Whether you own a small mail-order business or just find yourself shipping items more frequently than the average person, buying a postage scale can be a good investment, saving you both time and money.
If you sell items online, naturally you will need to charge your customers for shipping. If you don't have an accurate scale, you'll only be estimating the cost of shipping the item to the customer. Sometimes you'll be right and sometimes you won't. If you overestimate the cost, you risk upsetting the customer by overcharging them. If you underestimate the cost, you end up losing money on the postage, or at least not making as much of a profit as you justly could have. But if you have your own, accurate scale at home or the office, you can weigh the item, use online postage calculators to determine the exact shipping cost, and even print postage in the exact needed amount from the website, saving you a trip to the post office.
If you are planning to buy a shipping scale for postage purposes, you will probably want to invest in a digital scale, rather than an analog scale. All scales can lose accuracy over time, and this is certainly the case with inferior digital scales, but digital scales can be recalibrated when they start to become inaccurate, whereas with an analog scale, you will have to resort to a clumsy solution, like securing extra weight to the scale. A digital scale, too, will be able to give you accurate readings to the ounce or even to the fraction of an ounce. Even fractions of ounces can sometimes affect postage costs.
When buying a digital scale, invest in one that has longevity and accuracy, but don't worry too much about extra features. One relatively useless extra feature included with many digital scales is an automatic postage calculator. It's true that it can be handy to have all your information come from one place, but this extra convenience may not be worth the extra cost. There are numerous services available online for calculating postage by entering weight and destination. Many of these services are updated automatically when postage costs and standards change, whereas if you have a scale that does the calculating, you may have to update the scale manually, either by the insertion of a new chip or by connecting your scale to a phone line to download the new information. Many people find that it's not worth the hassle, and just calculate their shipping costs online.