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Elite Mixing Scale: The LB-501 Review https://ift.tt/2UBf5ui

Hello again! Just another broke mixer here, the guy who wrote the stupidly thorough review for the budget Brifit Digital Kitchen Scale a few months back, now returning with a review for the scale you know and love, the AWS LB-501! Woo!!!

You absolutely shouldn't need to read my other review if you haven't, however if you are in the market for a scale I do recommend at least reading the short bit of that review titled "Important Things to Note", since it give a bit of background in terminology, what features are important to mixers, and how to sift through Amazon reviews made by idiots.

This was all made possible by the legend /u/Apexified, who liked my Brifit review and was kind enough to send my broke ass his own LB-501 so I could give it a similar treatment, and therefore provide some good content for this sub. Thank you so much for all you do!!!

Intro Disclaimer: None of my tests are by any means scientific; to do so properly would require lab-grade equipment. I did take great lengths during testing though to eliminate all possible variables under my control, such as: performing all tests on the same surface (and tested with a level), same temperature room with no noticeable airflow present, some tests using battery power and others using the power cable, some tests done immediately after powering on and others after some warm-up time, etc. The scale was cleaned using pressurized air canisters and alcohol swabs to ensure ideal scenarios with minimal dust or fingerprints to skew results.

Overview: In case you're unfamiliar, the AWS LB-501 is by far the most recommended scale across the ejuice mixing community. At the time of this post it goes for $42.99 (free shipping) on Amazon (Edit: well this is awkward…I just realized the link I originally had when I started writing this months ago is now listed as unavailable by AWS. HOPEFULLY they're just out of stock…there is another seller with is listed for more, just do not buy the other AWS scales which look identical to the 501, because they either only measure in 0.1g increments which is plain bad for mixing, or they don't include the calibration weights. Read descriptions carefully until AWS relists it on Amazon, or buy the 501 elsewhere. I see it's on sale at Liquid Barn currently for $34.99 with bottles included). It currently has a 4.6/5 star rating on Amazon with just tons of juice mixers posting their own feedback there, so the mixing community may very well be it's biggest customer. It has a max capacity of 500g and it can measure in 0.01g increments. It comes with two 200g calibration weights, an AC power supply, batteries (your choice to use batteries or plug), a large expansion bowl, a hinged lid, and a 10-year limited warranty.

Review Time!:

tl;dr: As far as I'm concerned, the LB-501 is basically in it's own class of consumer kitchen scales, especially with regards to how we use scales in this community. It's precision seems quite impressive; I'm not sure I've nailed down exactly how precise even after months of very thoroughly testing it, nor am I sure I ever will without lab-grade testing equipment. It also seems to be an extremely good design, much more rugged than I was expecting, and with features that go hand-in-hand with care-free juice mixing. However it does have a bit of a learning curve compared to other scales I've used in the past (I mentioned in my Brifit review but I do have decent experience using precise scales for work). Below is my detailed review, and similar to my Brifit review I'll be grading this compared to "the best scales with comparable specs" (consumer-grade, 0.01g, user calibration, etc), not simply scales in the same price range.

Regarding Build Quality

Easily a 10/10, no question. The LB-501 is near-perfect in it's design and feel. It's entirely made of rugged textured plastic that doesn't at all feel cheap. The display and each button on it is waterproof (except the backlight switch), making it a perfect fit for the juice mixing community (easy cleanup in case you have spills). Each button feels great, having an authoritative "click" to each press. The hinged lid protects it while in storage, snaps securely into place when closing it up, and is re-opened using two buttons on the side.

