The Best Kitchen Scale

If you need an all-purpose digital kitchen scale for baking, cooking by ratio, or even measuring beans to brew coffee, the Jennings CJ4000 ($26) combines some of the best features we’ve seen in a scale. We found this after nearly 30 hours of research, interviews with experts, and tests over the last two years. The Jennings is easy to use and store, comes with an AC adapter to save on batteries, and has an auto-off function that you can disable—so you can take your sweet time mixing or brewing. It costs roughly half the price of our previous pick and can do one thing our previous pick can’t: It measures in half grams for even better precision.

Last Updated: September 11, 2014
After 30 hours weighing everything from bread dough to coffee beans, the $26 Jennings CJ4000 is the best digital kitchen scale for most people. It’s the only model we tested that measures in half grams—something our prior pick can’t do—for better precision. For accuracy down to .1 g for coffee and spices, we also have a great pocket scale.
Expand Previous Updates
August 15, 2014: Setting this guide to wait status while we work on switching our pick to the Jennings CJ-4000. Check back soon for an updated guide with all of our latest research and testing.

The Jennings beat other scales we tested for its precision, small profile, and ability to disable the auto-off function. Its .5-gram accuracy makes it more versatile for baking, cooking, and brewing.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $27.
Since we first reviewed kitchen scales in 2013, we received reader complaints about the accuracy and functionality of our prior top pick, the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale with Pull-Out Display ($50). We decided to test more scales and, in the process, found that we still really like the OXO for its slim profile, pop-off weigh platform, and pull-out display.

Also Great
*At the time of publishing, the price was $36.
The My Weigh KD8000 is bulkier than our main pick and only measures in full grams, but can display in baker’s percentages and has a whopping capacity of 17 pounds 9 ounces.
And, as it turns out, the majority of the complaints about the OXO are due to some rogue models that default to ounces when turned on, even if you last used grams (the company says they’ll replace or fully refund these malfunctioning scales).  We still think the OXO has the best overall design, but with a lower price tag and some really smart features, the Jennings CJ4000 should please the majority of people.

Also Great
*At the time of publishing, the price was $19.
The SC-2KG measures in increments of .1 gram, ideal for making espresso at home but also great for a range of coffee brewing. This scale also reads in Troy ounces and pennyweight for weighing precious metals.
If our main pick sells out, our runner-up choice is the $36 My Weigh KD8000. It only measures in full grams and can be somewhat of a beast compared to the others we tested, but it’s great for high-quantity baking (it can weigh up to 17 pounds, 9 ounces of ingredients). Like our top pick, you can use an AC adapter with it and disable the auto-off function, and the backlight stays lit as long as the scale is on.

For those who need even more accuracy for smaller amounts, we like the $18 American Weigh’s SC-2KG pocket scale  with a capacity of .1 gram to 2 kilograms (great for weighing espresso).

Table of contents

Who is this guide for?

Anyone who wants more consistent results from their baking, cooking, or coffee brewing should consider getting a kitchen scale.

You probably already know that bakers recommend using a food scale. The delicate alchemy of ingredients relies on precision, and there’s no better way to achieve that than by using a scale. According to Alton Brown, one cup of flour can equal anywhere from 4 to 6 ounces, depending on who measures it, how old it is, the size of the bag, and relative humidity. That’s a 50 percent disparity, the difference between a light-as-air cake and one that’s tough or rubbery.

Less commonly understood are the benefits of cooking with a scale. It’s far more accurate to weigh ingredients than to cram them into a measuring cup. Take cheese as a classic example: a recipe may call for a cup of shredded cheddar, but you’ll get different volumes grating with a box grater, microplane, or food processor. The same holds true for nuts, vegetables, or any number of ingredients that you’ll cut up. Your chop or dice may differ from that of the recipe tester.

For precision coffee brewing, as with pour-overs, a scale can help you get an accurate combination of beans and water every time.
For precision coffee brewing, as with pour-overs, a scale can help you get an accurate combination of beans and water every time. Weighing ensures consistency.

Beyond accuracy, many chefs also like using a food scale because it makes cooking faster and simpler. Michael Ruhlman, author of Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, told us he likes cooking by ratio because it streamlines the mixing process. If you know the ratios in your recipe, you can whip up a batch of pasta dough (three parts flour, two parts egg) or biscuits (three parts flour, two parts liquid, one part fat) in a few minutes, or tailor the recipe to the number of guests you’re serving.

And since you can measure all your ingredients into one mixing bowl—subtracting cups and spoons from the equation—this type of cooking also cuts down on dishes. Who doesn’t like that?

