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This $11 luggage scale is the key to never paying overweight baggage fees again

It's a No. 1 bestseller on Amazon — and a must-have for travelers.
Two images of Katie Jackson holding a Etekcity Portable Luggage Scale
TODAY Illustration / Courtesy Katie Jackson
/ Source: TODAY

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As a professional travel writer who pretty much lives out of her suitcase, I can tell you that the packing process never gets any easier. Even with years of experience, I still occasionally find myself on the airport floor transferring things from my checked luggage to my carry-on after discovering I've exceeded my airline's weight limit. Add in the consequence of paying hefty fees for overweight bags and the pressure intensifies tenfold.

The problem might be how I normally weigh my luggage before heading to the airport — by lugging my bags into the bathroom and awkwardly holding them up while standing on my regular scale. Clearly, this way doesn't give the most accurate reading (or I'd have less awkward airport experiences to recall). Although I pride myself on knowing some of the best travel products for frequent fliers, I had no idea there were was such an easy solution available on Amazon until I uncovered the Etekcity Luggage Scale.

Etekcity Digital Luggage Scale

If I were to go off reviews alone, I'd bet this luggage scale is a huge asset for travelers like me. Not only is the Etekcity scale ranked Amazon's No. 1 bestseller in Luggage Scales, but it also has five-star ratings from more than 28,000 satisfied shoppers.

What does the Etekcity Luggage Scale do?

The portable scale helps to make packing as easy and stress-free as possible. The gadget's sensor can weigh up to 110 pounds, which is the perfect limit since many popular airlines won't accept baggage that exceeds 100 pounds. I also like that I can switch between pounds or kilograms with the push of a button, which is useful for when I'm traveling to countries that use the metric system.

Although I don't use this function often, the scale can also detect temperature and show readings in your choice of Fahrenheit or Celsius. Another great feature of this luggage scale is its easy-to-read indicator to warn users about low battery or weight overload. When an items exceeds 110 pounds or needs a battery replacement, the LCD display will read Err or LO, respectively. The battery is included and comes installed, and according to reviews I've read, is easy to replace when the time comes.

How does it work?

I tried the scale for the first time while recently packing for a European cruise. The cruise didn't have weight restrictions, but I still had to fly to the port. I packed as usual, using compression bags to fit a ton of stuff into my suitcase. While these definitely help me add more space in my luggage, they also make it easy to overpack. That's where the scale comes in.

Image of Katie Jackson holding a Etekcity Portable Luggage Scale
Courtesy Katie Jackson

After finishing packing, I looped the luggage scale's strap through my suitcase handle and fastened it. Its simple design makes it extremely intuitive, so I didn't even need to read the instructions. Next, I hit the power button and waited for the scale to set to 0. When it did, I lifted my luggage by holding onto the scale. It has a comfortable, ergonomic handle that easily fits in one or two hands. After a few seconds, my bag's weight clearly appeared on the screen. I like that the number stays displayed for two minutes, so if you blink you won't miss the reading or have to do it again.

Is it accurate?

Although the brand guarantees a 0.1-pound graduation, I wanted to test the scale's accuracy with a little experiment. I decided to weigh a 44-pound bag of dog food I had just purchased. I ended up having to cut a little hole in the dog food bag to loop the strap through, but that was the hardest part. When I weighed the dog food using the scale, it came in at exactly 44 pounds.

Image of Katie Jackson weighing dog food with the Etekcity Portable Luggage Scale
Courtesy Katie Jackson

That said, I am not sure about the accuracy of the scale's thermometer. The thermostat in my house is set to a comfortable 68 degrees Fahrenheit. But when I used the scale to test the temperature, I got readings averaging 77 degrees Fahrenheit. I'm pretty sure my house isn't that warm, otherwise I'd be sweating up a storm.

While I'm not sold on the thermometer function, I am a fan of the scale overall. I can see myself using it at home when I want to make sure my baggage isn't overweight. I can also see myself bringing it with me on trips — especially to Africa where the bush planes and helicopters I often take have very strict weight restrictions. Better yet, it's compact and takes up hardly any space. And because it's the last thing I'll use when packing, I should never forget to actually pack it. Famous last words, I know.

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