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Need help choosing a scale

Alton Brown has encouraged me to get a scale in my arsenal.

can you recommend one you love from here?

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/searc...&

I would like one that accounts for bowl weight and converts grams. ounces etc

thanks in advance

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  1. Well, if it has to be on that list... then Oxo is a good choice. Consumer search has high opinion of it:
    http://www.consumersearch.com/kitchen...

    It also has very high review rating on Amazon.com based on other consumers:
    http://www.amazon.com/Oxo-Grips-Scale...

    It can measure in gram or ounce and it can be easily zero (thus account for bowl weight). It measures in increments of 1/8 ounce or1 gram and it can measure up to 11pound total.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      I have an 10 year old BB&B salter scale that measures in 1/8 oz./1 g. increments, but it maxes out at ~5 lbs, doesn't have a pull out display and doesn't have a removable platform- all of which are a fairly major disappointments to me.

      The ~5 lb. limitation really sucks. I'm not sure if any of the scales you're looking at are that low, but, if they are, avoid them like the plague. If, for instance, I'm doing two pans of lasagna, I have to measure everything twice in two different bowls. Horrible. Same for a double batch of meatloaf.

      The pull out display is invaluable as well. Occasionally I like to weigh ingredients on cookie sheets or frying pans. In order to be able to read the scale, I can't center the implement. If it isn't centered, it isn't precise.

      The removable platform isn't quite as important as the capacity or the pull out display, but it does make cleaning it a bit easier. As it is, I worry about bits of food getting underneath my platform and messing with precision.

      To be honest, I'm not entirely certain that even 11 lbs. would be enough for me. If I were doing it again, I'd probably go with two scales, one that goes to 15 lbs. but with less precision and one that went to 5 lbs, but with a fraction of a gram precision for measuring light ingredients like spices. At least, in theory I want a smaller capacity/higher precision scale. I hear that they can take a while to settle on a value. I get the feeling it's a .005 g. thing and maybe not such an issue with .2 gram scales.

      But that's just me. Looking at the list, yes, the OXO looks like the cream of the crop. The pull out display alone is really quite spectacular. I can't tell you how many times I'm measuring something and the display is buried under the pan.

      1. re: scott123

        I have a 10 year old Salter electronic scale that weighs 12+ lb in 5gm / 1oz increments. Full marks for endurance. The 1oz increment is far too large - especially if need two ounces or so. The 5gm accuracy is far better (=1/5 of an ounce or so). So I have to work in grams if I need accuracy. Mine is still working after 10 years or so. When accidentally doused in water it ceases to function until it dries out internally. This can take a day. It has a removable platform which buys me little. The buttons are covered so they wipe clean. This is imperative as you end up with butter smears over the scales. In my test a 5lb and a 10lb exercise weight registered spot on to the oz, but 30 gms out. Mind you I do not know how accurate my 10lb weights are.

        10lbs covers the weight you will need most of the time for cooking. It wasn't enough when I was using the scales to mix grout or calculate the postage for something.

        So here are my bullet points, rather than any recommendation

        Maximum increment = 1/5 oz, 5gm. (Scott's is better than that)

        Ensure increments are OK in both 'currencies'.

        Bowls / pans cover my display. You can raise your measuring bowl on top of something skinnier.

        11 lb is enough. (KitchenAid bowl = 1lb approx)

        I would like a 'hold' button so I can keep the measurement when I remove the bowl - I do not know if any scales have that.

        My scales timeout too quickly - 3.5 minutes. You don't always have the next ingredient ready. I would prefer the scale to not time out - say a hold button - but if it must then 30 minutes would be perfect. This is one advantage of a non-electronic scale.

        My scale gives the same value no matter where on the top I place the weighee.

        Get alkaline batteries if the scales runs on AA batteries. Mine runs on two CR2032 batteries. 3 for a dollar in my local dollar store. $10 each in an electronics shop. I am on my second set. so battery drain is minimal.

        Needs to have a switch to set the default lb/kg preference as well as an easily accessible switch to go from lb-kg when weighing.

        If you put a large flat pan on top can you still reach the buttons?

