One of the most important tools for precise measurements is a kitchen scale. Rather than leaving your fate in the hands of an inaccurate measuring cup, let a kitchen scale do the measuring for you. You can tare the scale so that you can measure directly into mixing bowls and pots, and most scales give you the option to measure in ounces or grams. Not only do they improve accuracy, but kitchen scales make for a more streamlined and efficient method for measuring a lot of ingredients at once.
“For a home cook, scales save the trouble of using and washing measuring cups and spoons," says Abigail Rose, the pastry chef at Fox in the Snow in Columbus, Ohio. "It’s much easier to weigh all of the ingredients into fewer bowls because you can zero out a scale rather than have a bunch of extra dishes.”
Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a novice cook, having a kitchen scale can make your next cooking task much easier and more reliable. To help you figure out which is right for your needs, we tested them side-by-side and evaluated each on its design, performance, storage, ease of cleaning, and overall value. Sugar and other dry ingredients were measured to test for accuracy, while our experts also tested tare, auto shutoff, and any additional functions to make sure these kitchen scales are truly the best.
Escali Primo Digital Food Scale
Available in multiple colors
Visual tare bar reading
Easy to use
Doesn't measure in milliliters
If you’re committed to the world of measuring ingredients on a scale, you’re going to want one that’s user-friendly. It doesn’t get more streamlined or easy to use than this colorful Escali model. Like most scales, it can measure up to 11 pounds and provides pound, ounce, and gram readings in 0.05-ounce increments. The buttons are sealed (in case any liquid spills on them), and the large LED screen provides clear easy-to-read measurements.
Rose says her Escali scale is her most-used kitchen tool, helpful both at home and in the bakery to save time and improve consistency. "I have it in several colors and never bake without [it]," she says. "I like this scale because it’s relatively small and easy to use, plus it's super durable. A scale shouldn’t be overly complicated. I prefer one that’s easy to move around, especially when professional kitchens are notoriously tight spaces."
We appreciate the super lightweight, compact size of this scale—it doesn't take up much counter space and is easily stored. While making a pecan pie, our tester used this to measure multiple ingredients, like sugar and flour, in the same bowl. All tests were precise and accurate, with 0.25-cup of sugar measuring 50 grams/1.8 ounces across all five trials. She appreciated the visual tare bar, which helped show the measurement was being taken properly. The only minor qualms are the absence of milliliter measurement and that the automatic shutoff does not kick in until the scale has been inactive for over four minutes.
Price at time of publish: $27
Size: 8 x 6 x 1.25 inches | Capacity: 11 pounds | Measurement Increments: 1 gram/0.05 ounces | Power: AA batteries
"There are clear included instructions, and it comes with batteries. The visual tare bar shows on the display, so you know it is measuring properly. It is super lightweight with a very slim profile, too, which made it easy to store in the gadget drawer." — Carrie Honaker, Product Tester
Amazon Basics Stainless Steel Digital Kitchen Scale
Wide platform is easy to clean
Measures both dry and wet ingredients
Not the sleekest design
If you’re not looking to overspend on a kitchen scale purchase, this affordable option from Amazon is a popular choice. It doesn't offer all of the design features as some other models, but it's reliable tool nonetheless. The clean LCD screen produces clear, visible readings, and is pointed slightly downward from the 6-inch-wide circular platform. This means you can still see the screen when measuring into a large mixing bowl.
The sturdy weighing platform can handle up to 11 pounds and it’s very easy to wipe clean. The scale can read measurements in both dry ingredients (pounds, ounces, and grams) and liquid ingredients (fluid ounces and milliliters), while the tare function allows you to reset the weight at any point during usage.
We love its slim profile, as it takes up very little counter or storage space. Our tester found it easy to operate, with precise measurements across five tests. She did note the automatic shutoff took a little over two minutes, slightly longer than other models, but appreciated it could be shut off by depressing the tare button for three seconds. Our tester loved that this affordable scale produced reliable, accurate results at such an appealing price point.
