We all add and subtract from our own recipes as we cook, eyeballing ingredients and just ‘knowing’ when something looks or tastes right. But when it comes to following new recipes, a set of kitchen scales is a must for every cook.
Digital kitchen scales will put the lift in your baking and perfectly balance those flavour combinations, making sure every new culinary experiment turns out as it should. But what should you look for when choosing them?
First things first, think about storage and use. If they’re hardly ever going to be out of storage apart from occasional baking sessions, look for something that can easily be stored away.
If you are going to be putting them to work regularly, something in stainless steel with a heavier casing may be in order, as the glass and plastic casings of some models won’t last the pace.
Some of the digital kitchen scales we looked at here will measure dry ingredients only, but all come with the ability to go back to zero after a bowl or plate is placed on top.
One by one, you can add ingredients, press ‘zero’ (some buttons show this as the ‘tare’ function) and then a new reading will appear for the additional element. This is handy to have and saves on washing-up when it’s a chaotic bake-off or complicated recipe.
We put a selection of scales through their paces in a busy family kitchen, using a variety of bowls, containers and roasting trays to measure wet and dry ingredients.
All our chosen scales were consistent in their measurements and all had their plus points, be it ease-of-storage, simple cleaning or the precise measurement of tiny amounts.
Best digital kitchen scales
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Joseph Joseph TriScale kitchen scales
Best kitchen scales for small spaces
If you don’t use kitchen scales on a regular basis, this set is fantastic to stash away for the rare – but essential – occasions when accuracy is needed for dry ingredients.
The housing of ingenious design is small and slim enough to fit easily into a utensil drawer when folded up, and when the three ‘legs’ are folded out and locked into place for use, they provide a three-pronged stand for plates and bowls.
Rubber feet make this nifty number rock-steady, although the LED display is not illuminated at all, with a ‘calculator’ style reading which can be reset to zero for adding ingredients.
The control and readout are on the end of one of the prongs and are small, but they can certainly be relied upon to give an accurate measurement of larger loads. 1g increments were not so successful in our tests, however.
Stellar Bluetooth diet scale
Best scales for healthy eaters
These scales can do so much more than weigh ingredients – they will help you understand the nutritional values of what goes into every dish you make.
Couple up with the Modern Chef phone app and fats, cholesterol, protein, fibre and sodium values will be displayed and logged on your handset, while the base unit shows items’ weight measurements.
You can add foodstuffs not already logged on the app’s comprehensive database and keep track of past meals in its archive.
All this is a bit of a faff if you need scales to measure out flour for a few fairy cakes, but it’s a worthwhile investment if you have dietary concerns or are following a weight loss programme – it also keeps track of daily totals and targets.
Easy to clean and with touch controls, we found we needed to really delve into the manual rather than ‘press and go’, but once mastered, it’s a clever piece of kitchen kit that will have you learning a lot about the way you eat.
Jean Patrique digital kitchen scales
Best budget kitchen scales
If you’re looking for something basic that will accurately measure out dry ingredients up to 5kg, then this little scale is a bargain buy that will fit right into your kitchen.
It’s available in blue, white and black tempered glass, and although not as curvy as some others, its basic, rectangular platform has ample room for bowls. The LED display is easy enough to read, with metric and imperial weight options.
There is a tare function so each new ingredient added to a container can be calculated singly. However, there is no option on this model for measuring liquids, so it is only suitable for those cooks who are happy to keep using the trusty measuring jug in their kitchen armoury.
Salter 10kg glass electronic digital kitchen scales
Best kitchen scales for larger loads
You’ve gone for the XL stand mixer, now for the set of scales you need to measure larger quantities.
These wipe-clean scales will accurately measure up to 10kg, so they also come into their own if you’re dividing up batches of dry ingredients for storage or tackling timings for a whopping Sunday joint.
Rather than having touch screen controls, like most digital scales we tried, these have a pair of sensitive push buttons on the near edge, meaning wet or doughy fingers are less likely to obscure the controls.
The red LED display is not the largest we tested but noticeably clear and bright.
We liked the way the controls for these scales were buttons that came out from the front edge of the machine, rather than being on the top of the platform. That way we could find them easily when things were being measured on the platform, rather than poking around for a touchscreen panel in the same space.