        One last thing. Welcome to the world of weights and say goodbye to 3/4 cup of very cold butter. If you want to find a recipe that uses weight rather than volume (and is in English) then the easiest way is to grab a UK one. So if you want a chocolate cake then google:

        "chocolate cake" recipe UK

        The BBC is a good resource.

    2. My vote is for the Salter 6055SSDR. Goes up to 5KG, in 1g increments (also does pounds/ounces of course, but I never use them). Has tare (you can zero it out at any time to account for bowl or add-and-weigh), removable/washable stainless top, and I've found them to be very rugged and reliable and accurate (all things I would NOT apply to many of the cheaper scales on the market today that you'll often see on eBay and scale-specific sites). Mine got me through culinary school (being dropped, covered in butter and flour, and otherwise abused) and is still going strong helping me bake bread and pastry every week at home. And if you turn it off when you're done instead of always waiting for it to auto-power-off I've found that the batteries last a LONG time (years).
      Paul

      1. It's not at BB&B, but Amazon has it for considerably less than I paid for this scale:
        http://tinyurl.com/ya9lcm9
        But I'm not sorry I paid full price for it. I can put a heavy bowl on it, then reset it to zero and weight things as dry weight, pounds or kilos, or wet weight, ounces or milliliters, and it will shut itself off automatically if I forget to. It will weight up to 11 pounds or five kilos. And the scale has a stainless steel cover that slips off to go into the dishwasher. I highly recomment it if it sounds like it will meet your needs.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Caroline1

          The 6055SSDR is a more accurate version of the Aquatronic which while fine, is not accurate enough at 5g (vs. 1g for the 6055SSDR) when you need to measure things like salt or yeast for a bread formula. There are lots of scales which have all kinds of gimmicks built in like "liquid measuring" and such (uh, 1g of water = 1ml of water, there you go!) but honestly, I personally don't think they're really very useful in real life.

          1. re: paulsfinest

            Well, to be honest, my primary use for my Aquatronic is to weigh frozen foods before using the Autodefrost setting on my microwave. Works perfect every time! Other than that, I'm mostly a "wing it" cook.

        2. Only suggestion I would add is pay the extra for an 11lb model. You will be able to 'tare' even a ceramic bowl. I recently saw a Salter(?) with a pull out digital display which is nice. Large containers often make the display hard to see. Good luck.

          1. I cannot say enough good things about my MyWeigh KD7000. If I hadn't had it for almost 3 years I'd swear they designed it after reading Paulustrious's post...it has everything he asks for (programmable/disable-able timeout, hold button, easy to switch between modes, 1g /.1 oz graduation, 7kg/ 15.4lb capacity). You pretty much have to order online but it's not expensive - $45 + shipping.

            http://www.myweigh.com/scales/medium-...

            5 Replies
            1. re: jzerocsk

              I have the MyWeigh i5000H and it's great. Yours has a larger capacity (15.4 lbs. v. 11 lbs.), a hold feature mine lacks, but larger resolution (0.1 oz. v. 0.05 oz.). Mine comes with a lexan bowl. Mine also has a nifty count feature that I've never used. The "H" in "i5000H" means the base is made from a hemp-based (as opposed to petroleum-based) plastic, allegedly making it more eco-friendly. As for whether the hemp REALLY makes it more eco-friendly, who knows. Both scales are about the same price; mine is about $2 more.

              Cooking for Engineers raved about the i5000: http://www.cookingforengineers.com/ar... . Cook's Illustrated heavily downgraded it because the batteries are difficult to insert (they keep popping out). This is a genuine but trivial annoyance. CI preferred OXO.

              Supposedly MyWeigh has one that will weigh in percentages, which is how bakers do it. I do not know which scale that is.

              The best prices seem to come from Old Will Knot Scales.

              1. re: jmnorris

                I also use the i5000H and I bought it from Old Will Knot. It does weigh in percentages. All you need to do is use the "count" feature. For example, when baking tare the container, then add the flour, set the mode to "count" and the count number to 100. Now everything you add will be measured as a percent of the weight of the flour.

                Yep, the batteries do tend to pop out, but a very inexpensive piece of masking tape solved that problem. Other than that, it's a fine scale.

                1. re: Zeldog

                  Ah, yes, of course, the count feature will do it. Thank you.

