This is an often asked question, and one should remember that when it comes to any record claim, or even for many club competitions these days, scales will need to be calibrated.
Other factors, such as resillience to salt water, ease of use, durability come into play as well as just accuracy. The higher a scale weighs to, often the lower the accuracy at smaller weights too, so the target of what is being weighed should be considered.
We’re very fortunate that John Locker, of The Fish Locker, has produced the following video, having been provided with 5 sets of digital ‘pocket’ scales by Veals Mail Order.
Below the video we’ve included a transcript of the video, though we recommend watching the video, some of the detail just doesn’t transcribe so well.
Hello, welcome back to the fish locker. Today we’re going to be talking about fishing scales!
It’s a question that people ask me an awful lot and one that I’ve kind of had trouble with over the past 10 years, which is finding a good set of fishing scales for something smaller.
I’ve always had a little set of digital scales, a set that just fits in your pocket, but last year they managed to find their way into the water, so I need some new ones. I’ve contacted a few people and the guys at Veals Mail Order have Kindly sent me five different sets of scales to test.
All I’m going to do is test to see which are the most accurate, which suit my fishing the best, which ones I like using and I’ll let you make your own minds up, I’ll just show you my findings.
What I’ve made up here is kind of a brace to be able to hang the scales from, and I have some measured weights.
We have some Avery scales, which are a pound, two pound, four pound and seven pound, and I also have some other weights now.
I have verified them on a set of scales that are okay to plus or minus a gram, you’ll see this. All I’ve done, is I’m going to weigh each of these. I’ve already checked them all.
I’ve tried to cut down as many variables as possible, so all of the batteries that we’re going to be using are new batteries and I’m going to be using the same stand to hold each scale and the same weight.
I’m going to go through and I’m going to measure each weight three times and take an average and then we’ll work out which are the most accurate.
So the scales that we’re going to be testing are two sets of Reuben Heatons, a set of VMO portable digital scales and two sets of Berkleys.
00:02:11 – VMO Portable Digital Fishing Scales
We will open them all up and get some new batteries in them and then we’ll get the first one tested. We’ll start with the VMO’s own little portable digitals.
You can change the settings between kilograms and pounds. Also gene, i’m not quite sure what gene is!
Starting at one ounce, records at one ounce.
Two ounce actually records at 1.9oz on the first reading. 2lb recorded at 1.99lb. (And so on – see the video for more)
The scales are 250 grams out at 10 kilos.
00:03:07 – Berkley Pocket Digital Fishing Scales
Next one up is going to be the Berkley pocket digitals and these go up to 25 kilogram or 55 pound again, exactly the same with the last ones.
I honestly don’t think that this set up here will do 25 kilos, we’ll measure it up to what we’ve got and if it feels like it’s going to do it I’ll, try it, but personally first looking at it, I don’t think it’s going to manage it. First look, these scales are really simple to use, straight off power on, pounds and ounces or kilos.
That’s it! There’s your power button, there’s your zero button, bang on a pound, same in grams, but as we went up the grams, we get to 10 kilo and it’s 230 grams (or 8oz) over.
It does say that it weigh up to 25 kilos. I personally don’t think it’ll get there, because of the part at the top of the scales, but we’re going to try it…
I am impressed 24.96 kilos showing for the 25kg weight, so only 0.4kg out. Though what I’m more impressed about is that they survived at this weight.
00:05:00 – Berkely Fishin’ Gear 50lb Fishing Scales
Next up are the Berkeley fishin’ gear ones. Now they say they go up to 50 pound, I’ve seen quite a lot of people using these and they like them, because it’s got a good grip that you can hold onto there now.
It is definitely stronger than the likes of the prior ones, but we’ll see if it’s more accurate, it does seem to be incredibly simple. It’s got just got two buttons on it: just power on and zero, just to show you that.
This is honest. This is the second set of new batteries that were put into this, and we still haven’t managed to get it working properly.
It says it takes two of those, it needs to have both of those metal contacts touching it so third set of batteries in there.
If we press down hard on the back, it comes on.
Tell you what, it’s not looking good for these straight away is it, but I’ve finally managed to get them to work.
What we’re going to do, we’ve put a little spacer of cardboard in the back of the battery there to make sure the contacts touched!
We’ve just tried to figure out how to change it between pounds and ounces and kilos. Let’s go back to that, back to the instructions.
This straight away is the least easy to work! You have to press and hold the power button and then press and hold the choose and hold one, two, three and it changes one, two, three and it changes back, whereas the other ones it was simply one button. So unfortunately, that’s a negative for them.
Onto the accuracy, so it’s reading 170 grams out at 5 kilo. It’s 300 grams over at 10 kilo and 560 gram out at 16 kilo.
