Kitchen Scale Buying Guide
Types of Kitchen Scales
There are three different types of kitchen scales that are available.
- Balance scales – This type of scale looks like a seesaw. Weights are on one end and ingredients on the other. You keep adding weights until the arms get balanced. This type of scale is never used anymore although you may see pictures of it in reference to scales of decades ago. Balance scales were and are very easy to use and there are no batteries or power needed to use them. Disadvantages of balance scales include the fact that they are not terribly accurate and there is not a Tara function available.
- Mechanical scales – Another name for mechanical scales is spring scales. They are not as commonly used nor are as popular as they used to be. They are useful for some situations, namely groceries stores to weigh produce. There are two types of mechanical scales available: Platform and Hanging. There are high weight capacities available in mechanical scales so weighing super large items or amounts is very possible. Ironically enough, they do not measure small amounts very well. The accuracy of the scale will decrease as the springs wear out. This is another type of scale that does not need batteries to operate. Some models have a Tare function.
- Digital scales – Digital scales are by far the most important type of kitchen scale there is. They come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, colors, styles and capabilities. They are equipped with LCD displays, sturdy platforms and a wide array of features. Some of the more common features include a Tare function that is easy to use, compact designs, measures weight accurately, and the ability to switch between measurements easily. They do have a limited weight capacity and require batteries but these disadvantages are small compared to the benefits digital kitchen scales offer.
Top Features of Digital Kitchen Scales
With digital scales being the most convenient and popular kitchen scale choice on the market today, we will tell you about the common features that these useful kitchen tools can provide. This breakdown of the most common features will help you understand what is available and what to look for when you are sorting through the different models.
- Design/Appearance – These two features are probably the least important since they don’t really determine how the scale works or the functionality of it. If you plan on leaving the kitchen scale out on the counter, you will probably want it to match the rest of your décor as much as possible. Modern digital scales are sleek and stylish in appearance and are available in a broad range of colors. The most popular colors seem to be black, red, stainless steel and white.
- Size – Most digital kitchen scales are compact in size so you won’t have to worry about finding a ton of space to put it. Most digital scales don’t weigh a lot so they are easy to move from place to place or even take with you if you travel.
- Storage – If you plan on storing your digital kitchen scale, look for models that are easy to put away in drawers or on pantry shelves. Some of the models available will have fold away displays and other features that make them very compact and easy to store until you need them.
- Display – The majority of digital scales have LCD displays. Sometimes the displays are extremely large with big numbers that are super simple to read. Other types may have much smaller displays. Another display feature that can differ from scale to scale is the color of the readings which can be gray scale, blue, red or some other color. You want to make sure that the readings are simple to see and easy to read and understand.
- Platforms and Bowls – Simple digital kitchen scales don’t typically come with trays or bowls to weigh the ingredients. You can use your own bowls if you choose and just use the Tare function to zero out the scale so the bowl isn’t factored into the weight readings. Trays and bowls are a really good feature because they make weighing food much easier and less messy. Make sure that the bowl and/or tray is removable so it can be washed easily.
- Strength/Durability – More than likely if you are purchasing a kitchen scale it will be getting a lot of use. Make sure that the styles you look at are designed to handle a lot of use. High impact plastics are probably the best construction materials to look for. Some types of kitchen scales are made from stainless steel which is also a very durable. It is better to spend a little more initially to ensure a good quality item than spend less money and have to replace it soon after buying it.
- Water Resistance – Water resistance is important since it is always possible to get the scale wet while working with some food items. Some of the kitchen scales on the market are completely sealed which makes them resistant to water and getting damp. Water resistant scales can be wiped down with a damp rag easily and without problem but no scale should be submerged. The bowls and trays, if removable, should be either dishwasher safe or hand washable.
- Low Battery Indicator – Batteries that are in a kitchen scale usually last a long time since the scale is not used on a constant basis. The low battery indicators are a great way to ensure that you never run out of battery juice unexpectedly. It will eliminate the chance of having the scale suddenly stop working in the middle of a task.
- Tare Function – One of the best features a kitchen scale has is the Tare function. This allows people to reset the weight as ingredients are added and also enables to the user to not count the weight of the bowl or tray in with the food.
- Auto-Off Feature – The auto-off feature is excellent for saving your battery life since it will automatically turn off after a few minutes of non-use. Make sure that you confirm that the kitchen scale you are considering has this feature. It will save you a lot of money in batteries.
- Weight Capacity – In the past, kitchen scales were limited in terms of the amount of ingredients they could accurately weigh. Many models of kitchen scales can handle as much as 11 pounds of food. Depending on the scale, it may even be able to handle more than the 11 pounds. Make sure you know what types of ingredients you will be measuring so you choose a kitchen scale that will easily accommodate your needs.
- Measurement Types – Most kitchen scales measure in metrics and also standard measurements like pounds, ounces, grams, etc. You want to find a scale that makes this transition from one measurement to another easily and seamless; preferably with the push of a button. This is a feature that will be used quite often.
- Accuracy in Measuring – Accurate measurements are important for recipes and other circumstances as well. Accuracy is probably more important in a commercial kitchen since, in many cases, the weight of the food can determine the establishment’s food cost and other things.
When you have the right kitchen scale, it can make baking, cooking and even dieting much easier. It is important to consider the different types and features carefully so you purchase the kitchen scale that will fulfill all your measuring and weighing needs. Most people prefer digital scales since they are so much easier to use and are more accurate as well.
The information in this buyer’s guide is designed to include everything you need to consider when comparing different scales. With the right knowledge you will be able to make the right decision for your specific needs and can be confident that you have chosen the best scale you can get.