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When it comes to shipping from home, very few things are actually necessary to make the process run smoothly. You don’t need personalized boxes, cute work area decorations, a Rollo label printer, etc. Those things are cute and are helpful, but if you’re looking to get into selling for maximum profit, none of those will increase your earning power.
A great postal scale, however, is one of the areas where the rubber meets the road. Choosing a great postal scale for your shipping station allows you to get accurate weights so you can charge accurate shipping!
As a full-time eBay seller and e-commerce shop owner, I naturally needed something that would weigh accurately, be semi-portable, and (most of all) be relatively cheap.
But what if you sell on Amazon? Or ship products for your home-based start-up? Well, whatever your shipping needs are, rest assured that we have a scale for you…and it’s the same one for everyone. After all, shipping is shipping.
First off, we better answer a few questions for our beginner sellers, if that’s not you, don’t worry. We won’t make you wait, here are your options:
Now, let’s talk beginner-talk for a minute:
How Do You Set Your Shipping Costs?
In order to take advantage of calculated shipping on eBay, you need to know how much your item will weigh when it is shipped. If you’re shipping similar items all the time (like I do in my ecom store) then you’ll know the weight and can charge either calculated or flat-rate shipping.
If you’re shipping disparate items, however, the easiest way to do this is to pack up the item and place it on a scale. But that’s not always practical. First off, get a scale and weigh the item itself. Once you have that weight, we typically add 2 ounces if the item will be going in a poly-mailer and up to a pound if it is a small item that will be going in a box with packing material.
With that being said, if you’re serious about selling online you’ll want to invest in a scale. Now that that’s out of the way, let me show you the scale I use every day and why it just might be the best postal scale for eBay!
The Best Shipping Scale for eBay: American Weigh Scales H-Series
The H-Series from American Weigh Scales was the very first scale I purchased for our eBay business. Before that, we had trekked to the post office every day after work so we could ship out all of our packages.
I always told Kirstie that we would buy a “better” higher capacity scale when we wore this one out. One day, someone (it was me) stepped on the screen and crushed the display. Instead of ordering a larger more industrial type scale, I found ourselves reordering the H-Series.
This is the most bulletproof scale I have ever used that comes in such a compact package. You get all the durability of an industrial scale that can easily fit on your home office desk. As an added bonus, it comes with wall mounting hardware for the detached readout and can either be plugged in or run on batteries.
- Durability: Our first scale lasted 3 years with absolutely no issues until it got stepped on. 2 days after we got the new scale I spilled water all of the screen which caused some really erratic weights. An hour later though it had dried out and worked perfectly again. The scale feels quality!
- Plug & Play: You can take this scale out of the box and be weighing items within a minute. No calibration needed.
- Detached Screen: A detached screen is absolutely necessary on a shipping scale. Otherwise the box you’re weighing covers up the readout and you end up doing gymnastics to try and see the weight.
- Battery or Plug: Multiple power sources means that we never get caught without batteries.
- Lower Capacity: In 5 years on eBay and Amazon we haven’t yet shipped a package that exceeded the weight capacity of this scale. If you routinely ship livestock or furniture you should probably be looking for a different type of scale anyway.
- Unstable Platform: Because the platform is so compact, it can be slightly unstable when you try to balance very large or oddly shaped boxes on it.
All in all, this is the best postal scale you can get for eBay and it’s not going to break the bank! If you’re still shipping from the post office, this will save you a ton of money over time. If you’re shipping from home with a scale (why are you doing that?) then this will keep you from overpaying or having packages returned!
The Best eBay Shipping Scale for Sellers of Huge Items: The ACCUTECK ACB440
If you have a little more cash to burn, are trying to match the decorations in your warehouse, or have a habit of sending out large packages, Accuteck’s ACB440 might be the better choice for you. It has nearly all the advantages of the H-Series Scale but with the added bonuses of a larger platform and higher capacity. If you are routinely sending out large packages (75+ pounds) then this is the direction you’ll want to go.
- Higher Capacity: To be honest, this is the one main pull of this scale. It is like the big brother of the H-Series and can handle 4 times the weight!
- Large Platform: The larger platform of the Accuteck is the definite winner in the stability section. The time when we prefer this scale is when we are setting large boxes of books on it for Amazon FBA. It’s super stable!
- Size. If you have a limited amount of desk/work space this scale takes up more space when it’s out and is more difficult to store away.
- Durability Concerns. Some people have reported durability or calibration issues with this scale. While it wasn’t as good as the H-Series right out of the box we’ve had no major issues with it.
- Questionable Accuracy. With a scale that measure up to 440 pounds many people have expressed concern over it’s accuracy under 1lb. If you ship a lot of First Class Mail this may be an issue for you.
The Cheapest eBay Shipping Scale:
- Fold up mailer holder--stand upright to 90 degrees for rolling tubes and irregular packages
- Capacity--up to 50lbs, sensitivity--0.1oz（0-25lb), 0.2oz(25-50lb), reading modes--pounds/ounces, ounces, kilograms/grams, grams
- Key functions--tare(allow you to reset the display to 0.0), hold (especially for weighing a over-sized item)
- Self-calibration technology--does not require a 50lbs weight, you can choose any known weight starting from 5 lbs. for calibration purpose
- Power-- run on 3 x AAA batteries or 5v adapter (both included)
If you are pinching every single penny, there are cheaper options on Amazon, but there are none that beat the above options in durability and overall function. However, Accuteck has an option that will do the job for now until you get a bit more cash flow.
