"Weighing in" on Laundry Scales by Caroline Colt

What You Need to Know Before Buying a Laundry Scale

If you provide wash/dry/fold services at your laundromat, you will need a good NTEP approved laundry scale to weigh customers' laundry. Here is some important information you should know before you purchase a scale.

Digital vs Mechanical

Digital technology has become much more popular than mechanical, and for good reason. Digital, by definition, means reading numbers electronically. Digital scales are more precise. They often come with an "auto-zeroing" feature which makes sure the accuracy is not affected by changes in temperature, humidity or wear and tear. They are also quicker and easier to use. Mechanical scales are not as precise, so may not provide the accuracy you need, especially for over the counter sales. On the other hand, mechanical scales are more robust and durable, and do not require batteries for operation. If accuracy is important to your business, get a digital scale that has auto-zeroing.


What is NTEP? NTEP stands for National Type Evaluation Program. Scales that are NTEP approved have been tested and evaluated to ensure they meet the government standards and requirements set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Laundromats need their scales to be approved "Legal for Trade" in order to conduct business over the counter. Any time you charge customers based on weight you must have an NTEP approved legal for trade laundry scale. NTEP laundry scales come with a Certificate of Conformance, confirming they are approved. However, it is still necessary to check with your local municipality as they may have their own rules and regulations, and they must certify your scale's accuracy periodically.

What size scale should I get?

The first way to measure a scale is its capacity. This is the maximum amount of laundry you anticipate weighing on the scale at one time. Most laundry scales have a capacity around 150 pounds. To fit more than 150 pounds of clothes on the scale at one time is not realistic. You should also look at the resolution. This refers to the accuracy of the scale. Do you want to be accurate to the nearest pound, tenth or hundredth of a pound? Most laundry scales only need to be accurate to the tenth of a pound, enabling you to round up or down to the nearest pound. The greater the resolution of a scale the higher the price. Finally you should consider the platform size. This is the weighing surface. Figure how much room you need to weigh a large laundry bag or basket. Some scales offer wire baskets to put the laundry in, but this may not be convenient for weighing a l00 pound drop-off in a heavy basket or hamper.


Where will you be using your laundromat scale? Will it go behind the counter? Will the indicator be attached to the base? To the wall? Or do you need a pillar? Do you want your scale to be portable? Do you need to connect your scale to a computer, printer or other device?

Other Features

Zero-tracking is an important feature in a scale, as it helps ensure accuracy is not affected by environmental factors. Tare function is also important. This allows you to subtract the cost of the laundry hamper or basket if applicable for a more accurate weight. Finally, does the scale come with a power supply? Does it require battery? Is the battery rechargeable?

The APM-60 Professional Laundry Scale from Summit Measurement is an NTEP approved digital laundry scale with capacity of 150 pounds. It features zero-tracking as well as the Tare function, and a pillar is optional. It can be found at the link below:


If a larger weighing platform is desired, another option is the UFM B60 offering a more substantial stainless steel platform with a cast aluminum base. This is a more rugged scale now assembled in the United States!


Now you are armed with the knowledge you need to select the perfect wash dry fold scale for your laundromat!


Caroline Colt is the owner of Summitmeasurement.net "The single best place to buy digital laundry scales online".