The kitchen scale is the often unsung hero of home cooks everywhere. Scales are absolutely essential, whether baking, brewing specialty coffee, or doing any number of daily tasks. We’ve come a long way from ’70s scales. These days there are as many scales under the sun as fish in the sea (almost).
Below are some of our favorite picks.
The Koios USB Rechargeable Kitchen Scale for Cooking and Baking caught our eye due to its waterproof design and commitment to sustainability through USB power rather than batteries.
One of the coolest things about the Koios Kitchen Scale is that one full USB charge can last up to three months. For those looking to reduce their purchasing impact this is definitely the scale for you. According to the manufacturer’s guarantee this scale is also pollution free (although this is difficult to independently verify). With that said, we were impressed with the scale’s ease of use, bright display, and sleek black finish. Compared to other, slim scales such as this we were extremely pleased with both its precision, conversion options and easy-to-clean glass panel.
Even better, this little guy is a two-button operator with inbuilt tare functionality. When you combine this with the simple, bright display, not to mention the fact that this thing is waterproof, it’s hard to find much to take issue with. Perhaps the biggest worry is that, although the glass-top feels of high quality, the plastic shelling beneath feels a touch cheap. The fact that it comes with liquid density options (milk is denser than water, for instance) is yet another bonus.
- Lightweight, compact and feature-rich.
- About as eco-friendly a scale as you’ll find in the wild.
- Density options for measuring liquids.
- Tare feature doesn’t always work consistently. This seems like it might be a display issue. When zeroing out the tare icon doesn’t quite always appear.
Runner Up: Eterkcity Food Scale for Cooking and Baking
If you’re looking for a scale that can do it all, and more, at a reasonable price then the Etekcity Food Scale for Cooking and Baking is one of the best buys on the market.
In the world of scales, the Eterkcity Scale is marginally heavier than average, but sports enough features to make your eyes pop. Tare modes have become par for the course for digital scales. You’ll find a tare option here, along with an impressive number of environmental temperature measurements, timers, auto-zero features and more.
As someone who likes a compact kitchen it’s fantastic that the included stainless steel weighing bowl can be flipped over and fit snugly over the scale itself. The bowl itself isn’t anywhere near the largest out there, but, personally, I’ll take a compact form over a gargantuan kitchen implement any day. The display itself is bright and clear. With that said, there weren’t any brightness settings that we could find. This may be a product of its price point. Even so, we can’t say that we really missed what, for many people, is a luxury feature.
- We found the timer and temperature sensor to be a fantastic addition. Although accuracy and precision are always questions with scales, we found it to be on the dot more often than not.
- Automatic shutoff. This is great for saving energy, but can be as much as a con as a pro depending on your usage (see below).
- Affordable, durable and surprisingly stylish given its more reasonable price-point.
- Temperature readings can be inaccurate to several degrees, which is a larger problem for bakers.
- In the same vein, there’s no option for fluid measurements.
- The automatic shut-off after 120 seconds doesn’t appear to have an off-setting. For pie and pastry chefs this can be a serious problem.
Best Value: Ozeri ZK14-S Digital Kitchen and Food Scale
The Ozeri ZK 14-S Digital Kitchen and Food Scale is a tiny little thing, but punches far above its weight class for far longer than we expected.
The Ozeri Sk 14-S is a humble little thing. It uses a basic two-button operating system, but with a surprisingly sensitive set of internal electrical components. Although the manufacturer claims sensitivity increments of 0.05 we found that, realistically, it shifts around at the 0.03 mark instead.
As the smallest scale on this list the Ozeri had big shoes to live up to. Like many of the scale we’ve talked about today it also features a standard 2 minute automatic shutoff. As such make sure to have your ingredients prepared beforehand.
The thing about the Ozeri is that it, typically, just works. There’s very little fiddling to be done with this unit. Although it’s build quality isn’t up to the same standards as high end scales it’s completely serviceable in the kitchen for non-industrial or non-commercial usage. If you’re the sort of person who wants to use this scale for, say, measuring out daily servings for dieting this probably isn’t the scale for you.
