Last updated: August 5, 2021

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We cannot imagine our everyday life without scales. Whether for people who care about their body weight or for anyone who needs exact quantities of ingredients when cooking and baking at home. In most cases, it is of great importance to know not only the approximate weight, but the exact value.

And even though the measuring method is anything but new, modern digital scales are clearly different from conventional models. In our digital scales test 2021 we present the most important criteria for choosing the right device and answer crucial questions about the topic.




Summary

  • Digital scales show measured values with the help of a display. This also allows switching between different units and displaying several individual weights.
  • The areas of application are extremely wide. The best-known types of digital scales for private use are personal scales, kitchen scales and pocket scales.
  • The readings of digital scales are extremely accurate, as numerical values can be displayed down to individual milligrams. This distinguishes them from analogue scales, on which a measuring needle provides much coarser results.

The Best Digital Scale : Our Choices

Digital scales: buying and rating criteria

When choosing a digital scale, you should pay attention to some crucial points. Above all, the following purchase criteria play an important role:

We have explained to you in the following paragraphs what to look for in the individual criteria and what options are available to you.

Running time

If you use a digital scale, you must be aware that it consumes electricity. Therefore, an important purchase criterion is that the scale lasts as long as possible without having to be recharged.

The most common mode of operation for digital scales is with batteries.

A permanently installed long-life battery lasts for many years, making it extremely uncomplicated to use. On the other hand, this type of battery cannot usually be replaced because it is permanently installed, making it impossible to continue using the scale.

Other digital scales also have batteries, but they are not permanently installed. You can use them indefinitely, but you have to replace them several times a year. This is much more cumbersome to use and is not environmentally friendly, as it produces a lot of electronic waste.

Another variant of operating digital scales is the use of rechargeable batteries. Similar to a smartphone, the scale is operated with a rechargeable battery and can be recharged with the supplied charging cable when the charge is low. Here, too, use is a little more complicated than with a long-life battery, but the scale can be used for many years.

Size

The size of digital scales differs significantly depending on the area of use.

Regardless of the size, most digital scales have a square shape.

For kitchen scales, the sizes are about 20 cm long and 20 cm wide. If you have particularly large bowls and containers, you should look for models with a slightly larger surface area. The maximum weight of kitchen scales is usually 5 kilograms.

Digital personal scales are much larger in comparison, usually about 40 cm wide and 40 cm long. The maximum weight is also much higher, often 180 kilograms. On the other hand, this type of digital scale is much less accurate; it does not measure individual grams, but usually only detects weight differences of at least 100 grams.

A much smaller type of digital scales are pocket scales. As the name suggests, these models should fit into small pockets, so they are usually smaller than 10 cm in length and width. Accordingly, the range of use for pocket scales is also limited to very small items. The maximum weight of mostly 500 grams is also much lower than for other digital scales.

Functions

The functions of digital scales seem extremely simple at first, as they are simply meant to display a weight. However, many additional functions in modern scales provide the user with further information and make their work easier.

Some kitchen scales allow you to select different units, for example grams or millilitres. This makes measurement results for different ingredients even more accurate.

Another helpful function is resetting the scale to zero. Thus, an empty bowl can be placed on appropriate models and then subtracted from the total weight by pressing a key, so that only the ingredient weight is displayed.

With personal scales, the possible range of functions is even greater. Some models not only display weight, but can also calculate body fat percentage, muscle mass or body water percentage. In addition, many of these models also have a Bluetooth function with which the device can be connected to the smartphone. This allows you to display statistics and charts about your own well-being,

Material

When it comes to the material of digital scales, stability is particularly important. The device should be able to withstand heavy objects and distort the measurement result as little as possible. The following materials are primarily used for different types of digital scales:

  • Stainless steel: The vast majority of scales are made of this material. The reason for this is the stability of stainless steel, and its low deformability. Especially kitchen scales and pocket scales are almost exclusively made of this material.
  • Sturdy glass: In addition to models made of stainless steel, products made of sturdy glass are also available for personal scales. This is mainly for optical reasons, because personal scales, unlike smaller models, are not usually stored away but have a visible place at home.
  • Sturdy plastic: Pocket scales have the special feature that they are built into a protective cover because of their mobile capabilities. The protective covers are usually made of sturdy plastic so as not to add unnecessary weight to the device.

