Both postal and kitchen scales have high sensitivity levels, making them some of the most accurate weighing instruments available. For that reason, many online sellers prefer using either of them for shipping orders and determining postage costs.
Let’s explore the differences between a postal scale and a food scale and whether or not you can use them interchangeably.
What Is a Kitchen Scale?
A kitchen scale is a weighing instrument specifically designed to weigh food and other items in your kitchen. It’s available in analog and digital models, although digital scales are preferable these days due to their compact design and accuracy.
Using a kitchen scale ensures that chefs and home cooks can produce a dish multiple times without changing its taste. It’s designed to weigh food ingredients precisely so you can skip the guesswork. It typically has lower weight capacities but has high sensitivity levels to allow you to measure lightweight items such as herbs and spices.
Most food scales have a weight limit of 176 ounces or five kilograms and run on a magnitude lower than 0.1 grams. In addition, digital scales typically have a small, flat stainless top as protection from liquids and wet ingredients.
Plus, they feature a “tare” function in case you need to use a container or if you need to weigh different ingredients without taking the contents from the container. Many food scales, especially sophisticated models, can also switch between various units of measurements commonly used in cooking or baking, such as ounces, milliliters, grams, pounds, and kilograms. Other models also feature a baker’s timer and clock.
What Is a Postal Scale?
Also called a shipping scale, a postal scale is a device designed for weighing postal packages. Businesses that deal with shipping goods to their customers usually use these scales.
Like food scales, postal scales come in different sizes, weight capacities, and designs. Some models are handheld, while others have a tabletop design. Some of the top picks are equipped with additional features to provide accurate measurements.
Postage scales tend to have higher weight capacities as they are used for mail and smaller packages. You can find postal scales that can carry 100 pounds of weight or more.
You can also find scales with a lower weight limit, usually up to six pounds or 3,000 grams. These scales are often used to weigh tiny parcels like jewelry.
Lastly, like food scales, postal scales are touted for their accuracy. Some models have 0.1-ounce sensitivity.
Is There a Difference?
At this point, it seems that kitchen scales are very much the same as postal scales. Does this mean either will work for shipping products or measuring items in your kitchen?
The general answer is yes. If you already have a postal scale and you need a weighing instrument for trying out new recipes in your kitchen, your postal scale will work just fine. Or, if you have a kitchen scale and need to measure small non-food parcels, you need not rush to the store to purchase a postal scale.
However, if you intend to use the scale regularly for business, it’s still a better idea to choose the device designed for your needs. The reason is that postage scales and kitchen scales also have some differences.
Postal Scale or Food Scale: Which One Do You Need?
Ideally, you want to use the scale specifically designed for your intended use. If you’re only shipping small items such as jewelry, precious stones, or medications, you can use a good-quality food scale. If you ship larger parcels, you will likely need a postage scale.
Additionally, some postal scales have platforms separated from the weighing instrument. They are mainly designed for bigger packages as they allow you to conveniently place large and bulky boxes on top of the platform.
In addition, if you want to connect your scale to your computer and automatically import data from the scale, you will need a postal scale. Food scales don’t have this ability.
Postal scales are smart devices that let you record weights directly on your computer through a USB device. You can even connect the scale to a label printer which will then print post labels for you, saving you time and energy.
To Sum Up
Both postal and food scales are touted for their accuracy and precision. Sometimes, you can use either of the two for weighing different parcels or items. That said, these two devices have some differences, particularly in terms of weight capacities and features.
While you can certainly use a kitchen scale for weighing small parcels like jewelry, if you normally ship mail and bigger packages, you should invest in a good-quality postal scale. You should also choose a postal scale if you need additional features such as printing labels or recording data on your computer.