Digital vs. mechanical kitchen scale — which should I buy?

Digital vs. mechanical kitchen scales

A kitchen scale is a convenient tool for both cooking and baking, allowing you to quickly and easily measure ingredients without using measuring cups and spoons. This is especially convenient for baking, as recipes often require precise measurements.

When purchasing a kitchen scale, you’ll find both newer digital models and mechanical or analog models. Digital scales operate with an electrical outlet or batteries and use internal computer technology to precisely measure the weight, whereas mechanical scales use a series of springs.


The type of kitchen scale that will be best for you depends on factors like the price point, durability, ease of storage and cleaning requirements.

Digital kitchen scale

A digital kitchen scale uses an internal control board and sensor chips to precisely and accurately measure your food. Digital technology means that these scales can easily measure in grams, ounces, kilograms and pounds, plus convert between these units of measurement.


Digital kitchen scales are typically very precise, which is especially convenient for baking recipes where you may need exact measurements or small quantities of things like salt and baking powder. These scales feature a backlit display for a user-friendly read and include a digital tare function that’s often easier to use than many mechanical models. Plus they typically have a slim and compact design that makes them easy to stow away when not in use, even in small kitchen spaces. A digital kitchen scale generally costs between $10-$35.

Ozeri Touch: available atAmazonandBed Bath & Beyond

This user-friendly digital scale has a slim build as well as a highly accurate and easy-to-read, brightly lit display. Its compact and attractive design makes it easy to stow in a kitchen drawer or keep on your kitchen counter. This scale runs on lithium batteries and does have a shorter battery life than some other models.

Digital vs. mechanical kitchen scale — which should I buy?

Ozeri Pronto: available atAmazon,Home DepotandBed Bath & Beyond

This budget-friendly scale has a lot of perks for its low price point, including a lightweight and stylish design, multiple units of measurement and excellent battery life. It can handle up to 11 pounds of food at once. One drawback: it measures in increments of 2 grams, so it’s not quite as precise as other models.

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale: available atAmazonandBed Bath & Beyond

An attractive stainless steel scale from a trusted brand that’s highly accurate, easy to read and built to last. It has a removable platform for easy cleaning and a fingerprint-resistant finish. The large pull-out display makes it easier to read than some smaller scales.

Mechanical kitchen scales

Mechanical kitchen scales are also called “analog” scales or “spring” scales, as they use a series of mechanical springs to measure the weight. Weight causes the plate to compress the springs, which correspond to dials on the display. Mechanical scales do not require any form of power source, which makes them more portable and convenient for those with only a few outlets in their kitchen. Their heavy-duty stainless steel construction also makes them more durable than some digital scales. They are also easier to clean as they do not have any digital parts that would be susceptible to water damage.

Because manual kitchen scales often measure in larger increments, they may be slightly less accurate and have less precise readings than digital scales. The display can likewise be more challenging to read than a digital scale. A mechanical kitchen scale costs between $25-$50, which is slightly more expensive than many digital scale models.

Taylor Stainless Steel Analog Scale: available atAmazon

This mechanical scale is known for accuracy and precision as well as its classic and attractive design. The oversized dial is easy to read and displays both grams and ounces. This scale is also backed by Taylor’s one-year limited warranty for peace of mind.

LEM Analog Food Scale: available atHome Depot

This well-built stainless steel scale that weighs in both grams/kilograms and ounces/pounds and can handle up to 6.6 pounds of food at once. This scale is best for large projects that don’t require precise measurements, as it measures kilograms in increments of 50 grams and pounds in increments of 2 ounces.

Should you get a digital kitchen scale or a mechanical kitchen scale?

A digital kitchen scale offers convenient features, compact design and an affordable price, making it the preferred choice for most home cooks and professional chefs. However, a mechanical kitchen scale is a great second choice, especially if you need a scale that functions without battery power or an electrical outlet.

Katy Severson is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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