TESTED: Cheapest Precision Scale on Amazon

I’ve used ALL KINDS of digital scales for reloading: everything from jeweler’s scales, to branded reloading scales, and even lab-grade scales. Since I got my A&D FX-120i, I thought it would be interesting to test these “precision” scales (term can be loosely applied at times) using a consistent and comprehensive test methodology. In this article, I’ll look at the cheapest digital scale on Amazon: the HFS (R) Weigh 100g x 0.01g Digital Scale. I thought it would be entertaining to see just how good or bad this scale would perform. Curious? Check out the video and read the rest of this article!

What’s In the Box

This scale is pretty basic: it’s just the scale, and a very sparse “User Manual”. The user manual didn’t even have the correct instructions, it seems to be a generic inserts perhaps for scales that are based on a common “platform” (re-usable guts?). But there are only three buttons on the scale, so it didn’t take me too long to figure things out.

I should also note that the product page on Amazon for this scale specifies the following:

  • Flip-open lid protects the delicate weighing surface
  • ABS casing, blue backlit LCD dIsplay,precise sensor
  • Battery: CR2032
  • Buttons: TARE, ON/OFF, MODE, LIGHT, PCS.
  • Measuring Unit: g/oz/ct/ozt

However, I found that the scale I got actually takes two AAA batteries. This is NOT very confidence inspiring. 🙂

Also: for “Buttons” you see: “TARE, ON/OFF, MODE, LIGHT, PCS“. Take a look at the picture of my scale, and you’ll see only three buttons, not four. Should I leave a bad review? (at this price, I don’t think it’s even worth the time)

Test Methodology

My test methodology for this scale was straightforward: use a range of test weights that correspond to common reloading weight measurements, and test for accuracy (comparing weight value from A&D FX-120i scale) and precision (repeatability: by taking multiple measurements for the same sample). I would also check for re-zero to determine whether the scale had “drifted” any.

*Note: The A&D FX-120i has an accuracy of approx. 0.02 grains. There may therefore be errors in comparison (error) data in these tests of about 0.02 grains.

The weights used for this test were:

  1. Approx 3.0 grains – a light pistol charge
  2. Approx 20 grains – a small rifle charge
  3. Approx 50 grains – a medium rifle charge
  4. Approx 150 grains – a large magnum rifle charge (most of these may be closer to 100 grains)
  5. Approx 250 grains – a typical 50 BMG rifle charge

For each charge weight, the weight measured on the A&D FX-120i was recorded, and then compared with the readings from the cheap scale. The test weight was taken on and off the cheap scale five times or more to test precision.

Individual Test Results

All figures are in grains except % values.

3 Grain Weight

Actual from A&D Sample # Cheap Scale
2.90 1 2.80
2 3.00
3 3.00
4 3.20
5 3.00
0.40 ES
0.14 SD
3.00 AVERAGE
0.10 Average Error
3.45% Average % Error

 

20 Grain Weight

Actual from A&D Sample # Cheap Scale
19.94 1 19.60
2 20.00
3 19.60
4 19.60
5 19.80
0.40 ES
0.18 SD
19.72 AVERAGE
0.22 Average Error
1.10% Average % Error

 

50 Grain Weight

Actual from A&D Sample # Cheap Scale
49.96 1 49.60
2 49.60
3 49.20
4 49.20
5 49.60
0.40 ES
0.22 SD
49.44 AVERAGE
0.52 Average Error
1.04% Average % Error

 

150 Grain Weight

Actual from A&D Sample # Cheap Scale
149.98 1 149.40
2 149.20
3 149.40
4 149.20
5 148.80
0.60 ES
0.24 SD
149.20 AVERAGE
0.78 Average Error
0.52% Average % Error

 

250 Grain Weight

Actual from A&D Sample # Cheap Scale
249.94 1 250.20
2 250.20
3 250.20
4 250.20
5 249.80
0.40 ES
0.18 SD
250.12 AVERAGE
0.18 Average Error
0.07% Average % Error

Roll-Up Summary

The “HFS (R) Weigh” performed poorly, but that’s what I expected for the cheapest precision scale on Amazon. I actually thought it would do a bit worse than it did! Here’s the roll-up results for all of the testing:

Average SD 0.19 grains
Average ES 0.44 grains
Average Error 0.36 grains
Average Error % 1.24% grains
Total Drift 1.6 grains

What’s interesting here is how well the scale performed at 250 grains. I guess this scale is only good for 50 BMG? (kidding, don’t take me seriously).

The result: Not adequate as a reloading scale

For reloading, you’ll want a scale with accuracy of +/- 0.1 grains or better. This implies that the internal resolution of the scale is greater (smaller value) than 0.1 grains.

This was a fun exercise because I want to cover the “full spectrum” of precision scales- and perhaps it makes sense to start “at the bottom” and work our way up from there. Do you have an affordable scale that’s worked well for you? Please leave a comment! Have you upgraded to a quality scale from a cheap scale? Please share your experiences! Finally- do you have a specific scale you’d like to see reviewed? Please let me know!

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Thanks,
Gavin

One thought on “TESTED: Cheapest Precision Scale on Amazon”

  1. Cheap scale, it’s accuracy got better with heavier weights. If I was reloading a 37mm round, I might use that scale, but definitely NOT for 5.7mm

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