Having a scale is something not many consider, but it can save you a considerable hassle. If you plan on having a business (especially one related to food and consumables), then having a digital scale becomes a necessity. And the beer brewing business is serious business.
However, as with any product on the market today, you don’t need just any scale.
Not only do they vary in quality, you can also use digital scales for different purposes. The one you need depends on how you’ll use it.
Are you planning on getting one? Read below to know what to look for.
What is a digital scale?
Used for measuring weight, digital scales give you a reading on how much it weighs on a digital screen.
Scales were previously mechanical, and came with small pieces of iron or any other heavy material – all to balance the scale.
When the original weight offset, you got the result depending on where you left the iron parts. Digital scales today remove all of that. You only need to place the item you want after programming it on a computer, and the weigh displays automatically.
The only parts you need are the scale and a computer, and sometimes, the latter is unnecessary!
Components of a digital scale
- Load cell transducer
The central part of a digital scale, it senses whenever you apply pressure on it. It then produces the output signal that’s proportional to the placed weight. Load cells sensors aren’t exclusively transducers, yet all transducers are sensors.
While a sensor detects physical phenomena for producing a change, transducers translate these phenomena into an electrical output signal.
Load cells come in many types, and the most common for digital scales are the strain gauge kind. They come with an elastic metal material fixed to the parts that bend.
- Signal conditioner
While the previous component created the signal, this device amplifies it so that it reaches a readable level. The load cell output tends to be small, and it usually reads in mini-volts.
The signal conditioner increases this output through an instrumentation amplifier. Without this part, the first signal produced wouldn’t be enough for the scale to read it.
Together with the amplifier, there’s also a filter circuit. The signal conditioner has a second function; it filters the output and input signals.
This filter circuit works to remove the EMI (electromagnetic interference) that could interfere with the signal and its reading. It does so my decoupling AC signals from their DC output counterpart.
We can define a microcontroller easily by saying it’s the CPU (central processing unit) on a digital scale.
The signal conditioner produces an output signal that goes into the microcontroller’s input port. It takes care of converting it from an analogue to a digital signal. After doing so, the microcontroller reads the digital pulses produced by the conditioner, and it processes them for determining the weight.
After everything finishes, the CPU computes the result and displays it on the LCD screen. Sometimes, the process is shorter; some signal conditioners convert the analogue signal before sending it.
- LCD screen
This component is simply an LCD screen located on the front side of the digital scale. It’s connected to the microcontroller, and once it produces a result, the screen displays it with the usual numbers and units.
Different screens work in different ways. Some show you the result only, but others may contain additional information like other weight units.
Factors to consider before buying one
The first factor you should consider before purchasing a digital scale is how you’re going to use it.
If you’re using it for a supermarket or any store focused on selling consumables, you won’t need an industrial scale. As a general rule of thumb, you want the most straightforward scale your business can use.
Additional details include how easy it is to store the scale or how heavy are the objects you’re going to weight.
The scale a doctor uses isn’t the same one your local grocery store clerk uses. Likewise, a large manufacture plant needs a tool that’s entirely different for the other two’s necessities.
Closely tied to the previous factor, we have how much weight it can handle. It’s easy to think of buying the scale with the highest measurements, but there’s more to it.
First off, scales with lower capacity tend to cost less, so you may save some money by knowing how much you’re regularly measuring. Another significant consideration is how much extra weight you can place before it damages.
Some scales have safety measures that prevent damage when you place additional weight.
Why would you purchase a scale that you can’t read properly? Of course, you want to read your results without forcing your eyes too much.
However, readability goes further. It also relates to how many decimal numbers it can display. That’s when it becomes essential (again) to know how much capacity you need.
You see, larger scales tend to skip more decimals for favouring larger weights. Yet, when you’re working at a pharmacy or with very light products, you require those extra decimals.
Another reason to consider this is money. Depending on how small are the weights you’re handling, you may need more expensive models. This last type of scale is also unfit for industrial environments, so make sure you’re buying the right scale.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll like have to use your digital scale with a computer. Other external devices you may need include printers or other devices for increasing quality control and tracking processes.
Older digital scales are exclusive for weighing. However, modern models include several and different integrations, like Wi-Fi connectivity and USB ports.
