As a coffee trainer for over 10 years, I still frequently come across people struggling with precision and consistency.
The problem? They’re not measuring their coffee but rather freestyling it.
Coffee brewing is a science, and to get optimal results each facet has to be precise. This is why ensuring you use the right coffee scale for your needs becomes increasingly important.
Below, I dive into the best coffee scales on the market in 2021, but if you’re in a hurry, here are my 2 favorites:
Why Use Coffee Scales?
If the idea of being accurate while brewing coffee seems extreme to you, let’s compare it to baking a cake.
Have you ever prepared a cake but decided that accuracy when measuring the ingredients wasn’t all that important?
If so, you probably got disappointing results such as a flat cake or unpleasant tastes. Why?
Because baking is a science, and getting the recipe right – and getting to eat a delicious cake – means you have to be precise with every measurement.
Brewing coffee is a lot like baking. As we said, it’s a science that requires exact measurements and extraction times.
To get those exact measurements, you need to find the best coffee scale for your needs. Yes, there’s a whole variety of scales on the market, and often, you don’t need all the bells and whistles.
People are often aware that buying the best beans and using the right grinder are two essentials to getting a fantastic cup of coffee. Yet, they overlook a simple step that their barista never overlooks: precision.
You will need a precise ratio to brew coffee well in a consistent fashion.
Precision does not mean using a coffee scoop. Using a coffee scoop will get you close to the amount of coffee you need, but close isn’t good enough if you want consistent results.
Precision involves weighing the beans to ensure you’re using the exact ratio each time you brew. And that requires coffee scales.
Criteria To Find The Best Coffee Scale
The first criteria to choosing the best coffee scale is that it must be accurate. If it’s not accurate, you might as well be using that coffee scoop that came with your bag of coffee.
The best coffee scales can accurately weigh small quantities (usually to a degree of 0.01 grams) to meet the ratio requirements.
If you are preparing pour-overs, you also want coffee scales that handle up to several kilograms. The best scales for coffee need to be able to take the weight of the brewing method, filters, coffee, and the total amount of water.
Yup, size matters!
Most kitchens have space limitations, and your digital scale needs to fit with room to pour too.
Even if you have a good-sized coffee station, you need to use space wisely to accommodate all the coffee gadgets. Slim digital coffee scales that take up less room not only look good, they are also just plain practical.
For espresso enthusiasts, larger coffee scales won’t fit in an espresso drip tray, which will be important if you plan on weighing your shot.
Also, larger scales aren’t as portable. That makes them harder to move around the kitchen or take on the road with you. Consider the size before purchasing coffee scales.
Before buying a digital scale, consider what gives it life: the battery and how you’ll charge it.
Some scales run on replaceable batteries. Keep an eye on the type of batteries and how long they’ll last. For scales that require batteries, make sure they’re easy to purchase (for instance, AAA batteries are easy to find).
Consider buying rechargeable batteries, so you avoid spending a small fortune in replacing them.
Some scales have batteries that recharge with an AC plug or micro-USB charger. Make sure the battery is compatible with the technology you prefer to use.
A tare button is essential for brewing coffee.
You need to be able to place the brewing method and any filters on the scale, tare it to zero, add the coffee grounds or beans, and then tare it again to weigh the water.
Without a tare function, you’ll find yourself doing some rather impossible math every time you want to brew your coffee.
The display should be easy to read, clearly visible in both low light or a brightly lit kitchen. The background color should be pleasing according to your preferences. Personally, i don’t like anything too bright.
No coffee scale is waterproof. And to be honest, no brewing scale needs to be waterproof. After all, you won’t be weighing coffee under water.
However, you may want it to be water-resistant. That way, if you spill your espresso shot on it or miss the mark when brewing a pour-over, you won’t ruin your scale.
Will a timer be important to the user? Maybe.
If you don’t mind whipping out your smartphone every time you brew a coffee, then the presence or absence of a built-in timer won’t be a deal-breaker. For ease of use, though, you may want a built-in timer.
Alright, enough of the prelude. Let’s dive into our picks for the best coffee scales.
The 7 Best Coffee Scales 2021
1. Acaia Lunar Espresso Scale
The modern-looking Acaia Lunar is at the luxury end of professional coffee scales. It not only packs every feature you can imagine, but also some you may never have dreamed of.
- Sized to use with espresso machines
- Tough construction that’s made to last
- Apps that connect to your smartphone give you unbeatable brewing control and guidance
- High price
- Complicated to use
Sleek and beautiful, it was created to use with espresso machines. The slim, compact design means it will fit easily in your drip tray and be the perfect companion to produce the best shots possible.