Interesting note: Speaking of the lid, something interesting happened when I took my first hard look at the LB-501; I opened the lid and placed the scale on a level surface, and noticed the rear feet of the scale were actually lifted off the surface, due to the opened lid pushing up against the surface! I thought "Holy crap, an unlevel surface is detrimental to scales! What gives?!" (ftr it's only about 1mm off the ground, only noticeable if you push down on the rear of the scale and see that it can be lowered to the surface). So I did numerous tests both with and without the lid attached…and was shocked…but it doesn't seem to make any noticeable difference, regardless of the fact that the feet start in the air. At least that's my takeaway. I suspect that perhaps it has a sensor to detect unlevel surfaces and compensate. So when the lid is open, the lid "acts as rear feet" until weight is added to the scale; then the actual rear feet lower, and all the while the scale is compensating for the change in angle. All I know is I tested THE HELL out of this thing with the lid attached and then unattached (using known weights, calibrating and recalibrating, juice mixing tests) and for a moment it actually seemed to work better with the lid attached (oddly), but eventually averaged out to seemingly make no difference on my unit. And frankly, that's pretty impressive; I've used other scales that wouldn't work because two of the feet were on tile and two were on grout, and the scale couldn't deal with slight angle so it gave skewed readings. The 501 might be less susceptible to slight changes in level (though I'd still recommend using a flat surface).

Regarding Precision

9/10. Just a refresher in case you missed my other review, but there's a difference between scales that measure in .01g increments (aka resolution/readability), scales that have a minimum detection weight of .01g (the point at which the scale begins accurately measuring weight), and scales that have .01g sensitivity (can accurately account for a 0.01g weight difference, provided the min weight has been reached).

So the LB-501 is capable of measuring in 0.01g increments, which is essential to mixing juice (don't ever settle for 0.1g resolution). Regarding minimum detection weight, it's actually kind of difficult to find documentation on this, but it's also not a huge factor since one drop of pg is usually around 0.03-0.05g, which is likely the minimum anyway (in testing the minimum detection weight appears to be somewhere around 0.03g, which is about what you see in similarly-spec'd scales).

Now for the tricky part…sensitivity (here's one section where it's impossible for me not to compare with the Brifit scale). In my last review I mentioned how in an ideal world a scale like this would be able to accurately detect and measure a 0.01g change (the way lab-grade scales can), but that isn't practical. I mentioned how while testing the Brifit, I assumed a +/-0.02g acceptable tolerance (or margin of error) because that's what I was seeing testing individual drops of pg, going off the general assumption that each drop weighed 0.05g. That's a bit incorrect though because A) one drop does not always equal 0.05g, and B) I have no way to accurately weigh 0.01g of anything as I have nothing that is known to weigh exactly 0.01g.

With that said, what I can write about here is that AWS lists the LB-501 as having a +/- 0.03g acceptable tolerance, and also that I now believe the Brifit does too. This is tricky to describe my feelings about because the two scales operate so differently; the Brifit always gave me a 100.00g reading when I popped my 100g weight on it, while the LB-501 almost always shows something like 200.02g with one of it's 200g weights is present, and maybe 400.03g with both present. But technically both scales are doing exactly what they're supposed to if they have a +/-0.03g tolerance. More crucially, my testing on the LB-501 has over time made me begin to doubt exactly how precise the Brifit is (it's most likely less sensitive than I initially thought)

Regarding accuracy,

7/10 (this is a tough one). Spoiler alert, this is the section where I'll be most critical of the LB-501, and is also where the "learning curve" I mentioned comes into play. So before the pitchforks get broken out, some background: I know that my definitions of accuracy and precision weren't perfect in my Brifit review, but I stuck with them because they helped contextualize the scale into easily digestible information that is helpful pertaining to the mixing community, and I'm sticking with them here for consistency. So my ultra-basic definition of accuracy is "repeatability of results across tests using the same variables".

After testing the LB-501 for awhile, I found it to be a bit "less accurate" than I was expecting since I was rarely ever able to get consistent repetitive results while testing it. For example before any mixing session, I always drop my calibration weights onto the scale to make sure it doesn't need recalibration, and using the LB-501 I would get variable results for my calibration weights nearly every time I powered it on, or even immediately after a calibration. In addition, I often got variable readings depending where exactly on the scale surface I placed items to be weighed, as well as if I gently "nudged" items back and forth across the surface. In summary, it was difficult to get the same exact reading twice, even if the item had barely moved or was returned to initial position.

This scale takes quite a while to "make up it's mind" to put it simply; you'll add a drop to a mix you're making and it might not settle on a reading for several seconds, and in some cases it might not change at all, requiring that "gentle nudge" to get the scale to react to the new weight. That's mostly where the "learning curve" mentioned comes in. My initial reaction to witnessing this was harsh, but over time as I've used the scale I've come to understand why it does this sometimes and how it likely points to better precision as opposed to accuracy (if my theory about it's computer recalculating angle change is correct, then this might be why it takes so long to register). Again, the acceptable tolerance on this scale is +/- 0.03g, and rarely did nudging items on the scale change the reading more than that. Sometimes no nudge at all is required, just more time than you expect; you might add a drop trying to get it from 99.96g to 100.00g, see nothing happen, then turn your back for 10-15s and it'll be at 100.00 when you look again.

Regarding Features

10/10 easily. I already mentioned a few of them so I'll try not to repeat it all, but this scale measures in more units and has far more ergonomic features than the Brifit (or most consumer scales). The fact that you can use the included batteries OR a plug is a huge advantage. If you want to save battery life there's a button to toggle the backlight on&off. While plugged in it will not auto shut-off which I know many mixers who take their time love about it, but it will auto shutoff while running on batteries. Side note: Infuriatingly, similar to the Brifit no documentation explains how to increase/decrease the length of the shutoff timer, but it is also possible…I just kinda forgot how and the answer is buried somewhere in my search history, because I took too damned long to finish this review lol; hopefully someone can chime in with the answer. The included bowl is a plus, though most of us will never use it. The fact that it uses 2-pass calibration with the provided 2 200g weights is real nice, since that means it calibrates itself at two different load weights (first 200g, then 400g) to ensure consistency across varying weights. And the attached lid is a great plus, as well as the fact that it easily snaps on/off in case you're paranoid about the raised feet in the back.

Overall Score

9/10. Just from reading my two reviews it might not seem like the LB-501 is that much better than the Brifit (since I gave that an 8/10), but trust me there's a substantial difference. Not just in build quality/features, but it's much more convenient to use, easier to clean, and despite the added response time I feel like I trust it's readings more. I wish there were a way I could scientifically test both against one another (believe me, I tried, I even emailed some scale experts for advice but came to the conclusion it wasn't feasible); but for now my gut tells me I'm getting more accurate readings with the LB-501, and it's the one I've been reaching for first when mixing. I think it's worth every penny for all the added benefits.

Hello again! Just another broke mixer here, the guy who wrote the stupidly thorough review for the budget Brifit Digital Kitchen Scale a few months back, now returning with a review for the scale you know and love, the AWS LB-501! Woo!!!You absolutely shouldn’t need to read my other review if you haven’t, however if you are in the market for a scale I do recommend at least reading the short bit of that review titled “Important Things to Note”, since it give a bit of background in terminology, what features are important to mixers, and how to sift through Amazon reviews made by idiots.This was all made possible by the legend /u/Apexified, who liked my Brifit review and was kind enough to send my broke ass his own LB-501 so I could give it a similar treatment, and therefore provide some good content for this sub. Thank you so much for all you do!!!Intro Disclaimer: None of my tests are by any means scientific; to do so properly would require lab-grade equipment. I did take great lengths during testing though to eliminate all possible variables under my control, such as: performing all tests on the same surface (and tested with a level), same temperature room with no noticeable airflow present, some tests using battery power and others using the power cable, some tests done immediately after powering on and others after some warm-up time, etc. The scale was cleaned using pressurized air canisters and alcohol swabs to ensure ideal scenarios with minimal dust or fingerprints to skew results.Overview: In case you’re unfamiliar, the AWS LB-501 is by far the most recommended scale across the ejuice mixing community. At the time of this post it goes for $42.99 (free shipping) on Amazon (Edit: well this is awkward…I just realized the link I originally had when I started writing this months ago is now listed as unavailable by AWS. HOPEFULLY they’re just out of stock…there is another seller with is listed for more, just do not buy the other AWS scales which look identical to the 501, because they either only measure in 0.1g increments which is plain bad for mixing, or they don’t include the calibration weights. Read descriptions carefully until AWS relists it on Amazon, or buy the 501 elsewhere. I see it’s on sale at Liquid Barn currently for $34.99 with bottles included). It currently has a 4.6/5 star rating on Amazon with just tons of juice mixers posting their own feedback there, so the mixing community may very well be it’s biggest customer. It has a max capacity of 500g and it can measure in 0.01g increments. It comes with two 200g calibration weights, an AC power supply, batteries (your choice to use batteries or plug), a large expansion bowl, a hinged lid, and a 10-year limited warranty.Review Time!:tl;dr: As far as I’m concerned, the LB-501 is basically in it’s own class of consumer kitchen scales, especially with regards to how we use scales in this community. It’s precision seems quite impressive; I’m not sure I’ve nailed down exactly how precise even after months of very thoroughly testing it, nor am I sure I ever will without lab-grade testing equipment. It also seems to be an extremely good design, much more rugged than I was expecting, and with features that go hand-in-hand with care-free juice mixing. However it does have a bit of a learning curve compared to other scales I’ve used in the past (I mentioned in my Brifit review but I do have decent experience using precise scales for work). Below is my detailed review, and similar to my Brifit review I’ll be grading this compared to “the best scales with comparable specs” (consumer-grade, 0.01g, user calibration, etc), not simply scales in the same price range.Regarding Build QualityEasily a 10/10, no question. The LB-501 is near-perfect in it’s design and feel. It’s entirely made of rugged textured plastic that doesn’t at all feel cheap. The display and each button on it is waterproof (except the backlight switch), making it a perfect fit for the juice mixing community (easy cleanup in case you have spills). Each button feels great, having an authoritative “click” to each press. The hinged lid protects it while in storage, snaps securely into place when closing it up, and is re-opened using two buttons on the side.Interesting note: Speaking of the lid, something interesting happened when I took my first hard look at the LB-501; I opened the lid and placed the scale on a level surface, and noticed the rear feet of the scale were actually lifted off the surface, due to the opened lid pushing up against the surface! I thought “Holy crap, an unlevel surface is detrimental to scales! What gives?!” (ftr it’s only about 1mm off the ground, only noticeable if you push down on the rear of the scale and see that it can be lowered to the surface). So I did numerous tests both with and without the lid attached…and was shocked…but it doesn’t seem to make any noticeable difference, regardless of the fact that the feet start in the air. At least that’s my takeaway. I suspect that perhaps it has a sensor to detect unlevel surfaces and compensate. So when the lid is open, the lid “acts as rear feet” until weight is added to the scale; then the actual rear feet lower, and all the while the scale is compensating for the change in angle. All I know is I tested THE HELL out of this thing with the lid attached and then unattached (using known weights, calibrating and recalibrating, juice mixing tests) and for a moment it actually seemed to work better with the lid attached (oddly), but eventually averaged out to seemingly make no difference on my unit. And frankly, that’s pretty impressive; I’ve used other scales that wouldn’t work because two of the feet were on tile and two were on grout, and the scale couldn’t deal with slight angle so it gave skewed readings. The 501 might be less susceptible to slight changes in level (though I’d still recommend using a flat surface).Regarding Precision9/10. Just a refresher in case you missed my other review, but there’s a difference between scales that measure in .01g increments (aka resolution/readability), scales that have a minimum detection weight of .01g (the point at which the scale begins accurately measuring weight), and scales that have .01g sensitivity (can accurately account for a 0.01g weight difference, provided the min weight has been reached).So the LB-501 is capable of measuring in 0.01g increments, which is essential to mixing juice (don’t ever settle for 0.1g resolution). Regarding minimum detection weight, it’s