You’d be hard pressed to impress a keen cook these days without a set of worthy kitchen scales, of which there are three main types: balance scales, mechanical scales and digital scales. The first – rare and outdated – look a bit like a seesaw. You position the weights on one arm and the ingredients in the bowl at the other and wait for them to balance. There’s no need for a battery and they’re easy to use, but they rely on human judgment and as a result lack true accuracy. 

Mechanical scales – which are far more common – work with a spring which moves the dial to reflect the weight of the ingredients. There are some fabulous retro designs and the weight capacity is often higher than other scales. There’s no need for batteries either, although as the spring wears out, the accuracy can decrease and they can be iffy when it comes to measuring tiny amounts. 

Then there’s the most popular – digital scales – which use LCD displays. They are often very compact and are extremely precise in measuring, including small amounts – and you can switch between different measurements too. But there’s often limited weight capacity and they do rely on batteries.

When buying yours, think about whether you want to let them to sit out on the worktop or store them away. Is the bowl big enough? And if it doesn’t come with its own bowl, will it fit your own, especially if you like using larger vessels? Is the display easy to see? Is there a low-battery warning? Is the capacity enough for your needs? Does it have the tare function (that is, being able to reset it to zero so you can add more ingredients)? And do you need it to weigh wet ingredients, as well as dry?

Joseph Joseph TriScale: $30, Joseph Joseph

Struggling for space? This digital set neatly folds away into practically nothing, so you can easily slip it into a kitchen drawer, along with all your cutlery and utensils. Available in green or white, we found the scales easy to set up and use, with a responsive touchscreen, as well as being accurate – definitely not a second-best to larger machines. And it lasts well too.

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Traditional Cast Iron Balance Kitchen Weighing Scale: From $302, Amazon 

These are granny-esque, but in a good way, looking fabulous in a country cottage-style kitchen. But there are modern touches, too, including the dishwasher-safe bowl, which is a good, large size. Keep in mind that you have to buy the weights (metric or imperial) separately and they’ll set you back another hand full of cash.

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Typhoon Vision Electronic Kitchen Weighing Scales: $64.99, Bed Bath and Beyond 

Who knew kitchen scales could look so chic? With its soft lines and range of six gloss color options, these are also well-designed, with precision weighing, an easy-to-read digital display and add function, so that you don’t have to start from scratch with multiple ingredients. It weighs wet and dry ingredients and the bowl is a generous size.

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Lakeland Digital Kitchen Weighing Scale: From $119, Amazon

These brushed stainless steel scales are easy to use, with no complicated instructions to follow, and we found them easy to keep clean too, with a dishwasher-safe bowl. The add-and-weigh function is a godsend for keen bakers and there’s a clear LCD display, which even tells you the room temperature – just in case you were wondering why your butter is going hard before your eyes.  The bowl fits over the base for storage.

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Jamie Oliver Electronic Wet 'n' Dry Kitchen Scales: $138.90, Redmart 

These are compact – with the bowl fitting upside down on the main unit – making them a great option for smaller kitchens or storing away. They are good quality, reliable, with a clear digital display. And best of all, you can weigh either wet or dry ingredients, and add multiple ingredients into the same bowl as you go, zero-ing the display whenever you need to.

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Drop Kitchen Connected Weighing Scale: $42, Amazon 

Once you’ve opened the Drop app on your iPad to link up your scales wirelessly, you have access to hundreds of tried-and-tested recipes – including pictures, videos and tips. When you’ve decided which one to go for, you click on it and let your scales do the work when it comes to measurement. We found them efficient, reliable and innovative, although it is a shame that the app is only available on iOS devices (so far).

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Salter Stainless Steel Pro Electronic Scale: $30.99, Bigamart 

This brand knows a thing or two about kitchen scales, having specialised in home technology for over 250 years and now distributing its scales to over 100 countries. This one is a brilliant option if you prefer to use your own mixing bowls. It’s got an add-and-weigh function and it couldn’t be easier to clean. Also reassuring is the 15-year guarantee.

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Joseph Joseph Switch Scale: $36.40, Target 

The reversible lid means you get two types of scale – a platform scale for weighing items already in containers, or simply flip the lid over to create a bowl scales for weighing loose ingredients. All this, and it’s lovely and small and lightweight. It has the handy add-and-weigh function and it will weigh both dry and wet foods.

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Terraillon NutriTab Connected Kitchen Scale: $77.99, Bigamart 

No excuse not to keep trim and healthy with these new scales which feature technology that monitors the nutritional value of every food you eat, including calories and the five main RDAs – fat, carbs, protein, fibre and sodium. Information on all basic foods are already stored within its database – and if it’s not, scan the barcode, prompting the machine to dip into a larger database and gather the food facts.

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Verdict: Best kitchen scales 

For innovation, our recommendations go jointly to Joseph Joseph Triscale and Terraillon Nutritab Connected Kitchen Scale. But if it’s just a decent set of no-frills scales for everyday use, we suggest John Lewis Classic Mechanical Scale.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.