Price at time of publish: $11
Size: 8.7 x 7 x 1.2 inches | Capacity: 11 pounds | Measurement Increments: 1 gram/.1 ounce/1 milliliter | Power: AAA batteries
"I loved this scale. It is a fantastic value, has a slim profile, is easy to store, and is simple to operate. Batteries were included, making it operable right out of the box, the included instructions were clear for seamless use, and the scale wiped clean easily with a damp cloth." — Carrie Honaker, Product Tester
Etekcity EK6015 Digital Kitchen Scale
Compact and stylish
Available in two sizes
Small LCD screen
Etekcity’s food scales have chic, classic designs at affordable price points. This particular scale can weigh items up to 11 pounds, and it has the capability to read in ounces, grams, fluid ounces, or milliliters. We like the glossy silver finish as a stylish addition to any kitchen and an easy appliance to clean, but it does come in other colors.
Our product tester measured 0.25-cup of sugar across five trials with consistent results. The scale was off by 1 gram from what it should have measured (49 rather than the accurate 50 grams). The best part of this scale is the attractive, slim profile that slid right into our tester's gadget drawer for easy storage. Operation was a little clunky, and the digital display is small, making it slightly difficult to read, but it's still a bargain. Also, it shut off in less than a minute when left unattended, preserving battery life.
The medium scale is 7 x 5.5 inches, while the large is 8 x 6.1 inches, and both are just shy of 1 inch thick, making it extremely compact and easy to stow away. It has a flat scale surface and tidy, laminated buttons that are easy to clean with a damp rag and soap.
Price at time of publish: $14
Size: 7.3 x 5.7 x 0.6 inches | Capacity: 11 pounds | Measurement Increments: 1 gram/0.04 ounces | Power: AAA batteries
"It is compact and easy to store, yet attractive enough to have out on the counter, and the visible tare bar allowed me to see it was measuring properly. It also came with batteries, making it operable upon opening." — Carrie Honaker, Product Tester
Etekcity Smart Nutrition Food Scale
Great for measuring macros and nutritional numbers
Can connect to your health apps
Easy-to-read LCD screen
This Bluetooth-enabled smart scale can be linked to an app in your smartphone and will not only provide a basic weight measurement, but it can also give eight different nutritional stats, such as calories, fat, carbohydrates, and protein. If you use your scale for portion and nutritional measurements, this will make your life easier!
The sleek stainless-steel platform has the capability to measure up to 11 pounds in grams, ounces, or milliliters. The large LCD screen not only displays measurements, but it can also display nutritional macros once the scale is connected to the corresponding free app, VeSyncFit. This app can sync with Apple Health and FitBit. One advantage of this is, if the reading is obscured by your mixing bowl, you can confirm it on the app.
Our tester downloaded the app and synced it with her Fitbit. She reported it was an easy download and provides robust nutritional information. The scale was incredibly accurate across all five tests, delivering precise measurements each time. After just one minute of inactivity, the automatic shutoff was speedy. The provided instructions were a little sparse, but a visit to the website helped explain all the functionality of the scale. When finished testing, it slipped right into her gadget drawer easily for storage.
Price at time of publish: $40
Size: 9.2 x 6.3 x 0.6 inches | Capacity: 11 pounds | Measurement Increments: 1 gram/0.04 ounces | Power: AAA batteries
"This scale is very attractive and could be a countertop tool, but the slim profile makes storage a snap." — Carrie Honaker, Product Tester
Best Pocket Scale
Weigh Gram Digital Pocket Scale
Great for herbs and spices
Blue LCD screen is easy to read
Only measures up to 100 grams
If you need something to measure lighter, smaller items, like herbs, spices, or coffee, a pocket scale like this is a great tool to have in your drawer. It's super small and compact, making it easy to store and transport.
