Scale Shootout

by Brian Mullin on July 16, 2007

scale_shootout

I wanted to do a review of scales for weighing bike parts a.k.a ‘Weight Weenie Scale’ for the longest time but I just never seemed to get around to it. I first had to decide on specific criteria for the scales to meet to serve as some base standard, so I came up with four basic rules that they had to match.

First, they needed to come from a reputable company such as Acculab, Ohaus, My Weigh, Tanita, Jennings, Mettler, Gram Precision, CAS, and Sartorius.

Second, they must be less than $50. Costs will vary depending on where you purchase the scales, so this is just a ballpark figure.

Third, they must have a weight capacity greater than 2000g. It’s nice to have a scale that can weigh wheelsets and cranksets, even though the vast majority of parts are well within the usual 500g limits of the smaller scales. Scales capacities seem to hover in the 500g range, the 2000g-4000g range and then the 5000g-7000g range, and I felt as though the 2000g-4000g range was a good compromise between the extremes. Although it’s not much more expensive to get a scale that goes to the limits of bike parts (like heavy full suspension frames), I decided to stick with the medium models a.k.a the ‘Kitchen Scale.’

Fourth, is that the scale must do accuracy within 1g or less.

Now I had to go purchase as many models as I could get that matched my criteria. I did not end up getting every manufacturer that I wanted to get, but I got a couple from the big brands Jennings and My Weigh. My budget kept me from getting everything on the market, though perhaps in the future I might revisit the shootout test with additional products. Those major scale companies engineer and design things to their specifications and the actual manufacturing itself is predomniately done in China.

One of the reasons to purchase scales from a reputable company is that they have better quality control and they stand behind their product. Many of the $10 scales on Ebay are just that, a $10 scale. They may or may not be accurate, and they may or may not be durable, and it’s a total gamble on what sort of product you’ll get. When the manufacturing went to China, the prices for scales plummeted, and once the quality got better you got an incredible value for the scales. The adage that you what you paid for still applies. Hence I prefer to stick with the big players.

I ended up with the Jennings CJ-4000, the My Weigh 3001P and My Weigh i2500 scales for the shootout. I also added the My Weigh iBalance i2600 in the review to represent one of the more accurate scales you can buy for comparison. It’s the scale I personally use for my weight weenie scale.

scale_shootout_mw_3001jpg

My Weigh 3001P

My Weigh 3001P – Silver or Black – Digital Postal Scale and Kitchen Scale
Weight Capacity: 6.6lb x 0.1oz
Weighing Modes: g, oz, lb, kg

The 3001P has a 3000g capacity with 1g resolution and weighs in lb/oz, lb, g, and kg. This multi-purpose scale is extremely durable and versatile and has an adjustable angled backlit display with a cool orange-red color, a programmable auto-off feature, a HOLD feature, digital auto calibration and a last unit used memory. The scale comes with a weighing container (a square bowl), a ABS platform and three AA batteries are included.

 

Accuracy +/- 0.1oz | 0.002lb | 0.001kg | 1.0g
Capacity 3001P 6lb:10oz | 6.650lb | 3.000kg | 3000g
Capacity 7001DX 15lb:7oz | 15.450lb | 7.000kg | 7000g
Modes Pounds:Ounces, Pounds, Kilograms, Grams
Scale Size 6″ x 8″ (15cm x 20cm)
Tray/Platform Size 5.5″ x 5.5″ (14cm x 14cm)
Warranty Lifetime/30 year worldwide warranty
Advanced Features Programmable Auto-Off times, Audible Beep Function and backlight-off times
Included Accessories (7001) Large Acrylic Bowl, Letter Tube Holder, Mail/Envelope Holder, Large Backlit Adjustable Angle Display
Included Accessories (3001) Large Acrylic Bowl, Large Backlit Adjustable Angle Display
Power 3 AA Batteries (included) or AC Adaptor (optional)

Features

  • Display that tilts to different angles
  • Red backlit display for low light conditions
  • Backlit can be turned on or off, the time the light stays on is user programmable
  • Holds the weight of oversize objects after the package is removed
  • Saves last mode used
  • Nice square plastic weighing platform of 5.9 x 5.4 inches
  • Tare

Pros – Square weighing platform, bright backlit display, weight hold
Cons – No AC adapter

Price: around $30

scale_shootout_cj4000

Jennings/JScale CJ4000

Jennings CJ-4000
Weight Capacity: 8.8lbs x 0.02oz
Weighing Modes: g, oz, lb, count

The CJ4000 is a 4000g scale with 0.5g resolution. It weighs in g, oz, dwt, and can perform counting. It comes with a stainless steel platform, a hard protective cover that doubles as an expansion tray which is a very handy feature, an AC adapter and a set of batteries.

