The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

I Need A New Scale

Anonymous baker's picture
Anonymous baker (not verified)

I Need A New Scale

I've used this Salter scale for a long time.

I melted one once (yes, on the stove burner) and immediately replaced it with another, so I like it and recommend it.


It's limited by an 11 lb/5 kg capacity.

That limit works for most things, but not for a mixer bowl that weighs 8 lbs/3.6 kg.
It leaves me with a 3 lb/1.4 kg capacity before the scale says NUH! NO MORE WEIGHT!
Can someone recommend a scale the would be a fit, because I'm about to go nuts with all of the available options.
  • - at least 25 - 40 lb capacity (+/-5 lb); 11 to 18 kg capacity (+/-2 kg)
  • - metric AND imperial
  • - digital
  • - tare
  • - weighs in 1g increments before 5 lbs. (this is the tricky one; feel free to move to NICE TO HAVE column)
  • - weighs in 5g increments after 5 lbs.


  • - volume (mL, fl oz)


pmccool's picture

you could switch to a light-weight measuring container that you empty into the larger mixing bowl.  In my case, I use a light-weight SS bowl that has a capacity of 2.5l.  It will easily hold a pound or two of flour, which is as big as I need most of the time.  I do this when I'm mixing in one of my heavy glass bowls whose weight tends to max out my Salter scale's capacity.  Yeah, it dirties another bowl, but it lets me proceed with some of the larger formulas and multiples of the smaller ones that I tend to make.  

The really nice feature of this approach is that it lets you measure each ingredient and add it to the mixing bowl individually.  Sometimes the few extra seconds spent doing this is enough to let you catch a mental mistake and correct it before it is committed to the mixed dough.  Been there, done that, and didn't get no stinking T-shirt, either.


wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

That's what I'm doing now too, but the dishes are overwhelming me.

I suppose I could just stop making 3 batches at once too. The timing alone is driving me to drink. :D


pmccool's picture

you're still only talking one container for dry and another for wet ingredients, which can be used with all three batches.  Methinks the three batches probably generate more dishes than the measurement containers.  ;-)

Regarding timing, one of the things that I saw while at Mark Sinclair's The Back Home Bakery last year was a digital timer that displayed up to 4 different clocks, each running independently, with a magnetic back that allowed it to stick to the refrigerator door.  It was maybe the size of a pocket calculator (not one of the big graphing types).  The other thing that Mark does is note the time that each dough goes into the proofer, and the time of each S&F, because multiple batches give way too many opportunities to do the wrong thing to the wrong dough at the wrong time.


wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

OK, you caught me. It's definitely the multiple batches + mixing bowl that's driving me to drink. If I forget the 20 qt bowl, mein gott!, I have to soak it overnight.

re:timing, yes, absolutely. If you try countdown timers, you'll quickly find yourself in the weeds, as they say–confused and overlapped.

What makes it manageable for me is using actual times per event (degas at 9:17 am, preshape at 11:03 am, etc.) I use stickies and attach them to the saran wrap on the bowls. Works really well.

I use Wolfram|Alpha to calculate the times, something like so:

mrfrost's picture

Woner how accurate a scale is than can weigh 40 lbs and also one gram?

It would probably be pretty expensive.

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

Mission impossible! Hence the disclaimer on 1g increments.

I'll probably just get a very accurate scale for small measures. The Salter measures in 1g increments, but it's not accurate (I think the word might be precise, here, no accurate) enough to gets baking powder, salt, etc. correct, at least mine isn't.

Chuck's picture

I find having a second scale with a resolution of 0.1 gram very useful for measuring things like yeast and salt. I can weigh and so can use bakers percentage recipes for everything, and I don't need measuring spoons at all.

You're right there's a close relation between a digital scale's resolution and its maximum (0.1 typically 100, 1 typically 5000, 5 for very large totals). Having a scale reduce its resolution as the quantities get larger seems sensible, but I've unfortunately never seen one that works way. The solution that works for me is to have more than one scale.