Should I upgrade from the one I have?

Even cheap digital scales can be very accurate, so if you’re currently using a $15 or $20 model that easily switches from grams to ounces, you might not want to upgrade.

Peter Reinhart, author of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and the forthcoming Bread Revolution: World-Class Baking with Sprouted and Whole Grains, Heirloom Flours, and Fresh Techniques, told us that for years he’s happily used a cheap food scale that only has an on/off button and tare feature.

The bright backlit screen of the Jennings CJ4000 scale, left, is one of the features that sets it apart from cheaper scales, like the very basic Ozeri Pro Digital Kitchen Scale, right.

The bright backlit screen of the Jennings CJ4000 scale, left, is one of the features that sets it apart from cheaper scales, like the very basic Ozeri Pro Digital Kitchen Scale, right.

But your scale may not be perfect. Upgrading will get you more features, such as a backlit screen, AC adapter, pull-out screen, or the ability to read in half grams.

How we picked and tested

Digital is the way to go for kitchen scales these days. Although you can still find old-school balance and mechanical/spring scales, digital ones combine accuracy and a slim design at a better price. They’re also the standard in professional kitchens. (Michael Chu, of Cooking For Engineers, gives a great explanation of the pros and cons of each style.)

As Michael Ruhlman told us, a scale “must read in grams and ounces. And, of course, it needs to be accurate.” Preferably the scale will read out in decimals rather than fractions (some scales come with both functions, but pro chefs recommend just decimals).

Any decent digital food scale has a tare button, which allows the scale to subtract the weight of the mixing bowl and report only the net weight of ingredients. You should be able to repeatedly tare, so you can zero out the weight of whatever’s in the bowl and measure additional ingredients.

The auto turn-off function shouldn’t kick in too quickly. It’s annoying when the scale turns off before you’ve finished measuring, because you’ll have to reweigh ingredients.

Most digital food scales weigh in whole grams (or eighths of an ounce). That level of accuracy is fine for most recipes. But for some tasks—like pour-over coffee or perfecting the amount of salt in your pain Poilâne—you might want a scale that goes down to .5 or .1 grams.

As for how much the scale will weigh, according the Ruhlman, unless you’re curing whole muscle cuts or making enormous batches of dough, a 6-11-pound-capacity scale should be fine for the average home cook. Peter Reinhart told us: “If you’re baking at home, you’re probably using something like a KitchenAid mixer, and you’ll rarely mix more than a couple pounds of flour at a time.”

Beyond these basics, the buttons on the scale should preferably be covered in a plastic membrane (a.k.a. “seamless”), so gunk won’t collect in the cracks and you can clean the machine easily. And when making large batches of food or cooking all day, an AC adapter can also be a nice feature. “Recipe testers I work with love to have plugs because they use scales all day,” said Ruhlman. “Changing batteries is a pain.” It’s also nice if the scale has a good-sized weigh platform that will easily hold a large mixing bowl or sheet pan.

Some scales also offer a “counting” function alongside weight. To use it, you weigh a sample set of 10 or 20, for example, and the scale then counts new objects based on the average weight of your sample set. We don’t think most people need this feature (though some enterprising bakers have used this function to do baker’s percentages).

The only thorough review of kitchen scales that we found was in Cook’s Illustrated. We did, however, find plenty of editorials—from The New York Times to a video by Alton Brown—preaching the gospel of cooking by ratio. User reviews of these gadgets also abound. Because of the lack of editorial reviews, we leaned heavily on advice from our experts.

In addition to testing the accuracy of the scales with lab weights and bread dough ingredients, we timed how long each stayed on before the auto-off function kicked in.

In addition to testing the accuracy of the scales with lab weights and bread dough ingredients, we timed how long each stayed on before the auto-off function kicked in.

We tested the accuracy of each scale with lab weights (500 g, 100 g, 50 g, 20 g, 1 g, and .5 mg) and weighed bread dough and pour-over coffees on each. Then, to get a better feel for how we liked the specific features, we used the scales daily for two weeks.

Our pick

The Jennings beat other scales we tested for its precision, small profile, and ability to disable the auto-off function. Its .5-gram accuracy makes it more versatile for baking, cooking, and brewing.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $27.
The Jennings CJ4000 ($26) offers the ideal weight range we’ve found for baking, cooking, and coffee brewing. It’s compact enough to store easily, it comes with an AC adapter, you can disable the auto-off function, and the backlight stays on as long as the scale does—all for just a few more bucks than a barebones digital scale, making it a pretty good buy. It also has a counting function (for tallying large quantities of small, individual items) that might come in handy for jobs outside of the kitchen.

