This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a list of the best gear for your home. Read the full article at TheSweethome.com
If you need an all-purpose digital kitchen scale for baking, cooking by ratio, or even measuring beans to brew coffee, the Jennings CJ4000 ($26) combines some of the best features we’ve seen in a scale. It’s easy to use and store, comes with an AC adapter to save on batteries, and you can disable the auto-off function—so you can take your sweet time mixing or brewing. The Jennings costs only a few dollars more than a bare-bones model, but does something none of them can: it measures in half grams for even better precision.
How We Decided
We spent nearly 30 hours researching, interviewing experts, and testing digital kitchen scales over the last two years. Of the 45 models we’ve considered, the Jennings CJ4000 has proved the most versatile for a range of kitchen tasks and the best for most people.
Who should buy this?
Anyone who wants more consistent results from their baking, cooking, or coffee brewing should consider getting a kitchen scale. It’s far more accurate to weigh flour, diced vegetables, shredded cheese, or any number of ingredients than to cram them into a measuring cup or spoon. And since you can pour everything into one mixing bowl—subtracting cups and spoons from the equation—this type of cooking and baking cuts down significantly on dishes.
For precision coffee brewing, as with pour overs, a scale can help you get an accurate combination of beans and water every time. (If you’re into home espresso, see our other recommendations below for even more accurate pocket scales.)
Why we like Jennings CJ4000 above all else
With a capacity of .5 grams to 4000 grams (about 8.8 pounds), the Jennings scale is precise enough for pour overs, but can also handle big batches of dough. Many cooks and bakers may not need the .5 gram level of accuracy, but we like that the precision gives you options down the road.
When turned on, the scale defaults to the last unit measurement used. Simply press the “mode” button to switch between grams, ounces, pounds, and pieces (the counting function).
We also like that the Jennings comes with an AC adapter. (Most of the other models we tested only use batteries.) This conserves battery, and could save you an emergency trip to the store when the batteries have finally died.
The Jennings scale was one of a few we found where you can disable the auto-off function, so you can take as much time as you need to measure ingredients without the scale turning off. If this isn’t disabled, the scale turns off after only a minute and a half of inactivity.
We found the Jennings scale’s bright orange backlit screen, which stays on as long as the scale does, easy to read. We also like that the scale has a small footprint, making it convenient to store in a cupboard or drawer.
Overall, we think the Jennings CJ4000 offers a lot of value for a very reasonable price. It also comes with a 20-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Flaws (but not dealbreakers)
When testing with lab weights, the Jennings scale consistently read .5 g too high. The slight misread could prove problematic for some coffee people, but not a biggie for most bakers or cooks.
If using a big pot for mixing dough, it takes some maneuvering to see the screen. You definitely can’t see the measurement if using a sheet pan. Yet for most baking, cooking, and coffee tasks, we think the Jennings will work just fine.
If you bake in bulk
The $36 My Weigh KD8000 is a beast compared to the other scales we tested and only measures in full grams, but as with the Jennings scale, you can use an AC adapter, disable the auto-off function, and keep the backlight on as long as the scale. It’s a good choice for quantity baking, as it’ll weigh up to 17 pounds, 9 ounces. Just be aware it takes up quite a bit of counter space.
The best designed scale
The much sleeker OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale has an easier to read display, and the best overall design of all the scales we tested. But at $50 it’s relatively pricey and doesn’t function better than the Jennings CJ4000.
For extra precision
For weighing very small amounts very precisely—such as espresso, spices, or leaveners—we’d go with the $18 American Weigh 2KG pocket scale, which measures in .1 gram increments, or the American Weigh Signature Digital Pocket Scale ($8.50), which measures in .01 gram increments.
Our favorite digital kitchen scale is the most versatile for a range of kitchen tasks, but some of our other picks have better designed features and even more precision. For most cooking, baking, and even coffee brewing, though, we’d buy the Jennings CJ4000.
This guide may have been updated. To see the current recommendation please go to The Sweethome.com