Best Kitchen Scale of 2020
In testing and comparing compact, digital kitchen scales, the Azeus was the best in our review. When we tested accuracy by weighing calibration mass pieces, it measured each test piece precisely the same as its marked value. When comparing start-up speeds, the Azeus came out just above the middle of the pack. In the initial days of rigorous testing, followed by months of semi-regular use we didn't have to recharge the battery at all. Now, after more than half a year of occasional use, we still haven't recharged this award winner. The battery is long-lasting, to put it mildly. When it eventually fades out, we like that we can recharge it with a standard micro usb cord. The screen is large and well lit, making it is easy to use and see. The scale offers a wide assortment of measurement units for both liquid and mass measurements.
The Azeus controls are done with touch style buttons. When you activate any of the button changes, you get no tactile feedback. Our test team preferred buttons with positive feedback better than these non-moving touchscreen-style buttons. When we made our initial kitchen scale selections and purchases, we liked that the promotional pictures suggest that the Azeus scale could be rinsed off or washed like dishes. However, a sticker on the device itself and the instruction manual indicates that the scale is not meant to get wet. That particular and widespread promotional picture contradicts the product information we received with the product itself. We did not get the scale wet to verify one perspective against the other but is certainly a confusing message to send to consumers.
The Nicewell Kitchen Scale has a clean aesthetic and offers a capacity much greater than most other options. At 10 kg (about 22 pounds), the maximum capacity is more than enough for almost any home kitchen project. The base of the Nicewell is sticky (in a good way), and the overall mass of the scale itself is pretty heavy. This makes for a highly stable scale that doesn't get pushed around your counter or desk.
The large, smooth, stainless steel platform of the Nicewell shows smudges and fingerprints more than others. Cleaning is only possible with gentle wiping; no liquids allowed, according to product instructions. In our accuracy testing, the Nicewell was decent but couldn't register the smallest loads. Only a few scales in our review could differentiate between masses under three grams or so.
The GreaterGoods Digital Food Scale is small and sleek. The small construction and grey color scheme virtually disappear in any kitchen; we appreciate this. In our accuracy test, it was an average performer. Average accuracy, in this case, is pretty darn good. A one gram error here and there will hardly be noticed in any normal kitchen or home use.
The CR2032 battery is fairly common but not as standard as the AAA batteries that others employ. You might have CR2032 batteries around, but you are sure to have AAAs in hand. Thankfully, batteries in a kitchen scale last a long time. In our repeated, head-to-head boot-up races, the GreaterGoods scored near the bottom of the pack. It differs from our leader by almost one second. This may seem minor, but in application, this can mean the difference between actually using your scale for portion control versus skipping that step in your meal preparations. Boot up time is one of the biggest differentiators in this otherwise pretty comparable category of consumer electronics. When weighing your food is an optional but valuable step, having a scale that boots up quickly removes a potential barrier to executing that task.
The Ozeri ZK14-S kitchen scale is versatile, compact, inexpensive, and as accurate as it claims to be. It boots up quickly and is available in many different colors. It uses standard AAA batteries. In our accuracy testing, it, along with just a few others, weighed every calibrated load exactly as advertised, to the nearest whole gram. The six kilogram capacity of the Ozeri is greater than average.
Our primary complaint with the Ozeri is its small weighing platform. The round platform doesn't provide a lot of space to fit things onto the scale. The higher than average load capacity doesn't amount for much because you don't have space to put bigger items on the scale. One feature we did find to be useful is the small lip around the edge. Round things are a little less likely to roll off the Ozeri. Additionally, the unlit display screen was less pleasant to use than the backlit versions on higher scoring models. Overall this is a basic but high-quality scale being offered at a good price.
The GreaterGoods Nourish digital food scale is a niche option for those who want to get serious about meal prep and nutritional content. This scale comes with a handbook of over 2000 foods that, in conjunction with weighing your food, lets you enter a corresponding code that will tell you the nutritional content of whatever you weighed. Want to know how many calories are in that piece of cheese? The Nourish will tell you in one step. The display, though small, is well backlit and easy to read. The scale is also equipped with rubberized feet on the bottom that keeps the scale from sliding around while in use. It had decent bootup times, going from off to weigh ready in about two seconds. It's accuracy, although not perfect, was in line with all the other scales we tested.
The nutritional content function makes the scale more complicated to use than most and is entirely reliant on having the food code bank manual on hand (or memorized, like those brilliant grocery store checkers that know every fruit and vegetable code). With its focus on nutritional content and meal prep, the only units it displays are grams and ounces. While you could use this to weigh anything, we found the nutritional content display to be visually distracting and too specialized for everyday use.
