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Thinking of adding or replacing a POS scale in your store (or product offering line)? Scales are used in a variety of businesses, including: cannabis (production and dispensaries), grocery/deli, jewelry, yogurt shops, spice shops, pharmacies, candy/chocolate stores, coffee shops that sell beans by the pound, and more. They’re important for shoppers and business owners alike, ensuring the correct amount of goods is being sold – no more, no less – at the correct price.
There are a couple important things to keep in mind when it comes to POS scales. First, all scales are not created equal – to get the most out of your investment, you need to carefully align your scale to your business use case. And second, you need to have your scale(s) certified, and calibrated and maintained by a certified service company.
Does that sound daunting? Don’t worry – below we’ll teach you how to choose a POS scale, as well become informed on scale regulations in your state.
How to Choose a POS Scale
First and foremost, it’s important to choose a scale that aligns with the product that will be measured. The below scales offer an option for nearly any business:
- The mG-S322: This scale is accurate down to the hundredth of a gram, and is used in highly sensitive realms, like pharmacy and cannabis. Included with the scale is a windshield for even the most demanding scientific environments. It is legal to use in all states where cannabis is legal.
- The mG-S1501: This scale is really the jack of all trades. It’s a versatile scale which measures down to the tenth of a gram, and also has four other units of measure. If you’re not sure which unit you will be measuring, this scale can adapt. Also, it is legal in some states for cannabis but it can only measure in certain amounts of weight.
- The mG-S8200: In the market for grocery, deli, or frozen yogurt? This is your scale! The mG-S8200 is a conventional scale that can weigh goods up to 18 pounds, but can also measure down to the gram.
Next thing to consider? Connectivity options. Look for a scale that comes with multiple interfaces, like serial, USB-B, and Bluetooth BLE (all three of Star’s scales come with all of these options). For legacy POS, make sure a serial interface is also present (again, Star’s scales have that).
Having a variety of connectivity options all on the same scale is important because you know you won’t need to replace the scale anytime soon, and you can maximize your return on investment (ROI). Running a legacy POS but want to move toward a more modern POS? Having a serial interface can help you easily swap your old scale out without purchasing any other hardware. Plan on moving to a tablet-based Bluetooth connection in the future? Your scale is ready whenever you are, and BLE can provide you with a low-energy portable option.
Next on your checklist is software support. A good rule of thumb is to make sure your scale supports Windows, iOS, and Android. Having this support helps you prepare for the future of retail, where everyone uses a tablet instead of a PC. And you guessed it: all three of Star’s scales support all three software.
When it comes to power, you need to ask yourself, “Where will my scale be used?” A traditional power supply is great for traditional brick-and-mortar stores, with standard POS.
However, it’s a good idea to choose a scale that also comes with a battery option, like Star’s. A battery-operated scale is a great choice for farmer’s markets, food trucks, and more, because while typically businesses need to bring a generator to power their POS, with a battery-operated scale they no longer need to. Some extra benefits that a battery-operated scale can offer is a clean, wire-free footprint, and the ability for software to still work even in the case of a power outage.
Important POS Scale Regulations
Now on to the fun important stuff. It’s extremely important to remember that nearly every state requires a State Certified Technician do scale installation, calibration, and registration.
So how do you get started? First thing’s first: contact your local Weights and Measures office to get information and first steps on how to get your scale ready for use legally.
State requirements can range from only getting the scale inspected after installation, to requiring you to file a request to have a certified installer come to your store to calibrate and lock your scale, followed by a Weights and Measures employee coming to examine the scale and issue a one-year seal (if it passes the examination). In those cases, if the scale fails the examination, a technician must return, redo the process, and then the scale must be re-examined. Long story short, do not try this yourself – be sure to choose a trusted technician! Our Scales Support webpage can help you find a nationwide partner.
In most states, registration with the Weights and Measures office needs to be done by a certified company. This registration usually expires each year, and gives the Weights and Measures office permission to come and test the scale without notice. If the scale fails the test the store can be fined, so be sure to use a certified company for all of your scale registration, calibration, and maintenance needs.
Again, in the vast majority of cases, calibration should be completed by a certified company. Not only will choosing a certified company give you peace of mind, it can also save you serious money. To legally calibrate the scale, extremely precise weights, called F1 Class weights, must be used. These weights can cost nearly $5,000 and need to be kept in a special box with records of usage, maintenance, and more. Why go through the hassle of owning the weights yourself when a service company already has them?
For proper maintenance, a service company should be used once a year to ensure that the scale is still properly calibrated. Hiring a service company for maintenance gives store owners ease of mind that everything is working properly.
Star’s NTEP Certification
Star is proud to offer NTEP-certified scales – which means all three of our scales are legal for trade. In fact, when the scales were first released, Star was the first company to meet the new 2019 NTEP certification! Again, be sure that whatever scale you choose is NTEP-certified, or else it is not legal for trade.
How to Start Planning Your POS Scale Project
Ready to jump into your scale project? It’s best to start planning as soon as possible, so you know what process lies ahead. As a quick summary:
- Choose a scale with the accuracy you need,
- Choose a scale with future-proof connectivity options,
- Choose a scale with flexible power options,
- And be sure to stay compliant with your state’s requirements by working with a certified service company to register, calibrate, and maintain your scale.
Kyle Lauber, the Marketing Coordinator at Star Micronics. Kyle has been in the industry for only two and a half years but he has already touched so many areas. He started out writing blogs, social media posts, and even webpages for Star. Since then, Kyle has become a member of RSPA’s STS Committee, began setting up Star’s Tradeshows, and took on the role of product champion for Star Micronics Cloud Services and mUnite stands.