With a capacity of .5 grams to 4000 grams (about 8.8 pounds), the Jennings scale is the only model we tested that’s precise enough for pour-overs…
With a capacity of .5 grams to 4000 grams (about 8.8 pounds), the Jennings scale is the only model we tested that’s precise enough for pour-overs and capable of handling big batches of dough. (For even more accuracy, see our recommendation below.) None of the scales we tested were 100 percent accurate, and the Jennings scale tacked an extra .5 grams to most of our lab weights. But for the most part, this scale accurately climbed in .5 increments.  You may not currently need this level of accuracy, but we like that the precision gives you options down the road.

When turned on, the scale defaults to the last unit measurement used. Simply press the “mode” button to switch between grams, ounces, pounds, and pieces (the counting function).

When turned on, the scale defaults to the last unit measurement used. Simply press the “mode” button to switch between grams, ounces, pounds, and pieces (the counting function).

The Jennings scale has one of the smallest footprints of the scales we tested, making it easy to store on a counter or slip into a cupboard or drawer. It’s about the same size as the Ozeri, but much more sturdy, so we think it can take a bit more abuse.

The Jennings CJ4000 scale, second from the right, has one of the smallest footprints of the scales we tested. Though we like that it takes up less counter space, it’s not as convenient for using a big measuring bowl or sheet pans to weigh ingredients.

The Jennings CJ4000 scale, second from the right, has one of the smallest footprints of the scales we tested. Though we like that it takes up less counter space, it’s not as convenient for using a big measuring bowl or sheet pans to weigh ingredients.

Most people will probably use the battery setting on the Jennings scale, but it’s nice to have the option of the AC adapter. Not only does it conserve battery life, but it could also save you a last-minute trip to the store when you find the batteries have finally died. The My Weigh KD8000 also comes with an AC adapter option (as do most of the My Weigh and Jennings scales), but the other models we tested only use batteries.

The Jennings scale was one of only two scales we tested that allow you to disable the auto-off function. If this isn’t disabled, the scale turns off after about a minute and a half of inactivity—which is pretty skimpy compared to the OXO’s 6 minutes. But with the auto-off function disabled, you can take as much time as you need measuring and not worry about re-taring ingredients.

We also like the Jennings scale’s bright orange, backlit screen, which stays on as long as the scale does. The OXO, by comparison, turns off after only 30 seconds.

This is one of three scales we tested that has a counting function, which allows you to count big batches of individual objects. This feature is probably most useful for jobs outside the kitchen, but we can think of a few examples where it could save time in food prep. Say you’re making snack packs for your kid’s daycare and want 15 pretzels in each bag. You’d choose the PCS (count) mode and select “s = 10,” place 10 pretzels on the platform and lock the weight in by pressing the mode button. Now you can throw fistfulls of pretzels on the platform and the scale will count them based on the average weight of the first 10 weighed. You can also lock in the weight based on 20, 50, or 100 pieces. Some pretzels will be bigger or smaller, and the variation might cause the occasional miscount, which is why, for food, measuring in grams would probably be more accurate overall.

And again, for about $26, the Jennings CJ4000 offers a lot of value. It’s significantly better than a basic $20 food scale and a steal compared to the $50 OXO.

The Jennings scale comes with a 20-year manufacturer’s warranty.

The Jennings CJ4000 was recommended by Prima Coffee Equipment. We also read great things about it on threads on eGullet and The Fresh Loaf, and it received an average of 4.5 stars with 44 reviews on Amazon.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

When weighing the 500 g, 100 g, 50 g, and 20 g lab weights, the Jennings scale consistently read .5 g higher. None of the scales in the test read 100 percent accurately. The slight misread could prove problematic for some coffee people, but not a biggie for most bakers or cooks.

Although the Jennings scale reads in .5 g increments, it wouldn’t pick up our 500 milligram lab weight on its own. It only registered the 500 mg increment when we added an additional 1 gram weight.

Although the Jennings scale reads in .5 g increments, it wouldn’t pick up our 500 milligram lab weight on its own. It only registered the 500 mg increment when we added an additional 1 gram weight.

If using a big pot for mixing dough, it takes some maneuvering to see the screen. You definitely can’t see the measurement if using a sheet pan. We prefer the OXO’s pull-out display. Yet for most baking, cooking, and coffee tasks, we think the Jennings will work just fine.

