Whether you’re occasionally cooking as a hobby, preparing dinner for your family, or throwing a small party for your friends, using a weight scale can do wonders for your cooking. Apart from ensuring precision to the total weight of the ingredients you need, it can incredibly help reduce the item you spend in preparation and cleanup, allowing you to get more time with friends and loved ones.
Yet, with so many types of weight scales available, it can be a daunting task to choose which ones will suit your cooking needs. Don’t fret, though! We acknowledge that a kitchen scale is an indispensable tool in the process of cooking. Read on below the different types of weight scales and how they can help you in the kitchen.
What is a Weight Scale?
Weight scales, also known as weighing scales or mass scales, are basically a device used to measure mass or weight. It’s a simple device, yet has a long history. Its oldest evidence can be traced to the earliest human civilizations, such as in the Indus River Valley and Egypt, where it was used to weigh stones. Other uses included measuring the weight of clothes, crops, and other commodities.
The earliest design of the weighing scales featured an overhead beam affixed to study poles, with two plates hung on each side. One plate holds mass-setting stones, while the other plate will hold the item to be weighed until both plates are balanced.
As development ensued and with the arrival of new technologies, weight scales have also been improved over time. Today, you can find several types of weight scales, ranging from simple to technical ones, which can help you measure the weight of your food ingredients, from condiments, powders, to spices, grains, and meat slices.
Different Types of Weight Scales
In general, there are three types of weight scales: balance, mechanical, and digital weight scales, with each using different means and operating distinctively to measure weight.
1. Balance Scales
Balance scales are perhaps the earliest type of weighing scale. It technically determines mass by comparing it to a known or already set mass. For instance, you can get a 150 g measuring cup with sugar and place it on one side. Afterward, place the food item you’re measuring on the other side until they balance. The drawback of this type is that it can only determine if the object being measured has lesser, greater, or equal weight than the known weights. While balance scales can be precise, being tried and used for centuries, they can be pretty slow to use in the kitchen.
2. Mechanical Scales
Mechanical scales, also known as analog scales, or spring scales due to the way they function, utilized spring to measure the weight of the object placed on top of its platform. As you place an item, its weight pushes the spring proportionally. The spring is then connected to a dial or rotates and provides the right estimation.
Mechanical scales are less accurate, as compression rates can reduce over time. With repeated use, the spring won’t return to its original condition, wear off, or may even break. Another issue is that measuring small quantities can be challenging when using mechanical scales. If you’re using a 10-pound scale, measuring 5 ounces will be difficult as the force exerted is too little to create visible movement in the spring. Bigger objects will be easier to read as they can significantly compress the spring and get detected.
There are precise mechanical scales available, but they can be quite expensive. If you’re not willing to shell out money for a hefty price tag, you can use a dry measuring cup set instead for your cooking needs. Yet, one advantage of mechanical scales is that they don’t require power to operate, making them more portable than the next type of this list.
3. Digital Scales
The last type of weight scale is the digital scale. It’s the most innovative of all types and can be found in most kitchens. When you place a food item on its flat surface, it causes resistance to the load cell or strain gauge, which the scale translates to an electrical signal. Afterward, the signal runs through a converter or a simple computer inside the scale, then shows the accurate weight on the display. While it may seem complicated, the digital scale can update in a second, while the high-quality ones can load even faster.
With that, you can easily get the recommended weight for your recipe as the digital scale provides an instantaneous result. What’s great is that digital scales also come with other features you cannot find in other types.
If you’re measuring the gochugaru, Korea’s essential ingredient, you need to put it into a bowl to avoid your area from getting messy. You can place the bowl onto the platform first and with a simple button subtract the measurement. Thus, allowing you to only measure the weight of the item you’re measuring. On the other hand, a mechanical scale will lead you to do things manually measuring the weight of the container first, adding the item, and deducting the total weight from the container’s weight, which can be pretty time-consuming for your busy kitchen.
Other advanced features include portability, measurements conversions, memory, clock, and the ability to measure nutritional data. They also come in a slim and smart structure for easy storage, and stainless steel platform for easier cleaning and prevention of rust. Perhaps, the only drawback of digital scales is that they need batteries to function. If the battery drains, you may experience some inconvenience until you recharge the digital scale or replace its batteries.
What weight scale do I need for cooking?
As cooking requires precisely measured ingredients, digital scales are undoubtedly your best option. The accuracy they offer is simply unmatchable. Plus, the quick update on the display, easy adjustments, and added features will help you prepare your meals faster. Just make sure that the digital scale you’d be choosing has a generous-sized platform, operates finely, is easy to read, and provides ease of storage. With that, you can reap all the benefits a digital scale can do for your kitchen needs and cook more delicious meals. Happy cooking!