Best digital scales - review

Using calibrated equipment in our labs, we’ve tested electronic kitchen scales to find the most accurate, easiest to use and best value kitchen scales (member content). To find out more about what to look for when buying, check out our kitchen scales buying guide.

Have a question about kitchen scales? Ask us in the comments below.

The ‘10g increments performance test score’ is described as “We use calibrated weights to see how well the scales measure 10g increments. A score of zero means it was very poor at accuracy under 10g.”

I am confused. Is the test of accuracy by increment of 10g, or accuracy below 10g ?

If it is the latter why? Who measures cooking ingredients in that range? Why would you expect a scale that copes with 5kg to be accurate to ± 1g, that is .02%, who needs that outside a laboratory?

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Hi @syncretic,
Good question. I checked in with our product testers and they have confirmed that the test is for accuracy below 10g. Any scales that were out by 5g or more received a score of zero.

There a few models that scored 100% in this test, and for those who want pinpoint accuracy for measuring things like baking powder or yeast then one of the more sensitive scales would be worthwhile.

Hope that helps, let me know if you have any further queries.

All of these comments apply to normal domestic cooking not commercial quantities or those wanting to try sous vide larks tongues .

For most people there is no reason to weigh ingredients except for baking such as bread-making or patisserie. Anyone who weighs out the ingredients for exchange cooking such as stews, curries, spag bol etc is just wasting time. Likewise meatballs and 3 veg, steak and salad needs no scales. It comes down to “do you want to cook or do you want to measure”. 90% of cooking is done by guesstimate or by volume (cups, big spoons, little spoons, drops etc) and this just fine.

You do need to weigh flour in some cases as the proportion is fairly critical for correct performance of cakes, bread etc and it does not pack uniformly. So a cup of flour may be quite a different amount depending on how it has been handled and either shaken up (adds air) or flattened down (reduces air) or the fineness that it has been milled. The proportion of water, sugar and fat are also important with baking but are conveniently and accurately measured by volume or weight.

Small quantities are nearly always measured by volume (or not really measured at all - just a dash). This includes baking powder and yeast where freshness would count for more than weighing accurately to 1/10 th gram. Even if I did want to weigh such what would “10g increments performance test score” of 60% mean? If a nominal 10g can be anywhere from 6 to 14 g it would be no use at all for yeast, so how is that better than a product that gets a zero?

My feeling is that this is rather unfair on some manufacturers, as some products may be quite adequate but rate poorly on this odd score that is so hard to understand and so removed from reality.

Perhaps this score should be renamed to something much more descriptive with the explanation that it only matter in rare cases - or not at all.

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Thanks for your thoughts @syncretic, I’ll be sure to pass on your feedback to our product testing team :thumbsup:

An alternative view is that something sold as or implied to be an accurate scale should be accurate, or is that an unreasonable expectation?


It depends on your expectations and what you mean by ‘accurate’ . You don’t want to be paying for a level of accuracy that is of no practical value. It would never occur to me that a scale that is intended for kitchen use should be able to weigh to nearest gram.

Mechanical scales with analog readouts simply cannot do this and I have never noticed the loss. The least count on mine is 20g and the pointer is about 10g wide and that is perfectly satisfactory for my needs. Yet by the given criteria such a scale would be rated lowly. With a digital readout you could make it display to three decimal points if you like but it is of no use as 1) it is probably going to be a false reading as the mechanism is not be anywhere near that accurate and 2) you don’t need it.

It seems that many digital scales can read correctly to the nearest gram, at the bottom end at least according to this study, we don’t know if that is true across the full range. That doesn’t mean such accuracy is a real benefit and it doesn’t mean that those scales that can’t do it should be rated lowly.

The discussion here is similar to many internal conversations I’ve heard at CHOICE. We’re often trying to balance the practical application for ‘general’ use of any given product with a detailed analysis of the core purpose of a product. Sometimes this is an easy process and at other times you get into territory where ‘general use’, ‘value’ and core functionality can seem to start heading in different directions. The next question is often ‘what’s general use?’. No doubt our product testers could add far more detail to the discussion.

In any case, we aim to give consumers as much information as possible without it becoming too difficult to digest. The goal is help as many people as possible, so that if you have a particular usage in mind, you can hopefully base your purchasing decisions on your personal criteria even if it falls outside our recommendations.

Thanks again for the thoughtful feedback everyone, our process are always evolving so we welcome the discussion.

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But if I want a scale why would I want to buy a lesser capable product, prices being similar? What is the purpose of a test excepting to measure how something does or does not work for its stated purpose, that being as a scale?

But regardless your scale is not as good a scale as one accurate from 1g up with reasonably accurate 1g increments, even if it might be suitable for your needs.

As you eloquently wrote, sometimes you only need something that is approximate and you do not need high precision at low or perhaps any weight; you have many choices and that is your decision, noting scale users have differing needs and expectations.

The report includes scores at max weight, 1kg and the 10g increments score. You can disagree with how points are awarded, but not the rigour considering Choice’s audience are not “lab rats”, so their approach seems appropriate.

I don’t mind those who want gram accuracy being given that information. As it stands I doubt that the average punter is in a position to understand why some products were downgraded nor would they be in a position to decide if the 10g score was important to them. Brendan had to go and ask what it means.

I made a similar point on another review some months back, although slanted toward presentation. In many of the Choice online presentations, including the scales, one needs to look at the textual comments to augment the rest. I’ll not go into example product details since it is member content, but I extracted the following as an unattribtued example. Until I asked the question I was not aware how much data was in the review because at the time one needed to construct a product comparison chart to find it, not just click on a product. Now one can click on the product and the short overview is displayed, and the rest of the detail is in a pulldown.

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