The runner-up

Also Great
*At the time of publishing, the price was $36.
The My Weigh KD8000 is bulkier than our main pick and only measures in full grams, but can display in baker’s percentages and has a whopping capacity of 17 pounds 9 ounces.
In case our main pick sells out, we’d go for the $36 My Weigh KD8000 scale. It’s a beast compared to the other scales we tested and only measures in full grams, but as with the Jennings scale, you can use an AC adapter, disable the automatic-off function, and keep the backlight on as long as the scale. (HBI International makes both My Weigh and Jennings scales, and models from both brands have similar features.) The KD8000 is a good choice if you’re planning to do quantity baking, as it’ll weigh up to 17 pounds, 9 ounces.

At 4 inches tall, and with a footprint of 10 X 7.5 inches, the My Weigh KD8000 (left) is roughly the same size as the OXO, Jennings, and Ozeri scales combined.   

At 4 inches tall and with a footprint of 10 by 7.5 inches, the My Weigh KD8000 (left) is roughly the same size as the OXO, Jennings, and Ozeri scales combined.

Many people love this scale because it does baker’s percentages. There are a number of standard formulas for different breads, and mixing by percentage (or ratio) makes it easier to tweak a recipe or scale the quantity up or down. It’s nifty that this scale does the math for you, but you don’t need this feature to mix with baker’s percentages. Peter Reinhart, who included baker’s percentages for all of his recipes in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, told us he’d never heard of a scale that would do baker’s math and doesn’t think it’s a necessity.

The My Weigh KD8000 comes with a 30-year manufacturer’s warranty and has a 4.6-star average across 317 reviews on Amazon.

Best overall design

Also Great
If you care more about design, the OXO option is has an easy-to-read display that can be pulled out for simpler viewing and overall sleek design.
We still really like our prior top pick, the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale with Pull-Out Display ($50), but because it’s relatively pricy and doesn’t function better than the Jennings CJ4000, it may not be the best choice for most people. But the OXO’s easy-to-read pull-out display and overall sleek design make it, in some ways, more pleasurable to use than the Jennings.

We like the OXO’s pull-out display screen, especially when using a flared mixing bowl, large pot, or wide sheet pan.

We like the OXO’s pull-out display screen, especially when using a flared mixing bowl, large pot, or wide sheet pan.

The OXO comes with a pull-out LCD screen, so you can set a sheet pan or big bowl on the weigh platform and still read the screen. It was more challenging to see the display screens on all of the other scales we tested. 

The OXO’s ample 7 ¼-inch square metal weigh platform also pops off, so you can wash it easily without getting the mechanics wet. It’s also easy to wipe down the control buttons, since they’re covered in a plastic membrane.

At 1 ¼-inches thick, the OXO’s slim design allows for easy storage. You could keep this baby on a cookbook shelf or in a kitchen drawer, no problem.

At 1 ¼ inches thick, the OXO’s slim design allows for easy storage. You could keep this baby on a cookbook shelf or in a kitchen drawer, no problem.

The OXO’s ample 7 ¼-inch square metal weigh platform also pops off, so you can wash it easily without getting the mechanics wet.
Although you can’t disable the OXO’s auto-off function, as you can with the Jennings scale, it stays on for 6 minutes before switching to standby and retains the memory of what you’re weighing for up to another 24 minutes. In comparison, the five other scales we tested turned off in 3 minutes or less (when set to the auto-off setting).

The OXO reads in whole grams, so this isn’t the best scale for precisely measured pour-over coffee. The backlight also only stays on for 30 seconds, which some users seem annoyed by (this doesn’t really bother us).

We did find a substantial number of reader complaints that the OXO doesn’t remember the last unit measure used. (For example, it always reverts to ounces, even if you always select grams.) We spoke with OXO, and they said this shouldn’t happen. It seems to be an issue with only a percentage of the models, and OXO’s engineers are currently trying to fix the problem. In case you get a lemon, OXO told us they’ll give a full refund or replacement. All you need to do is call their customer service line (800-545-4411) and explain the problem. (OXO doesn’t do warranties, but says they have a satisfaction guarantee on all their products.)

The OXO was Cook’s top choice, recommended by both Saveur and The New York Times, and has a 4.4-star average across 508 Amazon reviews. The Sweethome’s Lesley Stockton has also used this scale in professional kitchens and liked it.

