.

Digital kitchen scales

Digital kitchen scales are now far more popular than their mechanical counterparts. Most have an easy-to-read LCD display and a weighing platform for your food or ingredients.

  • Pros: Digital scales are quite compact and can accurately measure small quantities. You may even be able to switch between modes of measurement. And it’s easy to tare, or balance to zero – you simply subtract the weight of your bowl from the overall weight.

  • Cons: Most digital kitchen scales don’t have high weight limits, so you’ll need either batteries or an electrical source for operation.

Features to consider when choosing a kitchen scale

While a kitchen scale is a fairly basic appliance, there are a few features to look for in a good one.


Your kitchen scale display should be large enough and bright enough to read easily. It should be constructed so that you can still read it when a large bowl is placed on the platform.


A compact scale consumes little counter space, but be sure the platform is large enough to hold your measuring bowl or plate.

Tare button

A tare button lets you zero out readings as you go, so you can add ingredients without having to do calculations in your head while you work.


Most digital scales can switch between grams/ounces and pounds/kilograms. This is very useful for a busy cook or baker.


Think about the types of foods you’ll be weighing. The right scale for you should have adequate capacity for your needs. If you’re generally weighing large portions of food, you’ll want a scale with a higher weight capacity. (Some digital scales have weight limits as high as 11 pounds.) If you’re generally weighing small quantities of food, you’ll want a scale that goes low enough for pinpoint accuracy.

"Some scales don’t have the precision you need for weighing small amounts. Other scales may not be able to handle the capacity you need. Take these factors into account when choosing a kitchen scale."


For good durability, look for a kitchen scale that is made of heavy-duty plastic and/or stainless steel.

Easy to clean

Some scales have removable platforms or measuring bowls, making cleanup of spills a breeze. At the very least, a kitchen scale should be easy to wipe clean.

Low-battery indicator

Digital scales normally run on battery power, and you don’t want to lose power in the middle of a busy cooking session. With a low-battery indicator, you won’t be taken by surprise.

Flat or sealed buttons

No one wants to scrape flour from around their scale’s buttons. A kitchen scale with flat buttons or a touchscreen is less likely to collect spills or dust.


The most versatile kitchen scales are calibrated down to about one gram.


A kitchen scale that turns itself off after a few minutes of nonuse is very handy and saves on battery power.

Choosing the right kitchen scale for your needs

Asking yourself a few questions before you shop will help guide you toward the right kitchen scale.

Do you want a scale you can take to work or use on the go? If so, look for a compact model.

Are you going to leave your scale out on the counter? If so, you might find that an attractive stainless steel model enhances your kitchen’s décor.

Do you want to measure heavy items such as cuts of meat, full plates, or multiple pieces of fruit? If so, you need a scale with a high weight capacity. A mechanical scale might be your best option.

Do you want to add some decorative flair to your kitchen? There are mechanical scales with an eye-pleasing, old-time vintage design.

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Some kitchen scales are hard to read if you place something cumbersome, like a large bowl, on the platform. Consider a scale with a removable reader if you’re concerned about this. The reader pulls away from the scale so you can read the measurements more easily.

How much do kitchen scales cost?

You would likely pay $10 to $20 for a mechanical kitchen scale and up to $35 for a digital scale. There’s rarely a need to pay more, but don’t automatically choose the least-expensive model, either. It might not be as accurate as a kitchen scale that costs just a little bit more.

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