How to find a good weed scale
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There are some important features you need to be aware of before buying a scale to weigh cannabis. Different scales have different functions and weighing capacities, and therefore suit different purposes. Here we look into the criteria for choosing a scale, and the various types on offer, to help you find the perfect set.
At first, it may seem that only dealers would need scales to weigh cannabis. However, there comes a time in most smokers' lives when they also need to weigh their weed. Whether it’s splitting a bulk buy with your friends or weighing up the results of your first harvest, a good scale is bound to come in handy.
But not all scales are the same, and depending on your needs, the best scale for weed may take different forms. Here we look into the various criteria to consider when shopping around, and the different scales that cater to these.
Why would you weigh weed?
For some smokers, you might just buy a gram and be done with it. But there are several good reasons to weigh your cannabis. Whether you buy it or grow it yourself, getting a precise measurement is key. The following are some benefits of picking up a weed scale:
- To ensure you actually got what you pay for
- To convert one measuring system into another
- To weigh your haul after harvest
- To accurately dose joints or bowls
- To dose edibles
- To split with people if you’ve bought a bulk load together
How much does a cannabis scale cost?
In general, scales are pretty cheap. Taken into the overall cost of growing weed, they are certainly not a major expense.
Whether you choose to use food scales, tailor-made cannabis scales, or powder scales will affect the price to a degree. But whichever you choose, you’re looking at somewhere between £10 (€12/$13) and £30 (€36/$39) for a digital scale. If cheap is what you’re after, then you will certainly be able to find it.
Weed scale vs food scale
Food scales and weed-specific scales are slightly different. In the kitchen, knowing a measurement to the nearest gram will almost always suffice. So food scales rarely go into decimals. On the other hand, if you’ve bought 3.5 grams of dank cannabis with your friend and need to split it in two, a food scale just won’t cut it!
Marijuana scales go to at least one decimal place, meaning you can accurately divide a gram into fractions.
So if you’re weighing a harvest and you want to know how many ounces you managed to grow, a food scale will probably do the job (unless you really want to know exactly how much you’ve managed to grow). But for most other purposes, a scale designed for weighing herbs or similar material will be much more suitable.
Where to buy a cannabis scale
You can buy accurate digital scales all over the place, despite the “nefarious” purposes you may intend to use them for.
From head shops to Amazon, they're cheap and abundant. You might not find them marketed as “weed scales”, though. In fact, you probably won’t find any reference to illegal drugs at all. Look for words like herb, gram, pocket, portable, and so on.
In real life, your best bet is to go to a head shop. Although, depending on where you are, many corner shops, off-licences, and the like will also stock scales.
Things to consider when buying a weed scale
As we've alluded to, not all scales are made equal or serve the same purposes. Before making a purchase, consider what’s most important for your situation. Do you need to carry it about? Do you need it to be super accurate? Or do you want to be able to heap ounces and ounces onto it at once?
Most scales can’t fulfil all of these needs, so you’ll need to get your priorities straight.
Digital scales range in size from pretty big to pocket-sized. For the most part, none will be so big that you can’t put them into a bag—gone are the days of countering your herb with weights! Nevertheless, extra size means less portability and a lesser capacity to be stealthy.
The super-accurate scales tend to be smaller, as they can only take a small amount. Scales that can weigh up to, say, one kilogram will be larger, as they need to be able to actually fit a kilogram of bud onto the weighing surface.
If you’re only going to be weighing up a few grams at a time, there’s no need for a massive scale. If, on the other hand, you’re going to be weighing up ounces at a time, it will soon get frustrating if you need to do this gram by gram!
Get a scale big enough to fulfil its function easily, but small enough to not be a burden.
Building on the above, how precise do you want your scale to be? A cheap kitchen scale is all well and good until you realise that it can’t weigh anything under 50 grams—and you’re trying to split two grams. Likewise, a powder scale might get you three decimal points, but if it can only take five grams at a time, it’s soon going to get tiresome.
A scale that is precise as you need it to be, but not more, is going to be the most useful. Don’t be tempted by insane precision just because it seems cool.
In almost all cases, you’ll want a tare function. The good news is that pretty much all good digital marijuana scales have this.
The tare function means you can calibrate it to zero, even when it has weight on it. Why is this useful? Say you’re weighing up a fairly big amount of dusty weed; it’s going to be a mess to put this straight onto the scale. So you’ll probably want to put some paper down first. But the few extra grams of the paper is going to throw off your measurement.
The tare function means you can put the paper on the scale, and then press a button so it no longer registers the paper's weight—or whatever else you may choose to put on it.
As the tare function is so common, it’s worth going for it in all cases.
Scales have a maximum capacity that they can weigh, and are unable to measure any amount over this number properly. Overload protection displays an error message rather than simply displaying random numbers, which is what happens without this function.
