Here’s How Luggage Scales Work – How To Use Them And Why

By James Smith
luggage scale silver
Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Before heading to the airport to travel you need to know the weight of your luggage since the airlines have a set limit on how much it should weigh. So know you probably wondering how do luggage scales work?

The luggage scale has a strap with a hook that you can hang your luggage by the handle. Depending on if you have an analog scale or a digital, the digital will show the weight in lbs on the LCD screen and on the analog one it will point on how much it weights. 

How accurate are luggage scales

Weighing your luggage with a scale and then later find out at the airport your luggage weigh too much because the scale showed wrong is not something to be concerned about. Generally, they are very accurate if you get a decent digital scale. There have been measurements of popular digital luggage scales and it shows you can count the accuracy being right around within 2 lbs.

The analog ones should be pretty accurate as well just make sure that pointer is at zero when it’s not weighing anything to make sure the pointer is crooked or something like that.

So be sure to stay 1-2 lbs under if the limit is 50 pound. Just so you don’t get any unexpected baggage fees at the airport, the generally the limit is 50 pounds or 23 Kgs in USA but make sure to double check with the airline you’re flying with.

How to use a digital luggage scale

  1. Take the metal hook and pull it around the handle on your luggage and back again so the luggage is attached to the strap.
  2. Turn on the LCD screen with the power button, make sure it shows zero before measuring.
  3. Grab the scale handle and lift the scale with two hands.
  4. Read the weight on LCD screen and note it down.

How to reset the luggage scale?

Simply press the power button off and on or if it has a Zero/Tare function then simply press the button labeled “Z/T” to reset the scale to zero.

You can also remove the battery door to remove the battery and that should reset it when you insert the battery again.

Sometimes the number showing is wrong or not working correctly then you need to reset it.

Why do you need a luggage scale?

You need a luggage scale to avoid the baggage fees at the airport. If your suitcase weighs over that limit you have to pay a fee to be able to have the checked luggage get transported on the plane. So if you have a luggage scale at home you can easily weigh all the suitcases to make sure they are under the limit (50 pounds or 23 Kgs in the USA), also sometimes the scale has a built in a measuring tape in that you can pull out, if not just measure it yourself with a yardstick (Dimension: 62 in / 158 cm ).

Fun fact or maybe not so fun fact, the airline’s lines makes a ton of money on luggage fees with amounts up to 4.2 billion according to CNN.

The airports have a max weight they can carry to keep the plane able to land and take off smoothly, they need to know what all the suitcases weigh so the calculations being made are not off. Also, it’s about fuel efficiency, if they have no idea what all the luggage weigh the plane will burn more fuel than was planned for. Which means they would have to do a mid-flight diversion to refuel the plane.

How to use an analog luggage scale

  1. Make sure the pointer is at zero when it’s not weighing anything.
  2. Hook the luggage by its handle.
  3. Grip the scale’s handle and lift it up.
  4. Note down the shown weight or look at the recorded lock-in-place dial if it has one.

How to tell if your luggage is over 50 pounds without a scale

Option number 1: What you can do if you don’t have access to a scale is if you have a normal bathroom scale then simply weigh yourself first and note that down. Then step on the scale while also holding the suitcase or the bags, now the difference between your body weight and when holding the suitcase is how much the bag weighs. You can also put the suitcase directly on the bathroom scale but often times the bag might be too big and hit the floor.

Option number 2: is going to a local post office they have large industrial-sized scales you can use if you ask politely.

Option number 3: is not a guarantee but if you go to the airport earlier you might find an empty check-in counter that is turned on and weight it there. Then if you are over the simply repack and remove some stuff maybe you can wear a jacket or hold something. Make sure to not to arrive late so you have time to weigh and repack if necessary.

If you’re over the limit and you don’t want to pay the fee you may have to leave some luggage behind, but before that try to move things from your suitcase and hand luggage or load of some to a friend’s luggage.

Whats the max a luggage scale can weigh?

A general average digital luggage scale capacity is up to 110lb/50kg and an analog luggage scale capacity is 75 lbs/34 kg which is lower than the digital one. Which is plenty over the 50 lbs you are probably weighing for, I don’t know many planes that have max luggage limit over 110lbs. But the first and business class max weight for luggage is 70 lbs / 32 kgs
 according to American airlines.

Happy travels.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts:

about best checked luggage

Hi, I'm James Smith, I love traveling and always looking to optimize the traveling life to make it as comfortable and stress-free as possible. I especially love to nerd out about choosing the right luggage.

Best Checked Luggage 2020: