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Scales aren’t just for kitchens and meth labs. A decent little digital scale can prove handy as hell for measuring liquids — or even counting screws. (No, really: Just weigh one screw — or 2 or 10 — then weigh ’em all.) But why pay $100 or more for a scale you don’t need or settle for a hard-to-read weight-and-balance type scale when you can score this little digital model for $20?

A Harbor Freight special, it features a 40-second automatic shutoff, a maximum capacity of 11 lbs (176 oz/5000 g) as well as a “tare” setting which resets the scale — handy for, say, zeroing out the weight of a container before you add contents. You can even remove the platform for cleaning.

I’m not suggesting that this scale can compare to a good $100+ model. But if you’re just keeping one handy, it seems to work fine for me.

Cen-Tech Digital Scale [Harbor Freight]


9 Responses to Cheap-Ass Tools: A $20 Digital Scale

  1. ToolGuyd says:

    I cannot tell for sure from the product specs, but it doesn’t look like this model has any advantage over an ordinary $20-25 electric kitchen scale with a similar 11lb capacity.

  2. DanS says:

    Rule 1: Never buy anything with electronics from harbor freight.
    Rule 2: Never buy anything with a gauge from harbor freight.

    This breaks both rules. Sorry, but its true.

  3. steve says:

    I’ve always found Harbor Freight electronics and measuring equipment to be very accurate. At least the Cen-Tech stuff. Their $2.50 multimeters are great.

    I would stay away from anything at Harbor Freight that has an electric motor though (power tools, etc).

  4. Robbie_B says:

    Hey, my drug dealer uses one of these. No wonder I’ve been getting ripped off!

  5. Matt says:

    I’ve been using this at work for about a year now without any issues. It doesn’t have a super high resolution, but it is just as accurate as our postage scales. . . I just don’t have to walk 200 yards to use the expensive scale now!

  6. I got a really nice one for $15 at Sur La Table (uppity cooking store). It has great features without being overkill. And I actually use it more than I ever thought I would (which isn’t saying all that much).

  7. Tetsubo says:

    I recently bought a $20 kitchen scale. It only has a 6.6 pound weight limit but is very handy. I use it for weighing food and packages for mailing.

  8. shopmonger says:

    Dan, I think you need to reconsider your rules, once again buy the tool not the brand nor where it comes from. Sterrat has tools at HF, they are some of he best measuring dial tools out there….. I even have a click style torque wrench from HF and i have measured it against my old craftsman, a new mac, and new snapon and they were all right on………So i am not sure that your theory holds true…


  9. Slurpy says:

    I wonder what the LoD is on the metric scale? I currently use an old manual balance from an old chemistry set when massing components for my *cough*homemade*cough*fireworks*cough*, and a digital scale would be nice to have. I’ve always avoided them because I figured they were out of my budget – a hundred dollars buys a LOT of potassium nitrate.

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