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The best kitchen scale elevates a regular kitchen to a full-blown bakery. Cooking is an art, but baking is a science. You can add a pinch of this and a fistful of that when cooking, but accurate measuring is a must for baking cakes, bread, pastries, and pies. And it turns out tried-and-true volume measurements (gallons, cups, teaspoons, etc.) are anything but true. If you measure wrong, or have some remnants stuck to the sides and bottom of your measuring device, your baked goods may turn out as baked awfuls. Inaccuracy leads to frustration, but an electronic kitchen scale eliminates mishaps by showing accurate readings in every unit of food measurement needed. Plus, it makes it incredibly easy to use one bowl for mixing an entire recipe as you zero out the scale for each new addition to the party. Cooking scales have come a long way since the days of shaky seesaw balancing contraptions. Today’s baking scales are digital wonders that offer rechargeable batteries, unique features, speedy measuring, and fun designs.
- Best overall: My Weigh KD8000 Kitchen Scale
- Best for big families: Polder KSC-348 Digital Kitchen Scale
- Best for beginner bakers: Taylor 11-Pound Digital Food Scale
- Best budget: Etekcity Food Kitchen Scale
- Best design: Escali Primo P115C Precision Kitchen Food Scale
Factors to consider when shopping for the best kitchen scale
You could add the first kitchen scale you see into your Amazon cart, but before you assume all kitchen scales are the same, explore the newest features and styles on the market. From functions to display type, there are specific options that may work best for your kitchen and cooking style.
Why do you need a kitchen scale?
Ready to have your mind blown? One cup of flour is not the same as another equally-sized cup of flour. How you scoop and pack the flour into the measuring cup results in varying weights. And it gets even more confusing when switching between wet and dry ingredients. Volume measurements, like cups, tell you how much space an ingredient is taking up. It doesn’t tell you the weight. That imprecise discrepancy can cause big problems for baking, where accuracy makes or breaks the finished product. True bakers know the best way to measure ingredients is via weight, sometimes called mass measurement. One hundred grams of flour will always be 100 grams, whether you measure it in a cup, a bowl, a Frisbee, or a top hat.
Kitchen scales let you pinpoint precise weights easily, down to the gram or half gram. You don’t need to worry about any residue left on the inside of measuring cups or spoons. You don’t need to wonder if an ingredient should be packed down or loose and fluffy. When mixing wet ingredients, you don’t need to fret over the small, convex peak caused by the liquid’s surface tension. (Yes, that matters and makes a difference.) And functions like translating ounces to grams mean you won’t need to run to the internet for conversion charts.
In addition, for those on strict diets, closely monitoring what you eat, a food weight scale simplifies the chore of portion control. Basically, if you don’t have a kitchen scale, you’re making kitchen duty that much more difficult.
Do you have a free outlet?
Even the most luxurious kitchens can have a wall outlet deficiency. Between plugging in blenders, food processors, magic pots, rice cookers, phone chargers, and the George Foreman grill, there’s no room in the outlet for new kitchen appliances. And adding bulky power strips to the kitchen makes the room look more like a workshop than a food-safe space. On top of that, it can be a pain dealing with cords for a kitchen accessory you may only use for a few seconds at a time. Fortunately, there are high-quality battery-operated kitchen scales for those who don’t have an outlet to spare. Choosing a cordless kitchen scale means you can use it on any flat surface, moving it near mixing bowls and frying pans for easy reach.
You can find kitchen scales that use standard AA or AAA batteries. They’re great for those who don’t plan to use the scale often and don’t mind buying batteries. Most have a surprisingly long battery life, powering through more than a few months on the same batteries.
Size matters, so go big if you’ve got the space.
Professional bakers recommend using a kitchen scale capable of weighing at least 11 pounds. That sounds like a lot of weight, but it also accounts for the weight of your mixing bowl. Cooking accessories such as bowls can get surprisingly hefty.
You can go bigger and buy a kitchen scale capable of weighing items heavier than 20 pounds, but how often are you baking a bowling ball? And you can go much, much smaller with some portable kitchen scales designed to measure only between 1 and 100 grams. But those have limited uses, mostly for coffee aficionados who demand a perfect brew. If you’re measuring anything less than 5 grams, you’ll need a jeweler’s scale, not a kitchen scale.
What do you see on the display?
The display of any great kitchen scale must be easy to read. Not only should the digital font be big enough to decipher, but the numbers should be simple to understand. Some kitchen scales will display weight with fractions, some will use decimals, and some do both.
Perhaps even more importantly, make sure you understand what the numbers mean. You may find kitchen scales that measure fluid ounces. As any middle-school science teacher will yell at you, “fluid ounces” are not the same as ounces. Fluid ounces are a measurement of volume. Ounces are a measurement of weight. This discrepancy can be deceiving and confusing. Make sure you understand what the scale is actually measuring. For weight, the numbers to look for are grams, pounds, and ounces.
What’s more, backlit displays can be helpful, but baking is usually done in a brightly lit kitchen where even non-illuminated displays can be read quickly and easily. One overlooked display factor: It should be visible even if a big mixing bowl is sitting on the platform. If the screen is blocked, look for a “hold” button that will keep the weight on-screen even when you remove the bowl.
