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I have used a variety of kitchen scales over the years, from the classic retro-style with sets of brass weights - expensive, bulky and a pain to keep clean - various spring balances which all suffered from a sticky action requiring you to tap them several times to get anything like an accurate weighing. I have also used the method of cups and measuring spoons which is accurate but not many recipes use this system outside of the USA. You can also guarantee that the cup or measure you need is the one that's gone AWOL! Finally then I decided to look for a set of digital scales, overcoming my latent suspicion of hi-tech gadgetry in the kitchen. A secondary consideration is that I am an occasional eBayer and they would come in useful for calculating postage.
Checking online at Amazon.co.uk the Russell Hobbs digital scales seemed to offer a good balance of price, function, looks and user satisfaction. Price-checking got me a better deal elsewhere though (at OneClickPharmacy). I paid about £16 - including p&p - compared to the recommended retail price of around £25.
The scales come packed in a sturdy cardboard box illustrated with a picture of the contents. Opening up I find the contents are well protected and include the scales, a set of batteries, the instructions and guarantee information. The guarantee is for one year only.
The instruction booklet is clearly written and illustrated and quite short at just eight A5 pages. It is all in English with a good-sized readable font and includes a small number of simple recipes too. Following the instructions I soon had the batteries inserted and confirmed the scales were working correctly.
The top platform of the scales is a formed by a simple flat piece similar to frosted glass in appearance but in fact plastic. The digital readout is near the front of this and uses a back-lit blue display with large readable digits (although the display for the units in use -kg, g, oz or lb - is quite small). There is no bowl but this is unnecessary since you can weigh directly in a mixing bowl using the tare function. The platform seems small but the scales remain accurate even if the object being weighed is not centred. The maximum weight limit is 5 kg.
There are just two buttons to use. The right-hand one turns the scales on and also functions as a tare button, zeroing the display allowing you to weigh the next ingredient without removing the previous one or doing any calculations in your head. It also functions as an off button if held pressed for several seconds. If you forget to do this, the scales will turn off automatically after about two minutes in order to save the batteries. The left-hand button selects the weighing units (kg, g, oz or lb as mentioned above). Repeated presses cycle you through the available units.
In use the display stabilises quite quickly provided there are no strong air currents or vibrations around. Particularly using the grams setting the scales are sensitive enough to be affected by these. To save energy the display automatically darkens after several seconds but despite appearances the scales have not turned off. Tapping them or adding another ingredient to be weighed will quickly restore the display to normal. For me I would prefer a longer delay before dimming but then I am quite a slow and methodical cook. After use the scales wipe clean easily and are small and light enough to store in a small cupboard space.
The only near disaster I have had was when using the scales after another family member. I always weigh in grams but they had last been used in ounces, which the scales remembered but I didn't notice at first thanks to a combination of the small display and my middle-aged eyesight.
The scales are available in white as well as the black finish shown. They take two CR2032 3 volt batteries. The original set is still going strong after six months' regular use. A replacement set can be had for less than £1 from Amazon at the time of writing (September 2011).
The Russell Hobbs website is at russellhobbs.co.uk where you can also download a copy of the instructions for reference.
I purchased this kitchen scale from Amazon last year. I liked the look of this product.
When the item arrived and I used it for the first time, I was pleased with it. The sleek black design is attractive and the buttons are nice and straightforward.
When switched on the display indicates Zero. After weighing the first ingredient you then press the tare button, this sets the display back to zero so the next measurement can be taken. The other buttons on the scales are for setting the units. You can choose from gm, kg, ozs or lbs.
The LCD display is a good size, with quite large digits which makes it easy to read. The blue backlight on the display is a nice touch. However this turns off after around 10 seconds of inactivity then will reactive when the scales are touched again. There is no OFF button on these scales. They automatically turn off after a short period of inactivity.
The product is quite lightweight and also very easy to clean after use. As its compact it's very easy to store as well. No bowl is provided with these but any bowl would do for them. I purchased a nice stainless steel one that goes great with them and it only cost around £6.
These are good for everyday use. Not only do I use these for weighing ingredients for cooking but also they came in very useful for weighing packages that I've to post. Being a user of eBay this is something I do quite regularly.
This is only the second set of digital scales I've owned but these are by far much better than my previous ones. They weigh accurately too as I've tested this with various things such as a bag of sugar.
I've been very pleased with these scales up till now and I hope they last a long time. I would definitely recommend them.
Sophisticated and ultra thin, these kitchen scales are small enough to keep in a kitchen drawer but sleek enough to leave on show.
These Russell Hobbs scales were an impulse buy for me because they were reduced to £9.99 in Sainsbury's. Now, quite frequently an impulse buy is a regretted buy but so far these have been fine.
For a start, they look gorgeous and if I didn't know the price, I would expect them to cost far more. They consist of virtually nothing more than a thin oblong of black tempered glass (this is the weighing surface) with an easy to read large blue back lit LCD screen at one end.
You have the option of weighing in grams, ounces, pounds or kilos and the scales will weigh up to 5 kg.
Weighing appears to be accurate. Although the instruction booklet warns that air movement and vibration can affect the accuracy, the read out appears to be very stable. Certainly all the baking I've done since buying them has turned out well.
There are two push buttons at the front to turn the scales on and off and to change the unit of measurement. I'm delighted finally to have an off button - my last scales would only turn off after several minutes of inactivity which seemed a dreadful waste of batteries. If you don't turn them off manually, the scales will turn themselves off after a couple of minutes.
The off button can also be used to tare; that is, to bring the read out back to zero as you add additional items to the bowl so that the weight of each ingredient can be read separately.
The surface area of the scales is quite small measuring only 20cm x 16cm. This does mean that when I'm using a particularly large container, such as my preserving pan, it can be difficult to see the screen. However, as long as the container is able to balance on the scales, even on just one part, the read out still appears to be accurate.
These scales aren't perfect. The underside, which is plastic, feels much lower quality than the weighing surface. The feet are non slip but both the feet and the push buttons feel quite delicate. For some people, a limit of 5kg might be restrictive.
And the final problem is actually connected to just how gorgeous they look. Black tempered glass is very elegant when it's completely clean; unfortunately, it shows the tiniest mark. Even taking the scales out of the drawer leaves greasy fingerprints over the surface. For me, that isn't a problem but if you bought these scales for their looks, you'd be driven mad by the number of times you have to clean them. On the plus wide, a wipe over with a damp cloth is all you need to clean them and there are very few nooks and crannies to catch dirt.
Apparently these scales were originally £29.99. However, they are now available for £14.99 on the Russell Hobbs and for £15 through Sainsbury's. They have a 1 year guarantee and are powered by two 3VCR2032 batteries. Two are supplied with the scales.