Weighing packages and calculating postage by weight can be easy and accurate with a household scale. Learn how to weigh a package at home and how to calculate postage for faster, easier, and contact-free shipping.
Weighing mail at home is a simple and convenient way to save you a trip to the post office. You can use any household scale to measure weight down to the ounce. Applying the correct postage required by weight is a sure way to save you a bit of change as well.
How to Weigh Packages at Home
Taking the time to learn how to weigh packages for postage will save you a lot more time and headaches in the future. You may already have a scale to weigh packages and extra stamps lying around, so all you need to do is learn how to do postage from home.
Weighing Mail from Home Saves Time and Money
It only takes a few minutes to weigh packages at home, often less time than it takes to drive to the post office. Not to mention the time spent waiting in line, giving your info to the cashier, and the return trip home. As more and more aspects of our work and life become remote, it’s time that postal services become a part of the trend.
What makes it easier is that you likely already have a scale for weighing packages in your home. Once you can measure your mail weight, you’re able to calculate package postage to determine the exact amount you’ll need. Using the correct postage amount will save you money by not overpaying or underpaying and having to resend the mail once it’s returned.
Do I Need to Buy a Postage Scale? Can I Weigh My Packages at Home Without One?
A postage scale is a highly sensitive piece of equipment used to weigh mail and packages to determine the correct postage for each item. Most large companies use them to simplify the shipping process and save themselves from wasting time at the post office. Their accuracy can save companies thousands as most prefer to overpay for postage rather than deal with a returned parcel and an unsatisfied customer.
However, for the average sender, a postage scale is unnecessary. Instead, you can use a food scale as a postage scale to weigh a letter at home. The small variations in weight are not enough to make a noticeable difference over the years.
How to Weigh a Package using a Shipping and Receiving Scale
Shipping and receiving scales can plug into your computer and give the most accurate weight info directly to your postage provider. This ensures you’re paying the exact amount for postage with no chance of paying over or under. They are accurate to a tenth of a gram and capable of measuring over 150lbs, which is more than ten times that of a kitchen scale.
These capabilities come with a higher cost which prevents most people from using one. If you’re looking to set up an online store from your home, however, it may be worth weighing the pros and cons:
- Pros: Weigh heavy packages with extreme accuracy
- Cons: The cost can take years to pay off with postage savings
Using A Household Scale to Weigh Packages
There are three main types of household scales that have the precision needed to weigh mail for postage. Each has different weight limits, so the method you use should be based on what you’re weighing.
A kitchen scale is best for envelopes and small items, but if the package is over the weight limit, then a luggage scale will work just as well. Bathroom scales are great for heavy packages, but they are not as accurate, so you may want to round up and apply extra postage.
- Kitchen Scale Capacity: 11 lbs
- Luggage Scale Capacity: 110 lbs
- Bathroom Scale Capacity: 300 lbs
Can You Use a Kitchen Scale to Weigh Packages?
Knowing how to weigh a package for shipping with a kitchen scale is the easiest way to save your time and money. Kitchen scales like Escali’s Primo Digital Scale are capable of weighing a letter for postage down to the gram.
This level of accuracy is enough to send letters and packages without having to worry that they may be sent back. Using the scale properly, including the tare function and centering your items, is a key part of how to weigh mail correctly. There are pros and cons to using this method:
- Pros: Weights accurate to the gram
- Cons: Weight limit is maxed at 11 lbs
How to Weigh a Package using a Luggage Scale
Figuring out how to weigh a package for mailing using a luggage scale takes a bit of trial and error. You’ll first need to construct a sling to hold your package that can be connected to the end of a luggage scale. Once you have the apparatus in hand, you’ll need to weigh it by itself and use the tare feature to zero out its weight.
Afterward you’ll be able to set your package in the sling and get an accurate reading by lifting it with the luggage scale. While they are generally more accurate than bathroom scales, there are pros and cons to this method as well.
- Pros: Compact design allows for easy travel and storage
- Cons: A sling is needed to hold the package to be weighed
How to Weigh a Package using a Bathroom Scale
A bathroom scale is not the ideal tool for weighing a letter for postage but works great for those struggling with how to weigh large packages at home. Anyone who has ever tried to weigh a dog or a baby with a bathroom scale knows the tried and tested method.
Stand on the scale and take your weight, then stand on the scale with your package and take that weight. Subtract your weight from the total, and you have your package’s weight.
- Pros: Weigh large and heavy packages
- Cons: Accurate only to the nearest pound
How to Calculate Postage on a Package at Home With a Household Scale
After you’ve sealed and weighed your package, you’ll want to know how much postage to use. The postal rates for packages by weight aren’t available in a simple graph because they are also affected by the package’s dimensions, destination, and speed of delivery. You can enter this info on any major postal services website to get a shipping label and total cost of the shipment.
Always Round Up
When weighing packages for shipping at home, you should always round up to avoid returned shipments. Home scales simply aren’t as accurate as those used in the postal industry. It’s unfortunate, but many packages have been sent back for being just 1/10th of a gram overweight without the right postage. Avoid costly mistakes by adding just a few extra cents of postage to cover any margin of error.
Select the Right Mail Class
How do I weigh a package for mailing First Class or Priority Mail? When selecting a mail class, you should know First Class Mail is reserved for packages under 13 oz. Priority Mail is used for anything between 13 oz. and 70 lbs. Beyond that, you’ll want to contact your preferred postal service for instructions on proper shipping.
Measure Your Package’s Dimensional Weight
Dimensional weight is the total volume of the package in relation to its density. What this means is if you have a large but light package, you will be paying for the size and not the weight.
To calculate the dimensional weight, you’ll need a ruler with inches and know how to measure a package’s length, width, and height to the nearest inch. You then need to multiply these numbers together and check to see if the dimensional weight is greater or less than the actual weight. You will need postage for whichever weight is greater.
Escali Scales Make it Easy to Weigh Your Mail from Home
Whether you’re sending out birthday gifts this year or just started your first online store, you’ve found yourself thinking, “How can I weigh a package at home?” We hope this article has cleared up that process for you so that you can share your gifts with the world.
If you’re ready to start shipping but need an accurate scale, check out our online store where we have every type of scale and style you can imagine.