You should care enough to tare enough
Most scales offer a tare function. This simply means that with the touch of the button, the display will zero out the weight of whatever’s on the scale. For instance: Start by putting a mixing bowl on the scale, then hit tare to zero out the weight of the bowl. Add your first ingredient, and hit tare again. Add your second ingredient, and so on.
Don’t overlook the tare function. This might be the single most important button on any kitchen scale. By taring the weight, you can use one bowl for all of your ingredients. You won’t need to clean countless measuring cups and multiple mixing bowls. Tare it up for quick, efficient baking!
The best kitchen scales
The two key issues of any great kitchen scale are functionality and style. The scale must be easy to read and understand. It should also look great, like a sleek and shiny platform that works with your kitchen decor. Take a close look at the specs and find the food weight scale that you can easily understand and operate, and one you’ll be proud to show off in your kitchen.
Best overall: My Weigh KD8000 Kitchen Scale
The My Weigh kitchen scale can handle up to 17 pounds and is a must-have for anyone exploring the science of baking. The heavy-duty kitchen scale forgoes style for function. It cycles from pounds to ounces to grams easily. It also displays baker’s percentages, showing the percentage of an added ingredient as it relates to the main ingredient. Will every home baker need that? Probably not. But it’s a nice feature nonetheless. The scale runs on three AA batteries, but a power cord can be purchased separately.
Best for big families: Polder KSC-348 Digital Kitchen Scale
The big Polder scale accurately weighs ingredients and the size makes it easy to provide accurate measurements to scale your recipes. If you want a great scale for the whole family that is simple to use and tackles large meals, the Polder is a reliable and readable option.
Best for beginner bakers: Taylor 11-Pound Digital Food Scale USB
Taylor Precision Products
The Taylor kitchen scale runs on a battery charged via USB-C cable. That means you can put this scale exactly where it needs to be without worrying about power cords. This is great for apartment chefs and those with tiny kitchens. Go ahead and bring the ingredients into the dining room or living room or wherever there is space to work. The scale runs for a week with a full charge. The stainless steel tray is removable for easy cleaning and the display is big and bold. The modern black style may clash with country kitchens, but it’s a great design for more contemporary spaces.
Best budget: Etekcity Food Kitchen Scale
This tiny, budget-friendly cooking scale is a good little kitchen tool that will help the amateur bakers and those looking for portion control. When you go below the $15 mark, accuracy and durability may slip slightly. That said, it can still come in handy for those who need a quick, cheap scale. It’s good for cooking, but also useful DIY crafts with the kids. The LCD display is clear and the buttons are easy to use. The 7.3 inch by 5.7 inch scale is small enough to slip into any kitchen drawer, and the battery power lasts long if you’re only using it once or twice a week. If you don’t want to invest in top-of-the-line kitchen equipment, this affordable scale is a good addition to your culinary toolbox.
The Escali scale has all the features you want in a kitchen scale: Accurate readings in 1-gram increments, long-lasting battery life, and a clear display. What sets this popular baking scale apart from the others is the variety of color options. Tarragon Green, Pumpkin Orange, Royal Blue, Warm Red—you definitely can find an Escali kitchen scale to match your cooking space. You can also stick with the classic chrome, white, or black if you can’t decide on a funky hue. No matter what color you pick, the Escali kitchen scale is a precise tool that’s easy on the eyes.
Q: How do I know if my kitchen scale is accurate?
To learn if your kitchen scale is accurate, put it through a few simple tests. You can buy special 5-gram and 10-gram weights made for scale calibration. These are relatively inexpensive, but you probably don’t need the hassle. Instead, plop a stick of butter on the kitchen scale. The scale should read 0.25 pounds or 4 ounces. If it doesn’t, read the instructional manual to learn how to calibrate your scale.
For the lactose intolerant or butter haters, simply put a nickel on the scale. Each U.S. nickel weighs 5 grams, so the scale should display 5 grams. Use clean coins that haven’t been worn down too much. This should tell you if the scale is ready to go.
Q: Can you store a digital kitchen scale on its side?
No, you shouldn’t store a digital kitchen scale on its side. Any scale sensitive enough to measure grams should be stored flat. The inner workings of the digital scale are made of delicate materials that may warp and deform if not stored correctly. The result is inaccurate results. If you do store the scale upright, put it through a few calibration tests (see above) before using it for serious baking.
Q: Are cheap scales accurate?
Cheap scales are very accurate—if used correctly. Inexpensive kitchen scales are great for measuring food portions. Most will have a tare button and a good display for mixing recipes. The lower price usually means less functions. Cheaper scales may not be able to measure in 0.5-gram increments, which can be important for some recipes. They may also have slower read times, adding a few half seconds to the baking process. That probably won’t matter much to the average person, but if you plan to use the scale often, slow calculations can be very frustrating. And if you measure weight less than 5 grams, you don’t need a kitchen scale, you’ll need a more precise jeweler’s scale.
The final word on the best kitchen scales
No matter what type of food you’re preparing, a quality baking scale makes the recipe manageable. Find an electronic scale that fits your kitchen decor, from a small, green scale that highlights your style to a more substantial stainless-steel platform that tells the world you know what you’re doing. Understand the difference between volume measurements (cups, fluid ounces, and teaspoons) and weight/mass measurements (pounds, ounces, and grams). Once you wrap your head around that for a few meal prep sessions, it will become second nature. With the right kitchen scale, you’ll be cooking up a storm and baking up a delicate French pastry like a pro.