Often times I receive calls from customers asking “I see these floor scale options, but I’m also looking at your pallet jack scale. Which one is better for me?” Floor Scales and pallet jack scales are two of the most common scales we sell. These are used in shipping applications, recycling, warehouses, distilleries, manufacturing, farming, and much more. How do you know if a pallet jack scale or a floor scale is the better option? Well, let’s go over the pro’s and con’s of a floor scale vs a pallet jack scale.
What is a “Floor Scale”? A floor scale commonly sits on the floor and stays in one place. It comes in sizes from 2’x2’ up to 7’x7’ and capacities from 1,000 lb up to 30,000 lb. Most common sizes are 4’x4’ & 5’x5’ to weigh pallets in a 10,000 lb capacity. (See picture below) Floor Scales are commonly used in a warehouse to ship pallets of goods.
- No Moving Parts to Wear out or Break: Electronic floor scales rely on load cells to provide an accurate weight. The load cells are under the scale platform and are protected by the steel plated enclosure.
- Floor Scales are More Robust: If you haven’t seen our durability test see this video below. Our USA Measurements floor scales are specifically designed to take hard hits, load drops, harsh warehouse use, and overloading.
- Floor Scales are More Accurate: When you are weighing a standard pallet the weight is being evenly distributed in the four corners. This offers a precision to plus or minus 1 lb. Compared to a pallet jack scale, where you won’t have an evenly distributed weight in the four corners.
- Needs less maintenance over time: Since a floor scale sits in one place and has no moving parts, over time you will see less maintenance needed on a floor scale. The steel plate also offers more protection over time and less likely to be damaged.
- Cost Effective in price: floor scales today can be found online from as low as $300 and up to as much as $2,500. Our company personally stays away from low end products that are made cheaply and don’t have durability compared to other scale companies that sell very cheaply made scales for cheap prices. We commonly find these scales will not hold up, they will not last, and the companies that sell them have no warranties and don’t stock parts. Our USA Measurements products can be found between the price range of $600-$1,000. Offering customers an affordable, reliable, and heavy duty scale for years to come.
- Only people with forklifts can use unless ramps are purchased in addition to the floor scale: Since a floor scale sits at about 3.5” height it requires a device to lift pallets onto the scale. Most commonly is a forklift to do this job. This requires employee’s with forklift training, OSHA approval, and experience.
- Takes up warehouse space: If you have a smaller warehouse and are limited on space a floor scale is going to take up that real estate. If you have a 48”x48” or 60”x60” floor scale you will need to dedicate a specific location in your warehouse for it and will find it may not be the best option.
- Heavy and not easily moved: Again, if you are in a warehouse that is small and constantly need to move around a floor scale will be a tough option to move without a forklift. These floor scales weigh between 100 lbs and up to as much as 800 lbs depending on the size. A 4’x4’ is traditionally about 250 lb to 350 lb depending on the type of scale.
- Requires a ramp to use with pallet jack: If you don’t have a forklift or lifting equipment and need to use a pallet jack to load pallets that means your scale will need a ramp. This again will take up real estate in your smaller warehouses by adding the ramp.
- Requires more time to weigh pallets: If you plan to use a forklift and have one dedicated place for your floor scale it can be time consuming to travel to one side of the warehouse to get your pallet, take it over to your scale, and then load the product onto the pallet then back to your shipping location. This requires more time and makes it less efficient.
What is a “Pallet Jack Scale” (Pallet Truck Scales)? A pallet jack scale is very common to a pallet jack, but has a scale built into the forks to weigh pallets. A pallet jack scale is much heavier, is designed with more steel to protect the scale, and is very easy to use. It’s very easy to move around and has a fork size: 48”x27” and comes in capacity of 5,000 lb x 1 lb.
- Any employee can use this scale: Pallet jack scales are very easy to use. Any employee can use this device to move pallets, weigh pallets, and doesn’t require any training.
- Does not take up any warehouse space: A pallet jack scale can be stored in a pallet. It can be moved around to different locations and does not take up space like a floor scale.
- Very portable and easy to move around: The pallet jack scale sits on wheels. This makes it easy to move around from location to location. The pallet jack scale is manual however the display is powered by lithium ion batteries and can be used in any location.
- Fast and efficient: Pallet jack scales are very easy to move around. They can be used to pull, push, or move pallets around. Being on wheels makes the job easy to move and weigh on the go.
- Much safer: Compared to using a forklift, a pallet jack scale is much safer and less likely to have accidents. We have all seen the youtube videos of forklifts knocking over pallet racking right? If not see here:
- Moving parts that will wear out over time (requires maintenance): The pallet jack scale has nylon urethane wheels that can wear out over time varying on the type of surface it is used on. The hydraulic pump that lifts the scale overtime will need more hydraulic fluid.
- Less accurate than a floor scale: Since a pallet jack scale is lifting from the center the weight is not evenly distributed in four corners like a floor scale. We normally find a floor scale accurate to plus or minus 1 lb. However, a pallet jack scale we see more variance to 5 to 10 lbs.
- Higher cost compared to a floor scale: As mentioned before floor scales prices range from $300 up to as much as $2,500. Compared to a quality built pallet jack scale they range from about $1,100 up to $5,000 depending on the durability you need for your weighing application.
- Relies on battery power, which requires charging daily: Do you ever forget to charge your phone? Yes, pallet jack scales rely on battery to be moved around and to weigh. We have customers that commonly forget to charge the pallet jack scale. This causes downtime to charge the battery back up.
- Can only weigh certain size pallets: Have you ever tried moving a large pallet that was not designed for a 48”x27” pallet jack? If you have then you know the pallets will start to break and you reach a height limitation on how high it can be pumped up. So, you most commonly see a pallet jack scale being use for small pallets up to: 4’x4’ or 5’x5’ sizes. Where a floor scale can weigh almost any size pallet as long as it’s load is in the center.
Finally, after reviewing all the pro’s and con’s we suggest our customers purchase a floor scale if you are starting a business, have high volume on shipping, or require a cost effective solution. However, if you are limited on space, only have a low volume of shipping, and need something with high mobility then our pallet jack scales will be the best option.
Thanks for taking the time to go through our pro’s and con’s of scale equipment. My name is Fred Herrmann, I’m the VP of sales at Prime USA Scales. I hope this article and videos have helped guide you in the right direction for your decision. If you’d like to speak with me directly I’d be happy to answer any of your questions: 800-917-7205.