The MyWeigh KD8000 is a robust, full-function kitchen scale. It delivers the results of your weight examinations in a wide variety of formats, including bakers-preferred percentage calculations. If you want to double (or halve or triple or adjust by 137%…) a recipe, this scale will do exactly that for you. You can measure out the initial amount and then add or remove the ingredient until the screen reflects the mathematical change you desire. We like that it will run on batteries or on wall power. No other scale we tested could be plugged into a wall outlet.
Compared to the other offerings in 2020, the KD8000 is neither the most compact nor the easiest to use. With sensors, electronics, and power sources getting more and more compact all the time, other offerings are definitely smaller than the MyWeigh. Bulky and complicated to use, it takes up more than four times the space of any other award winner. The power cord alone is only a little less bulky than the entire AWS Pocket Scale.
The AWS Pocket Scale is just a little thicker than your average smartphone. It weighs small loads to the nearest tenth of a gram and displays that mass on a clear, lit screen. Its weighing function is similar to that of a typical kitchen scale; it is just much smaller, with tighter resolution and a lower max weight. One of our favorite features is the additional space for an extra set of AAA batteries in the battery compartment. You can store extra, unused batteries inside the scale, ready for future use. Why other consumer electronics do not include this simple and appreciated attribute is a complete mystery to us.
The American Weigh Scales Pocket is much, much smaller, in every way than the other products we tested. One of the most limiting factors is the low maximum capacity. Six hundred grams, or about 1.5 pounds, isn't enough to weigh many of the things you really want to weigh. In our day-to-day use of scales, we have found that 5000g (or about 11 pounds) is a reasonable threshold for shipping estimates and recipe use. The AWS is a much lower capacity than that. For precise measurement of smaller loads, the AWS beats the rest of the competition.
The Etekcity Stainless kitchen scale features a wide selection of measurement units, is small, and looks clean and simple. It'll weigh for you in grams, ounces, and pounds. It will accurately deduce the volume of water and milk (and liquids of similar and respective density) by these fluid's mass.
We performed four different weight accuracy tests with each tested scale. Some got every single test correct to the nearest tenth of a gram. None had more than two errors, and when they did the error was never more than one gram. The EtekCity missed two weights. This makes it the poorest performing scale, in terms of accuracy, in our test. One measurement was too much by one gram, and another was too little by one gram. This may sound dramatic, but it isn't. In all but the most precise of applications, the errors we found with the EtekCity will be entirely unimportant. If you commonly operate in such precise situations, a science-grade balance is going to be required; consumer-grade kitchen electronics like this don't stack up.
The Oxo Good Grips scale has a minimalist design. A couple of things stand out. First, especially in this age of enhanced attention on sanitation, we are glad to see the removable, washable weighing surface. You can replicate this on any scale with a dinner plate, but it is still somehow nice to see this feature integrated on the Oxo. Next, the screen of the Oxo includes a timer. This timer counts up from zero. It is better than nothing, but for kitchen use, we wonder why it doesn't count down and include a basic alarm.
The construction of the Oxo is pretty lightweight. In use, we definitely liked the stability afforded by heavier scales. It is a minor difference, but heavier scales stay put between and during use better than the light ones. Bumping and chasing your scale around the kitchen counter is a minor annoyance, but an annoyance nonetheless. Also, in the realm of minor complaints, we generally prefer positive "click" buttons. The touchscreen style of this Oxo requires a little more attention than buttons that give clicking feedback.
The Primo P115C scale from Escali is simple and basic and perfectly measured all four of our calibrated accuracy test loads. It looks like you expect a scale to look. If you have a guest in your kitchen or office and ask them to grab the scale, they'll identify it right away. Some of the other products do not look nearly as 'scale-like'.
The initial purchase price is more than we'd expect for a product with this level of performance. We also wish the surface were a little larger. Finally, and especially at this price range, a lit screen would be very appreciated with the Escali. Value and usability concerns like these are minor, but are the things that truly differentiate products like this.
The AmazonBasics Stainless kitchen scale is simple and clean. It isn't perfect, but it'll do most kitchen and office jobs just fine. Given the overall storage size and round surface, it has a relatively large weighing surface area. Small items on that surface won't necessarily roll over the lip at the edge.
The unlit screen is easy to read, but it would be even easier to view with a backlight. In our accuracy test, during which we weighed four known loads, the AmazonBasics scale misjudged by one gram each time, the weight of three of them. In actual application, a one gram error isn't a huge deal. However, when another competitor has measured, exactly, all four weights right to the nearest tenth of a gram, the Amazon product's performance stands out.