Finally, we were surprised to find that the scale can actually handle negative values. If you zero the scale with something on it then it will track negative numbers equal to the weight removed. This is a handy feature if you need to reverse measure something quickly, whether to double check calculations or work backwards from a store-bought recipe.
- Compact, clean form that can be stored in almost any kitchen without worrying about counter space.
- Negative values to reverse weight items.
- One of the most affordable scales on the market.
- Not necessarily built for daily use.
- Requires a gentle hand.
- Plastic core weighing plate, not actual chrome.
Best for Bakers: Bakers Math Kitchen Scale KD8000
The Bakers Math Kitchen Scale KD8000 is a heavyweight at its price and includes a somewhat rare ‘by percentage’ measuring option, although we have some concerns about long-term wear and tear.
My Weight’s Kitchen Scale, marketed specifically for bakers, is a tempting purchase for a number of reasons. It comes with LCD display covers specifically designed to stop wet ingredients from making contact with the display and control. This is a thoughtful touch. It also comes with percentage based weighing options. As any baker will tell you, ratios are one of the cardinal rules of baking. And, after all, what is a percentage except a ratio with extra steps?
In short, the Bakers Math Kitchen Scale KD8000 allows bakers to set flour to ingredient ratios for measuring. This is something typically featured in higher end units, and it was a pleasant surprise to see it in the My Weight Kitchen Scale.
This scale also comes with a programmable auto-shut off. Most of the scales on this list automatically turn off after two minutes of activity. For bakers, this is a problem. It’s fantastic to see some flexibility with the software component of what, frankly, is a pretty interesting piece of technology for its price.
One really, really important note. This is absolutely not an industrial grade scale. It won’t be able to stand up to the volume of gluten produced by the average bakery. If you’re looking for something to fit that bill we suggest looking at higher-end units designed specifically for industrial-commercial use.
- Unique features for its price point.
- Programmable auto-shutoff mechanism.
- Bright LCD display
- As primarily a baking scale the KD8000 can’t handle extremely precise measurements, save through the percentage-math system.
- Consumer-grade scale, not designed for industrial operations
- Adapter not included, but can be purchased separately.
For those who like old-school cool: Chef Captain Kitchen Scale with Stainless Steel Tray
When it comes to kitchen scales it’s hard to argue with the classics, and the Chef Captain Kitchen Scale (with included stainless steel tray) is an affordable, great looking manual scale.
The Chef Captain Kitchen Scale with Stainless Steel Tray is a throwback to the 70s and 80s. It comes in either a sleek red or white. Like most scales from the era it operates on a spring and clip system. This is easily serviceable provided you know what you’re doing, and can keep this scale clipping along for a number of years. The appeal for these manual scales really lies with both ease of use and your ability to repair them. Fixing a digital scale is a touch more complicated.
Even better, the Chef Captain Kitchen Scale competes with and surpasses other scales in this price range. As mentioned above, this bad boy can take a whooping 22 pounds of force. One ease-of-use issue here is that the scale’s curved prongs mean it can really only comfortably fit the included tray of something smaller. With that said, the tray itself feels fine to hold. Note that the bowl is the only purely stainless steel part of this unit. The red or white metal work around the display is actually just a stainless steel finish, not raw steel itself.
Simply put, this is a kitchen scale that will work until something such as the spring breaks. Even then, there’s a lot you can do to fix things up and keep the scale game running for years to come.
- Large display with both grams and ounces displayed simultaneously.
- Easy adjustment knob at the base.
- Larger than average weight capacity, especially impressive given that most scales at this price point can only handle around 11 lbs, or 5 kg of weight.
- Questionable build quality. The plastic and metal feel slightly low-quality – something that was surprising given the heavier nature of this scale.
- No digital functionality.
- Customer service is spotty.