Kitchen scales reviews

We put electronic and mechanical kitchen scales to the test.
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  • Updated:5 Oct 2008

04.What to look for

What to look for

  • Capacity The maximum weight the scales can hold for the domestic kitchen; 3 – 5 kg is sufficient. Bear in mind that the maximum weighing capacity of the scales includes the total weight of the ingredients and the weight of the bowl/tray.
  • Weighing bowl Some kitchen scales come with a lightweight bowl or measuring jug, which are handy and practical - particularly when using the tare function with heavy ingredients (you're less likely to reach the maximum capacity before you finish weighing). All bowls in this test are removable so you are free to use any container if you wish.
  • Weighing platform You want to have a large enough platform area to hold most of your ingredients, but it is OK if some of it hangs over the side as long as it is balanced and centred on the platform and you can still see the readout (e.g. the KENWOOD DS700 electronic scales had this problem) . Also your ingredients should never rest against anything other than the scales weighing tray, otherwise your readout will be inaccurate.
  • Tare is used to reset the scale to zero and allows for continuous weighing. To use the tare function, place the container on the scale and press the tare button or realign the measurement scales to zero for mechanical types. Your scale returns to zero allowing you to now add items to the scale and only see the weight of those items within it.
  • Imperial and metric measuring system Handy for using older recipes or gives you the option to use whichever system you’re most comfortable with.
  • Non-slip base This is more important for mechanical scales where the base is used to reset the scales to zero.
    Storage Mechanical scales can be bulky especially if they have a bowl attached, however the SALTER and TERRAILLON mechanical scales have an appealing, old-fashioned look that would sit nicely on a bench top in the right style kitchen. Electronic scales are quite compact and flat and can be stored away easily.
  • Liquid measure feature You can weigh liquids on any scale using a kilogram readout providing that they are of similar density to water. Weighing more or less dense liquids like honey or oil will give you a measurement either slightly more or less than the required amount, unless the recipe lists a liquid amount in grams rather than millilitres – which would be very unusual.

Electronic scales

  • Screen Easy to read digital display with clear labelling.
  • Automatic turn off screen Turns the screen off saving the battery when not in use. If you do lots of batch weighing, choose a model that has a longer time period before it switches off.
  • Battery Low indicator Digital display signal shows life of battery.

Mechanical Scales

  • Easy to read increments: the numbering should be clear with a contrast colour needle.
  • Easy to zero either by base rotation or dial.

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