Digital scales: frequently asked questions and answers

Before making a purchase decision, it is first important to know what exactly digital scales are and for what purposes they are particularly suitable. We have answered the most important questions about the topic below.

What is a digital scale?

Digital scales are basically used for the same purposes as analogue scales. The difference lies in the display, which is not in the form of a measuring needle but a display.

The advantage of this is that measured values can be displayed much more accurately, as no estimated value has to be used as with analogue models, but a concrete numerical value is displayed.

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Digital scales have the advantage that they display the weight very accurately and give you a concrete numerical value.
(Image source: alan KO / unsplash)

In addition, digital scales offer other functions that are not possible with analogue models. You can switch between different measuring units and zero the weight in between to measure only the extra weight.

Even though some models can be connected to a smartphone and have sophisticated software, digital scales are generally not a complicated household item and can be used by less tech-savvy people without hesitation.

What types of digital scales are there?

Digital scales are used in all areas where accurate measurements are taken. For private individuals, they are most common in the kitchen, bathroom and on the road.

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In the kitchen, digital scales help you to mix the individual ingredients in the right proportions.
(Image source: Jason Briscoe / unsplash)

The way the different types of digital scales work is basically the same. The crucial differences are the measurable weight range and the measuring accuracy of the respective scales, which are adapted to their area of application.

Type Description
Personal scales In the private sector, they are probably the largest scales with which you can measure your body weight. Some models have additional functions such as measuring body fat percentage.
Kitchen scales These models are used in cooking and baking, and give you weights accurate to individual grams. They are robustly built and usually waterproof.
Pocket scales Very small models that are very suitable for mobile use. They are used to weigh small, usually valuable objects to the nearest milligram.

Outside of private use, digital scales are standard equipment in every manufacturing industry. Their accurate measurements are valued for very small products in laboratories as well as for load measurements of large commercial vehicles.

What does a digital scale cost?

The price of digital scales sometimes varies greatly between the different types. Generally speaking, the larger the scale, the more expensive it is. Additional functions such as connectivity also raise the price. We have given you a rough guide to the prices of digital scales below.

Type price range
Pocket scales approx. 10 to 20 euros
Kitchen scales approx. 10 to 35 euros
Personal scales approx. 15 to 70 euros

Especially in the case of digital scales that are supposed to provide extremely accurate readings, it is advisable not to necessarily buy the cheapest model. In these cases, it is important to look for seals of approval and ratings that prove the scale has been calibrated properly and is well made.

What alternatives are there to digital scales?

Even though digital scales are usually very easy to use and deliver extremely accurate measurements, there are still alternatives. These are becoming less common, but in some situations they offer advantages.

Type Description
Analogue scales Instead of a display, weights are shown in the form of a measuring needle that deflects further depending on the weight. Analogue scales are usually not as accurate as models with a digital display.
Measuring cups Measuring cups can also display the weight of the most common ingredients in the kitchen. They often have weights for different foods notched or recorded on them.

Measuring cups are particularly suitable for trips where you don't want to take your kitchen scales with you. However, the cups are not an alternative for all other types of digital scales. Analogue scales, on the other hand, are available for any application. They also do not need a power supply.

How do I calibrate a digital scale?

An exact reading is especially important for small weights and in certain applications. But scales can show slight deviations from the normal weight with increasing use and at different temperatures.

Therefore, in certain cases it makes sense to calibrate your digital scales from time to time.

This is done with specially designed standard weights. When you place these on the scale, you can see the difference between the measurement and the standard weight and can correct the measured weight according to the instructions on your scale.

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An extremely accurate weight measurement is especially important for valuable items such as jewellery. For such purposes, a digital scale should be calibrated regularly.
(Image source: Denny Müller / unsplash)

The deviation of digital scales is usually in the range of a few milligrams. Therefore, calibration is only necessary for precision scales and pocket scales. If you want to make sure that your kitchen and personal scales do not deviate too much from the real weight, you should look for the word "calibrated" when buying them. These models meet strict standards for permissible deviations.

Conclusion

The use of digital scales makes sense in many areas of everyday life, as the measured values are usually always more accurate compared to analogue scales. In addition, digital technology allows for further functions, so that your digital scale can become a smart object. At the same time, the technology is so simple that anyone can use it.

Due to the long service life of many years, a well-considered purchase decision is important. Once you have found the right model, you can enjoy the convenient features and accurate readings of your digital scale for a long time.

Image source: Magoyan/ 123rf

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