The AWS LB-501 - A Standard in Digital Scales
The Go-To Scales for DIY – Available from Juice Factory
Many who have been mixing for some time, are more than likely aware of the LB-501 digital scales. They’re the model of choice for a large percentage of DIY mixers worldwide, and for a number of justifiable reasons.
Juice Factory recently contacted me to see if I’d be interested in reviewing these scales, and I appreciate both the gesture, and having been without scales for some time, the opportunity to return to mixing by weight.
I’ve always wondered why vendors, as a rule, haven’t carried scales, especially those that offer DIY supplies. They’re such an important tool for mixers who demand accuracy and consistency and therefore mix by weight. I believe Juice Factory is the first domestic vendor to carry them, and I’m pleased to see they chose a model I’m quite familiar with.
Why Use Digital Scales? Volume vs. Weight
When it comes to DIY, we can either mix by weight or by volume; the latter being more common, especially for newer mixers. Whilst it’s easy placing drops of flavours into a bottle, and adding additional liquids via the volume method, mixing by weight allows for greater consistency across the board.
There are too many variables to obtain the same level of accuracy when mixing by volume. This is in part due to the various bottle types, such as nipple or needle nose. A single drop of vanilla flavouring from one bottle or manufacturer does not necessarily equate to that of another. However, all liquids vary in terms of viscosity, and as such, make mixing by volume far less accurate.
Another great advantage of using scales are that there’s far less to clean up. No syringes or graduated cylinders to deal with. One simply adds one liquid, tares off the scale, and continues with another.
The LB-501 in use
In order for scales to reach their given resolution or accuracy, they must be calibrated. Thankfully, with the LB-501’s, this is a very simple procedure, and being that all scales will at some point need to be re-calibrated, it’s nice that AWS includes two 200 grm weights.
Let’s look at the main features first, and then highlight the positives and negatives. (The specs are at the bottom of this post)
- Accuracy to 0.01 gram
- A nice large, clear backlight for mixing in low light
- Runs on batteries or AC
- Expansion bowl is handy in case of spills
- Folds into a compact portable size
- Lightweight yet sufficiently durable
- No auto shut off with AC power
- Calibration weights included
- Quick reading updates
- Easier to work with than smaller pocket sized scales
- Plastic construction may be an issue for some
- The lid requires 2 buttons to open plus lifting simultaneously
- When fully opened, it takes up a fair bit of space
- Very sensitive when calculating weight. Make sure no fans are blowing toward scale
- Works best with larger 60 ml or more mixes
There’s no doubt that using this scale is a pleasure. As I’ve hinted to, I dislike small pocket sized scales as there’s little substance, and I find this larger type to be far more flexible. They happen to make excellent kitchen scales too.
The positives far out way any negatives, but having said that, it should be noted that scales are best when mixing in larger batches. If one is primarily mixing 2 or 3 of 10 ml or even 30 ml bottles per week, a set of scales may not be necessary. However, there’s no denying that using a scale offers accuracy, consistency and of equal importance, confidence in your recipes.
Switching from mixing by volume to weight is simple, once you’ve determined and or set a weight for your PG, VG, Flavours and Nicotine. Shortly, I’ll be posting a ‘how to’ guide for mixing by weight, and will update this post with a link.
In closing, I wish to again thank Tom at Juice Factory for sending me this product to review. The scales will be available to purchase as of October 13.
Juice Factory carry a huge range of flavour concentrates, as well as all the necessary DIY supplies.
For those debating the use or purchase of scales, have a snoop around on some of the more respected DIY forums, such as e-Liquid- recipes.com. I think you’ll feel confident in choosing this particular model. They’re great scales..
From The Table,
It’s all about the juice..
Specifications (US English)
500g / 17.64oz / 2600ct / 7716gn
0.01g / 0.001oz / 0.05ct / 0.1gn
7.3 x 5.5 x 1.5″
4 x AA or AC Adapter 6V 300mA