Our tester liked this slim scale, which actually was smaller than her cellphone and easily fit in her pocket. It is a basic model, but performed accurately across all tests. We measured sugar, dried basil, and pepper, and the scale measured within 0.03 ounce margin of error each time. This model automatically shuts off after one minute of inactivity.
The LCD blue backlit screen is easy to read, and the scale maxes out at 100 grams, so it wouldn't be effective for larger items. There is a power button, tare button, and unit measurement button. The protective cover keeps the platform clean.
Price at time of publish: $11
Size: 5 x 3 x 0.8 inches | Capacity: 100 grams | Measurement Increments: 0.01 gram | Power: AAA batteries
"The lightweight, portable design makes for easy storage or transport—it fit in the pocket of my jeans. The stainless steel surface wiped clean easily, the included batteries were easy to install, and the backlit screen was very readable. It is small though, and would not work for larger items." — Carrie Honaker, Product Tester
Best for Coffee
CozyBlue Digital Coffee Scale
Alarm function times your brew
Ultra-precise measurements up to 0.1-ounce accuracy
Batteries and heat-resistant mat included
Any java lover knows that the art of brewing pour over, espresso, and French press is all about precise weights and times. This scale can measure in ounces and grams, as well as liquid measurements, such as milliliters and fluid ounces. The tare function allows you to start a fresh pot any time. The clear LCD readings are clean and easy to see, and the scale comes with an alarm function, so you can time your brew perfectly.
We brewed five test cups of pour-over coffee and found the scale measured within a 0.03-ounce margin of error, with a delicious and strong cup each time. In addition to coffee, we also measured sugar over five trials and came up with similar accuracy (48 instead of 50 grams). Our tester liked the silicone mat provided, as it made for easy cleanup when a little water splashed out on the pour over, and it protected the non-waterproof scale. The automatic shutoff time was longer than most at five minutes, but this scale has a manual button you can use to power down when finished.
Price at time of publish: $17
Size: 9.29 x 6.02 x 2.05 inches | Capacity: 3,000 grams/6 pounds | Measurement Increments: 1 gram/0.1 ounces | Power: AAA batteries
"The ease of switching between units of measurements cannot be overstated, and it was one of the easiest to get an accurate tare measurement. The scale itself must be protected from getting wet, but the silicone mat cleaned up nicely with warm, soapy water and a complete dry before storing." — Carrie Honaker, Product Tester
South Bend Digital Hanging Scale
Great for large proteins and heavy items
Can weigh up to 110 pounds
No platform to measure awkwardly shaped items
If you find yourself with a lot of large, cumbersome proteins, such as meat or fish, having a hanging scale is a great way to measure these items, rather than trying to fit them on a tiny platform. Unlike the platform scales that typically max out around 11 pounds, this scale can measure up to 110 pounds in both ounces and grams.
This scale is not useful for measuring typical kitchen items, like sugar and flour, because you must hang the item to be measured from the hook. We did, however, measure a 24-pound turkey across five trials with consistently accurate results. The scale will fit right in your pocket—it is slim and very compact, making for easy storage. Our tester did note that having to hold the scale while measuring was awkward. She liked the on/off switch, and the automatic shutoff after one minute of inactivity saves on battery life (though the battery hatch is a little sticky and hard to open).
Price at time of publish: $8
Size: 5.6 x 3.5 x 1.4 inches | Capacity: 110 pounds | Measurement Increments: 1 gram/0.04 ounces | Power: AAA batteries
"I did like how compact this scale was; it easily stows on a gadget drawer or even in your pocket of you are traveling. It also doubles nicely as a luggage scale, if you're looking for versatility." — Carrie Honaker, Product Tester
The Escali Primo P115C Precision Kitchen Food Scale gets the top spot because it's accurate, easy to use, lightweight, and best of all, affordable. Need to know your macros? Pick up the Etekcity Smart Nutrition Food Scale, and keep track of everything on your phone.
