The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Looking for a quality digital scale at a fair price.

medex's picture
medex

Looking for a quality digital scale at a fair price.

There are quite a few options out there, many which get flavored reviews.  I am looking for something capable of single loaf measurments with 1gram resolution or better. any recommendations?

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

This recent thread covers your question rather thoroughly. 

Please have a look: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/25556/can-anyone-recommend-good-inexpensive-scale

 

medex's picture
medex

Sorry but I am going to have to disagree.  It really doesn't, which is why I asked again. It offers no contrast and advertisements. 

sphealey's picture
sphealey

I would suggest going here

http://www.oldwillknottscales.com/cooking-food-kitchen-scales.html

and

http://www.oldwillknottscales.com/scales-by-capacity-and-resolution.html

as well as just browsing around on their site in general.  They have hundreds of scales, and just in the Kitchen category list about 100 ranging from $5 mechanicals through $25-$75 consumer digitals to $275 low-end laboratory/legal-for-trade models.  Whether or not you intend to buy from them they are a good source of information (and personally I have always received good customer service when I have ordered from there).

And those are basically your choices:  (1) consumer grade scales in the $25 range with capacities up to 2500 g or so and resolution of 1g or 2g but generally limited durability (2) consumer grade scales in the $50-85 range with capacities of 2500-5000g and resolution of 1g and with generally better durability and real warranties (3) the aforementioned low-end lab/trade scales in the $275 range with capacities up to 7500g and resolution from 1g-0.1g varying inversely with capacity.

Keep in mind to that there are only a few manufactureres of consumer-grade load cells in the world, so you are generally paying for software features, durability, and warranty.

As far as discussing seeming like advertising, 95% of the people who respond to a question like this are going to give you positive reports on a product that worked well for them and a link to where they bought it; not sure how you could get around that.  Cooking for Engineers has done some comparision tests and they certainly sound unbiased but they too use Amazon affiliate links to pay the bills.

sPh

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I'm with sPh on this one.   Old Will Knott Scales is an excellent resource.  My first scale was an Escali Primo, but I found it did not consistently provide a resolution of one gram.  After reading the recommendation of Susan from Wild Yeast, and exploring the Old Will Knott site, I settled on the MyWeigh i5000 from Old Will.    

Susans is an accomplished baker, a graduate of the professional bread and pastry program at SFBI, and offers pretty good advice. The MyWeigh has worked well for me, but I still wound up buying an Admetior spoon scale which has a 0.1 gram resolution and comes in handy for very small amounts.

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

That thread suggests many quality digital scales at a fair price with 1 gram resolution. If you feel that those recommendations are in error, then I don't see how asking a similar question will provide you answers that are not in error. If it's contrast you want, consider providing URL links to those that interest you most. 

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Your choices will almost certainly be either large-capacity/1-gram-resolution or small-capacity/0.1-gram-resolution. (Of course, a large-capacity/0.1- gram-resolution scale might come on the market next year:-) You'll need the large capacity to handle all the flour and water when mixing up a whole batch of dough. But at typical batch sizes the "small" ingredients -like yeast and salt- need the finer resolution. You can either use the old "teaspoon" type measurements for the small ingredients (which many people do, but which can leave you doing an awful lot of arithmetic if you use bakers percentages to "scale" batches up and down). Or you can do what I do, which is have two scales.

The higher resolution scales are quite inexpensive (less than $10 if you shop carefully), so this strategy won't cost a lot. Those small high resolution scales are very common these days, you'll find lots of them if you search "pocket digital scale" (if you search anything else though, you may swear they don't exist).

Regarding choosing a scale, it seems to me that:

  • almost all of them are manufactured in China (even if the marketing brand is based in the U.S.)
  • most useful functions (tare, gram/ounce switch, etc.) are "standard" on virtually all of them - only a few of the more esoteric functions (direct use of "bakers percentages") vary
  • all of them cost about the same (assuming you shop wisely - it's possible to goof up and pay more than twice the going rate and not get anything better)
  • they change very quickly (much of what folks here have is already unavailable, much of what you find in stores few people here have)
  • almost every brand has several models (3-5), and the lowest model is a too-too-cheap piece-of-junk loss-leader (many stores don't even carry the lowest model of many brands) (so IMHO choosing a brand by looking for the lowest price of the lowest model does not work very well - in fact my suggestion is to never buy the lowest model of any brand)
  • it seems to me that there's no discernable relation between higher cost and higher quality
  • online descriptions never give enough detail about the things that matter to make a choice - either hold your nose and just guess, or go to a bricks-and-mortar store where you can see the merchandise (note though the two scales might need different strategies: bricks-and-mortar for the large-capacity scale, online for the high-resolution scale)

Some things to consider when choosing:

  • does it come with a bowl, or not? (if so, is the bowl large enough for your typical batch, and is the bowl easily detachable? if not, will your bowl fit easily on the tray?)
  • does it use a "common" type of battery so that you can get replacements very easily?
  • does it "recalibrate" every time you pour too slowly (some folks like the accuracy, most are driven nuts by the continually changing readings)
  • is the display very easy to read? (big plain numerals? visible from any angle? backlit? high contrast?)

(One other warning: some of the newer scales have a "liquid"/"fluid ounce" mode. "Fluid ounces" are extremely confusing and totally unnecessary for breadbaking. It's a way for the scale to one-up the competition  ...but you'll probably never use it, at least not for breadbaking.)

sphealey's picture
sphealey

=== (Of course, a large-capacity/0.1- gram-resolution scale might come on the market next year:-) ===


There's always the Mettler X10002s:  10,100 g capacity and 0.001 g resolution!  Of  course they don't even show a list price on their web site, so I figure $10,000 minimum...

sPh

Personally I go with Chuck's plan and have both a MyWeight i5000 (5000/1) and a MyWeigh Axe (300/0.05) .

featheredfrog's picture
featheredfrog

Amusingly, Harbor Freight offers a digital counter scale, fairly inexpensive, max to about 5lb, grams or ounces.  It also has "calorie counting" nonsense, but it's ignorable.

ETA:  Just looked at <a href="http://www.thefreshloaf.com/http://www.harborfreight.com/digital-scale-95364.html"> a newer scale </a> it's nicer than the one I got.

5Kg max for $17 or so.  seems worth a risk.