by Allison Boyer
Many recipes call for measurement of ingredients by weight rather than volume. In this case, you'll need a kitchen scale to help you measure ingredients accurately. While it is possible to estimate weight using volume measurements, the more accurate you measure, the better. Food scales can also be useful for people on special diets. There are multiple styles of kitchen scales available on the market. To find the right kitchen scale for you, read the following fact sheet and learn more about the different types of kitchen scales.
Digital: The most accurate type of kitchen scale is the digital kitchen scale. Although these models are the most expensive, they can measure very small amounts and stay extremely accurate over time. Digital scales come in a variety of sizes and styles, from those that mimic the look of vintage scales to those with a modern look. Another advantage to digital scales is that the display updates quickly as you pour your ingredients, so there's no waiting while you measure.
Balance scales: If you ever took a high-school science class, you've probably used a balance scale. The advantage to a balance scale is that it uses a very simple mechanism that always remains accurate, even after many years. The main disadvantage of balance scales is that some may not be able to measure small amounts.
Mechanical scales: A mechanical scale has a platform that holds the ingredient, which presses down on a spring that gauges the weight. Some mechanical scales are hanging scales, like the ones you find in the produce section of the grocery store. The advantages of mechanical scales are that they are inexpensive and easy to use. The disadvantage is that the springs will eventually wear out, which means that mechanical scales become less accurate over time. Like balance scales, mechanical scales may not be able to measure small amounts.
Metric: In the United States, most scales are avoirdupois, which means that they measure weight in pounds and ounces. You can also find scales that display metric measurements, in case the recipes call for weight in grams. The most versatile scales measure in both pounds and grams.
Large-capacity scales: Most kitchen scales have a capacity of 5 pounds. If you are purchasing a scale for a commercial kitchen or often serve food in very large quantities, you might want a large-capacity scale. You can find balance, mechanical and digital scales that can measure large capacities.