The Best Luggage Scales, According to Travel Experts

Our favorite is the Freetoo luggage scale.

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luggage scales
Courtesy of Amazon

Reaching the front of an airport luggage drop-off line only to be told your suitcase is overweight is a special kind of hassle, and no one wants their vacation budget spent on extra bag charges. Luckily, there's a way to prevent shamefacedly reorganizing next to the check-in desk or paying a hefty baggage fee: invest in a luggage scale.

"I'm always right on the edge of the airline's weight limits, so my portable luggage scale is one of my most important possessions," says Nate Hake, a full-time traveler and founder of Travel Lemming. "Using a portable scale takes seconds and saves so much stress!"

Our (and Hake's) favorite is the Freetoo luggage scale for its slim build, easy-to-read display, and accuracy. But if you prefer a tool with additional functions like thermometers, tape measures, and handles designed for particularly heavy bags, consider the other luggage scales that made our list.

T+L's Top Picks

Best Overall: Freetoo Luggage Scale

luggage scales
Courtesy of Amazon

Why We Love It: The Freetoo scale is light, easy to use, and highly recommended by travel pros.

What To Consider: You have to set the display to your preferred unit before you start weighing your luggage, or you may accidentally lock in the wrong one.

Multiple frequent travelers we surveyed were fans of the Freetoo luggage scale. While it has a similar bar-handle build to many in this space, the handle is slightly longer, making for better gripping and a sleeker appearance. It comes in three colors, but we're especially fond of the fire-engine red finish that helps you keep track of it in your bag.

Jeremy Scott Foster, founder and CEO of TravelFreak, recommends the Freetoo for its clear screen and automatic feature that starts weighing the luggage as soon as it's attached. Once its reading is stable, it will lock the weight so you can easily read the backlit display from any angle.

"I use the Freetoo luggage scale and I love it," Hake agrees, praising its ease of use, light weight, and affordability. "In my experience using it dozens of times, it's always been accurate."

Units: Pounds or kilograms | Graduation: 0.1 pounds | Capacity: 110 pounds

Best Compact: Etekcity Luggage Scale

luggage scales
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Walmart

Why We Love It: The extremely popular Etekcity scale has an automatic tare function, can give readings while in motion, and includes a thermometer.

What To Consider: It doesn't have a backlight, which makes it harder to read the display.

Other frequent travelers recommend Etekcity's digital luggage scale, a lightweight but extremely handy option loaded with functions. The scale was designed with durability in mind but weighs in at just under 5 ounces, so packing it won't tip you over the edge of the weight max. If your luggage needs to be climate-controlled, it also includes a thermometer to keep you on track.

"When it comes to maintaining a luggage weight within the allowance, I am an absolute dictator," says Becky Moore, founder of Global Grasshopper. "There is nothing worse than overpacking and being faced with surcharges. Especially after the painstaking process of finding great deals on flights!" According to Moore, the Etekcity can give accurate readings even when on a moving surface, and she appreciates its automatic shutdown feature to save battery life, although the lithium battery can power up to 500 uses before needing to be replaced. Shawn Richards, Expedition Coordinator at Ultimate Kilimanjaro, adds that he uses the Etekcity for its easy-to-read display, accuracy, and ability to weigh packages and gear as well as luggage.

Units: Pounds or kilograms | Graduation: 0.1 pounds | Capacity: 110 pounds

Best Display: Camry Digital Luggage Scale with Backlight

luggage scales
Courtesy of Camry

Why We Love It: A backlit display and beeping during operation make this scale easy to interpret.

What To Consider: You don't get a lot of buttons to work with, so if something goes wrong, troubleshooting may be tricky.

The lightweight Camry luggage scale is another go-to among frequent flyers. Will Hatton, CEO of The Broke Backpacker, is a fan of its accuracy and durability, noting, "This luggage scale can most definitely weigh heavy suitcases and save you from any extra charges whilst you travel." And Steve Schwab, CEO of Casago, describes it as "one of my favorite purchases I've ever made" because of its convenience and ease of use.

We like the backlit version of the Camry for extra readability, which comes in handy when you can't lift your suitcase up to eye level or your hotel room lighting isn't up to the task. It also beeps twice and flashes three times when it's read the final weight of your luggage, so you can avoid confusion about whether or not it's really done.

Units: Pounds or kilograms | Graduation: 0.1 pounds | Capacity: 110 pounds

Related: The Best Carry-on Luggage

Best Handle: EatSmart SmartGrip Luggage Scale

luggage scales
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Walmart

Why We Love It: If you're weighing a larger bag or just need a little help lifting, the EatSmart's solid handle design will make your life easier.

What To Consider: It's a little larger and clunkier than the bar models.

Rather than the single, bar-like handle that most luggage scales offer, the EatSmart SmartGrip has a more hand-friendly trapezoidal design. The two grips on the vertical sides make lifting heavy suitcases easier, and a nylon strap and clip-in buckle can support even the largest checked bag — no matter how many extra bottles of wine you just had to pick up in Napa. The buttons, which simply read "On/Off" and "Unit," are refreshingly straightforward. All you have to do is clip the scale onto your bag, lift it up, and wait for the beep. The final total will appear on the backlit screen for 20 seconds.

Units: Pounds or kilograms | Graduation: 0.1 pounds | Capacity: 110 pounds

Best Analog: Samsonite Manual Luggage Scale

luggage scales
Courtesy of Samsonite

Also available Belk

Why We Love It: This well-designed scale has nice touches like a secondary indicator and tape measure.

What To Consider: Heavier bags will need to be picked up a bit more slowly to ensure an accurate measurement.

Sometimes you just want to go analog — or at least not have to worry about your battery dying as you're trying to cram that pair of new shoes into your bag before flying home. The Samsonite manual scale is nearly as simple as can be; just hook it onto your luggage and lift. The red hand moves to measure the bag's weight and carries the black hand along with it. The black one then stays in place so you can read the weight even once you've set your bag back down. The scale can measure in either pounds or kilograms (the former is on the outside of the dial, the latter on the inside). There's also a clever tape measure included in the scale so you can avoid that other airport hazard: the dreaded carry-on sizing bin check.

Units: Pounds or kilograms | Graduation: 0.9 pounds | Capacity: 85 pounds.

Related: The Best Luggage Brands for Every Budget

Tips for Buying a Luggage Scale

Remember you'll need to lift your bag

Most luggage scales have a fabric belt of some sort that you loop through your suitcase's handle and reattach to itself. Once clipped on, pick up the scale and it will take your luggage along with it, hanging off the tie so that the scale can gauge the weight. It's important to note that this does require you to be able to fully lift your bag up off the floor using a fairly small handle. Remember to lift with your legs, not your back.

Virtually all luggage-specific scales require lifting. If you want something you can simply heave your bag onto, you may need to look into postal scales. We don't generally recommend this option, however, as you're more likely to go over the weight limit on your return flight (all those souvenirs need to go somewhere) and postal scales are usually too large to travel with you.

Choose your preferred units of measurement

The United States may have retired the metric system, but the rest of the world hasn't. A good scale should measure in both pounds and kilograms. Sure, you could just take one measure and convert it, but why add an extra step when you don't have to?

Backlit displays are useful

A backlit display is a nice bonus on digital scales. There's no reason not to have one, and it will help you be able to read the weight easily in low-light situations or at an angle as you're lifting the bag at the same time.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Rena Behar has eight years of product journalism experience at outlets including Travel + Leisure, Wirecutter, Better Homes and Gardens, and more to her name, along with trips to over 30 countries. She researched numerous luggage scales and interviewed frequent travelers about their top picks to curate the perfect list of reliable options for this article.

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