Some scales even support advanced connections with equipment that enhances its inherent function. These integrations include tools for controlling how the output lines act with specific processes.
There aren’t many reasons for settling with a standard, weigh-only product.
- Special modes
This factor is closely related to the connectivity issue. You may want a scale for weighing your products and nothing more. However, you can find scales that support counting for parts, dynamic weighing, and a list of other functions.
If you need so, you’ll have to look for a scale with the required software for these additional features.
Other features you may need in your working day include data accumulation or display hold. All of these additional functions are something to keep in mind.
If you’re keeping an inventory, you may prefer to get a scale with data accumulation that can also count parts. Think about how much time you can save with some of these additional features before getting your digital scale.
The Best Digital Scales Available Today
OXO good grips food scale
The scale has a full capacity of 5Kg (11lb) and can measure ingredients with increments in 1g (1/8 oz). It allows for high precision. It also comes with a “zero” function; it lets you tare the scale before adding extra ingredients. It’s perfect for cooking.
The display shows large numbers and includes a backlight. It makes it easier to read, and it even includes how much of its total capacity remains. It also pulls away from the base, which prevents shadowing.
Works with 4 AAA batteries instead of cables and the stainless steel platform is removable.
- Hand washing supported
You can remove and wash the stainless-steel platform by hand. It makes it quick to clean, and you only need a cloth and some water to leave it shining. You can use soap if it’s too dirty.
- High precision
The gram increments let you read how much you’re adding effortlessly. The option to tare the balance is also great for increasing accuracy.
- Easy to move
It comes with no cables so that you can move it around without worrying about stepping on it. It also occupies less space, and it’s less prone to damage.
- High readability
The scale is seamless to read thanks to the lack of shadows and large, clear letters. The backlight also takes a lot of effort from having yo focus your sight.
- Great for cooking
The taring option is perfect for recipes. The ability to read how much is left to reach its maximum capacity it’s also an excellent addition. It’s a winner in Cook’s Illustrated, so its efficiency has proof.
- Extra costs
While being cordless is more practical, you’ll have to spend money buying batteries. It’s a recurring cost that you need to consider before buying.
AmazonBasics stainless steel digital scale
It’s a digital kitchen scale that includes widescreen LCD. Up to 5Kg (11lb) makes up its total capacity; on the other hand, the minimum capacity is 2g.
It comes with advanced sensor technology for delivering accurate measurements quickly. You can choose whether you want the results to come in grams, ounces, or pounds.
It also includes a “tare” button. Again, it lets you reset the count to zero so that you can measure the items you need and add up later.
Its dimensions are 8.7×7.1×1.6 inches (LengthxWidthxHeight), so you’ll face no problems when placing it. It works with two AAA batteries. Two AmazonBasics batteries come inside the package.
- Easy to read
The widescreen LCD lets you see the numbers seamlessly. You don’t have to strain your eyes, for the numbers are big.
- Adapts to any system
You can have the results show in grams, ounces, or pounds. That way, you can follow any recipe regardless of whether they use the US or metric system. You won’t have to convert any recipe anymore!
- Practical and fits anywhere
The digital scale is small, and you can carry it anywhere; you won’t have to move too much to make room for it on your counter. The lack of cord also makes it easier to locate anywhere.
- Modern technology implemented
AmazonBasics employs the latest technology available in its sensors. That way, you can be 100% sure of its results. Not only is it accurate, but they’re also instant. You only need to place the item you want to weight and look down.
- Batteries included
It comes with two AAA batteries from the manufacturer. It’s a great way to save costs, and the batteries last for a long time. You won’t have to worry about replacing them a month after you bought the scale.
- BPA free
The scale certifies free of BPA in its components. You won’t have you worry about any ill-effects from prolonged use.
- Still requires batteries in the long run
While it comes with two long-lasting batteries, they still die out. You’ll have to replace them later. Other cells will probably be lower quality as well, so it’s still a considerable added expense.
It comes with a folding mailer holder. It can stand up to 90 degrees upright to fit irregular types of packages.
Its capacity reaches up to 22.6Kg (50lb); results can show as pounds, pounds and ounces, grams, and kilograms and grams.
It allows you to reset the display back to 0.0 (taring). It also includes a holder tool for weighing oversized items. Its has self-calibration functionality. You can use any item weighing above 2.2kg for this purpose.