The Best Shipping for Large Items or High Volume
If you’ve been disappointed thus far because you want a “real” shipping scale, then this is it. Before starting my business I worked in a warehouse that had 4 shipping stations set up, all using these scales. We sent out around 200 large (usually multi-box) orders per day and we never had a scale problem during the 3 (very long) years that I was there.
This scale is meant for high-volume boxes of every shape and size but isn’t meant for letters or tiny packages. If you are shipping those, get a wimpier scale, not an all-metal one like the TBW-500.
The one drawback to this scale is that it does not have a roller top. While it was never a big deal for me, some people prefer a roller top as it’s easier to move packages on and off of (in addition to rolling, it’s easier to get your fingers under them). However, if you’re in the market for a heavy-duty roller scale you’ll probably need to double your budget (at least) or start shopping for used options. It’s a matter of preference anyway.
The TBW-500 scale will integrate with either a computer or printer, has a detachable screen, huge weight capacity, and a great size platform. If you’re looking for heavy-duty and reliable, you can’t do much better than these. So save yourself the trouble of buying another one in a couple of months are just get several now!
Completing the Set-up: If you want to ship your eBay items as quickly and professionally as possible, you’ll also need to invest in a thermal printer. While you don’t have to have a thermal printer to sell on eBay (since you can print labels on a normal printer and tape them to packages) they are much cheaper to use, print faster, and look much more professional. After you choose a scale, check out our article on The Best Shipping Label Printer for Home Use
What Makes The Best Shipping Scale? (7 Things)
Now that we’ve talked about the actual results, let me tell you about the things that I considered when I was personally shopping for a scale, and the things I added in when looking for other options that would be universally needed.
It goes without saying that accuracy is probably the most important characteristic of a great postal scale. Unless you are able to get an accurate reading of your packages there is no point in having a scale at all. Many lower-quality scales are heinously inaccurate or else grow less accurate with time.
We looked for scales that were accurate right out of the box (meaning they didn’t need calibration before use) and maintained it long-term. Most scales will get less accurate over time, especially if they are abused, but our scales have been going strong for over 5 years and have not grown noticeably less accurate.
If you are shipping from home or from a small business, the majority of shipping scales will easily accommodate the largest items you’ll be shipping. This is especially true if you’re an eBay seller who mainly ships via USPS. Their maximum weight limit of 70 pounds is within the reach of even budget scales.
The real test of capacity is having a low minimum weight. Many scales that have a respectable max do so by giving up the ability to weigh light packages. As we ship a good deal of first-class boxes we want to have the ability to weigh items down to an ounce with at least .1oz accuracy. Since we don’t have the room to hassle with two scales, we needed to find one that would weigh at both ends of the spectrum.
3. Detached Screen
If you’ve ever tried to weigh a piece of luggage on a bathroom scale, you’ll know the importance of having a detached screen. Without one, you will not be able to see the readout when shipping large packages.
Another benefit of a detached screen is that you are able to mount it in an easily visible location. Instead of bending down to see what the screen on the scale says, we have our readout mounted at eye level on the wall where a quick glance will tell us all that we need to know.
4. Large and Stable Platform
When I purchased our first scale I thought it would be perfect for our business. And, to be honest, it really wasn’t bad. However, when my mother-in-law laughed herself silly when she saw me trying to balance a boxed mattress on it (the platform measured 8″x8″) I figured that there was probably some room for improvement.
The large the platform you have space for the more stable (and therefore accurate) your scale is likely to be. As an added bonus, shipping scales with larger platforms generally come with higher maximum limits.
As I mentioned above, our current scales have been going strong for over 5 years. Having equipment that lasts a long time is about more than just buying replacements. The mental energy and potential downtime can both be detrimental to your business.
Before our current scales, we had another of the same model. It lasted until the day I stepped on the screen and cracked it. The scale still worked but I couldn’t read the weight. Despite ordering another one via Amazon Prime that same day, I was forced to go to Walmart and buy a food scale so that I could get packages sent out.
If you have a permanent shipping station, having a scale that runs on AC power will be God-send. You can simply install it and forget it. In my case, however, I often move my scale around to weigh different things and so I can fit large items on it. In those times it is super helpful that it can be battery powered as well.
While I don’t want to have to calibrate a scale before using it, it is nice to have the option. If at some point down the road, our scale becomes less accurate I would like some recourse to fix it rather than just throwing it away and starting over.
What if I want to guess the weight?
Well, a postal scale is not required to list and sell items on eBay. It’s also not an absolute requirement for shipping anything else. Just know that, if you’re off of your weight guess, you’ll either be charged the difference, have the item returned, or have it delivered collect (which makes for very angry customers).
However, if you want to ship items from home then a scale becomes necessary so you can take full advantage of shipping discounts and calculated shipping.
There are people who sell on eBay for years without a scale by simply guessing about the weight while listing and then shipping them at the post office after they sell.
However, you might be pleasantly surprised to know that you don’t even need to buy a postal scale for eBay! A regular kitchen scale (the kind you use for food) is typically accurate enough for the small packages that beginning sellers send out.
Weighing the Results
So in the end, maybe there isn’t so much a “winner” but two different scales that serve different purposes. Either of them could probably be considered the best postal scale for eBay sellers, but for the average home business, we recommend the H-Series to everyone that asks. Whatever one you choose, may you set thousands of packages on it and need to buy multiple scales for all your employees soon! Happy Shipping!