Measure, Grind, Brew: The Best Digital Scales for Coffee
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Measure, Grind, Brew: The Best Digital Scales for Coffee

If you plan to experiment with different recipes, you need an accurate coffee scale. This review will help you decide which is the best coffee scale. We cover the top models as well as budget options

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Asser Christensen

Licensed Q Arabica Grader, M.A. Journalism

Over the years, I have worked with a bunch of different scales for both espresso and pour over coffee, and in this buying guide I have selected some of the best options on the market.

Don’t worry — you don’t need the most expensive one out there! One of these in this article will do just fine.

However, coffee is about precision.

If you want to go from good to great brews on a consistent basis, you’ll need a scale.

Otherwise, it will just be guess-work.

Top pick: Best value
TIMEMORE Coffee Scale,...
The Timemore Black Mirror scale is beatiful and functional.

It's also priced just right, making it very easy to recommend.

I love the size of the scale, and the fact that it charges fast via USB-C is a great feature.

The 7 Best Coffee Scales of 2020

1: Timemore Black Mirror, single sensor

TIMEMORE Coffee Scale,...

The Black Mirror single-sensor scale from Chinese brand Timemore is the scale I have personally been waiting for in ages.

It has the iconic design of the Acaia scales, but it’s more affordable and down-to-earth when it comes to functionality.

At this point the Acaia scales are iconic in the world of specialty coffee, so its refreshing to see a new and unique approach to the design.

The device is pretty basic in the sense that it’s just a scale with a timer. But that’s all you really need.

I have owned the Black Mirror for a couple of months, and so far I’m thrilled. It feels solid and looks great on the countertop.

The size of the scale is ideal: It sits somewhere between the Lunar and Pearl, which means that you can use it for pour over as well as espresso.

The scale charges via USB-C, which is a huge relief.

Bonus-Info: This scale has a big brother with two sensors and a built-in drip stand. It’s a lot more advanced, but looks similar. For most people the basic model will be the better option.

Read the full review of Timemore Black Mirror

Pros

Cons

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2: Weightman Espresso Scale

Coffee Scale, Weightman...

The Weightman espresso scale has become an underground cult favorite among espresso snobs in the know.

I will say that that this scale is slightly too small to be used as a pour over scale, however, for espresso it’s ideal.

(You can use it in a pinch — for example if you’re on holiday).

There aren’t many scales that have a built-in timer while also being small and slim enough to fit on a drip tray of a compact home espresso machine. This scale does all that while ALSO being affordable.

In daily life the scale is pretty fast, responsive, and accurate. I find that you have to cut your shot around 2 grams before your target weight, in order to get the timing right, so that’s pretty solid.

It offers units of grams or ounces and has an LCD backlit display for ease of reading.

It runs on 2x AAA batteries, and from my experience they will last a long time.

This scale also comes with a plastic cover, so you can bring it on a trip. I don’t think it’s waterproof per se, but it can take some splashes. I have had my unit for more than a year, and it’s still going strong.

Pros

Cons

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3: Hario Drip Coffee Scale

Hario V60 Drip Coffee Scale...

The Hario brand is famous for it V60 brewer, but the company also produced one of the first dedicated coffee scales.

This scale is minimalistic in function and design. It allows for very precise measurements, up to 0.1g of accuracy with a +/- 0.2g margin of error.

Of course, it has a built-in timer on the side.

This scale is also conveniently battery powered by two AAA batteries. It comes with an auto power off function after 5 minutes to save battery life.

This scale is not waterproof, so you will have to be careful when using it, especially for pour overs, since this model can begin to malfunction if they it gets wet regularly.

It also has something of a slow response time when adding beans, so you will have to add your grounds slowly so as not to overshoot the amount of coffee you want.

Pros

Cons

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4: HuiSmart Digital Scale

HuiSmart Coffee Scale with...

The HuiSmart coffee scale is a cheap but solid option.

It’s a popular option among people, who are just getting into pour over, but not yet ready to invest in one of the brand-name scales.

It does everything you’d expect, but a lot cheaper than the best-in-class models.

It has a built-in timer and offers units of grams, ounces, or pounds.

It’s also rather big, so it can double as a food scale.

The display is backlit, which is pretty nice on a dark morning.

It’s not the most stylish scale on the block, but I wouldn’t call it ugly.

It is powered by two AAA batteries, which allows for mobility in the kitchen. Battery power is preserved with an auto-off function and a low battery indicator.

This scale also comes with a silicon mat that allows you to cover the actual scale itself to prevent spills or other sources possible damage. This mat can then be taken off and cleaned separately for ease of use.

Pros

Cons

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5: Brewista Smart Coffee Scale

Brewista Smart Scale II for...

The Brewista digital coffee scale is another popular coffee scale. One could probably say that it’s a bit more focused on espresso due to its compact size.

The size might be an issue if you want to place something big on it like the Chemex. It can be slightly tricky to see the display.

Of course it also has a timer and it’s rechargeable, which is a feature I really appreciate in a coffee scale. Buying and throwing away batteries just feels a bit odd in 2021.

