Kitchen scales have evolved beyond all recognition since spring-maker Richard Salter began producing scales in 1760. The brand he founded, now known as Salter Housewares, continues to dominate the world of weighing.
Digital displays are bigger and brighter than ever before, and ultra-accurate weighing platforms respond to the tiniest adjustments in nano-seconds.
Our criteria was simple – we wanted scales which made it easy to weigh different types of ingredients, even if our hands were covered in margarine and we had a face full of flour.
We were open to additional, less commonplace features, but only to an extent – they would have to prove their worth and ideally not add unnecessary weight or make it harder to operate or clean the scales.
And while appearance was certainly a factor, we never forgot that even the most attractive of scales would be a waste of money if they didn’t weigh ingredients accurately, quickly and easily.
Our top tips for those of you considering splashing out on a new set of scales? After hours in the kitchen, putting a wide range of models through their paces, we’re especially keen on dual platforms, which make adding and removing small amounts of ingredients wonderfully easy.
Touch controls – rather than raised buttons – certainly mean less cleaning, and we also recommend considering the power source. Battery compartments which need a screwdriver (and possibly an engineering degree) to open are an extra hassle most chefs don’t need.
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Scion living mr fox scales
Scion is a brand known for its quirky designs – in this case, lines of pointy-nosed foxes strutting across the surface of the scales, which have a weighing capacity of 5kg. Measuring units don’t just include millilitres, kgs/grams, lb/oz and fluid oz either – it’s possible to choose between milk and water for the latter category, too.
They’re slightly on the heavy side (they weigh in, excuse the pun, at 610g) but feel wonderfully sturdy, and it’s this top-quality feel, paired with the colourful design, which makes these colourful kitchen scales a great option for mini MasterChefs in the making. You’ll need three AAA batteries, but not – thank goodness – a screwdriver. Unlike many scales, the battery cover simply clicks into place.
Buy now £24.00, Dexam
Beurer KS19 digital kitchen scale
The compact kitchen scale, which has a weighing capacity of 5kg and displays weights in kg/g, lbs/oz, millilitres and fluid oz, is one of the lightest on the market, weighing just 325g. Admittedly, part of this is due to its smaller size (the display panel is definitely on the small side) but it’s still more than up to the job – it’s incredibly accurate, and touch key controls makes it easy to clean while minimising the risk of accidental spillages working their way inside.
When it comes to power, although it’s a relief to see a flip-top battery compartment, the single CR2032 battery needed might not be the easiest one to track down.
Buy now £19.12, Amazon
OXO good grips stainless steel electronic kitchen scale
Perhaps the best things don’t necessarily come in small packages, after all. Even the biggest mixing bowls are no match for this scale, which weighs loads of up to 5kg and has an extra-large digital display – there’s even room for a battery life monitor.
It’s clearly been designed for ease of use – button markings are big and bold, and an outline of a circle on the weighing platform acts as a handy guide. But the best bit is the display – the digital readout is on an extendable panel which can be pulled out from the main unit.
We put the scales through its paces with all shapes and sizes of mixing bowl, but this extendable extra meant we could always read the weight. The scale is powered by four AAA batteries and the super-sized approach has been extended to the battery compartment, which has an extra-large opening catch.
Buy now £49.95, John Lewis & Partners
Salter digital kitchen weighing scales
There’s a reason most households have a Salter scale (or two) and that’s because, like this one, they do exactly what they say on the tin. However, this one’s got a few surprises in store. To start with, it weighs loads of up to 10kg, and the ultra-bright display is even easier to read thanks to its red hue, which contrasts sharply with the black surround.
Chefs short on time might find themselves getting a little frustrated with the time it takes to recalculate weights, especially when adding tiny amounts to achieve exact totals, but think of it like the slow and steady tortoise – it gets there in the end, and when it does, its accuracy is second-to-none.
Bonus points are awarded for the simplicity of the controls and display, which allow you to place an item on the platform then quickly scroll through the weight in different measurements (kg/g, lbs/oz, millilitres and fluid oz), and for the fact you’ll need just two AAA batteries (and won’t need a screwdriver to replace them).
Buy now £22.00, Amazon
Salter 8kg megastone plus electronic kitchen scale
This is certainly one of the snazziest models we’ve come across – a slimline scale with a glittering glass surface guaranteed to bring a bit of bling to your kitchen. But this isn’t a case of style over substance – the scale will take loads of up to a whopping 8kg, and comes with a 15-year guarantee.
Push-button (and somewhat clunky) controls could prove a bug bear for minimalists, but the silver lining is that they’re tucked into the side of the unit, rather than on the top, which means spills are less likely to work their way inside.
The display (which is one of the brightest we’ve come across) displays weight in kg/g, lbs/oz, millilitres and fluid oz. Three AAA batteries slip neatly into the flip-up compartment on the underside.
Buy now £29.99, Salter
Masterclass digital kitchen scale
One of the more hi-tech offerings, Masterclass’s digital kitchen scale, which will measure weights of up to 5kg, is wafer-thin and surprisingly light. Its standout feature is the one which allows the readout to be reset without the need to touch it – a simple wave over the corner of the scale resets the display to zero.
