How to buy a small digital scale for weighing light items

by EmpressFelicity

Things you need to consider when buying a small digital scale, e.g. for weighing items of jewelry

I recently came across an old-fashioned set of jewellers' scales at a local second hand market. It consisted of a small plush velvet-lined box with a metal scale that you had to assemble carefully, before placing your piece of jewellery in one of the baskets, and counterbalancing it with the tiny weights that came as part of the set. Back in 1880-something, this would have been the last word in technology. To someone like myself, living in the 21st century and used to instant results, it was enormously fiddly and far too s-l-o-w to use. A set of digital scales is much easier and quicker, not to mention more accurate.  If you look on Amazon.com, you'll see that you can buy a small digital scale for very little money. It's a hugely worthwhile investment if you ever sell (or buy) gold and silver jewellery, or need to weigh other small, relatively light items on regular basis.

Things to consider when buying a small digital scale

  • What's the maximum weight it can handle? Some go up to 100 grams (which is just over three troy ounces), while others can cope with items weighing up to 200 g or even a kilo. For jewellery items, 100 g is probably OK most of the time but you're occasionally going to need more, so I would recommend a scale that can go up to at least 200 g.
  • How precise is it? Do you need something that weighs items to within 0.1 grams, or 0.01 grams, or even 0.001 grams? The greater the precision, the more expensive the scale is likely to be. BTW, if you see "200 x 0.1 g" in the title, it means "this scale can weigh items up to 200 g, to within 0.1 g".
  • What is the size of the weighing platform? Bear in mind that in order to get an accurate reading, the whole of the item must sit squarely on the platform - you can't have parts of it dangling off. My set of digital scales has a platform which is 2.75 x 2.5 inches (approx 7 x 6.5 cm). I find this is fine for most items of jewellery, apart from some types of necklaces and chokers.
  • How big is the scale overall/what shape is it? If your scale is going to spend all its time at home, this isn't such an issue but if you plan on taking it with you, then a small, slim scale is going to take up less room in your pocket or bag!
  • What units do I want to weigh things in? For most purposes, grams (g) are sufficient but some of the other units you may need to consider include avoirdupois ounces (oz) which are not to be confused with troy ounces (ozt), the measure used for gold and silver. One avoirdupois ounce is roughly 28 grams, whereas a troy ounce is slightly heavier at 31 g. Other units include the pennyweight (dwt), the grain (gn) which is equal to roughly 0.065 grams (although confusingly, there is also a metric grain which is equal to 0.05 g), and the carat (ct).

[cont/d below]

Available to buy on Amazon

American Weigh Signature Series Black Digital Pocket Scale, 1000 by 0.1 grams

The AMW Series is a great durable and compact pocket scale for those who are seeking the on the go high-tech portable scale. The backlit LCD display helps make the numbers ...

$7.32  $4.99
Polder Pocket Size Digital Scale

This compact kitchen scale has a capacity of up to 1-pound/500-gram. Add 'n' Weigh feature weighs individual ingredients consecutively as you add them to the scale. The scale ...

Only $30.00
600G Digital SLEEK Portable Jewelery Jewelry Small NICE Pocket Scale with BACKLIGHT! BATTERIES ...

This is for a high quality digital pocket scale that has an extremely SLEEK DESIGN with beautiful glossy black paint. This scale is really easy to use and is very reliable! ...

Only $12.99
Fast Weigh MS-500-BLK Digital Pocket Scale, 500 by 0.1 G

Introducing the M-Series from Fast Weigh Scales! This hip little scale is one of the hottest and most economical scales on the market today! The removable cover keeps the ...

$11.95  $6.99
My Weigh Triton T2 550g x 0.1g Digital Pocket (Hand held) Scale, Formula Scale, Jewelry Scale ...

The New Triton T2 is a classic design pocket scale. It's thin, durable and accurate. Although this scale is small, it's cover can be used as an expansion tray to make the ...

$13.76  $12.81

Using your scale

Before switching it on, make sure that your scale is sitting on a flat, hard surface - otherwise your reading will be way off (been there, done that). And when it's been switched on, ensure that the reading is set to zero - if not, use the tare button to reset it. To ensure total accuracy, you might want to consider buying a calibration weight if your set of scales is designed to be used with one.

Most scales take two AAA batteries, and most will come with batteries included although once they run down, you may find it more economical in the long run to use rechargable batteries. If your digital scale is going to remain unused for any length of time, take the batteries out to ensure that it's not damaged by battery leakage. And it goes without saying: keep your digital scale in dry conditions, with the cover on.

Hopefully this hub has given you some things to think about if you're considering buying a small digital scale. Having had a small digital scale for over a year now, I know I wouldn't be without it - it was a small yet highly worthwhile investment.

© Empress Felicity August 2010

Jennings JScale HP-100X Gram Precision Digital Pocket Scale 100g x 0.01g with 100 Gram ...

Jennings JScale HP-100X Gram Precision Digital Pocket Scale 100g x 0.01g with 100 Gram Calibration Weight Key Benefits: Beautiful Modern, Pocket-Sized Design Accurate up to ...

$21.49  $17.10
Magnum-1000 Digital Jewelry Pocket scale 1000 x 0.1g

US-Magnum made by US Balance Large capacity 1000g x 0.1g Great for Jewelry, Gold, Gun Powder, Diamonds, Precious Metals...etc Features: * Backlit LCD Display * Stainless Steel ...

$19.95  $17.10
Updated: 11/27/2011, EmpressFelicity
 
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