It’s however a downside that uses a micro-USB, instead of a C-type like the Timemore Black Mirror does. We’re already at a point in time, where it would be nice to only have one type of cable.

Overall, the scale has a fine accuracy and refresh rate.

The main downside is that the scale feels a bit expensive for what it is. You have some really cheap options that do the same things and look almost as good. On the other end of the spectrum you have the luxury scale from Acaia that are vastly superior in terms of looks and functionality. The Brewista Smart Scale II lands somewhere in the middle.

Although, if you’re specifically looking for a rechargeable espresso scale that doesn’t cost a fortune, this probably your best bet.

Pros

Cons

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6: Acaia Pearl Coffee Brewing Scale

Acaia Scale- Pearl

The Acaia Pearl is a high-end coffee scale at a significantly higher price point than the other models in this round-up review. It is currently the scale of choice in commercial settings, since it’s more durable than other coffee scales. It also has a slick, minimalist, Apple-like feel to it.

The Acaia Pearl is by far the most accurate of the scales discussed here.

This scale doesn’t rely on batteries – instead you charge it via mini-USB. This could be annoying, if it had to be charged all the time like your phone or Bluetooth-speaker. But in fact it goes for ages on a single charge – so don’t worry about that. In the long run it’s actually nice that you won’t have to think about buying batteries.

One of the standout features of this scale is the Bluetooth connectivity. However, in the end most user report that there’s no real purpose of these modes.

Pros

Cons

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7: Acaia Lunar Espresso Scale

Acaia Lunar Coffee Scale...

This is Pearl’s black brother. Packed with just as much cutting edge technology but intended as an espresso scale insted. For that reason it’s smaller and slimmer so it fits perfectly in to the crowded space under the cup and portafilter.

The Lunar is also built to withstand the hectic environment of a busy baristas coffee desk. It’s both steam, espresso and waterproof so you don’t have to worry about accidents.

However, the Lunar is also quite a bit more expensive than the Pearl. So unless you’re a hardcore espresso fan I’d recommend going for the other one.

Read a coffee shop owner’s review of the Acaia Lunar scale.

Pros

Cons

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Why use a scale when brewing coffee?

The flavor of coffee changes depending on the ratio of coffee and water you use.

Certain beans and brew methods really shine at the standard 1:15 ratio of coffee to water, while others require a totally different approach. The main takeaway though is this: You need to be able to measure both beans and water in order to hit your ideal ratio.

While this can be done to a certain degree by using volume measurements (like with a tablespoon scoop), it will never be accurate unless you use a scale and measure out the exact mass of both the coffee and the water.

This is because different beans and different roasts produce beans with different densities. Therefore, beans with the same volume may have completely different masses and cannot be compared with volume.

TIMEMORE Coffee Scale,...

Be consistent

Knowing exactly how much coffee and water you are using will allow you to either remain completely consistent once you have a cup you know you enjoy or allow you to change different parameters accurately if you want to try something else.

If you don’t trust me, then here’s the opinion of coffee pioneer James Freeman of Blue Bottle:

“Volume is a less accurate way of measuring things than mass is. That’s not an opinion; it’s physics,” he explains in The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee book.

“Gram measurements are more accurate, and we think using them will improve your experience as a coffee drinker and baker—and therefore improve your life. So let’s face it: you need to go the extra mile and buy a gram scale if you don’t already have one”.

So there you have it. You should really get a scale.

what to look for in a digital coffee scale?

Digital coffee scale for pour over
The best coffee scales also have a timer (Source: Joseph Robertson – Flickr CC)

The main feature you should look for is pretty obvious – the scale should be digital. You do not want to be squinting at an arrow, especially not early in the morning before coffee.

Accuracy to within two decimal places is generally enough for daily coffee, especially since grams are an extremely small unit of mass.

A coffee scale should be fairly small. Since you will only be using it for coffee, you do not want it to take up a lot of space. However, make sure it has a decently sized, even, flat surface to put your brewing apparatus on without any fear of it tipping over.

Since many brewing methods will have you starting with your brewing apparatus on the scale, a tare button that resets the mass to zero is also very important to look for.

Is a timer necessary?

Basic scales will do fine as long as they measure mass accurately and have a tare button, but some additional features will make brewing coffee more convenient.

What about smart scales?

A few companies have started to offer scales with Bluetooth connectivity. This means that you can track your brews in a nifty app or do more complicated things.

To be honest, most smart scales aren’t very smart. There’s a lot of bugs in the software and the functionality doesn’t seem to offer anything normal people would care about. Even the Acaia scales fall into this category.

Some scales can train you in having a certain flow rate, while others have various modes. However, in the end I still haven’t seen any real killer features among the so-called smart scales. 

Related posts: Best Gooseneck Kettles for Pour Over

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Asser Christensen

Hello, and welcome! I'm the editor & founder of this site.
I have been a coffee geek since I started home roasting more than a decade ago. Since then, coffee has taken me on countless adventures: From ancient coffee ceremonies in Ethiopia to the volcanos of Sumatra.
My background is in journalism, and today I'm also a licensed Q Grader under the Coffee Quality Institute.