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Nov 17, 2006 06:36 PM

How do I test a new kitchen scale, and do you like this Salter?

I bought this Salter today:

$30 at Bed Bath and Beyond, plus I had one of their 20% off mailers, so it was actually cheaper than Amazon.

I love that it's so small and has the tare function, but now I'm wondering if people have tips on how to test the accuracy of a new scale.

I've measured everything in my kitchen: the 5 lb sack of flour, 1 lb pack of pasta, etc. The readins are all someting like 5.1 pounds, 1.1 pound. I assume that includes the packaging.

So I know my scale's not way off, but what can I weigh to test it more finely?

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  1. Simple:

    Measure 1 liter water, which should weigh 1 kilogram. (1 cup = 250mL) Of course to do this correctly you'll also need an accurate measuring cup or graduated cyclinder.

    Keep in mind that this type of scale is not really accurate below 2 grams, so it might be a little off even when working correctly.


    1. It's even easier than that. By amazing coincidence, 1 fluid oz of (pure) water weighs exactly 1 oz. Tap water's probably close enough for this purpose. Using this knowledge you can accurately calibrate your scale from a half-ounce up to its full maximum, by ounce if you like.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PDXpat

        You need to clarify that to say that 1 British Imperial fluid ounce = 1 oz by weight, since most people here are probably thinking of US fluid ounces. and don't own British Imperial measuring cups. For conversion, 1 British Imperial fluid oz. = 0.960760333 US fluid oz.

        1 US fluid oz of pure water weighs 1.04 oz by weight (at 70 degrees F). It's probably safe to consider that 1 oz of water by weight = 1 oz by volume for everything *except* calibrating a scale. ;-)

      2. Thanks for the replies!

        Some snooping around also shows that a $1USD is one gram, so I can just pull out my wallet and start weighing those. I suppose new untattered bills would be best.

        You're right that the scale is not accurate below 2 grams. I only had two singles in my wallet, and it confused the scale like nothing else. More reasons to go to the ATM.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Pei

          try weighing that dollar as calibration this many months later.... ;-)

        2. Easy, $20 of dimes or quarters (or mixed) equals exactly 1 pound. You can throw in 50 cent pieces or Eisenhower dollars also, but who sees those?

          So 5 quarters = 1 oz, 40 = 8 oz, etc.

          1 Reply
          1. re: puzzler

            Thanks! Very good incentive for me to go get a few rolls of laundry quarters. That's exactly the kind of idea I needed.

            And it worked! Five quarters=1oz.

          2. Pei, I too have a Salton, model 2001, purchased 6 months ago, possibly the same or functionally similar to yours. Good machine.

            For calibration, I used several brads, washers, nuts, and bolts (metal objects - humidity resistant) and took them to a gold-buyer pawn shop to be weighed, and marked the weight for reference. Then later took them to a friend at a school science lab, and weighed again. Same results to within one gram. I keep them in a used plastic medicine bottle and can now calibrate over a range of 5 grams to 5 lbs.