How To Read Kitchen Scales – A Brief Guide

Digital kitchen scales are must-have for every modern home. Unlike my grandma’s old food scale with red rotating needles, digital kitchen scales are user-friendly. They work better than manual versions and are accurate when serving food. After about 72 hours of researching different brands, our experts decided to test some high-end kitchen scales. Without becoming a culinary instructor, we can guide you on how to read kitchen scales accurately. You’ll see more information in this guide.

Types of Kitchen Scales

Food scales can measure tiny amounts of coffee and heavy packs of ingredients. Most chefs are happy to use kitchen scales that are fast and accurate. While an efficient food scale makes culinary tasks easy, these kitchen equipment have different applications.

Digital Scales

Digital food scales appear to have more advanced technology because of their demand. This type of kitchen scale is very sensitive, and they work with batteries. However, most well-designed digital food scales can be recharged with electricity. An advantage of using this type of kitchen scale is the backlit display screen. With a bright LCD screen, it’s more convenient to use digital weighing equipment.

Features Of Modern Digital Kitchen Scales

  • Digital display
  • Stainless steel weighing platforms
  • Options to run on batteries or electricity
  • Memory recall, and automatic shutoff
  • Portable
  • Slim profile
  • Anti-rust materials that are easy to clean

Analog Hanging Scales

If you were an adult before this millennium, you should know this weight-measuring tool. It often comes with a hook for hanging the pan (steel or aluminum dish) to measure food items. Usually, this platform is a lightweight material with metallic properties. Fishermen and medical laboratory experts use these types of scales.

Apart from the analog type, there are digital hanging scales. The digital model provides more accurate measurements. Also, it displays weight measurements in multiple metric units like kilograms, ounces, and pounds. Both types of hanging scales perform similar functions, but with different applications.

Similarities Between Analog And Digital Hanging Scales

  • Hooks
  • Dish-chained pan
  • Housing

Mechanical Scales

This type of kitchen scale has an internal mechanism of springs. Usually, the user places food items on its top-loading platform. With the support of these springs, mechanical kitchen scales can withstand the weight and provide accurate measurements. Generally, mechanical scales are not reliable for measuring small quantities.

After a period, the compression rates of these spring might be inconsistent. However, there are high-quality mechanical scales, and people still prefer traditional kitchen scales.

 Features Of Mechanical Scales

  • Dishwasher-safe bowls
  • Easy to clean bowls
  • Rotating dials

How To Read Kitchen Scales

Ensuring accurate readability is important when serving and preparing foods. Inaccurate measurements when mixing recipes can ruin a culinary task or waste of ingredients. It’s quite easy to read digital kitchen scales because they state their values expressly. However, we will show you how to use a kitchen scale that gives analog measurements.


  • Determine The Tare Weight


It doesn’t matter if you want to measure a cup of flour or a bowl of tomato sauce. You’ll need to know the tare weight. Place an empty bowl on a kitchen scale before obtaining the value of any item. This technique will help to determine the tare (unladen) weight. 

While people say that placing the bowl is optional, it might help to hold larger items. Since food items need to stay on ideal platforms, the kitchen scale must measure anything that it senses. With a tare weight value, you can make deductions and know the net weight of any item. 

Simply subtract the tare weight from the scale’s gross weight value.  Don’t forget that gross weight values are also called ‘laden’ weight values. In measurement methods, it’s the net weight value that’s important.

With a digital kitchen scale, weight-loss enthusiasts can enjoy advanced features like nutritional and calorie settings. These features also to guide your measurements when preparing meals. Regardless of the type of weighing scale in the kitchen, don’t place hands on the pan during readings. You might not find this information in the instruction product manual.


  • Know The Graduation


Understanding the chart on your mechanical scale is important. Many models of this kitchen scale’s needles have 15 lines in between each pound. You might see a graduation of 7 lines in other models. After the springs settle, you will see the real indication of the scale’s rotating needle. 

Usually, needles wobble after loading the scale. So, you need to be sure of the particular lbs and oz values. Graduations with differences of twos are for the 7-line kitchen scale. The 15-line scales often have wider glasses because users need to see the lines.

Why Are Digital Kitchen Scales Better Than Analog Models?

Every task requires efficiency, and convenience of using a kitchen appliance can help. A digital scale comes with many features.

  • Unlike the analog mechanical scale, digital models have tare weight buttons. Chefs prefer digital scales because of their user-friendly features.
  • After mixing ingredients, the digital scale subtracts and gets the bowl’s weight automatically. You can repeat tare value readings for respective ingredients too.
  • Also, digital kitchen scales measure very small increments. Unlike mechanical scales, results are faster with digital measuring tools. These digital kitchen scales read weights in a split second, and their load cells are very sensitive.
  • The chances of making errors as you read results with ounce measurements are higher in mechanical scales. You can check the increase of weighted food items that absorbed moisture during cooking.
  • Most high-end digital scales have ‘smart’ functionality. It means they use remote features like Bluetooth, memory recall, and beep (alert) systems. Some models of digital kitchen scales are compatible with phone and tablet apps.

What To Ensure When Buying Kitchen Scales

Avoid kitchen scale products with glass platform because they are fragile. They are often expensive and less durable than scales with metal platforms. Buy the types with non-skid rubber feet on the bottom. These four rubber studs prevent the digital scale from sliding around slippery countertops.


Kitchen scales with backlit screens are easy to read. Their sleek design is an advantage of high-precision measurements. Ensure you get digital scales that can measure grinds. During food preparation, restaurants chefs use kitchen scales to measure both liquid or granular items. It’s important to read the measurements properly.

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