What should I consider when purchasing a scale?

Basic considerations

  • Digital is best
  • Make sure your scale has a tare/zero function for easy weighing
  • Don’t buy anything that measures in increments larger than 1g/0.03oz (the more precise, the better!)
  • I have scales that measure down to 0.1g and 0.01g, and those are awesome for things like cosmetics/making two tubes of lip balm to test out a recipe. I highly recommend having at least one scale that can weigh down to 0.01g—this allows you to make tiny batches of things, which is definitely the way to go if you want to make a lot of batches of things.
  • Where does the scale top out/what’s its maximum weight? My earlier 0.01g scales topped out at 200g, which made them useless for making larger batches of anything (remember, that maximum weight includes the weight of the container you’re weighing into), but fantastic for smaller projects. The scale I soap with tops out around 5kg/11lbs and is something like this.
  • How big is the scale, physically? If you’re soaping you’ll need a scale that can handle your soaping pot and can still be read with a massive pot on top of them (the scales I’ve linked to below cannot).
  • If you plan on doing both big batches of things and teensy batches of things, you might want two or three scales with varying maximum weights and levels of precision. You can purchase scales that have both a high maximum weight and are very precise, but scales like that tend to be very expensive.
  • I highly recommend investing in scales that plugs in to the wall (vs. batteries) and don’t have an auto shut-off function (or that function can be disabled). Having your scale shut off in the middle of weighing something out is infuriating!

Scales I’ve owned & use(d)

I’ve used these scales a lot over the years, and they’re pretty darn good inexpensive scales:

I’ve also got a couple of scales that are a bit more expensive, but I have found them to last longer:

  • 0.1g x 700g: My Weigh iBALANCE 700 (USACanada)
  • 0.01g x 200g: Jennings JSR-200 (USA / Canada)
  • 0.01g x 500g: Jennings TB 500 (USA / Canada) [this is the scale I use 99% of the time]
  • 0.001g x 60g: My Weigh GemPro 300 (Canada)

I have several kitchen scales I’ve picked up at department stores—ones with maximum weights in the 3–5kg range and precise to 1g. I don’t have any particular product recommendations for this sort of scale—none that I’ve had have really impressed or disappointed me.

What scale do I use most?

As of 2022, the scale I use for 99% of my formulating, and the scale you’ve almost certainly seen in my videos, is the Jennings TB 500 (USA / Canada). It weighs down to 0.01g and has a maximum weight of 500g (just over 1lb). This works brilliantly for my batch sizes, which rarely exceed 100g (3.5oz).

Want a video talk-through/show & tell?

Check out this all-about-scales live stream I did in May 2020.

Wondering how to use a scale?

I made a quick how-to video 🙂

Posted in: Measurements