For more accuracy

Also Great
*At the time of publishing, the price was $19.
The SC-2KG measures in increments of .1 gram, ideal for making espresso at home but also great for a range of coffee brewing. This scale also reads in Troy ounces and pennyweight for weighing precious metals.
For weighing very small amounts very precisely—such as espresso, spices, or leaveners—you’ll want to invest in a digital pocket scale. These weigh in increments of .1 or .01 grams. Like their name implies, they’re small enough to fit in a pocket. (According to Ruhlman, culinary students often call these drug dealer scales, but they’re also used by jewelry makers.) Thankfully, they’re cheap.

For espresso, we like the $18 American Weigh SC-2KG pocket scale  ($18), which measures in .1 gram increments. It’s very easy to use, with a 4-by-4-inch platform (big enough for a large mug), a tare button, and a bright blue backlit screen that stays on as long as the scale does.

We feature this scale in the Wirecutter’s Gear for making great coffee guide, and the Sweethome’s Christopher Mascari has used it for coffee twice daily during the past 8 months and says it’s great. A jeweler or coin dealer would also like this scale, as in addition to grams and ounces it reads in Troy ounces (ozt) for gold, and pennyweight (dwt) for silver.

To switch unit measurements on the American Weigh 2KG pocket scale, simply press the mode button. The scale will remember the the last measurement used, even after you’ve turned it off.

To switch unit measurements on the American Weigh SC-2KG pocket scale, simply press the mode button. The scale will remember the the last measurement used, even after you’ve turned it off.

If you need yet even more precision for spices or leaveners, we’d go with the American Weigh Digital Pocket Scale ($8.50), which measures in .01 gram increments. We didn’t find a conclusive review on these smaller scales, but this is Amazon’s top seller, comes with a flip-open lid to protect the weigh surface, and has a capacity up to 100 grams. If you’re super finicky about brewing espresso at home, you might also like this scale. As Steve Rhinehart of Prima Coffee Equipment told us:

“I always recommend trying to find a scale with one decimal point of resolution greater than you need. If you only need to weigh whole grams, get something that is accurate to half or tenths of a gram. That way, you know your whole numbers are accurate, and only your decimals get fuzzy … For brewed coffee (pour-over, french press, Clever drippers, etc.), you should be good with the 0.1-0.5-gram resolution. But for espresso, and especially with home espresso enthusiasts, going to 0.01 gram resolution is not a bad idea. Because of all the pressure involved in an espresso extraction, the difference between 16 grams of coffee and 16.4 grams of coffee can be very striking. So, as I stated above, going one decimal point finer than you think you require will add the accuracy you want.”

That said, scales this precise aren’t for everybody. An OCD cook trying to get 4.99 g of baking soda to inch up to 5.00 exactly may find themselves negotiating desperately with motes of powder. You can find a nice selection of these diminutive models by My Weigh, Proscale, and Jennings at Old Will Knott Scales.

Care and maintenance

Digital scales can break when loaded past their capacity. So don’t try weighing a 10-pound bag of flour on the Jennings JC4000, which can only take 8.8 pounds.

Both the Jennings CJ4000 and My Weigh KD8000 can be calibrated using lab weights. However, heavy calibration weights tend to be far more expensive than a kitchen scale, so it’s not a practical solution. In our accuracy tests, we found that none of the scales were off by more than 1 gram, even with heavier weights. Besides the My Weigh i5000, none of the other scales we tested have a calibration feature.

For both the Jennings CJ4000 and My Weigh KD8000, we’ve found their user manuals invaluable for disabling the auto-off function and using the other specialty features (like counting and baker’s math). Here’s the manual for the Jennings CJ4000 and one for the My Weigh KD8000.

Tips for cooking by ratio and weight

Learning the basic ratios of different recipes can make cooking and baking really fast. Once you know the ratio, it’s easy to scale the recipe up or down, depending on how many servings you want. For more on cooking by ratio, we recommend Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, and his Ratio app for iPhone and Android, which calculates ingredient amounts, stores recipes, and comes with a gram-ounce converter.

Despite the efficiency and consistent results of cooking by weight, most cookbooks don’t include weight measures (although this is starting to change, as you’ll notice more weights in some newer cookbooks). To convert all the recipes you love to weight measures, you can use standard weight and volume conversions for common ingredients (these tend to be more helpful for baking than cooking). Tack the conversions near your scale, so you can easily reference them, as Dave Arnold, Director of Culinary Technology of The French Culinary Institute at The International Culinary Center, recommends doing in this New York Times article.