Accuracy +/- 0.02oz | 0.001lb | 0.5g
Capacity 141.1oz | 8.8lb | 4000g
Modes Ounces, Pounds, Grams
Scale Size 8″ x 5.5″ x 1.5″ (20.3x14x3.8cm)
Tray/Platform Size 5.4 ” diameter
Warranty 20 year worldwide warranty
Included Accessories Acrylic Cover/Bowl, AC Adaptor
Power 3 AA Batteries (included) or AC Adaptor

Features

  • Piece count
  • Plastic cover that’s a weighing bowl
  • Stainless round platform 5.4 inches in diameter
  • Tare
  • AC adapter
  • Backlit

Pros – plastic cover that’s a weighing bowl, AC adaptor
Cons – none

Price : around $45

scale_shootout_mwi2500

MyWeigh i2500

My Weigh i2500- Digital Kitchen Scale and Food Scale
Weight Capacity: 2500g x 0.5g
Weighing Modes: g, oz, lb, count

All-Purpose Scale has a 2500g x 0.5g or 5.5lb x 0.02oz capacity and it can count items as small as 1/2 gram. It can also calculate net weight and combined net gross weight. The scale comes with a large round bowl weighing container, back-lit display, a plastic platform, an auto-off feature, and batteries.

 

Accuracy +/- 0.5g / 0.02oz / 0.001lb // +/- 1.0g / 0.05oz / 0.002lb
Scale Size 8″ x 5 1/2″ (20cm x 14cm)
Bowl Size 9″ x 4″ (23cm x 10cm)
Operating Temperature 64f – 85f
Calibration Digital Auto Calibration
Accessories Acrylic Bowl, 4AAA batteries (included), AC Adaptor is optional (6v). Integrated Parts Counting Feature is included standard.
Warranty Lifetime/30 year worldwide warranty

Features

  • Piece count
  • Backlit display
  • Round plastic platform 5 3/4 inches in diameter
  • Large clear plastic weighing bowl
  • Tare net weight/gross weight does cumulative and combined weight
  • Net weight/gross weight does cumulative and combined weight

Pros – large weighing bowl
Cons – no AC adaptor

Price: around $47

scale_shootout_bowls

Each of the scales features bowls or containers to help hold items, which is especially useful for small and unwieldy parts.

scale_shootout_mwi2600

My Weigh iBalance 2600 (i2600)

My Weigh i2600
Weight Capacity: 2600g x 0.1g
Weighing Modes: g, oz, ozt, dwt, ct, gn, lb, count

My Table Top Digital Jewelry / Lab Scale has a 2600 gram capacity with 10th-gram resolution. It weighs in g, oz, lb, ozt, ct, gn, and it can counts items. This scale has a backlit display, onboard leveling system, a stainless steel platform, and includes an AC adapter. This is my go-to scale since its accurate and can weigh almost any bike part, outside of a frameset.

Accuracy +/- 0.1g / 0.005oz / 0.05dwt / 0.005ozt / 0.5ct / 0.0005lb / 1gn
Max Capacity i500 500g / 18oz / 322dwt / 16ozt / 2500ct / 1.1lb / 7716gn
Max Capacity i1200 1200g / 42.5oz / 772dwt / 39ozt / 6000ct / 2.65lb / 18518gn
Max Capacity i2600 2600g / 91.71oz / 1672dwt / 83.6ozt / 13000ct / 5.75lb / 23.4n / 40124gn
Operating Temperature 32-104F (0-40C)
Calibration Digital Auto with external mass: 500g (i500), 1200g (i1200), 2600g (i2600)
Parts Counting Standard (built-in) with 10,20, 50 or 100 piece sample sizes
Platform Size 5¾” x 5¾” (145 cm x 145cm) Genuine Stainless Steel
Scale Size 5¾” x 8″ (145cm x 20.5cm)
Power Source 6 AA batteries, or AC Adapter (included with some models)
Warranty Lifetime/30 year worldwide warranty