Small scales come in two different form factors: the "digital spoon", and the more traditional rectangular thing that sits level on the counter. I've found the "digital spoon" form costs significantly more, has a lower maximum, wants you to have another hand to use it, and isn't good at "sneaking up" on a particular weight. (Obviously I prefer the rectangular form that sits on the counter.)

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

Thanks ck! Can you recommend a brand or a couple brands that I can research.

I remember reading about a particular brand of scale that Thomas Keller uses at Bouchon to weigh precise small quantities, but I can't find the brand. Google's no help either. I'll search more diligently after I chug this cup of coffee. 

Chuck's picture

The Google incantation to find these things is "pocket digital scale". There are a gazillion of them  ...unfortunately only some of them are inexpensive.

Some of them are available from Amazon; some of them are even available from eBay.

Mine is generally listed under the model "M-500" (Google "m-500 digital scale"). (Beware there are very similar model names "MX-500" and "MS-500" [and "MS500"] which are a little bit different and aren't nearly as inexpensive.) Mine is made by "Fast Weigh Scales" in China, has no identifying marks other than an "FW" logo in the plastic housing, and is resold by a lot of different companies under a lot of different brand names.

I find it quite accurate; even when I "sneak up" on a measurement, then lift the bowl and put it back, the reading either doesn't change at all or only changes by 0.1. And the larger than usual capacity for a scale this size (500 grams) is nice because I can use any old cup or bowl and tare the first 200-400 grams, then measure my ingredient.

Sometimes if you can afford to wait three weeks for customs, the very cheapest way is to find something on eBay that's made in China but hasn't found a U.S. distributor yet and is currently shipped retail from Hong Kong. Those tend to be the very cheapest because they're trying to establish a reputation and get a distributor (or trying to dump already manufactured goods:-). The problem though is that while the quality is usually quite good, there are absolutely no guarantees and no recourse, and once in a while you get a lemon that way.


wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

I like your advice on China/Hong Kong.

I took that advice from someone when shopping for a headphone amplifier. I ended up with a $99 one from a Hong Kong company called Littledot that's better than one I would have paid $500 for in the states.

Will look for the M-500.

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)
Chuck's picture

Yep, I shouldn't have mentioned Amazon, as it appears the only way they sell it is (mis)bundled with the wrong calibration weight.

I got mine (just the scale, no calibration weight) from a different source.

I've had it about five months now and it continues to work every time. I've been gentle -but not overly paranoid- with it, which may account for my lack of problems; it does warn that an overweight even once can damage it irretrievably, which is part of why the large 500 gram capacity is so nice. The calibration that came preset from the factory has been satisfactory and I haven't tried to redo it.

AW's picture

If a baby or puppy scale would work. I don't mean to sound weird or anything, but it sounds like you need a scale that measures somewhere between factory and home-baker's volume.

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

[Figured I might as well post my research as I go along; others might find it useful and/or catch my errors.]

This 30 lb. scale is close to what I'm looking for, but the price is a bit much @ $354. It claims an accuracy of .01 lb (~5g increments) from 0 to 30 lbs.

Here's the spec sheet (PDF).

The 60 lb version of the same scale is $100 cheaper at $254.

It claims an accuracy of .02 lb (~10g increments) from 0 to 60 lbs.

I can see why the smaller is the more expensive. I think 10g would throw some recipes, though. Ye?

Here's spec sheet (PDF).



Another choice is this one @ $189.

It claims an accuracy of .01 lb (~5g increments) from 0 to 30 lbs, but it's almost 50% cheaper than the first one with .01 ($354). It also has front and rear LCD displays, is portable, is legal for trade, and is from Avery Berkel. No idea if they're affiliated with Berkel proper (mixer/slicer company). Hrmm, I'm liking this one!

Here's the spec sheet (PDF).



This one is the most industrial looking, but who knows if it's any better on the inside? Funny how stainless steel can trick you that way sometimes.