The competition

We tested the My Weigh iBalance i5000 Multi-Purpose Digital Scale ($37) for our original review. This scale weighs in full grams up to roughly 11 pounds and has some of the same features as the Jennings CJ4000 and other My Weigh scales (including a backlit screen, the option of an AC adapter, and a counting feature). This was our fourth favorite scale overall. We did find it difficult to see the display screen when a big bowl was placed on this scale, and overall it felt cheaper than our top picks. Michael Chu, of Cooking For Engineers, recommended this scale, but it was only recommended with reservations by Cook’s Illustrated.

We included the Ozeri Pro Digital Kitchen Scale ($20) in our second round of testing because it’s one of the top-selling food scales on Amazon. It’s a very basic scale—with just on/off and tare buttons—and looks almost identical to a number of highly rated basic food scales. We found the scale to be accurate and easy to use, but we missed having a backlit screen and found it particularly difficult to see the screen with a big bowl on the scale. The Ozeri is currently the fourth best-selling scale on Amazon with a 4.6-star average over 2,152 Amazon reviews.

The Soehnle Digital Kitchen Scale ($28.50) was also included in our original testing. We found it difficult to see the digital display on this scale when a large bowl was placed on the platform. It’s also a tall scale and not as streamlined for storage as the Jennings or OXO scales. The Soehnle was Cook’s previous favorite (before the OXO) and was also mentioned in the New York Times article on kitchen scales.

Other scales we looked at

EatSmart Precision Elite Digital Kitchen Scale – 15 lb. Capacity, UltraBright Display and Stainless Steel Platform ($37) – This gets great Amazon user reviews, and Peter Reinhart uses an inexpensive scale by the same company. We opted not to test it because we didn’t find other editorial recommendations for it, and it didn’t look better than the scales we did decide to test.

EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale ($20)- This scale looks identical to the Ozeri Pro Digital Kitchen Scale. It receives great Amazon reviews, but we opted not to test it since we were already including the Ozeri and it didn’t have the other features we were looking for (such as a backlit screen).

Ozeri Pronto Digital Multifunction Kitchen and Food Scale ($15) – This is almost identical to the Ozeri scale we did test but has smaller buttons. It didn’t receive better reviews than the Ozeri Pro.

American Weigh LB-3000 Compact Digital Scale ($39) – With only a 3000-gram limit (about 6.6 lbs.), this doesn’t have the capacity for bigger batches of bread dough.

Salter 3003 Aquatronic Glass Electronic Kitchen Scale ($30) – Not more highly rated than the other scales we tested.

My Weigh UltraShip U2 ($29) – This is the scale that Michael Ruhlman likes. This is actually a shipping scale with a capacity of 60 pounds, and only reads in 2-5 gram increments—not as precise as we wanted for this review.  It also doesn’t get better reviews than the My Weigh scales we included in our testing.

Polder Easy Read Digital Glass Top Kitchen Scale ($27) – Didn’t get higher reviews than the scales we tested.

Escali Pana Large Volume Measuring Scale ($65) – Less expensive scales offer just as many features as this scale, and it also didn’t receive better reviews than the scales we tested.

Terraillon BM1002 Professional Digital Baker’s Scale ($70) – No longer available.

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale with Pull-Out Display, 22-Pound ($70) – Wasn’t more highly rated than the 11-pound OXO scale we tested. The capacity is also higher than most home cooks or bakers need.

Wrapping it up

Whether you’re an avid cook, baking fanatic, or die-hard coffee nerd, you’re going to benefit from using a kitchen scale. Get the Jennings CJ4000. With its precise measurements, user-friendly interface, and compact design, it’ll make your life easier—and your creations more delicious.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $27.
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Sources

  1. Alton's Kitchen Tools: Scales, Food Network (video)
  2. Peter Reinhart, Author of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, Interview
  3. Michael Chu, Kitchen Scales, Cooking for Engineers, December 15, 2004
  4. Digital Scales, Cook's Illustrated, September 1, 2008
  5. Farhad Manjoo, Tipping the Balance for Kitchen Scales, The New York Times, September 13, 2011
  6. Steve Rhinehart, Brand lead for Prima Coffee Equipment, Interview
  7. Kitchen Scale Recommendations, eGullet Forum from the Society of Culinary Arts & Letters, 2011
  8. Baker's Math, The Fresh Loaf forum
  9. Kellie Evans, Tipping the Scales: How To Measure Flour, Saveur, May 30, 2012
  • Jeremy

    I’d recommend the Jenning CJ-4000. It’s accurate to 4 kg and down to a resolution of .5 g. It has a smaller plate for weighing than the OXO but also a smaller footprint on the counter. Plus, it’s cheaper, comes with an AC adapter and has a cover to keep it clean while not in use. I originally found it for making coffee, but I really like the fact that it is accurate to .5 g, which allows me to do many tasks on it that would otherwise require breaking out the little American Weigh scale you recommend for spices.

