The 10 Best Fishing Scales

Updated March 24, 2018 by Chase Brush

10 Best Fishing Scales
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
With one of these accurate fishing scales, you'll be able to prove you're not just telling a fish story about your latest monster catch. We've included both battery-operated digital versions that can help cull your haul during tournaments as well as analog devices to satisfy the old-school adherents out there. Plus, most can handily double as a luggage scale for trips away from home. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best fishing scale on Amazon.

10. Dr. Meter PS01 Electronic Balance

The Dr. Meter PS01 Electronic Balance features just about everything an amateur fisherman needs in a scale, including a tape measure and a tare button. The rigid steel handle isn't very comfortable, but at this price, it's hard to complain.
  • hook folds into back of unit
  • auto-off function
  • material is a little flimsy
Brand Dr.meter
Model ES-PS01
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. Grawor Hanging

The Grawor Hanging is a versatile scale that can be used for measuring ocean game, but also for other things like luggage and shopping. The ergonomic, no-slip handle retracts from the unit's body, giving it a nice compact feel when it's not needed.
  • switch between pounds kilos and jin
  • comes with cloth storage bag
  • slow to settle on weight
Brand Grawor Hanging
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. Berkley Digital

An angled handle makes this Berkley Digital more comfortable to use than most other models, particularly when you're assessing extra large fish. The auto-culling feature quickly identifies your heaviest score, saving you time and energy on the water.
  • waterproof construction
  • comes in 35 and 50 lb options
  • not good for light objects
Brand Berkley
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Mango Spot Electronic Balance

The Mango Spot Electronic Balance is one of the lowest-priced hanging models on the market, but it still manages to be reliably accurate to within a pound or two. It stores its heaviest measured weight, so you always know your record.
  • measures in pounds and kgs
  • weighs just 4 ounces
  • accuracy is impacted by cold temps
Model pending
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

6. Weston Scale Spring & Hook

You'll never need batteries with the Weston Scale Spring & Hook, because it uses the old-fashioned technology of a sensitive spring to accomplish its task. It's as easy to read the sliding indicator as it is to hang your catch on the generously-sized hook.
  • anodized aluminum resists rusting
  • other components are stainless steel
  • may need to be properly calibrated
Brand Weston
Model 14-0304-W
Weight 1.6 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Fishfun Portable

The multi-functional Fishfun Portable is small enough to fit in your pocket, but can measure objects weighing more than 100 pounds, making it good for ocean trips. It also has a built-in measuring tape, so you'll be accurate when you say the fish was "this big".
  • auto-off after 2 min of inactivity
  • low battery indicator
  • no culling feature
Brand Next
Model pending
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Ultimate54 Portable Digital

The Ultimate54 Portable Digital is ideal for quickly gauging the weight of a fish, a suitcase, or any other object under 110 pounds. It's highly accurate, incorporating a tare function that comes in handy when you're trying to weigh only the contents of a container.
  • overload indicator
  • runs using 2 aaa batteries
  • backed by 2-year warranty
Brand Ultimate54
Model pending
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

3. Rapala Touch Screen Tourney

Hardcore fisherman will appreciate the Rapala Touch Screen Tourney, which uses an eight-point culling system to sort and store the weight of each catch you make throughout the day. Plus, backup memory retains stored data if battery power is lost.
  • includes storage bag
  • uses hook or composite clamp
  • tare weight function
Brand Rapala
Model RTDS-15
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. ReelSonar Digital

The ReelSonar Digital has a comfortable grip that will reduce hand strain even if you have to spend long periods of time weighing luggage or your latest catch. For the latter purpose, it also come with a fish lip grabber that helps you avoid getting your fingers dirty.
  • bright backlit screen
  • easy one-button operation
  • good value for price
Brand ReelSonar
Model RS102
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Piscifun Fish Lip Gripper Tool

The well-made Piscifun Fish Lip Gripper Tool boasts unique steel jaws that open and close to pick a fish up by its mouth, eliminating the need to use your fingers to put it on a hook. This makes for fast, easy weighing of your catch, and less chance of being bitten.
  • attractive camouflage
  • comfortable rotating abs handle
  • safe for saltwater use
Brand MadBite
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Spring Into Accuracy

When you're out on the water and you snag a particularly enviable fish, you might take a quick picture of yourself holding it. If you have a signal you might even post that picture to social media. The problem there, if you're going to brag with specificity, would be giving the details of the catch. A simple ruler would be enough to share the length, but in most scenarios weight is just as important, if not a more important bragging point.

