Luggage scales might be worth their weight in gold to most of today’s travelers since we have to watch baggage limits on most flights today. But, as important and valuable as they are, we still don’t want a luggage scale taking up valuable space in our bags or adding weight to it. And I, for one, certainly don’t want a scale with a metal hook that’ll damage my other belongings!
For these reasons, I resisted packing a luggage scale for years.
Fortunately, I have found a digital scale that’s great for travel but doesn’t require much of our personal gold reserves or space in our bags or special packing: the Lewis N. Clark Mini Digital Luggage Scale.
As you may know from my post about the “AirScale,” I did once attempt to bring a luggage scale when I was offered one that did a double duty because it was also a battery. The scale failed so it became a heavier-than-I-wanted battery. I left it behind to be given to someone who really needed the battery. My search for a packing-worthy luggage scale continued — until I found this one. Actually, I still look and haven’t found anything else I like as much.
The Lewis N. Clark Mini Digital Luggage Scale is great!
Here’s why I find this scale to be the best luggage scale for real travel:
- It’s very small: just 4″ x 1.5″ x 1″
- It’s very light — only 3.0 ounces.
- Its strength to support your luggage comes from its shape, not heavy materials.
- It’s a soft-grip material, not slippery to hold.
- It’s got a digital readout so you’re clear about your weight.
- It handles weights of up to 90 lbs / 40 kg, as do the other larger, harder-to-pack scales.
- It doesn’t have a metal hook that would
- add weight
- have to be packed especially to protect your other items
- It reports weight in both pounds and kilos.
- It runs on a flat button battery that’s fairly common and easy to find: one CR2032 Lithium Button Cell Battery — and comes with one installed.
- It’s only $14.99.
The package shows you how to use this small, light luggage scale. In short, before turning the scale on, you simply wrap the fabric strap around your luggage handle, then pass the scale back through the fabric strap. That’s part of the beauty of this scale’s small size. Typically, luggage scales have to use a metal hook in some way.
Once this is done, just press the power button, pull the strap to tighten it, then pick up your luggage with the scale. A beep announces the reading is complete. You can put the luggage down. The reading will stay locked a while in order for you to read the weight.
Here’s what you’ll look for in a store. Notice the package shows how to use it.
Before you can use your scale you’ll need to pull out the plastic that keeps the battery fresh.
You’ll need to unscrew the battery casing with a tiny flat or Phillips head screwdriver. I carry a tiny eyeglass repair kit and that flathead screwdriver did the job well. A butter knife may also work.
I remember that I felt getting the keep-fresh plastic was difficult to remove but that may be because I hadn’t figured out how the battery works. It’s really simple.
To remove the battery, simply push the battery toward the inside of the scale as I’m doing in this photo. You’ll feel that you are pushing against a spring. It will clear the two plastic prongs. You see one cleared prong here. Then pull the battery up with your fingernail or the tip of your finger.
Tip: The battery type, CR2032, is written on the package. I cut that out and taped it to the underside of my scale so I know what battery to buy when the time comes.
Of course, we want our scale to be accurate, or perhaps to know the exact error so you can calculate that into the actual weight.
To check this scale’s accuracy, I packed 2 bags and weighed them on three scales, always using American pounds rather than kilos because that’s what the store and post office used.
- With this scale, hanging so the scale feels the full weight.
- At a commercial shipping store where they weighed them for me. It sat on the scale platform with no hinderances.
- At the US Post Office’s self-service machine. It sat in limited space or touched the side which may report less weight.
- This scale: 10.4
- Shipping store: 10.6
- Post Office: 10.5875 (10 lb 9.4 oz) & 10.325 (10 lb 5.2 oz) when touching the side
This is a difference of .2 ounces (that’s 0.0056699 kilograms since we need to know for flights). That’s likely forgivable with baggage weigh-in.
- This scale: 12.3
- Shipping store: 12.6
- Post Office: 12.6125 (12 lb 9.8 oz) & 12.25 (12 lb 4 oz) when touching the side
This was a difference of .3 ounces (that’s 0.0085 kilograms).
Bear in mind that this was my 11-month old battery and a newer battery may be more accurate.
My big concern was the battery life
I worried that the On/Off button is so easy to press that the scale would turn on in my backpack, draining the battery’s life so the scale wouldn’t work when I need to use it. It will automatically turn off after 1 minute of inactivity (if you haven’t already turned it off) so hopefully, that takes care of the issue.
My next concern was that it might turn off inside my bag when pressed by something else I’ve packed. To do this, I cut out the part of the plastic package that fit around the front of the scale. Now I wrap the strap over the button, place the plastic over the strap and then wrap a rubber band around the whole thing. This has worked well. It’s even still got that original rubberband around it.
I’ve had my scale since March 1, 2017, and used it for the first time some time days after that. I weighed 2 items. When I next unpacked it on April 13, I became worried when the battery icon showed what l feared was half- used power.
I decided not to write about this scale until I was sure I could recommend it. After nearly a year of use, I’m writing about it. I definitely recommend it!
This is a terrific scale!
I’ve traveled a lot since I got the scale. I’ve flown RyanAir several times and was very careful to make sure my backpack weight stayed below the weight limit. 15 days short of a year from first use, the icon remains the same and the scale continues to work.
I did a lot of traveling without a scale. When I was about to fly I worried what my luggage weight would be and I had to hunt down any sort of scale. I’ve used a hostel’s people-scale, gone into shipping stores… Carrying this tiny 3-ounce (85-gram) scale is such a convenience and pleasure.