actually kind of difficult to find documentation on this, but it’s also not a huge factor since one drop of pg is usually around 0.03-0.05g, which is likely the minimum anyway (in testing the minimum detection weight appears to be somewhere around 0.03g, which is about what you see in similarly-spec’d scales).Now for the tricky part…sensitivity (here’s one section where it’s impossible for me not to compare with the Brifit scale). In my last review I mentioned how in an ideal world a scale like this would be able to accurately detect and measure a 0.01g change (the way lab-grade scales can), but that isn’t practical. I mentioned how while testing the Brifit, I assumed a +/-0.02g acceptable tolerance (or margin of error) because that’s what I was seeing testing individual drops of pg, going off the general assumption that each drop weighed 0.05g. That’s a bit incorrect though because A) one drop does not always equal 0.05g, and B) I have no way to accurately weigh 0.01g of anything as I have nothing that is known to weigh exactly 0.01g.With that said, what I can write about here is that AWS lists the LB-501 as having a +/- 0.03g acceptable tolerance, and also that I now believe the Brifit does too. This is tricky to describe my feelings about because the two scales operate so differently; the Brifit always gave me a 100.00g reading when I popped my 100g weight on it, while the LB-501 almost always shows something like 200.02g with one of it’s 200g weights is present, and maybe 400.03g with both present. But technically both scales are doing exactly what they’re supposed to if they have a +/-0.03g tolerance. More crucially, my testing on the LB-501 has over time made me begin to doubt exactly how precise the Brifit is (it’s most likely less sensitive than I initially thought)Regarding accuracy,7/10 (this is a tough one). Spoiler alert, this is the section where I’ll be most critical of the LB-501, and is also where the “learning curve” I mentioned comes into play. So before the pitchforks get broken out, some background: I know that my definitions of accuracy and precision weren’t perfect in my Brifit review, but I stuck with them because they helped contextualize the scale into easily digestible information that is helpful pertaining to the mixing community, and I’m sticking with them here for consistency. So my ultra-basic definition of accuracy is “repeatability of results across tests using the same variables”.After testing the LB-501 for awhile, I found it to be a bit “less accurate” than I was expecting since I was rarely ever able to get consistent repetitive results while testing it. For example before any mixing session, I always drop my calibration weights onto the scale to make sure it doesn’t need recalibration, and using the LB-501 I would get variable results for my calibration weights nearly every time I powered it on, or even immediately after a calibration. In addition, I often got variable readings depending where exactly on the scale surface I placed items to be weighed, as well as if I gently “nudged” items back and forth across the surface. In summary, it was difficult to get the same exact reading twice, even if the item had barely moved or was returned to initial position.This scale takes quite a while to “make up it’s mind” to put it simply; you’ll add a drop to a mix you’re making and it might not settle on a reading for several seconds, and in some cases it might not change at all, requiring that “gentle nudge” to get the scale to react to the new weight. That’s mostly where the “learning curve” mentioned comes in. My initial reaction to witnessing this was harsh, but over time as I’ve used the scale I’ve come to understand why it does this sometimes and how it likely points to better precision as opposed to accuracy (if my theory about it’s computer recalculating angle change is correct, then this might be why it takes so long to register). Again, the acceptable tolerance on this scale is +/- 0.03g, and rarely did nudging items on the scale change the reading more than that. Sometimes no nudge at all is required, just more time than you expect; you might add a drop trying to get it from 99.96g to 100.00g, see nothing happen, then turn your back for 10-15s and it’ll be at 100.00 when you look again.Regarding Features10/10 easily. I already mentioned a few of them so I’ll try not to repeat it all, but this scale measures in more units and has far more ergonomic features than the Brifit (or most consumer scales). The fact that you can use the included batteries OR a plug is a huge advantage. If you want to save battery life there’s a button to toggle the backlight on&off. While plugged in it will not auto shut-off which I know many mixers who take their time love about it, but it will auto shutoff while running on batteries. Side note: Infuriatingly, similar to the Brifit no documentation explains how to increase/decrease the length of the shutoff timer, but it is also possible…I just kinda forgot how and the answer is buried somewhere in my search history, because I took too damned long to finish this review lol; hopefully someone can chime in with the answer. The included bowl is a plus, though most of us will never use it. The fact that it uses 2-pass calibration with the provided 2 200g weights is real nice, since that means it calibrates itself at two different load weights (first 200g, then 400g) to ensure consistency across varying weights. And the attached lid is a great plus, as well as the fact that it easily snaps on/off in case you’re paranoid about the raised feet in the back.Overall Score9/10. Just from reading my two reviews it might not seem like the LB-501 is that much better than the Brifit (since I gave that an 8/10), but trust me there’s a substantial difference. Not just in build quality/features, but it’s much more convenient to use, easier to clean, and despite the added response time I feel like I trust it’s readings more. I wish there were a way I could scientifically test both against one another (believe me, I tried, I even emailed some scale experts for advice but came to the conclusion it wasn’t feasible); but for now my gut tells me I’m getting more accurate readings with the LB-501, and it’s the one I’ve been reaching for first when mixing. I think it’s worth every penny for all the added benefits.

Submitted March 26, 2020 at 08:10AM by rapemybones
via reddit https://ift.tt/2JlPNed}

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