This tough little scale will hold up to intense use. It has an aluminum casing that is built to last. It’s water-resistant, so don’t worry about spilling a shot on it.
The easy-to-read display incorporates both the weight and timer. The auto tare function will automatically tare out your cup in a second’s time.
No doubt the most exciting aspect of this scale are the apps that you can use with it. Download the Acaia apps to your smartphone and connect the scale with Bluetooth technology.
Then you’ll be ready to use the apps to graph your brews and share the results. Calculate ratios. Log your brewing data. Sync multiple scales. Keep track of your brews and your progress. And you can store the brew settings for multiple devices.
The battery life is good, giving you up to 20 hours on a charge. The scale will be fully charged in just a few hours using a standard mini USB charging cable.
You can measure your ground coffee (or beans) in grams or ounces and it has a 2,000-gram capacity. The scale comes with a calibration weight so you can periodically calibrate the scale.
A heat-resistant pad protects the coffee scale from hot surfaces, which doubles as a portafilter pad when weighing out your shot.
With all these essential bells and whistles, it is hard to find something we don’t like about the Acaia Lunar. Perhaps the only stopping point for most people would be the price. At over $200, it’s a purchase to consider carefully.
However, when you consider the price of a good espresso machine, adding this scale to make sure your shots turn out the best is a small investment.
2. Hario V60 Drip Coffee Scale
The Hario coffee drip scale has been a mainstay in cafés and was the first set of scales dedicated to brewing coffee. It is sleek, compact, and precise.
- Digital display is easy to read
- Compact size
- Built-in timer
- Measures only in grams
- Not waterproof
The V60 drip scale is an attractive, mid-priced option that will get the job done and be a no-frills addition to your home coffee setup.
If you’ll be using this scale for pour-overs, keep in mind that it is not waterproof. If you’re completely impeccable when you prepare your brews, that won’t be a problem.
However, if enough liquid escapes from your kettle or method, you could damage it beyond repair.
The Hario measures in 0.1 gram increments and has a 2,000-gram capacity. It might not be the best scale if you’ll be brewing with larger (and heavier) methods. It also only measures in grams, which can be a deal-breaker if you prefer ounces.
It can also be a bit slow to show weight changes, and the display is a bit dull. It is powered by two AAA batteries. Some Hario scales come with a battery that’s rechargeable but not replaceable, so when it wears out, you need to purchase another scale.
3. Timemore Digital Coffee Scale
For those who don’t want to spend the price of a high-end professional coffee scale, the Timemore coffee scale may be the perfect choice for you.
- Built-in timer
- Mid-range price
- Maximum weight 2kg
- Accuracy can be variable
The water-resistant Timemore is reasonably priced and has a minimalistic design. The bright display makes it easy to brew in low light. It powers up fast and weighs without the delay lag that less expensive scales sometimes have.
The built-in timer is useful when brewing. However, the auto-off function is set for 3 minutes, which might be a problem if you get distracted by something else in the kitchen.
The rechargeable battery lasts 10 hours on a charge and charges via a USB-C charger. The buttons do emit loud sounds, but if you’re more into a quiet coffee-brewing experience, you can turn off the noise.
But, because of the larger size, the Timemore does not fit on all espresso machine drip trays and certainly isn’t a pocket scale.
4. Acaia Pearl Model S Coffee Scale
The Acaia Pearl Model S coffee scale shines in its ability to help you become a better barista.
- Provides comprehensive brew guides
- Accuracy to 0.1 gram
- Complicated to use
- Higher price point
This pick is ideal for brewing at work or for serious home baristas. It is seriously the scale of choice for those who truly want to dive into the complex brewing world.
It has so many features, and it’s hard to list them all.
There are 6 brew modes, a whopping 5 apps to download, and 20 settings that you can program. This is not a scale to pop out of the box and use; it will take a bit of study and practice to get a smooth brewing experience.
Choose from 5 apps that you can download to your smartphone. Yup..5!
Each app will guide you through a different facet of the brewing process. You can choose from drink recipes and record your successful (and not-so-successful) brewing experiments.
The scale makes it easy to track your daily brewing, record the ratio you use, and view your progress. Send recipes to the scale and get step-by-step guidance through the brewing process.
It will track your coffee technique and show you, with graphs and other visual aids, your success, and progress.