                  Even cheaper than masking tape: use the included wall wart. :-) At any rate, CI's downgrade for such a trivial annoyance did seem rather extreme. I do get the batteries in after a two or three tries, and then it's a good while until I face the same little annoyance again.

                  1. re: jmnorris

                    I've got the KD8000 MyWeigh, also from Old Will Knott, and it works great. It takes 3 AA batteries that don't pop out. It has everything these guys listed. The SS tray pops off for easy cleaning. I wish it was flatter though, I had to find it a special home. I'm still experimenting with using a scale for measuring. It's really fun.

              2. re: jzerocsk

                I also have teh My Weigh KD7000. It does have quite a few features but it is huge. I'd get the KD8000 now it I went that way as it does bakers percentages and weighs number of pieces i.e. put in 10 chocolate chips tell it you have 10 then it will weigh out 100

                I just replaced it though with a $20 Kintrex

                http://tinyurl.com/yjdyr4b

                it is very slim and sits out of the way easily as it is only about 1/2" thick. It just times out after 1 min so you have to remember to touch it if you need to keep it alive

              3. Can someone tell me of any household objects that can be used to verify the accuracy of scales? I believe (possibly wrongly) that food weights are nominal.

                12 Replies
                1. re: Paulustrious

                  Assuming you trust your measuring cups, you can use the "1 mL of water to 1 gram of water" rule. I would do this multiple times The reason is that there is an inherit error from the household scale and there is a human error. If you were to measure out 100 mL of water three times, you will not actually perfectly measured out 100 mL three times. So, do this multiple times, and this will give you an idea of the human error. Typically, the percentage of human error and the cup error goes down as volume increases. So, I won't do a 1 mL water test, I would do a 500 mL water test to start off.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    My only trouble with that is the meniscus effect and the accuracy of the measuring cups. So I had a little sortie down tot he kitchen and pulled out my motley assortment of measuring devices. Using the bottom of the meniscus and the max size of each container I got the following measurements.

                    250 = 260 Trad Pyrex red painted glass
                    800 = 825 Glass cylindrical
                    1000 = 925 Plastic thing for draining fat off stock
                    500 = 510 Pyrex look alike
                    1000 = 1025 Oxo plastic
                    230 = 245 Metal measuring cup - probably overfilled.

                    Summary: No idea how accurate the scales are.

                    1. re: Paulustrious

                      Paul,

                      You are right. Even water test still relies on your confidence on the measuring cup. Ultimately, your measurement is as good as your tools and usually worse. Keep in mind, some of the fluctuation you saw, may be due to human error. If you were to repeat your measurements using the "Trad Pyrex red painted glass" 10 times, you will get 10 different answers. So some of the uncertainties are due to the different measuring cups you used, but some is just due to human error. To be honest, a 510g measurment on a 500 Pyrex glass is as good as you can expect from a kitchen tool. That is a 2% error -- including the human error.

                      If you are really into accuracy, then you can buy some lab calibration weights.

                      http://www.calibrationweight.com/

                      Are you really into getting absolute weight? These are not cheap -- the real good ones, and it really make no sense to buy a set of $1000 calibration weight for a $50 kitchen scale. If you are going to get chemical Class calibration weights, you probably should get a chemical precision balance in the first place anyway. Like these:
                      http://sartorius.balances.com/sartori...

                      We hired professionals to calibrate our balances for us, but that is only for my work. I don't do this at home.

                      I don't know what weight range you are interested. I would think if you are interested in the lower end, like 1g to 20g, the best economical solution is to get a a Class A pipette:

                      http://secure.sciencecompany.com/Siba...

                      By definition, a Class A pipette has error lower than 0.2% -- without human error. That is damn accurate.

                      I don't know what mass range you are interested or level of mass accuracy you are looking for. These stuffs can get as expensive as you like.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        I'm not that interested - I just wanted to know the level of error in my scales. I only made the 'test' post above to show that measuring jugs have errors than can be up to 10%. I was hoping someone would say something like 20 dimes weighs115 grams, or a 16 oz tin of Campbell's soup weights 20oz +/- 1/10 of an ounce.

