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I have to say up front that I love these scales. If I was told I had to get rid of all bar one of my kitchen gadgets, there would be no contest - I would hold onto these scales. I use them daily and really cannot imagine how I survived without them!
I think there are two types of cooks in life. There are those who have the natural ability to cook without weighing anything. They work in handfuls and cups and estimate quantities by sight. Then there are the ones like me who need to weigh everything. If a recipe says 200g, then out come my scales and I weigh out 200g. If I'm making pasta then out come my scales and I measure 100g per person. No guessing goes on, because when I do that, things never seem to turn out right or I end up with enough food for a family of 8 (which is bad for my waist and my wallet!).
My previous set of scales were a cheap set from Woolies, with a tiny bowl and the mysterious ability to weigh the same item twice and give a wildly different weight. As these weren't particularly helpful, I decided to buy a new set. My criteria were that they had to be accurate and small, as storage space is at a premium in my kitchen. I decided on the Salter 3003 scales because Salter are a recognised name so I thought they would be accurate. As the scales don't come with a bowl, they are nice small and I store them on their side next to my recipe books.
As you can see from the picture, these are digital scales with a glass platform. There is a curved stainless steel section at the front, which houses the LCD display and 4 buttons. The glass platform has curved edges and there are no sharp corners to catch yourself on. The scales are battery powered and I have used them daily for over a year without needing to change the battery. Battery life is maximised as the scales automatically turn off if they haven't been used for several minutes (although you can turn them off with the OFF button).
To weigh an item, you simply turn the scales on, and place the item on the platform. The digital display is easy to read and can be switched between grams and ounces by pressing the KG/LB button. You can also weigh liquids by pressing the ML/FLOZ button. The scales do not come with a bowl but if you need to weigh liquids or items such as flour, you can place your own container on the platform and weigh the ingredients in this. Obviously you do not want to include the weight of the container, but all you have to do is put it on the platform and then press the ON/ZERO button to reset the weight to zero before weighing your item.
The reset function is particularly useful for weighing multiple ingredients in the same container. If you have a recipe requiring 78g flour and 46g sugar, you weigh 78g flour, press the reset button to set the weight back to zero and then weigh 46g sugar. This is much easier than weighing 78g flour and then working out that you need to add enough sugar so that the combined weight is 124g. The other option would be to use separate containers for the different ingredients but that results in more washing up. I think the Salter 3003 way is easy and you end up with fewer dirty containers.
The only disadvantage I have with these scales is that the display can be difficult to read if you use a big container which overhangs the LCD display. The glass platform is 20cm wide and 18cm deep, so any container smaller than this will be fine. I have a pan with a 21.5cm diameter and although this overhangs the display slightly, it is still readable. However with my 25.5cm diameter pan, I can only read the display if I crouch down so that my eye level is just above the display.
I bought my scales last year from the amazon marketplace for £29.95. Looking around, the price seems to have gone up a fair bit as they are £50 in Debenhams or £38 from the amazon marketplace. £50 is probably pushing things a bit, but I would definitely pay £38.
Overall, I think these scales are fantastic. If they broke tomorrow I would have no hesitation in buying another set, and would be using next day delivery to ensure I got them as soon as possible!
Simply put dry and liquid ingredients into a bowl and use the special conversion button to switch from kg/lb to ml/fl.oz / Hygenic Glass Platform, resistant to staining and flavour carry-over, automatically adjusts for use with most bowls or containers, Easy-read LCD, auto or manual shut-off / max 5kg/11lb / 5g/oz / fluid 5000ml/175fl.oz / 2ml/fl.oz / 10 year guarantee / Short name: Salter 3003