• What's the best digital scale that measures to 0.01g precision?

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  • Hello,

    What is the best digital scale that dependably measures items to 0.01 gram precision? I'm l looking for something food-safe, to be used in the kitchen. It doesn't have to be waterproof as such, but should be easy to clean with a towel.


    P.S. Most kitchen digital scales only measure to 1 gram resolution. I need higher granularity for measuring out small amounts of spices and cultures.

    23 0
    Question by sairuh

Your best bet is to find a used laboratory scale (ie. Metler) on the Internet for sale. Provided the scale is functional, it should be accurate for your purposes. Moving air can apply an amazing amount of pressure. If the scale does not come with a air hood, you will need to construct one if you want to have any success weighing to ±0.01 g. NOTE: These scales sell for a premium because drug dealers want them.

Answer by thomas linton

Have you considered a ammo reloading scale? http://www.cabelas.com/tumblers-scales.shtml

They typically measure down to .01g and are fairly inexpensive.

Answer by jamie

I use a Myweigh KD-7000 that I bought online. It's comparatively cheap and gives me a resolution of 0.05 ounces. I can't imagine any cooking application where you would need more granularity than that. It would be incredibly difficult to measure an amount smaller than that with any accuracy due to air currents adding noise to the reading.

One more thing - if you turn off the backlight on the display, the batteries last forever. I've had mine for years, using it every day (for my coffee at least) and I'm still using the original batteries that came with it.

Answer by signal7

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 http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Scale-Scalemate-Digital/dp/B0012TEQMG/ref=pd_sbs_indust_3 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.

Answer by rcp

There is absolutely nothing in the world of cooking that requires accuracty to .01 gram. Even 0.1 gram accuracy is a bit much in the kitchen though I suppose if you are doing some molecular gastronomy stuff perhaps.

To want 0.01g accuracy for kitchen use is just plain silly. And honestly the only thing that goes that low reliably (this certainly won't do it http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Scale-Scalemate-Digital/dp/B0012TEQMG/ref=pd_sbs_indust_3) is an anayltical balance that has an enclosure to shield it from air currents.

Here is one on ebay that is honestly a bit too cheap to really be reliable:


They usually cost $1,000 and up.

Here is a used one that was probably $3,000 new.


Answer by striperguy

I've not found a 0.01g one (yet) that is cheap, accurate, and can be calibrated.

I usually like to have sensitivity to one decimal place more than I actually care about so I can see how far off I am from the target weight.

My 0.1g one http://www.scales-n-tools.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=113&zenid=7dq948nm1qgq59o6qr6c5iesm4 works fine in the kitchen (weighing tea, etc.) but I would also like one that is more sensitive for splitting human-dosed medicines (usually in capsules) down to cat-sized doses. Many medicines are 1/10 the cost this way.

Answer by sean

I haven't found the solution yet, but all of you guys saying that a .01 resolution is unnecessary in a kitchen is missing something. Coffee. I need a .01 resolution.

Answer by wilson hines

Yes, ascorbic acid for conditioning bread dough is measured in parts per million. That's why I'm here.

In mathematics "I can't imagine" is not accepted as a proof of anything.

Answer by syzygies

We're not talking about mathematics, we're talking about cooking, a practical application of skills and applied sciences. It's entirely reasonable to call shenanigans on a request for a high-precision tool that costs peanuts. High-precision costs money. The ability to calibrate against a standard costs money. So, when someone questions the use-case, it's valid to provide a rationale.

You state ascorbic acid needs to measured in PPM; how is that typically managed? And by who? With what equipment? Comparing an industrial or laboratory situation to a home kitchen is absurd and disingenuous.


Answer by christopher

Furthermore to Syzygies disingenuous comment: If you are cooking bread on a commercial scale, say a 50 kilo batch you would need .05 grams (50 milligrams) of ascorbic acid if you wanted 1 part per million, barely doable with any reliability even on a good commercial scale.

For home cooking for say a two kilo loaf, if you needed 1 part per million of ascorbic acid now you are talking .002 grams (2 milligrams). This is at the limits of weighing even for a good, enclosed laboratory analytical balance and this is only with the following assumptions: you have recently calibrated the scale, it is on a solid granite vibration reducing table, you are not near a major highway (vibration).

So for anyone to think you can measure accurately to the 10 milligram level (.01 gram) on any scale for home use is just pure nonsense. And to assume that Syzygies could get anything approaching milligram accuracy on anything other than a lab analytical balance is just fooling yourself.

Answer by striperguy

I'm an amateur cook, and baking is not my long suit. I've been baking sourdough bread regularly, one loaf at a time, using in part freshly ground flour. I'd been getting many "flying saucers" despite controlling the usual causes, till I read that "green" (not aged) flour can be a prime culprit in poor gluten formation. My sources Hamelman and Suas are indeed aimed at professionals, but contain actual information sorely lacking in home guides (many of which don't even assume scales). They both discuss the use of small quantities of ascorbic acid as a remedy. This has helped dramatically.

Before reading these new posts, I had just started a new loaf of bread, using 40 ppm ascorbic acid. So imagine my amusement, reading about my "disingenuous" comment! This is a good example for explaining my "I can't imagine" remark, as I too couldn't imagine a reliable procedure until reading Suas; doing this reliably is an issue even in a commercial bakery.

