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A fish scale is a handy accessory for any recreational angler, whether you’re looking to confirm bragging rights with your buddies or weigh your catch in a serious competition. Almost all recreational fish scales are hanging scales, but they can vary greatly in design from basic manual models to high-tech tourney versions used to record and rank multiple fish weights at once. Below, we look at the best options to suit all requirements, whether you’re a weekend warrior on a budget or a professional with cash to spare.
Best Overall: Dr. Meter Digital Hanging Hook Scale
The Dr. Meter Digital Hanging Hook Scale is a favorite with reviewers, who praise it for its affordable price-tag, durable construction and portable size. Made from high-density ABS, it features a sturdy metal handle and a stainless steel hanging hook. It has a 110-pound capacity and displays weight on a large LCD screen in grams, kilograms, pounds and ounces. The screen is also backlit for night fishing trips. If you forget to turn the scale off in the heat of the moment, the automatic shut-off function helps to save battery life.
The tare function is a major plus for catch-and-release fishermen, as it allows you to weigh an empty bucket or net, then reset the scale to zero before weighing the container again with the live fish inside. Use the built-in tape measure to check that your catch complies with minimum size restrictions. In between fishing trips, the handle, hook and tape measure tuck away so that the entire scale fits neatly into your tackle box. Your purchase includes two AAA batteries.
Best Budget: Mango Spot LCD Digital Fishing Scale
For less than $7, this fish scale does its job well while not asking a whole lot of your bank account. It’s a hanging fish scale, so you can easily take it with you on the boat, and it measures some pretty big catches — up to 110 pound — and gets down to .01-pound increments so you can be sure of your fish’s exact weight. We like that there’s an overload indication built into the device, along with an auto power-off after 120 seconds, so you don’t drain the batteries during a day out on the boat.
If you happen to prefer to measure in a unit that isn’t pounds — or take your fishing international — you can also look at weights in kilograms, ounces, and jin. The scale handily comes with the two AA batteries required for operation. Some users report that the measured weights can vary a little when tested with other scales, but for the casual fisherperson, this handy, cheap scale will do just fine.
Best Digital: ReelSonar Digital Fish Scale
The ReelSonar Digital Fish Scale stands out for its ergonomic design, impressive accuracy and competitive price. The large, backlit LCD screen features an easy-to-read digital display, which can measure in pounds or kilograms up to a maximum weight of 99 pounds. The scale is shaped to fit comfortably in your hand, ensuring a good grip with even the heaviest catch.
Use the stainless steel hanging hook to weigh your fish, and the built-in tape measure to confirm its length. If you plan on releasing the fish, employ the tare function to weigh it in a net or bucket, or use the removable fish lip grabber to weigh it directly without damaging the gill plate. The scale is battery powered and features an automatic shut-off function that allows the battery to last for up to 500 hours - making this the ideal choice for extended fishing trips to remote areas.
Best Manual: YOGAYET Portable Hanging Hook Scale
Those that prefer a more traditional look should opt for the YOGAYET Portable Hanging Hook, which features an easy-to-read face with measurements in pounds and kilograms. Aesthetics aren’t the only reason to go manual, however. This scale has no need for batteries, meaning you don’t have to waste money on replacements or worry about running out of juice just as you hook a record catch.
It has a maximum weight capacity of 50 pounds, while a dial on the back allows you to re-calibrate it to zero. With a water-resistant ABS casing and a chrome-plated hanging hook, this product is designed to last. Added bonuses include a retractable 38” measuring tape and a foldable handle that increases the scale’s compactness and allows for easy packing. Reviewers state that it’s small enough to fit in your tackle box or the pocket of your fishing jacket or waders.
Best Heavy Duty: Linghan Hanging Scale
If you’re going after record game fish, you’re going to need a bigger scale. The Linghan Hanging Scale features an extra-strength stainless steel hook and O-ring, giving it a maximum weight capacity of 220 pounds. The large backlit display measures in pounds, kilograms or stones, and locks the reading so that it remains visible even after you remove your fish. The scale has a tare function and an energy saving mode.
It runs off two CR2032 cell batteries. A low battery warning gives you plenty of notice before the scale dies, while the automatic shut-off feature helps to extend the time before the batteries need replacing. Despite its increased weight capacity, the scale is comparable in size to most of the others on this list. The hook tucks into a slot on the back, making it conveniently compact when not in use.
Best for Tournaments: Rapala Touch Screen Tourney Scale
The Rapala Touch Screen Tourney Scale is the ultimate choice for competitive bass anglers. Its touchscreen LCD display is water-resistant, backlit and packed with special features. It allows you to weigh and record up to eight fish at a time, adding each one to your total weight and ranking them in size order. The included eight-piece culling system features numbered clips that correspond to the number assigned to each fish on the display.
Clip them onto your catch, and use them to quickly identify the fish in your livewell. That way, you can release the lightest fish as you catch heavier ones, ensuring that you end up with the highest total weight without exceeding tourney catch limits. The scale comes with a weigh clamp, backup memory, a storage bag and two AA batteries.
Best Dual Purpose: Entsport Fish Lip Gripper with Weight Scale
The Entsport Fish Lip Gripper performs two important functions at once. As a fish lip gripper, it’s the ideal tool for catch-and-release fishermen, allowing you to land your catch safely without using a gaff. It also makes it easier to handle and control the fish without compromising its protective slime coat. The shaft also doubles as a scale, weighing up to 33 pounds or kilograms.
Made from durable stainless steel, the tool is designed to withstand exposure to fresh and saltwater. It’s easy to operate with one hand, thanks to the gripper’s extra-wide opening and quick release lever. The non-slip EVA handle features an adjustable wrist strap for extra security, while the included lanyard is handy for keeping the gripper within reach at all times.