  • Mike Searcy

    I was going to make the exact same that comment Jeremy made. The OXO seems to come with lots of praise, but the CJ-4000 weighs smaller increments and is a favorite of the coffee snobs over at prima-coffee http://prima-coffee.com/catalog/jennings-cj4000-scale-29075.

  • bobchadwick

    I got a My Weigh scale on Ruhlman’s recommendation and I love it. One thing that wasn’t mentioned in this article is baker’s percentages, which the My Weigh scale that I have features. Using baker’s percentages makes it super easy to mix up a batch of bread dough, and if you want to make different amounts, it does the scaling for you.

  • http://drinkipa.wordpress.com/ Ken

    I’ll third the J-Scale. I use it for coffee and it’s pretty great. Two AAs or the AC adapter it comes with. The AAs lasted for at least a year.

  • James Mitchell

    I’ve been using the My Weigh KD8000 for about eight months. I’ve been very, very happy with it – I weigh ~50 gram portions with it a dozen times a day, and whip up bread several times a week. It is stable, accurate and quick to tare. Remembering the old weight would be handy, but a five minute limit is still well in bounds for good results.

  • CJ

    I have had an OXO scale and used it daily for 7 months and I have bought another. I have used mine mainly for coffee. I am pretty sure that OXO scales are regularyly off by a few grams, and mine regularly experienced issues. I sent it into OXO who replaced the unit and I still run into the same issues. If you are looking for a precise scale then the American weigh scale is the way to go, the one recommended on this site is ridiculously small they have a better one that will work for most in home uses. I love my American Weigh SC-2KG, it has much quicker readings and can handle quite a bit more weight, as well as is accurate to .1 gram.

    http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-SC-2KG-Digital-Pocket/dp/B001RF3XJ2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1378840553&sr=8-2&keywords=aws+scale

  • CC

    Why do you recommend a different scale for measuring coffee?

  • Andrew

    Serious problem with this scale: although it will switch between English and Metric measurement, it will not remember this setting when you switch it off. This is incredibly annoying.

    From comments on Amazon.com, it sounds as if this is specific to the American model, and that it might be possible to exchange it for a European version that does not exhibit this issue. OXO’s support is terrible, however (both calls and emails go unanswered), so I wouldn’t pin your hopes on this.

  • https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlHeYGVyWjBiyUXp5h123FDJy-_ll5Dq6s george

    Really good work on this. Love all the citations. Looking forward to your test of the newer Jennings/Jscale JT2!

  • http://www.twitter.com/joshstaiger Josh Staiger

    I bought the OXO Good Grips Scale because of the high praise here and on Amazon.

    Gotta say I’m disappointed. Reposting my Amazon review:

    For the price and great reviews I expected more attention to detail.

    Three design flaws I did not expect from a $50 scale:

    1. You can switch between US and metric measurements, but it doesn’t remember your choice. It defaults to pounds and ounces every time you turn it on. If you routinely weigh in metric (as I do) you have to switch to grams every time you use it.

    2. There is a three second delay on the display each time you power on. Huge deal? No. But for frequent use this adds up. Instant on would be a huge plus.

    3. The backlight has a short, 30 second sleep timer and turns off even if the weight on the scale is changing (i.e.: you’re still measuring something). In practice this makes it perfectly timed to shut off mid glance almost every time I use it.

    My previous $25 scale didn’t have these issues.

    The scale has some nice features: big display, removable top plate for cleaning, extended tare even after a sleep.

    But to me, these are “nice to haves”. I use my scale dozens of times per day and I’d rather they nailed the common use case and left off the bells and whistles. The three issues above are small annoyances you’ll run into on nearly every use.

    If this scale were half the price, it’d be okay. With the OXO, I thought I was paying more to get the “near-perfect” every day scale, but this isn’t it.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Hi Josh. Here is what our expert researcher had to say-

      “Overall, we found the combination of the OXO’s functions and design better than anything else we looked at. For most people, we think that the slim design of the OXO, the fact that you can pop the top off to wash, and the interface that pulls out (for when using a big bowl or sheet pan) make this a really useful scale and worth the extra money.”

      Hope this helps!