I measured 10 grams of ascorbic acid and 190 grams of white flour, and mixed these together as thoroughly as possible: many iterations of sifting and stirring. I labeled this jar "1:20 AA". I then measured 20 grams of this mixture and 380 grams of white flour, and mixed these together as thoroughly as possible: many iterations of sifting and stirring. I labeled this jar "1:400 AA". For today's loaf, I measured 10 grams of this mixture into the autolyse stage, with the freshly ground flour. The effect that I observe is pronounced and appears to scale with the ppm that I specify; I'd guess that my accuracy is within 30%. With a better scale I surely could do better.

One needs a sense of humor and reasonable expectations with affordable tools, and one needs some cleverness to apply them to best effect. I was indeed here looking for information on better scales than I now own.

Answer by syzygies

The approach you describe above is reasonable, but as you state you are probably easily off by 30% or more. Mixing well is a VERY complicated art (important in Pharma and food manufacturing). e.g. if the texture of the ascorbic acid is very different then the texture of the flour, and I am sure it is, then merely sifting, stirring, and re-sifting will not give you a homogenous mixture... but I am nerding out.

You need a pinch of ascorbic acid to fix your bread recipe, and you seem to have achieved the desired effect. Excellent.

Answer by striperguy

@striperguy, I provided the details of my baking to illustrate that my comment wasn't disingenuous, nor was I fooling myself. Do you ever retract statements in light of new evidence? I'm aware of mixing issues; the cutoff phenomenon as observed in industrial mixing processes was first proved to exist in the paper "Trailing the Dovetail Shuffle to its Lair", of which I am a coauthor.

Another home application for the best scale one can readily obtain is mixing beverages. There's a current revival of old school sodas, for example. Try mixing a cola recipe without accurate methods for working with small quantities.

The way to call shenanigans here is to empirically test the best reviewed affordable scale of this type. Is it worth the money, if one already has a scale one trusts to 2 gram accuracy? It is a freshman mistake to confuse precision with accuracy. I want a 0.01 gram readout, I dismiss the sales pitch without taking offense, and I'll work with whatever accuracy I can get. What's the best affordable scale out there? It's just a tool, and affordable tools generally make demands on the competency of the user.

Answer by syzygies

I apologize for the "disingenuous" comment. Sounds like you could teach me a thing or two about mixing.

I find often on teh internets there are folks out there raving about some nerd tech fetish object without really understanding the principles behind them. Clearly that is not the case here.

I actually posted a review on an excellent scale for postal use etc elsewhere on this board, but not at all what you are looking for.

Still not sure I understand the utility of the .01 gm readout if it is easily off by 50% or more. (Just for clarification, I'm not being disingenuous here ;-), how is it more useful than a scale with say a .1 gm readout that is in fact accurate?

P.S. I just pulled your publication and will give it a read.

Answer by striperguy

I also occurs to me that you would get MUCH more reliable mixing by dissolving your ascorbic acid in water and using the water to make your bread.

Use the same 1:20, and then 1:400 ratios and I bet you can get much closer to your desired amount.

Answer by striperguy

You don't need an analytic balance to do 0.01 grams. I regularly use one in my classroom. This one http://www.flinnsci.com/store/Scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=20596 sold by Flinn isn't cheap but I've used its equivalent for years with good results.

The key idea for a scale is the ratio of precision and accuracy to capacity. Cheap scales can be precise but rarely have much capacity. More expensive scales are precise and can measure a lot of weight.

Answer by zkossover

Uhhh, to the most recent poster, from the specs of the scale you are advocating as a solution:

Precision (g)- +/- 0.01

Click on the specifications tab of the product.

Thus, it measures to .01 grams, give or take .01 grams. i.e. you can not measure with any reliability to .01 grams.

You DO need an analytical balance to get that kind of precision.

Answer by striperguy

I’ve used a torbal BTA model. It has a 0.01g resolution which is what you are looking for, but only 200g capacity which sometimes is not enough, other than that the scale works really well. I’ve had it for over a year now and no issue. It’s relatively easy to clean; it has a sealed front panel. I bought this thing on sale for around $300 - http://www.torbalscales.com/industrial/precision-general-purpose/precision.html

Answer by damiancarlos

In addition, you don't weigh ascorbic. It comes in tablets on a carrier to increase its size. You calculate the number of tablets based on ppm desired in the formula and pounds of flour in the batch size to determine the number of tablets required. Scales with divisions of smaller than 1g are significantly affected, as others here have noted, by vibration and air currents. Another factor mentioned is absolutely true, you get what you pay for. Cost is based on number of divisions and accuracy of the scale. If something in scales is to inexpensive to believe, it is probably sacrificing quality and accuracy.
I weigh and grind my own coffee as well and an accurate 0.1g scale is all that is needed. Same with any other ingredient in the kitchen, unless, of course, you're preparing for Barbie, but then accuracy won't be nearly as important as a constant supply of 4 watt bulbs for your little pink oven. ;-)

Answer by christian

http://www.flinnsci.com/store/Scripts/ck_prodList.asp (and we got ours for kitchen use for several molecular gastronomy projects. Making juice spheres absolutely requires .01g accuracy.)

Answer by bananafish

Dudes Ever hear of serial dilution!

Old chemist

Answer by old chemist

Checkout Digiscale Kitchen Scales. They are 0.1 oz/1 gram precision. However, not ".01"

Answer by nuyorka

I would like to respond to the person who thought that this was totally unnecessary for kitchen use.  My epileptic son is preparing to go on the ketogenic diet and will need to measure his food to the tenth of a gram.  Granted, that is not .01, but still.  Don’t assume you know everything about everything.

Answer by nena
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