                        Edit: Odd that they are called calibration weights rather than calibration masses.

                        1. re: Paulustrious

                          Paul,

                          I see. :) Well, assuming you have very clean and very new coins. Here it is:
                          http://www.usmint.gov/about_the_mint/...

                          Good luck.

                          P.S.: Wipe your coins with rubbing alcohol and dry it. Dirt makes very little difference for something weight a lot, but it makes a difference for coins especially pennies.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Would you really trust government coin specifications for testing a scale? Maybe if the coins were pure silver or pure copper, perhaps, but, being allloys, the percentages from batch to batch must vary slightly, producing slight differences in weight.

                            Also, if, say, the price of a particular metal was unusually high, they might very well quietly dial it back a bit and leave the official specs as they are.

                            My trust for coin weights is about the same as my trust in the government- very little.

                          2. re: Paulustrious

                            I was noticing the other day that my pyrex measuring cups are WAY off in their quantities.

                            If I wanted to test a home scale with an accuracy of 1g, I'd probably find some kind of retailer in my area with a precise scale and ask them to weigh something for me (coins is a good idea). Whole foods has a scale that I think goes to .01 g in the bulk food area for weighing coffee yourself. I wouldn't trust it to test a .01 g (or a .1 g) scale, but I might trust it for accessing the accuracy of a 1 g scale.

                            I might also call some local jewelers and see if they'd weigh some coins for me. Perhaps also local pharmacies.

                            Lastly, if those avenues didn't pan out, then, under the assumption that new scales are quality tested in the factory, I'd probably go to BB&B, buy a new scale, unpackage it carefully, use it to test the accuracy of my existing scale and then bring it back.

                            1. re: scott123

                              My researches have led me to the fact that 590 USA banknotes are one pound. I do not know the conversion rate to the European system.

                              You can get the banknotes at a bank, such as the Bradford and Bingley Bank (B&BB) use them to test the accuracy of your existing scale and then return them later. They hold their value even if they have been used and are obviously second hand.

                              1. re: Paulustrious

                                LOL

                                My research tells me it's 590 and a half banknotes, but if you cut a banknote in half and the wrong people hear about it, they'll send you to prison. I know a few people in the state pen who tried testing the accuracy of their scale in this manner. It's really rather sad.

                            2. re: Paulustrious

                              digital scales, even cheap digital scales, are amazingly accurate. (And, probably more importantly for what they're used for in the kitchen, precise.) Digital strain gauges, which is the heart of the scale, have an accuracy of well less than 0.5% at full scale. [Good ones go to less than 0.05%; I expect the things used in scales are roughly 0.25%, given that that's what's available easily and cheaply. I haven't taken any to pieces, but it wouldn't at all surprise me to find that most scales use the same strain gauge and glue chips, since the feature sets are remarkably uniform.] 0.5% inaccuracy at 5kg is +/- 25 g (that's one ounce in 11 pounds, for metrically challenged readers.) Accuracy will be less than that at the very low end of the scale, but that's not usually that big a problem.

                              If you need accurate sub-gram weights, you need to get a scale just for that. And if you need accurate to the gram measurement of kilograms, you're going to have to spend a lot.

                            3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              You don't need that level of accuracy in calibration weights to test a 1 g kitchen scale. Something like this would MORE than suffice:

                              http://cgi.ebay.com/100-g-PRECISION-C...

                        2. re: Paulustrious

                          Five US quarters = 1 ounce. $20 worth of quarters = 1 pound.

                          Oops, just noticed Puzzler already posted that. Anyway, it's quite true. No need to spend money on a calibration weight.

                        3. Here is an easy, very accurate way to test:

                          $20 of dimes or quarters (or mixed) equals exactly 1.00 pound.
                          US coins are made to very precise weights.
                          50 cent pieces or Eisenhower dollars also work -- no pennies or nickels.

                          So 5 quarters = 1.0 oz, 40 = 8.0 oz, etc.

                          Any mix of these coins works -- $2.50 worth equals 2.0 ounces, $5.00 worth equals 4.0 ounces, etc.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: puzzler

                            Your moniker says it all. Thanks for the info. That shall be logged in the overly large part of Paul's brain that is reserved for such excellent trivia.