Like a tare function, overload protection is a pretty basic feature that now comes as default on most quality digital scales. It’s worth getting a device with this feature, as it just means you won’t mistake a false reading for a genuine one.
At what point scales overload depends greatly on their purpose. A nice big set of platform or kitchen scales can handle a maximum weighing capacity of several kilograms, but it won’t be able to give you a good reading at the lower end. If you grow your own, then scales with a higher capacity are going to be necessary.
On the other hand, most people want to weigh up a few grams at a time, in which case you’d want a lower capacity. The upside of lower-capacity scales is that, first, they tend to be smaller, and second, they measure small weights with greater accuracy. So low-capacity scales are also more fit for purpose for those who need very accurate measurements too.
You don’t really have a lot of choice here. In almost all cases, the body will be plastic, and the actual scale will be stainless steel. With some cheaper scales made for the kitchen, you might find that everything is plastic.
More important than the material, ensure you get a scale that’s of a good shape and size to fit whatever you want to weigh. Many will come with covers that double as weighing trays, and these tend to work nicely.
Digital scales need to be calibrated. Calibration is when you help them set themselves. You might find that when you first turn a scale on, it displays either above or below zero grams, despite having nothing on it. If this is the case, there’s nothing wrong, it just needs to be calibrated.
But how to calibrate a weed scale? You can use purpose-made calibration weights, or you can find something that you know the exact weight of. Then, you just need to tell your scales what they’re weighing, and they can calibrate themselves. On the whole, coins work very well for this.
Does it take batteries, or is it rechargeable. Maybe both? Both have their pros and cons. Ones that use batteries tend to be a little cheaper and are much easier to find, whereas rechargeable ones are better for the environment and a bit more versatile.
If you think you’ll be using your scale regularly, rechargeable batteries are probably more suitable, and will work out cheaper in the long run.
Where do you live, what measurements do you think in, and what amount of weed are you going to be working with?
It’s all well and good to buy an ounce and measure it using a gram scale. Fortunately, because the strange world of cannabis operates in the domains of both metric and US/imperial, most scales can also do this conversion. Having scales that can at least measure both grams and ounces will be incredibly useful when dealing with our favourite herb.
What are the different types of weed scales?
Thankfully, the market is not made up of random selections of the above criteria. Certain features tend to fit better or worse with others, and as a result there are several different types of scales that are suitable for weighing weed, depending on the scenario.
This is the most common type of weed scale, and will suit most users. If there is one type of scale to go for, it's the pocket scale. Portable, versatile, and cheap, this scale covers practically all bases.
- Good accuracy-to-capacity ratio: usually down to one decimal place, and up to 50–500 grams.
- Many different models available
- Fairly small weighing surface
- Can’t weigh huge amounts
Kitchen scales are bulky and can weigh very large amounts of weed. This makes them perfect for growers weighing up big harvests, and less suitable for those who just need to split a bit with their mates.
- Huge capacity
- Large weighing surface
- Some need to be plugged in
- Not necessarily accurate at measuring low weights
- Large, and not very subtle
These are basically pocket scales designed to look like something else. While they themselves might not look suspicious, once you start weighing weed on them, they become less subtle. Still, you can leave them lying around without raising eyebrows.
- Can be expensive
- Might sacrifice quality for small size
- Small weighing surface
These are incredibly accurate, getting as low as three decimal places (0.001). As the name suggests, they are not actually designed for weed, but for lighter powders. Sometimes they are marketed as precious gem scales. But they do have a role to play for cannabis users, as they are suitable for weighing kief and concentrates.
Though incredibly accurate, they tend to have very small overall capacities, and are not of much use for most people.
- Great for weighing kief and concentrates
- Suitable for powdered drugs
- Tiny overall capacity
- Tiny weighing surface
- Can be expensive
- May suggest that you are using harder drugs than just cannabis
These sound cool, but don't replace the need for actual scales. These apps basically use a phone’s capacity to determine how significant the pressure is, and estimate weight based on this. While it serves a purpose in certain situations, it lacks the accuracy necessary for most uses.
- Great if needed immediately, such as with an untrustworthy dealer
- Doesn’t require you to carry scales with you
- Often free
- Highly inaccurate
- Low capacity
All set to buy the perfect weed scale!
With all that in mind, you should now be prepared to buy yourself some scales for cannabis. The main thing is to figure out for what purpose you actually need them. Do you need to weigh kilos of weed, or just a few grams at a time?
In most cases, pocket scales will do the job. With the capacity to handle very small samples up to fairly large ones, they’re hard to criticise. Only those individuals requiring massive capacities or incredible accuracy should consider getting any other option.
When it comes to choosing a brand, opt for a reputable site or shop, as you don’t want a faulty or low-quality device. Thankfully, weed scales can be incredibly cheap, and there are almost limitless options.