Without a Postal Scale, Are You Guessing Money Away?

Mail room filled with boxes, postal and shipping supplies

Do You Need a Postal Scale for Your Mail and Shipping Needs?

Whether you’re a small online seller or a larger retail operation, having the capability to weigh your packages for shipment is critical. Going to the post office or carrier’s office to ship packages is a costly hassle, but if you plan to buy postage online instead, you should know the precise weight of your packages.

Using a bathroom scale or just guessing at the weight of your packages can result in estimates that are too high or too low. If you overestimate your package weights, you’re just throwing money away on extra postage. Rates generally increase with weight. However, overestimating weight might also bump your shipments up into higher rate brackets. For example, check out the starting rates for the various services at USPS. In some cases, a few ounces can make a big difference.

A woman wrapping an item in bubble wrap, a parcel being prepared for despatch.

On the other hand, if you underestimate your package weight, you may get hit with extra fees, shipping delays, or returned packages. Angry customers, bad reviews, and extra legwork will be the result. Many listings end up at the bottom of the reviews ranking not because of a poor product but because of shipping problems.

Don’t worry, though! A quality postage-weighing scale that is precise and accurate can save you money and give you peace of mind that you’re getting the best rates. You’ll know you are giving your shipments every chance to be successful.

How to Choose a Postal Scale

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all postage and shipping scale. Before you rush out to reap the benefits of this essential piece of equipment, consider your needs, both present and future. While many postal scales have more than one of the following features, consider these to make sure the scale you choose has the most important features for your enterprise.

Key Postage Scale Features

Trade Legal

Scales that are legal for trade means that the scale has been certified to be used to charge by weight of products. This is critical for anyone who sells goods by weight. 

A legal for trade shipping scale weighing a medium size package in a cardboard box
7815R Shipping Scale


Smaller mail scales are perfect for weighing small packages at high accuracy. However, if you plan to ship larger packages, it’s best to opt for a shipping scale that matches your largest anticipated parcels. For higher volumes, splitting between smaller and larger scales may make sense.

A high resolution shipping scale with an envelope on top being weighed
7820 High Resolution Shipping Scale

Roller/ Ball Top

Ball top or roller top scales integrate seamlessly into roller tables for high-volume and high-speed shipping facilities.

A roller top shipping scale with a digital reader
Benchpro BP-SR Roller Top Shipping Digital Scale


Ensure the scale you order is available in the units you will use for weighing your packages or goods. Some scales are available in different units for the same model, so be sure to speak with experts to find the right postal and shipping scale for your application.

A ball top shipping scale with a digital reader
BenchPro BP-SB Ball Top Shipping Digital Scale


Always be aware of the capacity limit for the scales you consider. Smaller mail scales may top out at modest weights while high-capacity shipping scales may have limits as high as 300 pounds.

A high capacity parcel and shipping scale with a package in a cardboard box being weighed
7829 and 7880 High Capacity Parcel and Shipping Scales


The precision you need is determined by the use and size of your weighing tasks. For smaller parcels and letters, high-resolution scales with the ability to discern hundredths of a pound are ideal.

A high resolution shipping scale
7820 High Resolution Shipping Scale

Remote Display

Also consider your space and layout. Some digital scales are equipped with remote displays that allow the display to be mounted at eye-level to operators or even mounted in remote locations for other personnel to monitor.

A parcel postal scale with a remote display
7820R Parcel Scale with Remote Display

Integrated Display

Digital postal scales with integrated displays are often called “bench scales.” These scales come with the convenience of an all-in-one platform, and many are highly portable. Some are even battery-powered for ultimate convenience.

A high capacity parcel and shipping scale weighing a package in a cardboard box
7824 and 7840 High Capacity Parcel and Shipping Scale


For many operations, the ability to connect a scale to a point-of-sale system is critical. Different scales connect using different cables and protocols, such as Ethernet, USB, or RS232, so be sure to double-check your requirements. Some models are compatible with many types of connections, which can be an important consideration for futureproofing. 

An image of a postal scale with a package being weighed on a conveyor.
ZP900 Series Postal Scale

How to Weigh your Options

A vintage scale on a rainbow wood backdrop representing weighing your options in choosing a postal scale

For some, a postal scale is easy to choose to suit a particular need. However, for many small and growing businesses, it can be dizzying trying to think about the current and possible future needs of your shipping or retail operation. Luckily, we’re here to help. American Scale is the regional expert in scale sales, service, and calibration in the Midwest and is a registered service agency in Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Tennessee. Contact us today to speak with our experts and find the perfect scale for your needs or simply browse our full selection of postal and shipping scales.