How to Calibrate Your Digital Weight Scale

A person weighing themselves on a digital scale.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-50
What You'll Need
Digital weight scale
Soft cleaning brush
Washing and drying cloths
An object of known weight (eg. 10-pound dumbbells, 12-pound bowling balls)
What You'll Need
Digital weight scale
Soft cleaning brush
Washing and drying cloths
An object of known weight (eg. 10-pound dumbbells, 12-pound bowling balls)

A digital weight scale is one of the easiest tools to use with regards to measuring weight. In fact, it is much easier to read a digit than a wobbling dial. However, as with all scales, digital weight scales need to be calibrated every few months so that they can keep on reading accurately. Most digital scales come pre-calibrated from the manufacturing company, but with time, use, and handling, its reading can drift slightly.

By following a few straightforward steps, you will be able to calibrate your scale. In order to complete this task effectively, make sure the scale and tray have been thoroughly cleaned with a soft brush, wiped clean with a mild soapy solution and dried, and placed on a stable, firm and level surface and that there are no strong air movements nearby.

Step 1 - Make Preparations

Before attempting any calibration routine it is always important to turn on the digital weight scale and let it warm up. Moreover, it is also important to use only objects with a definite weight for your calibration routine. It is useless to have an approximation when you are aiming to get precision.

Step 2 - Start Calibration Mode

Locate the calibration button of the digital weight scale. It generally carries one of the following prints: “Cal,” “Function,” “Mode,” or “Cal/Mode.” Now press this button down until the digits displayed on the scale turn to “0,” “000,” or “Cal.” At this point, the scale should be in calibration mode.

Step 3 - Perform the Calibration Test

feet on a digital scale

Once the digital scale is in calibration mode, you will put your known weight objects gathered in step one on it. Ideally, you should put down a number of objects that amount to roughly 30 pounds so the scale has a balanced weight to calibrate on. Make sure that you place the 30 pounds worth of objects on in such a way that they don't wobble or move, and also make sure they are placed on the central part of the scale and not at the edge of it, in order to get the most precise readings.

Step 4 - Calibrate

At this point allow the digital scale to take in the measurement. There is no need to wait long since this will only last about five seconds, after which you can press the calibration button once more to end the session. Once it’s over you should have one of the following words displayed on your digital scale’s monitor: “End,” “0,” or “Cal.” Most modern digital scales reset automatically after calibration is finished. If this is not the case, at this point you are advised to switch off your scale and leave it switched off for at least two minutes.

Through these few simple steps you should have completed your digital weight scale calibration. Once you switch your scale on again, you can rest assured it will accurately read your next weigh-in.

Calibrate Digital Weight Scale FAQ

How do I know if my digital scale is accurate?

Test the accuracy of your scale using a few different steps and observing the scale's readings. First, press your hand down on the scale for a moment.

Lift your hand up and see if the scale goes back to zero. If it doesn't, use the button to set the scale to zero.

Next, place an item you know the weight of on the scale. Maybe you have a five-pound bag of flour, a three-pound hand weight, or any other object where the weight is clearly known.

Place this on the scale and see if the reading is accurate. Remember to always and only use the scale on a hard, perfectly level surface or you will get inaccurate readings.

Do digital scales need to be calibrated?

Digital scales need to be calibrated regularly, even if you aren't using the sale very much. Calibrate the scale at least once every six months if it is not used often, and up to once a week if it is frequently in use.

What happens if you don't calibrate your scale?

If you don't calibrate your scale, the readings it gives will continue to be more and more off and it will steadily become more inaccurate with almost every single use. The scale won't fix itself and begin to provide accurate readings on its own, so you'll have to do this with calibration.

Is there a way to reset a digital scale?

Often, you can reset a digital scale using the power button. If you cannot use this as a reset button, remove the battery from the scale completely, wait a couple of minutes, and re-insert the battery.

This process should reset the scale.

How long does a digital scale last?

There are many different options out there when it comes to digital scales, and not all are created equally. Some high-quality scales will last as long as five to 10 years, while more affordable and lower-quality scales will work for only about one to three years before they need to be replaced.