Scales are typically used to weigh out dry materials for mixing batches of glaze or for weighing pieces of clay for throwing uniform functional forms like cups or bowls. There are literally hundreds of options when it comes to selecting a scale, so we've made it easier by narrowing down the most popular and affordable scale options for ceramic artists. When selecting a scale you'll need to consider the weight capacity and accuracy. For mixing large glaze batches (approx. 25 lbs for a 5 gallon bucket of wet glaze) you'll need a scale that can withstand the larger weight quantities and can give a readability that's within 1-2 grams accuracy. For mixing small batches of glaze or test batches, you'll want to select a scale that can give you a more precise readability that is closer to .1g- .5g. You'll also want to consider whether you need a digital, bench, dial, or triple beam scale.
These are the most commonly used scales on the market today. They can be operated by battery or power plug and give you a digital reading in grams, pounds, or ounces. They are reliable, portable, and simple to use, making them a popular choice. We recommend using a digital scale for small to medium size glaze batches that will give you a .1g readability and hold up to 5lbs, depending on the model. If you need to weigh larger batches of clay you might not be able to get such a accurate reading without spending a lot of money. We use a combination of scales in our glaze room including a digital scale for small percentages.
Triple Beam Scales
This was the go-to option before digital scales were around, and some people still swear by them for the best accuracy. The parts can never go bad and you'll never have to worry about changing the batteries. Triple beam scales are great for small to medium size batches of glaze and have the option of adding a weight set to increase the weight capacity.
These are typically used in classrooms or pottery studios when uniform balls of clay are required for making functional forms. They do not have a very accurate readability so you won't be able to use this type of scale for glaze calculations.
If you're mixing large batches of glaze or clay for your studio or classroom, this is an excellent option. We use the Ohaus Bench Scale in our glaze room for mixing large batches. The digital screen is separate from the bench weight and can be hung on the wall for easy readability.