How to Calibrate a Weighing Scale

Calibrate your scale to make sure it is reading weights correctly.
Calibrate your scale to make sure it is reading weights correctly. (Image:

A weighing scale is an important tool in many industries, including food service, shipping and anything in which the weight of a product affects the bottom line. An inaccurate scale can lead to improper weighing stats and could prove costly. On a personal level, weighing scales can be instrumental in helping individuals maintain and control their health by signaling when they need to gain or lose weight. Correctly calibrating your weighing scale is key to ensuring that your results are accurate and to providing peace of mind.

Things You'll Need

  • Scale
  • Items with known weights Ii.e. gallon of water or dumbbell)

Place your weighing scale on a flat and firm surface. An uneven surface such as a rug or mat can alter your readings and give inaccurate results.

Read your scale's user manual to determine how to set it to read zero lbs. This is also known as "zeroing" your scale.

Place something for which you know its weight on the scale. Consider using a gallon of water, which always weighs in at 8 lbs., 4 oz. Dumbbells or barbells can be used because their weights are also known.

Repeat Step 3 a few more times. Calculate the average of your results to come up with a desired weight.

Calculate the percentage of error if your scale continues to read differently than what you know it should be. Factor this percentage in going forward with future weighings.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have a digital weighing scale, make sure cellular and cordless phones are turned off or are far away from your scale. These things, and other electronic products such as WiFi or bluetooth technology, can cause interference and potentially affect your readings.
  • Some digital weighing scales come with a calibration program implanted in them. If this program malfunctions, as is often the case with electronic programs, your scale cannot be accurately calibrated.

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