How We Tested
We sent nine kitchen scales to our experienced baker and product tester, who tried each out with sugar and other ingredients, including flour, spices, and even turkey, to determine which kitchen scales are truly the best. Each kitchen scale was rated on design, performance, storage, ease of cleaning, and overall value. Our tester then offered additional insights on each kitchen scale's strengths and weaknesses.
Other Options We Tested
- My Weigh Bakers Math Kitchen Scale: A previous version of this list named this as the best scale to use for baking because it allows you to measure items up to 17 pounds (which is more than many competitors' standard 11-pound limit) and by percentage, so breads, cakes, cookies, and other ratio-driven recipes are simplified by this scale that does the baking math for you. After testing, our expert noted that it measured pretty accurately, has an easy-to-read backlit display, and features a helpful splash shield for keeping liquids off the mechanics. The scale was quite bulky, though, and required a fair amount of counter real estate. No batteries were included, our tester had to employ the provided AC adapter, which tied the bulky scale to an outlet, limiting where it could be used. She also said it felt very flimsy and not durable whatsoever. For its size, it weighed next to nothing. While she could see this as a valuable tool when scaling recipes, ultimately, there are better options.
What to Look for in Kitchen Scales
Arguably the most important characteristic of any kitchen scale is its accuracy. If it's not taking accurate measurements, then it’s not doing its primary job. Even though a milligram of difference might not make a huge impact when you’re measuring flour or coffee grounds, if the scale is off by even a gram, this can start to affect whatever it is that you’re making. While some scales offer recalibration options, this is not common, and oftentimes the recalibration is not totally accurate. In order to preserve the accuracy of your scale, make sure not to put any items on the scale that are heavier than what it can measure, and always replace the battery if you notice that measurements start to become inconsistent. Some scales come with warranties, which is great on the off-chance that you find that your scale starts to display inaccurate readings. Keep in mind that a lot of warranties will not cover you if the cause of the broken scale is due to overloading it with an extremely heavy item.
Units of Measurement
Not all scales have the same units of measurement, so look for a scale that can measure wet and dry ingredients in both metric and imperial units. Wet ingredients have different densities than dry, creating the need for fluid ounces and milliliters readings. It’s worth noting that some scales will translate a heavier weight to "2 pounds, 4 ounces" versus "36 ounces," for example. In the same vein of units of measurement, most scales commonly weigh in increments of 1 gram or 0.05 ounces. Anything with increments larger than this can result in inaccurate readings.
Most kitchen scales can support anywhere from 6 pounds to 12 pounds, depending on the model that you choose. If you will be weighing lots of dry ingredients for large baking projects, make sure that the scale you’re using can support the weight. If you need to measure larger cuts of proteins that might not sit easily on a countertop scale, opt for a hanging scale to ensure the accurate weight of these products. Similarly, if you’re going to be measuring extremely small quantities of food like spices or baking ingredients, then having a pocket scale handy is a great way to grab these measurements, because measurements less than a gram do not read as accurately on a basic kitchen scale.
A new kitchen scale can run you anywhere from $10 to $60, so knowing what you’re looking for is crucial. If you’ve never owned a scale before and want to dabble with baking by measurements or portioning out your weekly meal prep, then a cheaper, more basic scale will certainly do the trick. If you’re going to be measuring large batches of food for big groups, large occasions, or more professional cooking settings, then opting for a scale with a large weight range and improved accuracy will definitely be worth the extra investment.
Types of Kitchen Scales
This is the most common type of kitchen scale and will be the most useful for the average home cook. These scales typically weigh items anywhere from 0.5 ounces to a maximum of 6 to 12 pounds. They are battery-powered, can read in 0.05-ounce or 1-gram increments, offer taring capabilities, and are relatively compact and lightweight. They operate best when they are securely sitting on a flat, level countertop. Some digital scales might feature a glass platform, which may seem cool and chic, but might also be extremely fragile and prove difficult to clean and maintain. A good digital scale will also come with rubber feet on the bottom, which should prevent the scale from moving around on the counter while you’re using it.
