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How we test kitchen scales

Accuracy is key when asssessing digital scales.

Last updated: 28 September 2021

If you like to bake, then you'll certainly want to include kitchen scales in your collection of appliances. Baking requires accurate measurements – after all, it's as much science as it is an art. With access to recipes all over the world you may come across some where the measurements are in ounces or pounds so having a scale to do the conversions takes the guesswork out.

We can compare them all side by side – we've got the testing down to a fine art. But whatever our experience may be, it's feedback from our members that guides how we test.

Our expert testers

There's no doubt our home economist Fiona Mair knows her way around a kitchen. With 30 years' experience, she's seen lots of new technology and gadgets enter the kitchen space. But one thing never changes when testing products – our experts need to get their measurements right every time. So we focus on the importance of accuracy and ease of use so that when it's time for you to buy, you can be sure you're buying a product that will do the job well.

How we choose what we test

Why do we choose one set of kitchen scales over another? As with most of our product testing, our aim is to test the most popular models on the market and what you're most likely to see in stores.

We survey manufacturers to find out about their range of models and check market sales information, and we also check for any member requests to test specific models. From this information we put together a final list that goes to our buyers. They then head out to the retailers and buy each product, just as a normal consumer would. We do this so we can be sure they're the exact same product any consumer would take home and not 'tweaked' in any way.

How we test

CHOICE is all about accuracy, so we have our own calibration lab where our lab manager checks all of our equipment, including our scales, for accuracy on a regular basis. We don't use ingredients to check the accuracy of the kitchen scales: we use precision weights for our test that are specifically used for calibration. We then test as follows.

Calibrated weights for testing kitchen scale accuracy

Calibrated weights ensure accuracy when reviewing digital kitchen scales' performance.

Performance tests

Our testers check the electronic kitchen scales for:

  • 10g increment accuracy
  • 1kg weight accuracy
  • maximum capacity accuracy
  • tare function (reset to zero). 

Each test includes three runs, and the score is based on the maximum increment. With the smaller calibrated weights, we make sure that they're handled with tweezers and soft gloves so oils from fingers don't affect the accuracy of the result.

Ease of use tests

These include assessing the ease of reading measurements and if there is possible obstruction of the display when the bowl is in position as it should be easy to read. We also look at how easy the controls are to use and whether the scales have a tare function, an auto turn off and a memory recall. They should be easy to clean, free from cracks and crevices, and easy to store.

Test criteria explained

The overall score for kitchen scales is made up of:

  • performance (40%)
  • ease of use (60%).

Our test lab

We maintain a kitchen lab that is up to date with the latest reference machines and calibrated measurement tools for our testers to bring you the right results.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.