Going towards the max, that’s just less than 22 kilos and it’s reading over 50 pounds. So it’s a kilo out, so it’s two pounds out at max weight.
00:10:01 Reuben Heaton 9000 Digital Fishing Scales
The next ones are the Reuben Heaton 9000 digital scales.I like this little packet that it comes in. It’s also got a little clip thing, so you can put it on your belt If that’s what you want.
The difference between these and the other ones, straight away, you can see that they’ve got like a ’T’ handle to hold quite narrow.
These seem really simple, just an on/off, zero, kilos and pounds.
First thing: I’ve noticed on the back of here you take the back off
to put the batteries on, there is no o-ring seal, so they are not waterproof. You see it’s just plastic on plastic.
The seven pound weight is coming in at seven pound and one ounce.
What I like about these scales is that you can just one click between pounds and ounces and between kilos and grams.
The five kilo weight is bang on five, but for the 16 kilo it’s actually coming in at 15.875, so it’s measuring light. It’s the first one that’s measured light! The 10 kilo weight came in at 10.225, so 225 grams over 10 kilo.
00:11:05 Reuben Heaton 7000 Digital Fishing Scales
The last scales we’re going to look at are the Reuben Heaton 7000 Digital fishing scales. These are the most expensive ones. Immediately you can see that it is a bigger, more substantial piece of kit than the others. This isn’t a little pocket scale, though it feels feels nicer to the touch.
This one has got a better better cover to. It has also got a little foam seal in it, so the battery packs waterproof, which is good straight away by looking at it.
At three ounces, it isn’t even registering an ounce. If you’re weighing big fish like catfish or big bags of fish, it would be all right, but whilst it’s saying that it just has a sensitivity of an ounce, well, there’s an ounce hanging from it and it’s not even registering!
Then there’s the 85 gram weight – it’s just not sensitive enough is it?
Try the two pound weight, bang on two pound, the seven pound weight, bang on seven and bang on to the gram too, whereas the four pound weight was weighing light and the 10 kilo weight was 250 grams heavy.
Actually it says it will go up to 30 kilos, so I am going to try it to 26.
I want to put the 10 kilo and the 16 kilo dumbbell together then I’ll quickly do a conclusion, everything from being the least expensive to the most expensive. They were all very good up to about four pound but at the top end of the scale these are ones that will go higher. So whilst this one didn’t even register an ounce on the scale, it would go up to 30 kilograms, whereas the rest of them, they top out at 23 to 25 kilos.
00:14:30 – Conclusion
The Berkley Pocket digitals stole the show for me.
I didn’t expect them to be too good because it doesn’t feel too well made, and if you look at the back, it’s only just really light plastic. On the downside, there’s no waterproofing in there at all. So in a regular saltwater environment it would not survive, but i took it up to 25 kilos and it measured 24.96 kilos, so it was 40 grams out at max weight at 25 kilos. It did survive, which i didn’t think it was going to.
The Berkley Fishin’ Gear 50lb one actually performed the worst. It was ok up to four pound, like I said, just like the rest of them, and then it was three percent off and then it was 3.2% off and then, when i took it up to 16 kilos, it was 500 grams off, so at 16 kilos it’s over a pound off, and not only that, but the messing about that we had putting it together! We ended up having to put a little piece of cardboard in the back just so the connections would touch.
It is waterproof on the back, which a lot of them aren’t, but for the messing about for the batteries, it’s not worth it for me, also with the buttons you pick up one of the others and it’s literally power on and then you can change measurement and then you can zero, it’s that simple. These ones, you’ve got to hold it for three seconds and then press another one for three seconds and then wait and it it’s just messing about. It’s got a nice handle on it, but for the messing about you’ve got with it and the fact that it was the least accurate, this one I won’t be buying them.
The Reubens are good scales. The 9000 though, unfortunately it is plasticky and there is no waterproofing in the back. It was accurate, but no more accurate than the other ones. I do like the fact that it’s got this hold on it, but it can still only go up for 25 kilos like the rest of them.
It was nice to get a little pouch with these, but i’m not sure how many would pay any extra money just to get a pouch.
The best one was unsurprisingly the most expensive one, the Reuben 7000. It’s got a memory of 15 different weights, though why would you ever want to do that? I don’t know, but very simple to use and a very nice screen.
It is waterproof on the back, it did hold up well, the only problem was, it only differentiates between 25 grams. So if you’re measuring anything that’s only light, like a single fish or a small silver, or something like that, where you’re wanting half an ounce you’re not going to get it with this one. If you’re measuring bags or if you’re, measuring big conger eels and things like that, you’ll get it and it’s waterproof, but you’re paying five or six times more than what you pay for the others.
All are equally accurate, being two and a half to three percent off at 10 to 16 kilos range.
I hope the video helps, you can make your own mind up from this information.