A somewhat outdated version, analog scales do not require any battery power. Instead, these classic scales have a large base and a bowl or surface on top to place the item that you are wanting to weigh. They are much larger in size and heavier than a classic digital scale, so plan to make room in your cupboard for this model. While you might find an analog model that can support more weight than a digital model, there is no real advantage to weighing items with an analog scale versus digital. They do have a fun, vintage aesthetic if you are wanting to keep it on your counter as a way to subtly decorate your kitchen.
If you are going to be measuring smaller items, like spices or coffee, it may be a good idea to look into a pocket scale. These small, lightweight tools are a great way to get a precise measurement for something that weighs less than 1 gram or 0.05 ounces. They are typically battery-powered and can read in both metric and imperial units. They are extremely compact and affordable, so even if you don’t get a ton of use out of one, it’s not a huge burden to purchase and store.
A hanging scale is another way to get an accurate reading, specifically for a large cut of protein or any item that is awkwardly shaped and may not fit on a countertop scale. Compared with a digital kitchen scale, which typically cannot support more than 12 pounds, a hanging scale can read upwards of 100 pounds (and it can also read in metric units).
Never load a scale over its weight capacity since this can cause the calibration to be off and even break the scale. Don’t weigh messy, wet items directly on a scale; instead, place a bowl on the scale, tare it, and begin weighing. When the scale is off, do not store it or let it sit with items on it as this can also cause great damage. While some scales have recalibration capabilities, these are often not totally accurate, so don’t rely on them. If you think your scale may be giving you inaccurate readings, it’s likely time to replace the batteries. Always keep your scale on a firm, flat surface for the most accurate readings. When the scale is off, wipe the buttons and the platform down with a hot washcloth to clean up any remaining food particles or grease. Never place a scale directly under running water to clean.
How do you use a kitchen scale?
Using a kitchen scale is extremely straightforward. To start, place a bowl or plate on the scale to measure your item. Next, tare the scale so that it registers a zero weight measurement. Select the unit of measurement that you want to use (e.g., grams or ounces), then add your item to the bowl or plate until you’ve reached a desired measurement. They are extremely helpful for baking because of their ability to measure ingredients precisely.
What is a kitchen scale used for?
Kitchen scales are used to improve precision and accuracy in measured items. From measuring flour to butter to agave syrup, these scales are extremely adept at accurate readings. They can help you easily determine the weight of any given object. Almost all scales can handle measuring dry ingredients—it's with wet ingredients that you definitely need specific units of measurement. Wet ingredients, like honey or molasses, have different densities so need to measured as either fluid ounces or milliliters.
How do you calibrate a kitchen scale?
You should calibrate your kitchen scale somewhat frequently to ensure that you’re getting accurate readings. Always calibrate on a flat, level surface. Each scale is different, so always defer to the owner’s manual that comes with your scale, especially if you need to make an adjustment. You can use calibration weights or simply go get your change purse. A U.S. nickel weighs exactly five grams. If your scale is gives your nickel a different reading, check if you can calibrate the scale before replacing it.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Sara Tane has written dozens of buying guides for The Spruce Eats, understanding what consumers and cooks need to consider before making a new purchase for their culinary adventures. She is a professionally trained chef, now working as a private chef and writer. Because of her traditional culinary background, she understands the importance of a kitchen scale for precise measurements. After researching different kitchen scales and their characteristics, she chose the best kitchen scales for all of your culinary and pastry needs. She also interviewed Abigail Rose, who attended the International Culinary Center and was previously the pastry chef at Fox in the Snow in Columbus, Ohio.
Carrie Honaker, who updated and tested all products included in this roundup, is a food writer who worked in restaurants throughout college, including La Madeleine in Atlanta, where she relied on accurate scale measurements for a successful morning bake. Between her experience as a restaurateur and avid home cook, she has measured thousands of pounds of sugar and flour on both analog and digital scales. Her work has appeared in many publications including Bon Appetit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.