Tower black electronic kitchen scale
Best kitchen scales for clear display
At first unboxing, these scales seemed more lightweight than the rest, the plastic casing felt brittle in comparison to the heavier, tempered glass models we looked at.
But this set of scales more than made up for those shortcomings by offering accurate readings and a large, fantastically clear and bright LCD display that could be seen easily, even when larger bowls and baking trays were placed on top.
If your eyesight isn’t 20/20, you don’t want to have to fumble with your glasses when you have floury hands, so this is perfect. The round control panel was easy to navigate, with imperial and metric options for dry ingredients, as well as separate controls for measuring water and milk (which is denser and weighs more).
Up to 5kg and in 1g increments, we found these scales to be consistent and reliable in their measurements. A nifty set that cleaned up easily, with the stainless steel pad and surrounding plastic casing streak-free after a wipe down.
ProCook glass digital scales
Best kitchen scales for handy conversions
Another set of scales that comes with a handy ‘zero’ function, making it easy to add more ingredients as you go along. No liquid-measuring function on this model, though, so it’s good for dry ingredients only.
The plus points here are that the illustrated surface of these handy digital scales is useful for working out kitchen conundrums, giving oven heat conversions along with spoon and cup equivalent measures.
What we love most about this set though, is the thought put into how they can be stored when not in use. There’s a handy stainless steel loop in one corner for hooks and a hanging notch in the back (a bit like you’d find on a wall clock).
The loud beeps from the controls might annoy some cooks but the display is clear, and the battery charge monitor a useful function. Saying that, this came without the pair of batteries needed, so we had to root out our own pair of AAAs before we could get started.
Lakeland digital kitchen weighing scale
Best kitchen scales for bread makers
The only ‘dry ingredients only’ set in our line up that came with a weighing bowl, this sturdy set is from Lakeland, who can always be relied on to supply ‘can’t-live-without’ tools for the kitchen.
Because of the dome shaped base on this model, the detachable stainless steel bowl is elevated enough to keep the readings in sight. This little bit of height works well even if you use your own larger plate or tray instead.
Unusually, these scales will give you a room temperature reading and have a 99-minute timer too, so worth having around for bread-making, where both are especially useful when proving dough.
It’s not a slimline scale that will slip into a tiny gap at the side of your cookbooks, but the bowl will fit upside down over the base unit for cupboard or worktop storage, and it doesn’t take up too much room.
Our gripes are that two AAA batteries aren’t included and that there’s an automatic switch off after two minutes, so we had to turn the unit on again a few times during a leisurely baking session.
Heston Blumenthal with Salter precision dual platform digital kitchen scales
Best scales for precision baking
Well, this is all very fancy, but is it worth investing more then twice the dough for comparable, single-load scales? Yes, if you are using them a lot.
The larger pad takes weight up to 10kg with 1g increments, while the smaller one calibrates weights up to 200g, moving in 0.1g increments. That’s pinpoint so weigh up (sorry) whether you really need such precise measurements – we found them useful for balancing individual spices for our own garam masala mix, for example.
These look great on the countertop which is a good thing as they’re certainly the heaviest scales we tested, and you probably wouldn’t want to stuff them in a cupboard like some cheaper models. The weighty stainless steel looks very professional, they are very precise and are easy to keep clean.
Though not one for cooks who usually eyeball measurements and adjust to taste, this will please those who love to be spot on when it comes to following recipes just ‘so’.
How we tested kitchen scales
We reviewed a representative sample of kitchen scales and scored them against the following criteria. We tested using heavy ingredients in a roasting tin, plus flour to check precision.
Accuracy: the most important factor. We were looking for scales that weighed to finite degrees, ideally to the gram.
Maximum weight: scales can only bear a certain amount of load, so if you’re likely to be measuring large joints of meat or heavy ingredients like potatoes, be sure to check what the scales can handle.
Liquid measurements: ideally scales offer a variety of units, and millilitres come in really handy.
Reading panel: we looked for bright, large LED displays.
Ease of cleaning: scales should be easily cleaned with a quick wipe.
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This review was last updated in September 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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