Super sensitive digital scale

A reader in Ask Cool Tools was looking for a cheap digital scale that could weigh items to a precision of 0.01 gram. Most kitchen scales run on a precision a magnitude lower at 0.1 gram. You’ll need a wind shield for scales this sensitive because air currents will disrupt the reading at this level.

— KK

Digital 0.01-gram resolution scales are plentiful and very inexpensive (< $20) on eBay and other online retailers. Most of them have a small, flat stainless steel pan, and tare for a container, making them convenient for use with small quantities of food. I used one from eBay identical to this unit and was satisfied with the performance. Note that I was using it for balancing motorcycle pistons, a less demanding task than some others.

Note that you can also obtain scale weight sets for calibration.

I believe that general-use precision weighing of small, light-weight objects is a problem solved by any one of these small,inexpensive digital scales.


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American Weigh Scale Scalemate Sm-501 Digital Pocket Scale, Silver, 500 X 0.01 G
$25 from Amazon

Commenter Stefan Murphy notes that the above item has less than 2.5-star reviews on Amazon. He found a better option with all 5-star reviews, that is also 2/3 the price. However the max weight is only 100 grams, instead of 500. He says, ” A little poking around, and based on reviews the below looks to be much better. I’m in the market for a product like this and will be purchasing the below.”

American Weigh Scale Ac-100 Digital Pocket Gram Scale, Black, 100 G X 0.01 G, $11

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Note: It is worth keeping in mind that when you pay $20 or less for a 0.01 gram scale, you are getting what you pay for. These may be sufficient for your needs, but if you truly need 0.01 gram precision, you aren’t likely to get it. Definitely invest in, not one, but two calibration weights, and check the scale before each use. I say use two weights because the scale may calibrate correctly at, say, 1 gram, but its linearity may be off, and it may be off at every other weight. If you calibrate using one weight and then the scale weighs correctly using a different weight, it is more likely that it is working properly.

You should also note that battery-operated scales will usually require recalibration as the batteries get weaker and their output voltage changes. And keep in mind also that temperature plays a large role in the scale’s weighing. You may find that the scale produces different results after it has been turned on for five minutes and its internal circuitry has warmed up (from the electricity flowing through it).– Joshua Bardwell