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Tool Review

How much did that fish weigh? Prove it...

Date: 1/14/02
Tackle type: Tools
Manufacturer: Berkley
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.5

Introduction: How many times have you landed a fish and just wasn't sure exactly what it weighed? Berkley introduces a portable digital fish scale so you can assign a weight to your next fish story!

Berkley 20lb digital scale specifications

Maximum Measurement Up to 20lb measurements
Measurement Increments Measurement in 0.1 pound increments
Material ABS Plastic body
Power Source Factory Sealed Lithium Battery
Water Resistant Plastic with chrome spring
MSRP $24.95

Impressions: The Berkley 20lb digital fish scale is extremely light, so light in fact my first impression was that it was missing batteries. The construction of the scale seemed nice enough, and unlike some of the other scales I have seen in this price range, the scale housing was quite ergonomic and well fitted for grasping in either hand. I was eager to go fishing and put some real fish on the scale, but first things first we had to test just how accurate it was.

The lab tests: To test the accuracy of the weight we first measured large lead sinkers with a mechanical scale and then with the Berkley. The Berkley was very accurate but took some getting used to. When you look at the scale you will notice a chain with a hook from the bottom of the scale. I expected this to move like the mechanical scales, but it doesn't move at all during measurement!


The second thing that we noticed was before measurement the scale does take 3 seconds to calibrate to zero. You need to allow for this otherwise the measurements are completely off. The scale indicates it is ready by completing two cycles where it flashes 00 to 18.8...and finally will read .0lb. The lab measurements were very accurate and to test what would happen if we put a object on the scale over 20lbs we hooked on a trolling battery. Right away the scale gave a "E" or error message. At this point we were impressed with the accuracy of the scale.


The field tests: After a day of fishing JIP and I landed a couple of good sized fish at nearby Anderson Reservoir. Unfortunately for the bass we had to see how easily we could push the hook through the membrane in the fish's jaws. Surprisingly even though the hook is not that sharp it is enough to poke through the membrane quite easily. While the fish did look uncomfortable, the readings were quick (about 7 seconds) and they were on their way back into the lake.

Berkley's Digital Scale is easy to hold with either hand and the metal hook is strong enough to hold large fish

Holding 3 to 5lb bass in one hand with the scale is easy but any heavier weight is really is a strain. Berkley makes it easier to maintain a grip on the scale by putting plastic ribs on all sides that your hand comes in contact with the scale.


To test whether or not the scale would float if accidentally dropped we put the scale into the water then did drop tests into the water from 4 feet. Every time the scale quickly floated back to the surface. This floating attribute and the fact that the Berkley is completely water sealed for maximum waterproofing are both welcome features. If you accidentally drop a mechanical scale in the water you can kiss it goodbye.

To check accuracy of the Berkley scale we verified the readings with multiple mechanical scales, including this Zebco De-Liar spring scale

The scale is very durable since it is made of high impact ABS, as well as small enough to be portable. So Anglers will have no fear tossing it into the tackle box along with the other tools. The hook on the back can be safely secured on the back of the unit via a built in plastic hook holster.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Berkley scale is the power source. To maintain such good waterproofing as well as add value to their product Berkley put in a lithium battery that is sealed into the unit. This battery cannot be changed and is supposed to last a lifetime. The unit uses very little power and is able to keep the battery strong by powering itself down a minute after use. (We will be updating this review with long term tests of the battery life and continued accuracy)



Berkley 20lb Digital Scale Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Good quality, and construction of the housing with impact resistant plastic gives anglers more confidence to carry the scale 8.5
Performance Very accurate and does exactly what it is supposed to do 9
Price A decent price. Many mechanical scales are cheaper but simply do not offer the same level of portability 8
Features Added value features like a innovative power system and a hook holster on the back are a plus 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) Very easy to hold in either hand, but could be difficult to hold if hooking large fish on the scale, the ribs help a bit 8
Application Everyone is curious just how much those fish really weigh and now with this simple tool you can tell them 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Good housing construction L Must wait for calibration
J Floats  
J Water Resistant  
J Accurate  
J Decent Price  

Conclusion: The Berkley 20lb Digital scale is a useful tool that is easy enough for anyone to use, and durable and small enough for everyone to carry. Innovative features like permanent battery and water-resistant floating frame make this a good candidate for anglers wanting to step up to digital accuracy.

Until next time....Tight Lines!









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