Christopher Kimball: I love old-fashioned things in the kitchen, but one of the things I love that’s fairly newfangled are digital scales. I like the big readout [waves hands in emphasis], I like the accuracy, I also like the ability to easily tare—that is remove the weight of the bowl that I’m weighing something in. And I love the design, too. Some of them are actually pretty cool. Now, over the years [turns toward Adam Ried], we’ve done lots of digital scales. [AR nods head] But there’s a whole bunch of new designs that just came out, and Adam is very excited about this, so I decided to come to the Equipment Corner to find out what all the excitement is about.
Adam Ried: Chuck your old digital scale [holds up arm with palm out as if to dismiss], Chris—we have a new winner. Like you said, we’ve done a lot of scale testing before. We absolutely prefer digital scales, because they’re that much easier to read and that much easier to use. First of all [camera pans to nine digital scales on countertop], I’ll tell you that we had nine different models here. The price range was from a little less than $30 up through $100. Obviously they have to be accurate. And the way we tested accuracy was with lab weights. And each one [points toward scales] of these scales read within two grams of the accurate readings. Being that they’re all accurate, that sort of boiled us down to design characteristics to choose the winners from the losers. One of the things that you definitely want to have is a large capacity. A lot of these will weigh five, six, seven pounds.
CPK: Is that all, really?
AR: Some of them will weigh 11, though, and that’s what we prefer. If you’re weighing a big chuck roast [holds out arms to indicate large size] or, you know, part of a leg of lamb, maybe even a small turkey, you want to be able to weigh as much as you can. [CPK nods in agreement] You’re also looking for a fairly large weighing platform so that you can fit as much as possible on there. Take a look at [camera cuts to one scale as he points at it] that black one there. [CPK touches weighing platform of scale] That one’s actually really small, as opposed to something like this [camera cuts to second scale], which is more than six inches across, so you can get a decent size plate or mixing bowl on there.
CPK: What about readouts? [points to third scale] Some of them seem to have kind of small windows.
AR: That’s another design feature. You want the biggest readout [waves hand in emphasis] that you can get so that you can read it more easily. That one is tiny right there, as opposed to something like this [camera cuts to a fourth scale], which is a couple of inches—much larger digits, much easier to read.
CPK: Now, that Soehnle [points toward a fifth scale], isn’t that one of the ones that has won in the past?
AR: [Camera cuts to scale as he lifts it off the counter] This is unfortunately the dethroned winner, Chris. [grins] We have a new winner, Chris. [smiles broadly] It’s by OXO. This [points at the winning scale] is the OXO food scale. It’s great. It’s really easy to use. This is the power button. [presses power button] You turn it on, it’s got a nice, large weighing platform. You put this tray of fish [lifts up tray of salmon fillets and places it on the weighing platform of scale] on there to weigh it. But wait a minute. [tries to look at scale window, which is obscured by the tray; pauses for dramatic effect] Where’d the view go? You can’t find it. On a lesser scale [grins; CPK chuckes and nods his head], you would not be able to see what’s going on. But with our new winner from OXO [pulls out console of scale so that window is now visible], you just pull out the console like that.
CPK: How much do you like this feature? [smiling]
AR: I love [stresses word and grins broadly], I love little gadgets like that. It’s so cool. It’s easy to read. It’s an 11-pound capacity. It’s really a great digital scale [removes tray from scale’s weighing platform]. And it’s 50 bucks. It’s not that much money.
CPK: And you also said it had a backlight [points at scale] of some kind.
AR: Yeah, here. You can turn that [presses button to turn on blue light], and you get a nice blue readout.
CPK: So at 50 bucks, not too much money, the OXO is the winner. It has a nice large platform, and you can even take that measurement window and pull it out. [pulls out window as before] So there you have it—OXO’s the winner at 50 bucks.
View the full report of our Digital Scales testing.
Captioned by Media Access Group at WGBH
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