Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
What scale should I buy
Display Avatars Sort By:
John Herrin

Locale: Mid West
What scale should I buy on 11/20/2013 11:47:36 MST Print View

I am looking to cut my pack weight. Anyone out there have a suggestion on what reasonably priced scale (that weighs in ounces)I should consider?


jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: What scale should I buy on 11/20/2013 11:55:23 MST Print View

less than $10 from ebay or amazon, for example:

it doesn't say it measures ounces but on the cover it says to push "mode" button to switch between units, so I assume that includes ounces

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: What scale should I buy on 11/20/2013 12:21:14 MST Print View

I've been using an AWS PS-25KG. Works great.

Things to look for:

A mode that reads plain ounces vs pounds and ounces. They will all do metric. Why can't we just go metric?

A lock button, so you can reach under and lock in the weigh on a large object that obscures the readout.

35 pound capacity. That usually means a bigger platform than the 5lb models too. Once you have one, you'll use it for other stuff. You can print postage for packages at home and won't have to stand in line at the post office :)

I prefer AA batteries over 9 volts.

Most have auto-off, but check that or you'll be buying more batteries.

Cookie sheets are handy for big items. A plastic grocery bag is good for puffy stuff.

If anyone wants a gram splitter, I have an Ohaus triple beam scale :) Gravity powered, never needs batteries.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: What scale should I buy on 11/20/2013 12:27:22 MST Print View

"Why can't we just go metric?"


Let's just get the pain over

Sort of like ripping a bandaid off quickly

Sometimes I take a clothes hanger and place the hanger end on the scale and zero it, then put a piece of clothing on the hanger and weigh it

Richard May
(richardmay) - M

Locale: Swamplands.
Who needs accuracy? on 11/20/2013 12:51:20 MST Print View

OK you've got good advice up there but, I can't help the following thought: If you don't care about accuracy and you only want to know if an item is lighter relative to another then get the cheapest thing you find. :D

The corollary is that if it's too cheap then it won't be consistent from one day to the next. My Uber-Cheap spring powered one is like that. I used to weigh all items on the same day to get consistent (if not accurate) readings. LOL

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: What scale should I buy on 11/20/2013 13:33:40 MST Print View

Hi John, since you're on a budget, personally I'd say don't bother with a scale. You can pretty easily cut your pack weight with common sense and listed weights on items you're trying to lighten up. I know, I'm a heretic, but that's how I did it - never used a scale as a way to lighten up my load, though I'd use a bathroom scale to see how much I lightened it after awhile by wearing my packed pack and weighing myself.

But if you really, really think you need a scale, then any Salter kitchen scale from Target will work just fine, and shouldn't be that expensive.

Adam G
(anonwums) - MLife
Very cheap on 11/20/2013 13:47:51 MST Print View

I purchased this scale for $3.

I don't know how accurate it is, but when I've measured items over several days, it's usually exactly the same or +/- 5 grams.

Edited by anonwums on 11/20/2013 13:48:42 MST.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: What scale should I buy on 11/20/2013 14:08:05 MST Print View

measuring in ounces is not good enough.

you need a scale that is accurate to at least 0.5 gram.

save 28.375 grams and you've saved a whole ounce.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: What scale should I buy on 11/20/2013 14:14:22 MST Print View

If you're measuring down for each baffle, maybe you need 0.01 oz or 0.1 g accuracy. Maybe 12 baffles with 4 ounces of down, so 0.3 oz per baffle. 0.1 oz accuracy not enough. 0.01 oz is good enough.

If you're just reducing pack weight, 0.1 oz or 1 g is plenty accurate. If you have 100 items in your pack and each one is measured with 0.1 oz error, that would add up to 10 oz total which probably wouldn't be noticeable.

Playing fast and loose with the term "accuracy" and how errors add : )

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: What scale should I buy on 11/20/2013 23:45:28 MST Print View

C'mon, guys. These digital postal scales are very consistent and weigh to 0.1oz, which is more than enough for weighing gear list items.

The one I posted is like $18 on Amazon.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: What scale should I buy on 11/21/2013 00:18:06 MST Print View

American Weigh Signature Series Silver/Black AWS-100 Digital Pocket Scale, 100 by 0.01 Gram and a 100 Gram Scale Calibration Weight.