If you’ll use it for a café, the app lets you track multiple scales at one time. It communicates with your smartphone by Bluetooth.
The battery provides about 40 hours of action and charges using a micro USB-C charger. There’s a built-in timer, and you can read the adjustable screen even in bright sunlight. It includes an auto-off function.
The design is water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about splashing water onto your scale when brewing. The scale is accurate to 0.1 gram increments and has up to a 3,000 gram capacity.
For most people, the downside of this scale is the high price. At nearly $200, this scale is more in the budget range of coffee shops or true coffee enthusiasts.
5. Kitchen Tour Precision
- Inexpensive scale to start with
- Includes a timer
- Simple to use
- Not water resistant
- Delayed reading
The Kitchen Tour Coffee scale might be the best option for you if you’re starting out in the world of weighing coffee grounds and want to upgrade from a normal kitchen scale.
One of the most significant benefits for a beginner is its simplicity. You can start using it without having to study modes, guides, or other features.
The scale has features such as a handy built-in timer and an auto-off option. It is powered by three AAA batteries, and you can choose to weigh your coffee in ounces or grams.
This scale does have a 1-second delay in reading. That doesn’t cause tons of frustration when you use it to weigh coffee beans. If you use it to brew pour-over coffee, you’ll quickly get frustrated with the delay that will hamper your ability to weigh the water.
The flat buttons give you no audible feedback or any other way to know that you did, indeed, press them. The lightweight design is not as durable as more expensive scales.
This scale is too large to fit in most espresso trays. If you’re looking for a precise experience, you might want to consider another scale.
6. Outry Coffee Scal
- Choose from ounces or grams
- Green LCD screen is not attractive
- Not as accurate as more expensive options
The slim Outry coffee scale is set at an attractive price with an attractive design. Among its features is an auto-off option, a tare function, a timer, and it can handle up to 3,000 gr of weight (making it great for a variety of coffee brewing methods).
It measures to 0.1 gram, and you can choose ounces or grams. It’s powered by two AAA batteries.
The green LCD screen is easy to read, but it’s not the most attractive screen out there. When the timer is not running, the four-minute auto-off feature may be an irritating feature if you want the scale to remain on even when you’re not actively using it.
A scale at this price is not going to be as accurate as a higher-priced one. However, if extreme accuracy isn’t essential for you, this may be the scale for you and is a step up from a kitchen scale.
7. Jennings CJ4000 Scale
- Not the most attractive design
- Too big for most espresso setups
The Jennings CJ4000 coffee scale is an impressively accurate scale at an easy entry-level price point. This scale shines if your main goal is to use a range of brewing methods to brew pour-overs: it has a large base, a 4,000 gram capacity, and a 0.5 gram precision.
This simple, straightforward, easy-to-use scale is more accurate than most scales at this price point and has attractive features. Flip the cover over, and you can use it as a tray, good for holding your coffee beans.
The large weighing area is essential if you’ll be using it for pour-overs because it will accommodate the brewing method, water, coffee, and grinds. If you often brew with a large Chemex or French Press, this scale is ideal.
If you prefer ounces to grams, this scale lets you program your preferences. The essential tare feature works well, and the scale runs on three AAA batteries or an AC plug.
There is an auto-off feature, which is good for forgetful brewers. However, if you prefer to be in control of when your scale turns off, you can disable the auto-off feature.
That way, you can plan a longer brewing time or simply walk away from the scale to do something else in the kitchen and come back and still find it on. It has an easy-to-read LCD display.
On a negative note, the Jennings CJ4000 is generally not suitable as an espresso scale since it’s not going to fit on drip trays and is not precise enough.
It’s also not the most attractive scale. It’s not modern or slim. The loud beeping when turning the scale on will alert others in your house or café that you’re about to prepare a coffee, and there’s no way to tone down the sound.
And although this scale doesn’t have a timer, you might not have a problem using the timer on your smartphone.
The Final Verdict
Overall, If you’re looking to get a professional scale with all the possible features and you’re not afraid of the high price, the Acaia Lunar coffee scale is the one for you.
It has everything you’ll need to start off brewing excellent coffee, will guide you to become the best barista possible, and will accompany you in any professional setting.
But, If your after the getting the most for your money, I’d recommend the Timemore. It offers the most buck for your money while offering features that rival a much more expensive coffee scale.
For the budget-conscious, the Jennings CJ4000 scale is a winner in features, accuracy, and durability.
While it’s not the most attractive scale on the market, you won’t have the frustrations that plague users of other scales at this price point.