It runs both on three AAA batteries or with a 5v adapter. Both come inside the package.
- Perfect for mailing
It comes with a unique holder for placing items that may be oversized or have irregular shapes. Its readability is also exact, so you’re able to measure small pieces with accuracy.
- Precise readability
You can weight down to a tenth of an ounce. It’s among the best scales for measuring lighter material like letters or cardboard pieces. It’s another reason why it’s so good for mailing.
- Easy to calibrate
You don’t have to get something that reaches the scale’s max capacity. You can calibrate the scale with anything over 2.2kg, and that saves time and space.
- Power versatility
It works with both batteries and an adapter. That way, you don’t have to worry about spending extra on power cells if you don’t want to. You can choose between a power cord if you’re going to save on batteries or otherwise if you wish for comfort.
- Adaptable readings
You have four different ways to display weights. Ounces and grams let you go for precision and detail while pounds/ounces and kilogram/grams give you complete data.
- Items at the end of its capacity may not fit
While it does have a holder for larger items, it can be awkward to measure larger items since they may not fit the scale correctly and tip over.
Smart Weigh digital scale
It has a smart design with sleek and wide platforms for holding larger packages. Its extendable cord also lets users read the weights without issues regardless of the size of the item.
The stainless steel is highly durable, and the scale holds up to 200kg (440lb). The minimum reading is 170g (6oz).
It comes with a taring option, automatic turning off for preserving power, and a USB cord for an additional power source. It can read in kilograms, grams, pounds, and pounds:ounces.
- Sturdy scale
It holds up to 200kg, so it guarantees that it can take a lot of pressure. You won’t have to worry about it breaking with too much weight. You can even weigh yourself! The CPU is on a separate block, joined by a long chord.
- Comfortable for reading
The separate display makes it easy to read since you won’t have to kneel or lower your face to see the results. You can lift the screen and even set up the additional features being away from the scale itself.
Its USB cord lets you power it from an additional power source, saving on batteries and extra expenses. It even comes with the option to turn itself off so that it can preserve power when not in use.
You can use it for shopping, mailing, and even on a doctor’s office. You can use it in your home if you want, and its design makes it easy to fit any package.
- Perfect for mailing and shopping
The scale lets you weight many items regardless of their weight. You can use it to weigh meat and vegetables when you’re shopping; you can also use it to predict mailing costs.
- Not ideal for cooking or weighing small amounts
Since its minimum measure is 170g, you may have trouble weighing cooking ingredients for small dishes. Using it for small parts like nails can also be an issue.
Ozeri ZK14-S Pronto
This scale is easy to use and looks elegant as decoration. It weighs up to 5.1kg (11.24lb) with accurate graduations of 1g (0.5oz).
It features five measurement units: grams, pounds, pounds:ounces, ounces, and millilitres. All results display on an easy-to-read screen. It also comes with a “tare” button for subtracting any container.
Its weighing platform has a chrome finish with two large buttons that click when fit.
Two AAA batteries make it run, and it features automatic power-off on a two-minute mark.
- Fits anywhere
Its size makes it seamless for you to place it anywhere. It’s perfect for your kitchen, and its design is attractive with decorative features.
- Automatic turn-off saves power
It turns itself off after two minutes, so you don’t have to worry about leaving it on and draining the batteries.
- Varied measure units
It supports five different units so that you can convert any weigh depending on your needs.
- Perfect for cooking
The small measurements turn it into the best ally when cooking. You can weigh any ingredients you need without worrying it will go below the minimum reading. Its taring option also makes it great for weighing items inside containers.
It doesn’t support external power sources, so you have to purchase batteries for it. It comes with trial batteries, but you’ll still need to change them after a while.
You may need a scale for cooking, or you may need it for measuring a package before sending it. There are many uses for digital scales, and there are many kinds of scales for each one. You must know how you’re going to use it and why you need the scale. There’s no reason to purchase a scale with a maximum capacity of over 100kg if you only need it for cooking. Likewise, you’ll probably break a small kitchen scale if you use it for weighing someone.
Knowing the size you need and what functions are essential is the best way to save money. Don’t purchase a scale with features you’ll never use if you want to lower expenses, and don’t settle for a primary tool if you need an advanced scale.