To that end, you want to employ a simple fishing scale. Some of these will give you an incredibly accurate reading in the field, while others are more for general classification and safeguarding against fraud from a tender who might buy your catch. A fishing scale works in one of two ways, depending on its mechanism for reading weight.

One type operates by a spring, and the other by a piezoelectric transducer. The spring probably sounds more familiar to you. Essentially, spring loaded fishing scales connect their central spring to a hook or a clamp that holds the fish. As gravity pulls the fish down toward the earth, that force stretches the spring. At the other end of the spring is a small indicator that moves along lines marked with certain weights and calibrated in the scale's factory before release. By simply hanging the fish on the scale you get a pretty accurate reading.

While spring-loaded fishing scales are the least expensive and most ubiquitous type, there are also digital versions that operate by that fancy transducer mentioned above. Piezoelectricity is a charge created by pressure placed on a crystal. Certain crystals are particularly sensitive to pressure, and manufacturers calibrate their scales to the amount of charge produced by the range of measurable stresses.

When you hang a fish on a digital fishing scale, the pressure its interaction with gravity places on the small crystal inside the scale creates a readable charge that the transducer translates into a weight reading. These scales tend to be far more accurate than their spring-loaded counterparts, but they also tend to be more expensive.

A Tidy Boat Is A Fisherman's Best Friend

Even on an industrial stage, fishermen are bound to squabble over exact weights with their tenders, the people responsible for purchasing their catch and selling it to canneries and other distributors. If you catch fish for sale, even on the smallest stages, you want to ensure that you aren't being taken for a ride. If it's just a hobby, however, and exact weights aren't entirely necessary to your experience, then you might not need the most accurate scales available.

Knowing your needs when it comes to your fishing scale purchase will help you narrow down our list to a few options, and from there you can make your choice based on budget or hook style.

We've already gone over the differences between digital and spring-loaded scales above, and the big split between those two types is accuracy and price. Another important thing to consider with your digital scales is that they require batteries to operate, and that you can't get those batteries wet. If you have a boat with limited space or you're a messier fisherman, you might do better with a spring-loaded scale, so you won't need to pack batteries or worry about your scale encountering the elements.

If you keep your vessel a little tidier, and you have both the space and the budget to accommodate a digital scale and its batteries, you'd do well to go down that path. Keep an eye out for each scale's maximum weight reading, as well. If you catch fish that regularly come close to the maximum weight of a given scale, you should look for a scale that can handle a little more fish. That way, when you catch something bigger than you've ever caught before, you can still get an accurate reading.

Would You Eat A 40,000-Year-Old Fish?

Before the advent of the scale in ancient Egypt around 2,400 BCE, there was no banking. At the time, there wasn't any surefire way to establish an equivalence of goods beyond the haggling and bartering of merchants. The scale changed all of that, and, in a loose way, can be blamed for all the problems of our modern economy. We didn't come here to get down on the Egyptians for ruining everything, though. Somebody would have come up with it eventually.

Those early scales were balance scales, meaning that they balanced a set of goods against a counterweight placed at an equal distance from a fulcrum. Long before anybody though to do any of this, however, human beings had long gone fishing.

Radio carbon dating of skeletal remains found in the Tianyuan Cave near Beijing, China ages them at about 40,000 years. Isotopic analysis of those same bones shows that this early human skeleton belonged to a man whose diet consisted predominantly of freshwater fish. Evidence of hooks, barbed spears, and other tools–both physical and depicted in cave paintings–imply the methods used by early man.

The one thing he didn't have was a good scale. Weight wouldn't become the marker of a good catch until the Egyptians and their bankers got a hold of the fish in question and plopped it down on their balances. Once spring-loaded scales for weighing people came into being in the 1800s, it was only a matter of time before smaller sizes of the same design would become popular for weighing all kinds of things, including fish.

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Last updated on March 24, 2018 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.

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