Kitchen scales are a must in any kitchen, especially for the keen baker, where exact measurements are a must. There are two main types of scales, digital scales and analogue weighing scales, but they are both the same in the sense that they need calibrating to ensure accurate results every time.
The good news is that it is an easy task to complete, and it requires very little in terms of equipment, but if you follow the calibration process correctly, you can always be confident that you have accurate measurements. Even the slightest inaccuracy can cause issues or cost you money, especially if you use scales in your business rather than for home baking.
So if you’ve been wondering how to calibrate kitchen scales, we have provided you with helpful information about ways to do it on a digital scale and a manual one. We will also cover what to use for a calibration weight and what kind of things might negatively affect your scale.
Read on for all the tips you need to ensure that your digital scales are calibrated and ready to use next time you weigh something on them.
What Is Calibration?
Calibration compares the actual weight of a reference item and the weight that your scales return to ensure that they are accurate and adjust them if required. A calibrating weight is typically used as the reference item, but you can use anything with a standard weight if you now have a proper calibration weight.
Why Do I Need to Calibrate My Kitchen Scales?
The simple answer to ‘why do I need to calibrate my device?’ is because you may get inaccurate or inconsistent measurements if you don’t do so. Such inaccuracy can affect the final results of your baking or cooking attempts, or it could be more impactful if you need to be confident of accurate measurements.
Moving your scales, knocking them, positioning them on uneven surfaces or placing them where vibrations occur can cause them to need recalibrating. If your scales go through a lot of wear and tear, you may need to calibrate them more frequently than if they remain on a flat surface in the same location for the majority of the time.
What Tool Can I Use to Calibrate My Scales?
You can use various items to calibrate your scale, but the important thing to note is that whatever you select needs to have a consistent weight.
Some weighing devices will be accompanied by calibration weights, especially for this purpose, but you can always use other items if this is not your case. Coins are a particularly useful tool for calibrating scales as they are produced to an exact amount, and their weight is consistent.
To calibrate your scales effectively, it is important to set them up in the right position and location; keep the weight you will use for the calibration handy. It’s no good starting a recipe only to realise that your scale is not ready to calculate your measurements. It will just delay you and risk the dish you are preparing! Instead, calibrating your scale on a regular basis will mean that you are always ready for whatever you are weighing on any given day!
Preparing to Calibrate
First things first: before calibration, always make sure your device is clean. Do this by removing food, dirt, or other debris from the surface using a damp cloth. Anything remaining on it could affect the scale reading.
Make sure your kitchen scale is placed on a level surface as if it is on a tilt or angle; this can affect the accuracy of the reading.
Another essential thing to make sure of is that you are not near any other electronic device when you calibrate a digital scale, as it could interfere with the scale accuracy.
Once you have done this, you can move on to calibrating your scales. There are different steps to follow depending on what type of model you have, whether you have a digital scale or an analogue one, so follow any instructions if provided. Different models will display the calibration mode in different ways, so it’s important to know what to look for.
Step 1: Power up the Scale
Switch on your device. Digital scales can be powered by batteries, but some can connect to a power source: just follow what your model requires to be turned on.
Step 2: Identify the Right Calibration Option on Your Scale
If you have instructions with your scale, look for the right scale calibration button and press it, you may need to hold it down for a few seconds before it works. This button can be called differently depending on your device: it might be listed as ‘Cal’, ‘Function’, or ‘Mode’ on your machine.
Step 3: Place the Weight
At this point, it is important to place the calibration weight on the centre of the digital scale, as the position can affect the accuracy of your reading. Your model may have a maximum weight, so be careful not to exceed this while performing the calibration.
The scale should display an accurate reading based on the weight you have placed on it. Press the calibration button again.
Step 4: Complete the Calibration
Once the scale has performed the calibration, either a ‘0’ or perhaps the word ‘End’ may be displayed. In some cases, a beep might signify that the calibration has been completed.
Your scale is now calibrated and ready to weigh again.
Manual or Analogue Scales
Analogue or manual weighing devices can be calibrated at any time as they are more likely to vary based on being knocked. The good news is that this is a very straightforward task.
There is no need to turn them on as they are not battery powered; you are ready to go straight away!
Step 1: Check the Resting Dial
With nothing on the scale, stand above it, look down at the dial, or look straight on, depending on where the display is. The dial should rest directly over the ‘0’.
Step 2: Adjust the Dial
If the dial is out and not resting at zero, you need to adjust it by the difference until it is accurate again.
Step 3: Check the Calibration Is Correct
With the dial resting at zero, you can now use a calibration weight to check that the scale is weighing accurately. The dial should go to the exact weight of the coins or mass you are using to check that it is working correctly.
Get Your Kitchen Scale Calibrated
We hope we have provided plenty of valuable tips and advice on how to calibrate kitchen scales, with the good news being that it is not a difficult or time-consuming process for you to follow. You also don’t need much in terms of equipment to successfully calibrate a digital scale; a calibration weight and a flat clear area will just do!
It is worth mentioning that if you have to do frequent calibrations on your kitchen scale, it may mean that something is going wrong, and you need to do additional troubleshooting.
Scale calibration depends on the type of scale you have and the mode you need to select, but the basic steps are the following: press the correct display option, place the weight on the centre of the scale and allow the machine to calibrate based on the weight used in the test.
If you don’t have weights supplied with your scale, you can always use coins, as these are produced to specific weights.
Once your digital scale is calibrated successfully, you can use it safely in the knowledge of its accuracy for perfect bakes!
How often do you calibrate your kitchen scales? Let us know and leave a comment below!