There was admittedly the odd occasion when we activated this feature accidentally, but an image of a hand is a useful indicator of the (easily avoidable) area which responds to touchless control. There are options to weigh millilitres, kg/g, lb/oz and fluid ounces, and it’s incredibly quick to react – add or remove even the tiniest amount of an ingredient from the scale and the display adjusts immediately.
The only let-down is the power source – a CR2032 battery (which not everyone will have to hand), which fits into a compartment which can only be opened with a screwdriver.
Buy now £15.99, Wayfair
Taylor digital dual kitchen scale
This dual scale’s low weight – just 519g – is even more impressive considering its super-sized weighing area, which includes one large platform (which will calculate weights up to 5kg) and a smaller, 500g capacity platform. Both have their own reset buttons, making it easy to weigh two things at once.
The scale’s two AAA batteries fit into an easy-access slot, and there’s a gold star for the ultra-precise display – the readout for the smaller weighing platform shows not just grams, but hundredths of grams, too. We found this particularly useful when making pizza dough, when miscalculations relating to ingredients like yeast or salt can make or break a recipe.
However, a word of warning – the cheap-feeling, push button-type controls on the top of the unit feel somewhat out of place on such a hi-tech scale, and offer little in the way of reassurance that liquids and granular ingredients such as flour won’t work their way inside.
Buy now £23.46, Amazon
Nutribullet smart scale
Full disclosure, this scale, which measures weights of up to 5kg, was designed for use in conjunction with the Nutribullet Balance and the dedicated Nutribullet app (which comes with the scale), which allows you to calculate nutritional info (calories, fat, total carbs and protein) in real-time. The aim is to make it easier than ever for smoothie fans to create custom-blended drinks which contain precise amounts of certain ingredients.
However, we still found this to be a brilliant scale, when used without either the app or the Nutribullet balance. It’s slim, compact and simple to use, has an accurate display (showing tenths of grams, as well as a battery life indicator) and it will measure lb/oz, too. We also loved how quickly the digital display reacted to weight changes. Finally, it’s one of the lightest scales we’ve come across, with a weight of just 266g.
Buy now £29.99, Amazon
Judge kitchen digital touch control scale
The sleek, slimline design of this scale will appeal to fans of minimalism, although its bright white surface meant there was certainly nowhere to hide our accidental spill of blood-red passata. Sadly, there isn’t the capability to measure fluid ounces but on the plus side, touch screen controls make it easy to clean and eliminate any risk of spill-related short circuiting.
It feels slightly chunkier and heavier than scales with similar capabilities (it’s got a load capacity of 5kg), but this isn’t necessarily a negative – it’s a scale which feels reassuringly tough. An added bonus of this model, which takes three AAA batteries in a simple, flip-up compartment, is the dual indentations on the underside, which helped improve our grip when hands were sticky and wet.
Buy now £28.00, Horwood
Robert welch traditional scales
This blow-the-budget option isn’t going to do it for you if precision is a priority. But it will undoubtedly appeal to traditionalists – albeit ones who’ve either got a set of kitchen weights to hand or don’t mind investing in some (you’ll need a set to weigh items, and they aren’t included). It’s incredibly heavy, coming in at 3.4kg, but there’s no denying that its cast iron design will appeal to a certain type of customer – those with butchers block worktops, Cath Kidston crockery and a love of rustic chic.
With its glossy black paint job, brass pan and polished metal fixtures, it’s the cookery equivalent of a vintage car, designed to be proudly displayed, rather than hidden away on the back of a shelf (which probably couldn’t take its weight, anyway).
Buy now £70.00, Robert Welch
Ooni dual platform digital scales
There’s a touch of the space age to these sleek, slimline kitchen scales, which have dual weighing platforms (the largest of which can weigh up to 10kg) and have clearly been designed with style-conscious chefs in mind – the two platforms appear to almost float in the air, and their yellow trims have more in common with a canary-yellow Ferrari. But their similarity to a super-fast sports car (albeit one powered by three AAA batteries) isn’t their only selling point.
They are super-responsive, allowing for miniscule tweaks of measurements – the tiny amounts of flour we added to a bowl on the smaller scale (which measures up to 200g) resulted in instantaneous adjustments on a display which showed tenths of grams. And what we initially thought was a protective cover for the smaller platform was actually a measuring dish, designed to hold miniscule amounts of ingredients such as sugar. The two digital readouts are also numbered according to their corresponding weighing platforms – a simple but often-overlooked feature which allowed us to get to grips with them in minimal time.
Buy now £39.95, Cuckooland
The verdict: Kitchen scales
Although Scion Living’s Mr Fox Scales nabbed the coveted IndyBest award, which prove you don’t need to pay a fortune for feature-packed kitchen gadgets which stand out in the style stakes, . Although this accolade almost went to Ooni’s Dual Platform Digital Scales – and certainly would have done, were it not for the latter’s slightly higher price tag.
That said, Ooni’s gorgeous scales are worth every penny – we loved the ease with which we could read the tiniest of measurements, and added extras such as the accompanying weighing dish for the smaller platform (which we found invaluable) are few and far between. For chefs with compact kitchens, the incredibly light Beurer KS19 Digital Kitchen Scale is hard to beat – proof that bigger isn’t always better in the weighing world.