Buying a Scale

Hand placing cannabis nuggets onto scale for weighing

Business or Pleasure?

When you’re shopping for the perfect scale, there are several factors to consider. We’ll explain the most important aspects, and help you weigh the pros and cons of each. Many backgrounds lead cannabis lovers to the purchase of a scale. Whether you work in a Denver dispensary, you’re a regular shopper there looking for your money’s worth, or a cautious consumer working to abide by local carrying limits, it’s always good to get familiar with a quality scale. Everyday consumers and those working professionally in dispensaries will have a few distinctions in their needs. Whatever your story, we’ll review the top considerations for a quality scale below, and help you find exactly what you’re after next time you stop by our smoke shop. With proper use and a well-made instrument, you can rest assured of your scale’s precision so these worries won’t be weighing on your mind.


Today’s selection of scales come in a wide range of sizes and features. In the United States, marijuana is still weighed using the metric system standards of virtually everywhere else on Earth. Since the common unit of an eighth weighs 3.5 grams, its crucial for any scale to accurately weigh units of at least one tenth of a gram. This level of accuracy is more than enough for most casual users. However, if you’re working in the industry you should seek a scale measuring hundredths of a gram or more. While an ounce is commonly believed to be 28 grams, its technically 28.349 grams – so do your customers a favor, and don’t round down the difference. If you’re the customer watching weed get weighed – insist on the same standard.

Maximum Weight

Here’s another factor in which industry professionals and customers may differ in their measuring needs. Those looking to measure smaller amounts should be perfectly satisfied by a pocket scale. These have the ability to weigh up to 300 grams – more than enough for most of us at home. If you’re looking to use your scale in a dispensary, it may be worth looking into larger scales. These offer more than double the carrying capacities of pocket-sized varieties, measuring as many as 700 grams with precision.

Even the best scales can stop working properly after awhile. It’s a great idea to pick up some calibration weights the next time you come by our smoke shop. These are measured at exact weights, and placing them on your scale will allow you to confirm the accuracy of its readings. If the scale’s readings don’t match that of your calibration weights, you’ll know for certain that something’s off, and that scale needs to be re-calibrated. This can happen if your scale takes a hard fall, or if they’re not handled with care, especially during transportation. Thankfully, there’s a built-in calibration mode in most scales to resolve this type of malfunction, getting them back into balance.

NTEP Certification

The National Conference on Weights and Measures evaluates scales for a variety of quality standards, using the National Type Evaluation Program to do so. They review every major component of a scale’s functioning, including its accuracy, the effects of temperature variation, and its maximum capacity. Local officials from the National Institute of Standards and Technology inspect each scale before approving its NTEP certification for legal use, which is essential for the operation of dispensaries. You’ll know that your scale has been certified if it’s accompanied by a Certificate of Conformance, or COC, with an individual number on each. That number can later be checked by inspectors within a database, to verify its certification for legal use.

Still, if you’re working in a business a CoC isn’t the last step before sale. Be sure to check with a regulatory agency near you to make sure that you and your business are all systems go.

Special Features

We’ve gone over the basic necessities for a quality scale – sufficient carrying capacity, a recalibration setting, and the level of precision you’ll need. But for those of us looking for a little extra, there are a number of bells and whistles that modern scales may offer.

While some scales require batteries to be purchased separately, others offer rechargeable ones. This will save you some scratch at the corner store, especially as time goes on. Better yet, most scales last quite awhile between charges.

Some scales come stocked with a washable weigh-tray, which is another fantastic feature. This will help you avoid dirtying up your scale with every way, and going through the trouble of washing it without risking water damage. Just remove the weigh tray and clean it separately, and in no time, you’ll be ready to roll. Weigh trays are also sized to remind users of the scales limits, to keep from pushing past its limits.

In the market for a new scale? Looking to weigh out your options? 710Pipes has plenty of quality scales in store. We also carry vaporizers, pipes, water pipes and so much more! Stop by our Northglenn head shop between 8AM-10PM, seven days a week. We have two Denver pipe shops open daily from 12-8PM (11AM-9PM Thursdays through Saturdays) – on Colfax and on Evans near DU. Denver University students get 10% off with a valid student ID!

We’ll see you soon!