It claims an accuracy of .01 lb (~5g increments) from 0 to 40 lbs, so that gives me another 10 lbs. to work with.

The price is right at $154.

The display looks like it's in Spanish. I'll need to find out if that's just the international version or all versions. A minor detail I can work around for that price/accuracy.

Here's the spec sheet (PDF).



Also found this one, but the platform is too small. It's $74, looks cheaply made.

It claims an accuracy of of (1-11 lbs @ 0.1 oz; 11- 22 lbs @ 0.2 oz) or (0-5 kg @ 2 g, 5-10 kg @ 5 g).

That's not bad for the price. It's about as accurate as the Salter, but goes to 22 lbs.

Here's the spec sheet (PDF).

pmccool's picture

Stuff you weigh in pounds/kilograms, or ounces at least, can be handled by a bigger scale with lower precision.  Stuff you want to weigh in grams or fractions thereof are better handled by a smaller scale.  So, keep your Salter for the small stuff (salt, seeds, yeast, etc.) and buy a bigger scale with a higher capacity for weighing the heavy stuff (flour, water, etc.).  It'll save you money and sanity in the long haul.

Something else I learned from Mark.


wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

Ja, will do. I've tried using the Salter (which has a 1g resolution) for salt, yeast, etc., but it's doesn't seem to be accurate enough.

E.x. 2 teaspoons instant yeast should weigh 5.8 grams; but, when I weigh 5.8 grams, Salter gives me 2 tablespoons.

I suppose it could be operator error, but I don't trust it for small measures.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

on the scales you already have until you find that magic scales that makes your heart race.

A 3.6 kilo bowl?

wwiiggggiinnss's picture
wwiiggggiinnss (not verified)

Ja, is what I do now.

The 20 qt bowl is 3674 grams! I have a sticker on it to remind me of its weight because my poor, little Salter scale sometimes reports a weight <2000 g. 

[Take bowl off scale, reset scale, pray, put bowl back on scale, etc. It's become a ritual.]


msgenie516's picture

I don't think it's what you're looking for.  It also goes up to only 11 pounds and I have no idea how accurate it is for small measurements, as I've never tried that. 

But it is a nice, handy, easy to use, and easy to store scale.  It has a very low profile so it will fit most anywhere (believe me, I need that with all the baking paraphernalia I collect!) What I consider good points are the pull-out, lighted (when you want it) display and the "back to zero" button.  The reason for the pull-out display is that if you have a bowl that is too large and blocks the view of the display, you can pull it out to see it better.  And it is easy to put back as it is magnetized. 

There is also a button to light the display, if necessary.  I use that a lot with my "old" eyes-just love that feature but I would like it better if it stayed on longer-guess they're trying to save the battery. The "zero button" is just that, it sets the scale back to zero no matter what previously weighed ingredients are still on it. Or, you can set an empty bowl on the scale, set it back to zero, and start adding your ingredients.

Also, it allows you to work with it for a long time before it shuts down, which I think is a great idea.  Most scales seem to shut themselves off in a matter of minutes. I think this is really annoying.

It is around $50.00 but you can find it on sale sometimes.  I think a seller on Amazon has it for sale right now for a little under $40.00.  I bought mine at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $49.95 minus a 20 percent off coupon, for a final price of around $40.00.

I really enjoy this scale and take it out every chance I get!

Truffles's picture

I read somewhere that this scale doesn't show weights in decimels but in fractions. Is this true and if so how do you convert them?

Chuck's picture

I believe the fractions are only if you select "ounces"; for measuring in "grams" there don't seem to be any fractions to be converted.

In any case, even for "ounces" the fractions are only 1/8, 2/8, 3/8, etc., so you can write out the eight conversions in big letters on a single sheet of paper and stick it to the wall right in front of you.

Elagins's picture

since you're not using the scale for trade, you don't need legal certification.  you can find them on Amazon, eBay and all sorts of other sites for well under US$100.

Stan Ginsberg