You may have gone most of your life cooking without a food scale. That's fine, you can get by without one. But if you learn how to use a food scale, you can take your cooking to the next level in a number of areas. First, a scale is essential if you're into baking. If you're doing barbecue, fried chicken, egg salad, sure, you can go ahead and eyeball your measurements. Cups and spoons will work just fine for soups and stews. But baking is one part cooking and one part chemistry. Getting those measurements precise, like down to a half a gram precise, is essential for ensuring just the right degree of fluff in your cakes and pastries. Second, a food scale is absolutely necessary if you're trying to manage your portions, as it allows you to measure food that has already been prepared. You're not going to cram a slice of lasagna into a measuring cup to see how much you have, but putting the piece on your food scale will let you know exactly how much food you're eating.

With that in mind, here are three of our favorite food scales available today, and why we love them:

Budget Choice: Ozeri Touch

The Ozeri Touch line is great for a few reasons:

  • It's affordable
  • It's slick
  • It's portable
  • It's easy to use

This might be the best starter scale on the market in terms of value. An excellent digital food scale with a simple two button interface and a precise, sensitive weighing mechanism.

The design of the Ozeri Touch is very nice, with a slick, tempered glass surface and a lean build. The scale can be tucked away in any drawer in your kitchen. It's about as thick as a magazine so you could even tuck it away on a bookshelf. The tempered glass is very durable, so combined with the small size, this is one of the most portable food scales available. Whether you're attending a culinary academy, heading to mom's to help with the holiday dinner, or you just like keeping your food scale on you when traveling, it's easy to put the Ozeri Touch in your backpack or suitcase for easy transport.

For many users, the Ozeri Touch might be the only food scale you ever need. It can weigh food up to twelve pounds, and down to 0.05 ounces.

One downside to this scale is that is usesIt uses Lithium 3V CR 2032 batteries that seem to drain pretty quickly. This should be a factor when deciding on a food scale - especially if you are using it often. 

Natural Elements Traditional Balance Scales

If you wanna go old school, Natural Elements produces some of the best traditional food scales available. There are some downsides to going "analog," of course. You'll have to learn how to read a food scale, you'll need a lot of counter space, traditional scales are more expensive, and the scale is anything but portable. But old school food scales provide a reliable sense of accuracy that digital can't match. And it's fun. Plus the added benefit is it will never run out of batteries like a digital food scale.

Our Choice: OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Scale

Durable, easy to read, easy to use, stainless steel, cord-free and incredibly precise.

The Good Grips scale is a little pricier and a little less portable than the Ozeri Touch, but it's built to last. It is difficult to break this thing even if you're trying. This is the kind of scale you'd stock a kitchen in a restaurant with, a device that can weigh hundreds of items in a day and stay in one piece.

The truth is that any of these scales will get the job done. The real tie-breaker? What goes best with your decor.