Why You Should Trust Us
We have been testing home, office, and recreational equipment for many years. We do so with a rigorous, objective, repeatable protocol and employ experts in the field. For these digital scales, we employed a team consisting of long time GearLab contributor Jed Porter and his wife, Rosie De Lise.
Jed is a full-time mountain guide known for spreadsheeting everything. He loves weighing things and loves the scales required. He has a spreadsheet that records the weight of every piece of gear in his possession, to the nearest gram. Rosie is a full-time eBay reseller, weighing packages for thrice-weekly shipping all around the world. She lent valuable insight into actual usability and efficiency. The testing protocol we developed mimics your actual use; we tested for accuracy, aesthetics, and ease of use. Within ease of use, we tested for, among other things, boot-up speed, button and screen use, units available, range, and ease of cleaning.
Analysis and Test Results
We've summarized the options and detailed our testing. We found real and essential differences between these scales.
Ease of Use
For a kitchen scale to be of actual utility, it has to be easy to use. If it is easily stowed, fast to boot up, the right size (not too big, not too small), washable, and employing buttons and screens that are easy to activate and interpret, you will use it more often and with greater confidence. Ease of use is the most important consideration. They all look good enough, and all are accurate enough. How they differ in terms of ease of use is what truly differentiates them.
Let's look first at the display. We like large, lit displays. Half the scales have lit displays. It is no coincidence that most of our award winners have lit screens. The Etekcity Stainless is the only scale with a lit screen that didn't win an award. The Ozeri ZK14-S is the only award winner that didn't have a lit screen.
Next, let us talk about boot-up speed. This wasn't a criterion on our radar at first. It wasn't until we had tested for a while that we realized how much this varied and how much it informed our overall impressions. To test, we simply performed a series of "head to head" tests and compiled a ranking. The AWS Pocket scale is definitely the fastest. There is virtually no significant delay between the on button and weigh-readiness. At the other end of the spectrum, the Oxo Good Grips and MyWeigh KD6000 are slow enough that we found ourselves waiting somewhat impatiently to gather basic data. The Azeus is about average. The otherwise unremarkable GreaterGoods Scale is very fast to boot up. It does so almost as fast as the AWS.
Our test team preferred buttons with a positive "click". This could be a matter of personal preference. Some tested scales have "touchscreen" style buttons. This feels modern and innovative, but it makes for clumsier use. Tactile feedback from the buttons is definitely helpful. Of the award winners, only the Azeus and Nicewell scales had non-positive, "touchscreen" style buttons.
If your scale will sit out in view, you want it to look good. We collected a couple of opinions and found there to be enough patterns to draw conclusions. Our team preferred low profile, rectangular, steel, or glass scales, and the Azeus was unanimously the best looking. The appearance of the Nicewell is part of what earned it that award. Testers also liked that the Ozeri ZK14-S comes in a whole bunch of different colors. Few of the others come in any different colors, much less the plethora of options that Ozeri gives you.
We tested accuracy by weighing calibration masses of known weights. We did so across a range of weights over a total of four tests with each scale. The most accurate scale got the "answer" right, to the nearest tenth of a gram. The least accurate scale missed three of the weights by one gram. In the grand scheme of things, given what we're typically weighing with these scales, this isn't a huge variation in accuracy. In short, for typical kitchen and office use, all the scales we tested are accurate enough.
If you demand absolute accuracy for small loads, the American Weigh Scales Pocket scale is the absolute best. It has one-tenth gram resolution and weighed all our calibration weights exactly as marked. For reference, 1/10 of a gram is a little more than the weight of one typical grain of popcorn. One gram is seven grains of popcorn, roughly.
The Oxo Good Grips scale also has one-tenth gram resolution, but it wasn't quite as accurate as the AWS. Only when rounded to the nearest gram, did the Oxo get all the masses correct.
All the rest of the scales had one gram resolution. Among them, the Escali Primo P115C and Ozeri got all four test rounds correct. The Azeus, Nicewell, MyWeigh, and Greater Goods scales were accurate with three of the four weights. For all four of these scales, the only one they missed was when weighing the one gram calibration mass. This is the hardest mass to get right, and arguably the least important. We aren't often using a scale like this to weigh exactly one gram of something.
Over almost a decade now, we have developed and refined our testing protocol for consumer goods. We apply this same general and rigorous attention to detail to our assessment of kitchen scales. We trust that the result is a review text that serves to connect you with the best product for your purposes. Whether you are weighing packages for shipment, ingredients for recipes, food for nutritional content, or anything else, the feedback we provide on each tested kitchen scale will serve to guide your eventual choice.
— Jediah Porter