Features

  • Count
  • Bubble leveler
  • Program feature, like backlit on/off, etc
  • Backlit display
  • AC adapter
  • Tare
  • Square stainless steel platform, 5.8 x 5.8 inches
  • Very accurate

Pros – AC adaptor, stainless steel platform, accuracy
Cons – Price

Price: around $130

scale_shootout_full

The Shoot Out

For the shootout, I used a 200g and 2000g calibrated weight for accuracy purposes. I moved the scales around to various places in my house and at different times of the day so that there were some temperature and surface fluctuations. I weighed each weight 15 times on the scales and came up with a variance and an overall accuracy. It was not the most scientific method, but it does give a strong picture into the accuracy of the various scales. I calibrated each of the scales before the testing began.

scale_shootout_weights

Resolution on the display and accuracy are not necessarily synonymous. For example:

Resolution of 1 gram should cover accuracy for +/- 1 through +/- X grams
Resolution of .1 gram should cover accuracy for +/- .1 through +/- .9 grams

Resolution is meaningless in reality since the manufacturer can put anything they want on their display. Most manufacturers do keep the resolution in sync with the accuracy, but it’s not always the case. I was looking for repeatability of the weight as close to the scales reported accuracy. A lot of the features that the scales come with are not very applicable for the average bike part weighing scenario. Tare or taring comes in handy, but some of the kitchen scale and counting functions just aren’t very useful. All that matters is that it weighs items and that is does so as accurately as required. And repeatability, repeatability, and repeatability!

 

Weighing Statistics

 

Jennings CJ-4000

  • 2000g – 10@1999.5 and 5@1999.0 –> 1999.33
  • 200g – 9@200.0 and 6 @199.5 –> 199.8
  • Reported accuracy .5 gram – meets 200g fails on 2000g criteria

 

My Weigh 3001P

  • 2000g – 10@1999 and 5@1998 –> 1998.6
  • 200g – 15@200 –> 200.0
  • Reported accuracy 1 gram – meets 200g fails on 2000g criteria

 

My Weigh i2500

  • 2000g – 10@1999.5 and 5 @2000.0 –> 1999.66
  • 200g – 4@199.5 and 11@200.0 –> 199.86
  • Reported accuracy .5 gram – meets 200g and 2000g criteria

For comparison here is what I consider the best accuracy per cost scale:

 

My Weigh iBalance i2600

  • 2000g – 10@1999.9, 1@2000.0 and 2@1999.8 –>1999.89
  • 200g – 1@199.9 and 13@200.0 –> 199.99
  • Reported accuracy .1 gram – meets 200g and 2000g criteria

 

And the winner is…drumroll please:

First Place: My Weigh i2500

Second Place: Jennings CJ-4000

Third Place: My Weigh 3001P

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous March 28, 2010 at 1:50 pm

I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business.

Reply

Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet March 28, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Glad to help out!

Reply

eDub January 5, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Thanks for the information. I was on the hunt for quite some time- torn because I wanted more precision and higher capacity without breaking the bank. I ended up scoring a used Mettler Toledo SM 4800 lab scale off eBay for $160 USD.

Capacity: 4100g
Weighing ranges: 800.00g / 4100.0g
Corresponding readability: 0.01g / 0.1g
Reproducibility: 0.01g / 0.03g
Readability changes automatically with weighing range.
Full range tare

Reply

Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet January 9, 2011 at 3:28 am

eDub, That is one sick scale!

Reply

Anonymous August 21, 2011 at 9:27 am

Really great article with very interesting information. You might want to follow up to this topic!?! 2011

Reply

Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet August 22, 2011 at 6:33 am

I will see if I can do an updated review?

Reply

Anonymous August 23, 2011 at 5:40 am

Really great article with very interesting information. You might want to follow up to this topic!?! 2012

Reply

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