      • Andrew

        Please reconsider your pick; apart from the serious design issues outlined above, I had to return mine after just a few days of use because part of the screen died. The store was fortunately very gracious about it, as it was beyond the normal period. The women at the customer service desk was quite unsurprised and indicated that there had been many scales coming back with the exact same issue.

        Also note that on the imperial/metric issue it’s only models sold in the US that will not remember your preference. No idea why they would intentionally hobble it like that.

        • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

          Thanks for the note!

    • JoeyBill

      I just got this scale on sale for $20 (w00t), and it remains on metric with zero problem. However, I got it at HomeGoods (only mentioning vendor since it may explain metric sticking – per Andrew’s note below), which will sometimes get Euro/Asia intended-stuff. My model has a sticker with some Chinese on it right beside the UPC barcode. So maybe it was an international model? I’m not sure. The manual is solely in English.

  • josie

    I have a food scale but not an OXO. What I bought was the Procizion Digital Kitchen Food Scale @ http://www.amazon.com/Procizion-Digital-Kitchen-Food-Scale/dp/B00GMMTT5C/ and its great too! I believe each food scale is different from each other. For me, so long as it serves the purpose why I bough it then its okay! :)

  • Cory Line

    Love my American Weigh Pocket scale, but I am on my second one. Even small amounts of liquid (we’re talking condensation from a cup or a errant splash from a flow restricted pouring kettle here), which on my larger scale is not a problem, can make the digital display mess up. With the first one, a hair dryer on medium intensity and low heat solved the issue the first couple times but eventually I lost my .01g place on the display. With my second one, i use the tray all the times to avoid any liquids near the display. This wouldn’t be a problem for (generally non-flour or sugar ingredients for baking) but for coffee, which is its majority use, it is. Just a heads up.

    edit: it’s auto off is a pain and i find myself habitually tapping it slightly when double checking measurements to make sure it doesn’t go off in the middle of use. Still I love it and am considering another for travel.

  • Andrew

    Thanks for the updated review! Note that the OXO customer service line is actually 800-545-4411 rather than the number you provide above, though in the several attempts I have made to reach them by phone and email I have never received a response.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Thanks!

  • Taylor

    I love my Soehnle and purchased it in spite of it being dethroned in CI by the OXO. It’s true that you can’t sandwich it between cookbooks (I keep this OXO in my bookshelf instead), but it’s gorgeous, so if you can spare the counter space (and, really, not a big footprint), you’d always want it on display. I don’t have any trouble seeing the display – since the platform is raised and I’m always standing in front of the scale, I’ve never come across a bowl that blocks the view. Also, since the platform is so much higher than the display, it isn’t ever blocked by a shadow from the bowl either, so I’ve never even thought about it not being backlit. The lack of backlight probably contributes to the notoriously long battery life. I would be curious to know how quickly these other scales provide the weight (maybe it’s in there and I missed it). The process with a scale is: 1) put the bowl on the platform, 2) add the stuff you’re weighing, 3) see the weight, 4) add more stuff, 5) see the weight, etc. until the right weight is reached. With the Soehnle there’s virtually no lag between adding a spoonful of flour and seeing the new weight. I think I’d lose my mind if every time I added or removed a little flour it took a few seconds to figure out the new weight. While I value simplicity in design, I’m not generally concerned with too many buttons or something that’s maybe a little more complex to use – if there’s additional functionality, I’m happy to figure something out, but MAN the Soehnle is INSANELY simple and I’ve realized that is pretty nice sometimes. I don’t remember if it even has a user guide – I definitely didn’t ever use one. So, anyway, I would have liked to see Soehnle in the review.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Maybe we’ll take a look at it when we refresh!

      • Andrew

        For another comparison of scales, take a look at Testberichte.de (in German: a number of the models they list are available in North America as well. The Jennings CJ4000 is more than twice as expensive in my country as it is in the USA; besides, I sometimes weigh large quantities or fruit or meat, and 4 kg is a bit tight.

        I decided to give the Soehnle Page Profi 67080 a shot. It’s very highly rated on Amazon.com and Amazon.de (on the latter site, 311 out of 348 people gave it five stars), and it has an amazingly high capacity of 15 kg (33 lbs). Unlike the Soehnle scale you mention above, it’s very thin. The main possible drawback is that the English/metric switch is on the bottom, but I very rarely have to change this setting, so for me it makes for a simpler design. Its very slim profile also means that an extremely wide object could be awkward to weigh (perhaps if you wanted to weight a baking sheet), but I don’t foresee this being an issue, especially as they have a good hold feature that gets around it nicely (e.g. for large parcels).