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How to easily weigh luggage at home

Published 1 years ago

A man dressed in black places a grey suitcase into the boot of a grey sports car.

Picture the scene. You’ve spent the last 30 minutes umming and ahhing over whether your check-in suitcase meets the airline weight limit for a late-evening flight to Mykonos. Or was it the Maldives? Either way, the Uber is outside and it’s time to go.

Had you taken the time to familiarise yourself with how to weigh luggage at home, all this stress would be redundant. You’d be in cruise control by now.


Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to cover below. So strap in.

Open suitcase with three packing cubes inside and one sitting beside it

Why is it important to weigh luggage?

As strongly hinted at in the scenario above, weighing your luggage before arriving at the airport can make the entire travel experience considerably less tense. You certainly won’t be worried about getting into a spot of bother at the check-in counter.


This naturally brings us to the primary reason you should weigh your luggage: to avoid the extortionate excess baggage fees airlines impose on hapless passengers. With costs rising to $450 per bag, it simply pays to know. There’s no worse start to a quarterly business trip or much-needed getaway than a lump sum straight out of your (or your company’s) account.


For those inclined to pick up a souvenir or two on jaunts away — Turkish coffee from Istanbul or possibly an Italian leather bag in Florence — it’s also convenient to know how much spare weight they have to work with on the flight home.


It’s worth remembering that while airlines typically only weigh checked luggage, some might be inclined to inspect your cabin cases too. Guidelines vary, do due diligence.

Open suitcase with clothes neatly folded inside and shoes and bag beside it

How to weigh luggage with a hand scale


The easiest method for weighing your luggage is to use a digital luggage scale. These pocket-sized pieces of tech are a great investment for frequent travellers.


Not only are they incredibly straightforward to operate (more on that below), but they're also accurate and cost-effective. And the lightweight and portable design mean they can be easily stored in a bag or luggage as you move across the globe. Here’s how to use one:

  • 1. Start by ensuring your digital scale is set to zero.

  • 2. Attach the scale’s strap or hook to a sturdy handle on your luggage.


How to weigh luggage step 1
How to weigh luggage step 2
  • 3. Place two hands on the scale and slowly raise the luggage for 5-10 seconds. Keep the luggage as still as possible to encourage an accurate measurement. Raising too quickly or erratically will lead to inaccuracies.

  • 4. Take your reading. The scale will lock in (i.e. the number will stop fluctuating) once it is pleased with the measurement.


How to weigh luggage step 3
How to weigh luggage step 4

Certain scales have a unit conversion feature that will allow you to track the weight in both kilograms and pounds. Handy if you’re a regular transatlantic flier.

How to weigh luggage with a bathroom scale at home

For those without a tailor-made luggage scale, there is another worthy alternative: the bathroom scale.


It’s a piece of technology most are all too familiar with in the runup to a sun-laden beach holiday.


While this method is convenient for most, it’s less accurate and consequently important to leave more room for error. Let’s look at the process below:

  1. Place the bathroom scale in a room with lots of open space. Step on the scale and weigh yourself. Jot down your weight. 
  2. Grab your item of luggage and step back onto the scale. Try to position yourself and the luggage in the centre. Record the measurement. 
  3. Subtract the first weight recorded from the second weight. This will tell you how heavy your luggage is.

While it might be tempting to simply balance your luggage directly on the bathroom scale and take a reading, this method is fraught with risk. Bathroom scales are intended to be stood on with the weight distributed evenly. This will be difficult to achieve without you standing on it.

Carry-on luggage opened with clothes nearly folded inside

Where can you weigh luggage?

No digital hand scale, no bathroom scale? You’re probably wondering ‘Where can I weigh my luggage?’. Turns out, you’ve got a few options.


Most airports have scales that can be used for a small fee. However, if you do weigh in over, your fate is pretty much sealed at this stage. Best to be in the know more than a few hours before lift-off.


Supermarkets are a far better option, particularly for those in the US but also in many European countries too. You’ll often find an antiquated-looking scale hiding in the corner of your trusted supermarket chain. While these are generally intended for human use, there’s no shame in being opportunistic. Grab suncream, stock up on holiday reading material and weigh your luggage in one tactical swoop.


For those staying in a hotel, it’s commonplace for the concierge to have a digital hand scale or large scale on hand. Take advantage.

Smartly dressed man sits on balcony beside luggage with London skyline in background

Looking for new luggage?

Time to trade your outdated luggage set in for a hardwearing alternative that can keep up with the demands of modern travel? Look no further than Carl Friedrik’s elegant luggage collection — with each piece backed by a lifetime guarantee. 


The range recently starred in HBO’s ultra-luxurious TV drama, The White Lotus. If it’s good enough for the hotel’s ever-demanding guests, it’s sure to serve you well on your far-flung pursuits. 


There is a range of sizes available. Starting with two cabin suitcases, The Carry-on (40L) and The Carry-on X (43L), through to the mid-sized The Check-in (66L) and The Large Check-in (90L). All travel cases providing maximum security on the move with aluminium lock frames and sleek yet durable polycarbonate shells.

Set of matching grey polycarbonate luggage with cognac trims stacked

Takeaway

Save yourself from incurring unnecessary (and inflated) airline fees by learning how to weigh your luggage at home. It’s a low-effort and low-no-cost process that should be part of your pre-flight preparations. 


If you do weigh in over at home just before the flight, it’s damage limitation time. Either shed some inessentials (do you need that third pair of suede loafers?) or book extra baggage allowance before arriving at the airport. This will be much cheaper than doing it at the airline counter.

Where can I go to weigh my luggage?

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Most airports tend to have baggage scales available, but it’s best to know the weight before arriving. Try a supermarket or if you’re staying in a hotel, ask the concierge.

How to weigh a suitcase at home?

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You can use a bathroom scale to weigh your suitcase at home. Start by recording your weight. Then get back on the scales while also holding the suitcase. Subtract the first reading from the second, and you’ll get the weight of the suitcase.