Digital Scales

Published September 1, 2008. From Cook's Illustrated.

Overview:

Handy as they are, measuring cups will never measure up to the accuracy of a digital scale. We’ve found that when measuring dry ingredients using a “dip and sweep” method, different cooks can be off by as much as 10 percent—a variance that, in baking, can mean the difference between a dense cake or a fluffy, tender crumb. To find the best scale for the job, we tested nine models, each measuring in 1-gram increments. As we placed 30-, 200-, and 500-gram lab weights on their surfaces-and moved them around to make sure readings were equal in every position-we found only negligible discrepancies (within 2 grams). We based our rankings, then, on how easy the scales are to use. Whether you choose a scale that measures in decimals (as the professionals use) or fractions (as most home recipes are written) is a matter of preference. We ranked scales most highly for roomy platforms (over 6 inches); at least 7-pound capacity; a large, clear readout display; and sensitive, accessible buttons. Our new favorite, which displays weights in… read more

Handy as they are, measuring cups will never measure up to the accuracy of a digital scale. We’ve found that when measuring dry ingredients using a “dip and sweep” method, different cooks can be off by as much as 10 percent—a variance that, in baking, can mean the difference between a dense cake or a fluffy, tender crumb. To find the best scale for the job, we tested nine models, each measuring in 1-gram increments. As we placed 30-, 200-, and 500-gram lab weights on their surfaces-and moved them around to make sure readings were equal in every position-we found only negligible discrepancies (within 2 grams). We based our rankings, then, on how easy the scales are to use. Whether you choose a scale that measures in decimals (as the professionals use) or fractions (as most home recipes are written) is a matter of preference. We ranked scales most highly for roomy platforms (over 6 inches); at least 7-pound capacity; a large, clear readout display; and sensitive, accessible buttons. Our new favorite, which displays weights in fractions or grams, measures up all around.

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  • Product Tested

  • Prices are subject to change.
  • Highly Recommended - Winner

    OXO Food Scale

    Exceptionally intuitive. The super-clear display offers an optional backlight, four easy-to-read buttons, and, unique to OXO, can be pulled out from the large, removable (i.e. washable) platform when weighing bulky items.

    $49.99

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended - Best Buy

    Soehnle 65055 Digital Scale

    Our previous favorite, this scale still impresses with its sexy design and more recently slashed price, though its non-compact structure makes storage a challenge.

    $29.75

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended with Reservations

    Soehnle Level 66200

    When we compared this sibling to our former favorite scale, this model was more disappointing. Its large surface was a plus, but the display is tiny and the single button for all functions can be vexing.

    $34.00

  • Recommended with Reservations

    Escali Pana Volume and Weight Scale

    Measuring in both fractions and decimals is a definite plus, but the buttons on this relatively low-capacity, somewhat bulky scale felt a bit sticky and cheap.

    $64.95

  • Recommended with Reservations

    American Weigh AMW-13 Digital Postal/Kitchen Scale

    Squarely compact and equipped with four clearly marked buttons, this scale’s only significant flaw was the irritating angle of its display window, which was impossible to read without crouching down.

    $29.95

  • Recommended with Reservations

    My Weigh iBalance 5000 Digital Kitchen Scale

    Save for the small surface area, the clear decimal readings illuminated by a bright backlight, plus five super-clear buttons and a counting feature made this seem like a dream scale—until we went to load the four AAA batteries, which continuously popped out.

    $46.90

  • Recommended with Reservations

    Terraillon Electronic Professional Digital Baker’s Scale

    This "baker’s scale’s" capacity far exceeded the other models, but between the sticky buttons (including the vexing switch between grams and ounces on the underside), its awkward frame, large price tag, and hesitation to turn on, we were less than impressed.

    $99.99

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