Luggage scales can save you time, money and that annoying — and frustrating — feeling when the check-in agent announces your bag is overweight. And if travel is already stressful for you, your luggage should be one fewer thing you need to worry about.
You’ll never get stuck at the airport with an overweight bag again if you weigh your bag with a luggage scale at home before traveling. Many scales are small and portable enough to slip into your bag, meaning you won’t get caught with a super-heavy bag on the way home either — no matter how many souvenirs you buy.
How to use a luggage scale
Most luggage scales are digital, but there are some analog scales available. Each has its own specific way of operating, but in most cases, start by turning the scale on and selecting the measurement unit — typically pounds or kilograms.
Most scales have a strap or hook to attach to the handle of your luggage. When the display shows zero, hook your suitcase onto the scale and lift the bag up by the handle. Wait until the scale stabilizes and shows you a consistent value — some scales even beep when they’re done measuring.
Check the weight shown on the scale and proceed accordingly. If your suitcase is overweight, take items out and weigh your bag again. Or, if your bag is within the range allowed by your airline, lock it up and head to the airport.
How do luggage scales work?
Luggage weight scales typically work the same way regular scales do, except they’re more portable and often have a hook or strap to attach to your bag instead of sitting on the floor. Luggage scales can use digital or analog technology to weigh your bag.
Most luggage scales are fairly accurate, but it’s always a good idea to stay a pound or two under the limit in case there’s any fluctuation with the scale at the check-in desk.
Our favorite luggage scales for travelers
$15.99 $12.99 at Amazon
Avoid pesky baggage fees for overweight luggage with the Freetoo Digital Scale, which gives users an accurate reading with no more than 0.1-pound deviation. With 110 pounds of measurement capacity, this small, anti-scratch red scale (it also comes in black and silver options) has an LCD display and a durable and adjustable fabric strap. The small scale itself weighs just .90 grams, so it can be easily slipped into your bag to take with you. Plus, it turns off automatically after 60 seconds to save battery. More than 13,000 5-star reviewers on Amazon agree this luggage scale is a great addition to a traveler's wardrobe.
$11.98 $11 at Amazon
Etekcity luggage scales come in silver, red, green and blue — and they also come in a two-pack ($19) in case you need an extra or want to gift one to that favorite frequent traveler in your life. The rubber-textured handle surface makes it easy to grip, and the scale comes with a durable fabric hook and high-accuracy reader that only deviates by 0.1 pound. Besides weighing suitcases up to 110 pounds, the scale has a temperature sensor that measures Fahrenheit or Celsius if you’d like to know both the ambient temperature and the weight of your bag.
$19.99 $15.76 at Amazon
This 5.5-ounce luggage scale can easily be gripped with two hands, making weighing your bags lighter on your wrists. The scale offers high-accuracy readings with just 0.1-pound graduation on its bright LCD display screen. The sturdy nylon strap and secure plastic buckle ensure you’ll be able to weigh anything from trolley bags to duffels to travel backpacks and more without issue.
$17.99 at Amazon
This battery-free luggage scale turns on with just a quick shake. Once on, the scale offers accurate weight results with just 0.1 pound of deviation. The 95-gram white scale looks pretty snazzy too, with an LCD display and a thick fabric weight strap to hold bags weighing up to 110 pounds. When the device is low on power, you’ll see a warning sign — just shake it five or 10 times to recharge. No fear of being stuck with a dead battery with this scale.
$28 at Samsonite
The Samsonite Electronic Scale offers one of the most unique features on this list: a measuring tape in addition to its digital weighing capabilities. The scale, which displays weight in grams, kilograms, ounces and pounds, also has a 31.5-inch tape measure to ensure your bag will not only meet any baggage weight requirements but size ones too. It also has both an automatic zero and turnoff function as well as a blue backlight to clearly view the screen even when it’s dark.
$14.99 at Amazon
These stainless steel luggage scales come in a two-pack and each can be used with luggage weighing up to 110 pounds. Especially apt for budget shoppers who want an extra scale, the Fosmon scales measure both weight and ambient temperature, and users can toggle between pounds and kilograms as well as both Fahrenheit and Celsius. The digital green screen is large, bright and easy to see even in darker environments. There’s even an overload indicator that flashes when your bag is overweight, which also alerts users when the device's battery is low.
$50 $20 at Walmart
Luggage scales are typically pretty uniform in look, but this circular, fit-in-the-palm-of-your-hand pink option from American Green makes weighing your luggage a little more glam. (It also comes in black for those who want a more neutral scale.) Twist it to turn on, clip the fabric holder to your bag and check the digital screen to see the weight of your luggage. The scale is capable of weighing bags up to 77 pounds and has an auto shutoff when you’re done using it.
$49.99 $37.99 at Amazon
For heavy-duty travelers who are taking along extra-cumbersome luggage or making a big move, the Smart Weigh scale isn’t quite as portable as the others on this list but can accommodate the heaviest bags — up to 440 pounds. It’s easy to place a bag on the flat, stainless steel platform and then read its weight on the digital scale in pounds, ounces, kilograms or grams.
$11 at Amazon
The only analog luggage scale on this list, the Samsonite Manual Luggage Scale has a metal hook to hold your bag and can measure bags weighing up to 80 pounds. Similar to the aforementioned Samsonite Electronic Luggage Scale, this one also comes with a tape measure to ensure your bag won’t exceed weight or size requirements.
$16.99 $9.59 at Amazon
This bold red scale (it also comes in black, blue and silver) weighs bags up to 110 pounds with just a 0.1-pound deviation. The backlit display ensures the scale’s screen is visible in both bright and dark environments, the metal clasp and fabric strap hold your suitcase without issue and the data lock means you’ll be able to see the weight of your suitcase even after you put it back down. Features like auto shutoff, low battery notifications and overload indications make this scale a user-friendly option for weighing your suitcase before you head to the airport.
$19.99 at Target
This Conair white luggage scale’s ergonomic shape makes it easy to grip even when your suitcase is hooked to the scale via the metal clip. With a bright blue backlit LCD display that shows luggage weight in either kilograms or pounds, users can weigh bags up to 80 pounds. If your bag goes above weight requirements, the scale beeps with a notification.
Looking for a travel credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best travel credit cards of 2022.