If you need more than that, your pack is too heavy :-D

+John Abela

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: What scale should I buy on 11/21/2013 01:02:39 MST Print View

I have a little jewelers scale, mostly because it was a couple dollars in a thrift store. It is illuminating to see the shameless manufacturing variations in titanium tent stakes ;)

Maris L
Re: What scale should I buy on 11/21/2013 16:35:28 MST Print View

I use THIS.

I wanted something that would hold larger or bulky items more conveniently, so the bowl feature has been super useful. I also preferred the 11lb max to some of the smaller scales mentioned here. Ounces or grams. When reweighing items at different times it has consistently shown the same weight. It has also come in use for the kitchen or for weighing mail to send out. Price was right for me at $10.

Edited by Ablaut on 11/21/2013 16:36:35 MST.

John H
(pastyj) - F

Locale: SE US
Re: What scale should I buy on 11/23/2013 07:17:19 MST Print View

I suppose there are any number of acceptable scales out there, but this is what I use. I like the 0.1g resolution (more than enough for me) and the Tare works well.

Cheap too.

Edited by pastyj on 11/23/2013 07:19:33 MST.

scale on 11/23/2013 17:03:30 MST Print View

I have two scales.

One, a kitchen scale was about $15, and goes to 11 lbs in 0.1 oz increments. Came from harbor freight. You can always find a 20% off coupon online for harbor freight.

The little one (gets used the most) goes to about 500g in oz, g, or other, and is displayed to 0.01g. It was $7 at harbor freight when I bought it 10 yr ago. They are about 12 now. But less with a coupon. I HIGHLY recommend this little scale, its fantastic and fits in your pocket. Very repeatable.

I have been known to take it shopping with me.

If you screw it up somehow, it requires a 500g wt to recalibrate, which isnt common, or cheap. That happened to me once. I filled a water bottle to weigh 500g on another scale. Problem solved.


Edited by livingontheroad on 11/23/2013 17:13:29 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: scale on 11/23/2013 17:28:35 MST Print View

"If you screw it up somehow, it requires a 500g wt to recalibrate, which isnt common, or cheap."

When I bought the same scale and read the same requirement, I built my own 500g calibration weight out of some old lead fishing weights. Interestingly, the first scale died within a matter of months, so it was replaced at Harbor Freight with an identical one, and the 500g still weighed 500.


Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: scale on 11/23/2013 18:12:03 MST Print View

I'm with Dale on this -- relax, have a home brew. Generally speaking, your scale doesn't have to be that accurate. Within a tenth of an ounce (or a few grams) is fine, and just about every scale out there is better than that. If it isn't, then it is probably not very sturdy, or doesn't have the features you want, so you don't want it anyway.

Personally, I have a couple scales. One is for luggage, and the other is for my gear. The luggage scale is handy for answering the "So what does your pack weigh?" question. In general, I don't care, but I weigh it on the way out the door (which means it has food in it) and I always forget to weigh my pack after a trip. I carry what I consider to the best compromise for me -- I'm really not trying to win an ultralight competition here. But my friends always ask, so it is nice to have an answer for them.

For a gear scale, a difference of a few grams isn't going to change your decision making. The breakthrough comes when you weigh something and compare it alternatives. I can't imagine exchanging something for something else (or leaving it at home) if it weighs 16 grams versus 17.

I can see why Dale bought one scale to do it all. It is handier than my scale, which was probably only a few cents cheaper. Mine can only handle around five pounds at the most. Generally speaking, that isn't a problem for ultralight hiking, but it limits the overall usability of the scale.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: What scale should I buy on 11/23/2013 18:41:22 MST Print View

I wrote some articles about ultralightweight backpacking back in the 1980's. The general advice that I suggested was to have three scales (back then). One was a postal scale, and it would weigh in fractions of an ounce up to one pound. Then the second was a baby scale, and it would weigh in two-ounce increments up to 30 pounds. Lastly, an ordinary bathroom scale, and it weighed in one-pound increments up to 250 pounds. All of these were analog spring-style scales, because that is almost all that we had back then.

Since there weren't too many small gear alternatives that kept us using the postal scale, most of the pack weighing used the baby scale. Our total loads tended to be 14-19 pounds.

With most of the digital scales we see now, one small digital scale and one large digital bathroom scale is about all you need.