How to Read Each Little Line on the Weight Scale

by Contributing Writer; Updated September 26, 2017

When you are weighing an item for shipping, getting an exact weight is essentially to making sure you budget the right amount of money to pay for the shipping service. There are two primary types of scales: digital scales and the ones with little lines on them that you have to manually determine how much an item weighs. Sometimes reading those lines is confusing. Here are some steps on how to read the lines of a weight scale.

Step 1

Place the item you're weighing on the scale and see where the needle points. The weight of your item is going to be the number represented by where the scale's needle landed.

Step 2

Note the two nearest numbers on the scale to where the needle is. Perhaps your needle has landed between a number 10 and a number 11. If your scale is like most in the United States and is based on pounds, this means that your item weighs somewhere between 10 and 11 pounds.

Step 3

Count the number of little lines between the two main numbers nearest the needle.

Step 4

Consider that there are 16 ounces in a pound. If there are 16 lines between the two main numbers nearest the needle on your scale, each little line counts as one ounce. So if your needle is on the ninth line from the big number 10, your item officially weighs 10 pounds, nine ounces.

Step 5

Do some math, if there are fewer than 16 little lines between your main numbers nearest the needle on your scale. If there are only eight little lines on your scale and your needle falls in the middle of your fourth and fifth lines, your item weighs 10 pounds, nine ounces as each line represents two ounces of weight. To arrive at this figure, you divided 16 ounces in a pound by eight lines and found that each line represents two ounces. The needle landed between the fourth and fifth line, so the math determined that the weight was 10 pounds, nine ounces.