Making espresso demands consistency and accuracy, and if you’re making espresso at home or behind the bar, you know how important these factors are as well as having the best espresso scale possible.
Weighing your shots is key to making great espresso day after day. If you’re just measuring by volume (e.g., 1 tablespoon), the actual amount of coffee will change, causing some shots to fall flat.
This is exactly why a good scale is so important for both home espresso making and professional coffee service.
To help you out, we’ve rounded up the best espresso scale for every budget so you can step up your espresso game no matter what price point you’re looking at.
What to Look For
Measuring coffee for espresso requires a high degree of accuracy. Even though you may not be using a super specific amount (e.g., 18.3 grams), you will want to ensure that your scale is extremely accurate.
This way, if you’re using 18 grams, you’ll get exactly 18 grams. If your scale rounds, you could be using 17.9 one time and 18.1 the next, leading to inconsistency in your shots.
You might also want to consider size. If you want to place the scale under the portafilter so you can stop the shot once you reach the target weight, you’ll need a relatively small scale.
With all of this in mind, here are our top espresso scales.
Hario was one of the biggest names in coffee long before the V60 pour over cone became every third wave barista’s favorite brewing device.
The company produces sleek, efficient products, and this scale is no exception.
It’s a favorite among brewers for its side-by-side timer and scale, which make weighing and timing shots easy. It’s also elegantly designed and boasts a long battery life.
The Acaia Scale Lunar is to scales what the MacBook Pro is to laptops. At more than $100, this scale is a luxury, but it comes with some crazy features that will justify the price tag for many buyers.
First, it has a protective coating to help ward off liquids and moisture, and this will come in handy for pretty much any coffee brewing situation. (It even has a 2-year warranty that covers water damage.)
Second, it can sync with Acaia’s brewing apps. Brewmaster allows you to log your coffee data so you can analyze your brews, and Brewbar lets you sync multiple scales and duplicate recipes.
Third, it’s incredibly accurate. It uses .1 gram increments and can hold up to 4.4 pounds while still measuring accurately.
If you’re serious about making espresso (and if you make it often), it’s hard to argue with the Acaia as the best espresso scale of all time.
The Smart Scale isn’t as fancy as the Hario or Acaia, but it packs a punch.
Even though it looks like a 1980s graphing calculator, it has the same .1 gram accuracy as the Acaia, and it can automatically tare and time.
The top has a silicone layer to protect against liquid damage, so it’ll be fine in most situations. The device has a small footprint, and the backlit display ensures easy reading.
It might not be as intuitive as the Hario or Acaia, but it comes with some handy features that may win you over.
The scales we’ve listed so far are on the more expensive side of things, but we didn’t forget about those of you with a tighter budget.
Enter the Smart Weigh Digital Pro Pocket Scale, a compact scale that works well in a variety of brewing situations.
In addition to having the same .1 accuracy as the other scales, the Smart Weigh has a couple of features that none of the others we’ve listed so far have.
This little scale has a hold feature that allows you to keep a weight readout on the screen for as long as you need, and it also auto shuts off after two minutes to prevent unnecessary battery wear.
With a low price, this is an excellent budget option for home baristas, although it lacks some of the functionality a working barista will need.
This simple and straightforward scale might seem too basic to include on this list. It does have .1 gram accuracy, but for the most part it’s a standard scale. (And if design is a deal breaker for you, this scale might rub you the wrong way.)
So why are we including it? Simple: its performance. The AMW-SC-2KG has legions of fans who love its durability and ease of use.
It’s a well built product, and it serves its purpose. If you like to buy products based on good reviews and high performance, this is well worth a look.
Again, this lacks some of the more advanced features that a pro barista would need, but for making espresso at home, the American Weigh is an excellent choice.
There are many great espresso scales on the market, so it’s difficult to choose the single best espresso scale. That said, we have some recommendations for different types of users.
If you’re a home barista who makes espresso at home, go with the American Weigh AMW-SC-2KG. With its budget-friendly price and rave reviews, this scale will serve you well.
If you’re a home barista who wants convenience or a pro barista who wants simplicity, we recommend the Hario Drip Scale/Timer. It’s common to see at coffee shops, but it’s also great for home.
If you’re a pro barista who wants the absolute cutting edge in scale technology, then the Acaia Scale Lunar is the obvious choice. It’s not cheap, but it will help you pull a fully optimized shot, and many baristas argue that it’s the best espresso scale ever.