How to Weigh a Package Without a Scale at home

How to Weigh a Package Without a Scale at home

Knowing the precise weight of a package before shipping or mailing it is essential for calculating postage costs and complying with shipping regulations. What happens, though, if you are without a scale? Be at ease! In this article, we’ll look at clever hacks that make use of commonplace items and elementary physics to weigh a package without a scale. These techniques will therefore ensure that you’re never caught without a way to measure the weight of your package, whether you’re a small business owner or simply making a gift for a friend.

The Water Displacement Method: A Sneak Peek

Water Displacement Method
Image Source: Unsplash Water Displacement Methods

Let’s take a quick look at the water displacement technique before delving into the various techniques. This easy-to-use but efficient method calculates an object’s weight using the concepts of fluid displacement. Intrigued? Learn more by continuing to read!

Method 1: The Water Displacement Technique

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

  • A large container or bucket
  • Water
  • A measuring cup

Step 2: Measure the Water

Fill the container with a known quantity of water using the measuring cup. Make a note of the water level.

Step 3: Submerge the Package

Gently submerge the package into the water, ensuring it’s fully underwater but not touching the sides or bottom of the container.

Step 4: Measure the Displacement

The rise in water level indicates the amount of water the package has displaced. Since you know the density of water, you can use this information to estimate the weight of the package.

Method 2: The Simple Lever Method

Step 1: Find a Sturdy Lever

Locate a sturdy stick or a wooden plank that can act as a lever. Place it across a fulcrum point, such as a piece of wood or a brick.

Step 2: Balance the System

Position the package on one end of the lever and add known weights to the other end until the system is balanced.

Step 3: Calculate the Weight

Measure the distance between the fulcrum and the package. Using the principles of torque and balance, you can calculate the weight of the package based on the known weights and their distances from the fulcrum.

Method 3: The Everyday Object Comparison

The Everyday Object Comparison
Image Source: Unsplash Bag of rice to Compare Weight

Step 1: Assemble Your Objects

Gather various objects with known weights, such as bags of flour, textbooks, or bags of sugar.

Step 2: Create a Balance

Set up a makeshift balance by placing a long plank across a fulcrum, just like in Method 2.

Step 3: Compare Weights

Place one of the known-weight objects on one end of the balance and the package on the other end. Add more known-weight objects until the system is in equilibrium.

Step 4: Calculate the Weight

Calculate the weight of the package based on the ratio of the known-weight objects to the package.

Method 4: The Suspension Technique

Step 1: Get a Sturdy String

Find a sturdy string or rope and attach it securely to the package.

Step 2: Create a Simple Balance

Tie the other end of the string to a horizontal bar or pole, creating a makeshift balance.

Step 3: Add Known Weights

Gradually add known weights to the other end of the balance until it’s level with the package.

Step 4: Determine the Weight

The combined weight of the known weights provides an estimate of the package’s weight.


We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of clever approaches to package weight estimation without a scale. These techniques demonstrate human ingenuity at its best, whether they involve the displacement of water or the use of physics and commonplace objects. So keep in mind these creative methods, which only need a few everyday items, the next time you need to weigh a package without a scale.


Can I use any container for the water displacement method?

Yes, you can use different containers for water displacement! The water displacement method is a classic way to calculate irregular object volumes. When choosing a container, consider size, shape, and material. A clear measuring cup or beaker lets you see the water level change accurately. The container should fit the object you’re measuring without overlap for accurate volume readings. Additionally, a container with fine measurement markings improves accuracy.

Due to its narrow shape and detailed markings, a graduated cylinder is ideal for small objects. If you can easily measure the volume change, a basin or tub can be used for larger items. Use a container with enough water to submerge the object without overflowing. Before measuring, make sure your container is clean and dry. Measurements must be consistent and precise to yield accurate results.

Use a container that matches the object’s size and shape when using the water displacement method. This ensures accurate measurements.

Are these methods as accurate as using a scale?

Comparing the water displacement method with a scale depends on the context and measurement precision. Both methods have pros and cons.

Water displacement is ideal for measuring the volume of irregularly shaped objects like rocks or complex geometries where a scale is impractical. This method assumes that the submerged object’s water displacement equals its volume. It can measure volume accurately, but smaller or intricate objects may require a scale. Water temperature and measurement skills can also affect accuracy.

However, a scale is more accurate for mass measurements, especially for consistent-shaped objects. Scales can measure very small increments accurately. When scaling irregular shapes, the scale may not account for voids or empty spaces, resulting in inaccuracies.

In conclusion, both methods have pros and cons, depending on the object you’re measuring and the accuracy needed. Scales are good for precise objects with consistent shapes, but water displacement works well for irregular shapes.

Is the lever method suitable for heavy packages?

The lever method can be effective for lifting and moving heavy packages because it reduces mechanical effort. The lever method uses leverage to increase force with a rigid bar.

Levers make handling heavy packages easier. Loads that are too heavy to lift or move can be redistributed by positioning the fulcrum (pivot point) and applying force at specific lever points. This method is useful for lifting heavy objects onto trucks, shelves, and other elevated surfaces.

Levers must be the right type and size for the job. Levers vary in length and design, providing different mechanical advantages. Avoiding strain and injury while using the lever method requires proper technique and safety precautions.

Do I need to use objects with precisely known weights for the comparison method?

Using objects with precisely known weights for comparison can improve measurement accuracy, but it’s not always necessary. The comparison method compares an unknown object’s weight to that of a known object. There are ways to use this method without precise weights, but they can improve results.

Use known weights to measure unknown objects, making it easier to estimate their weight. You can still compare objects without precise weights using a relative approach. Use common household items of similar size and shape to the unknown object as a reference. This may not give the same accurate results as calibrated weights, but it can give you a rough estimate.

Use calibrated objects with known weights for more accurate and consistent measurements, especially in precision situations.

What’s the easiest method to use in a pinch?

A scale is often the easiest and most reliable method for a quick and simple measurement. A scale measures an object’s mass accurately without calculations or comparisons. Modern digital scales are user-friendly and provide results in seconds, making them ideal for urgent situations.

Simply place the object on the scale’s platform and read the weight. This method is useful for measuring cooking ingredients, shipping parcels, and luggage. It requires no setup or calibration, and most scales are intuitive, requiring little effort.

Although water displacement and lever techniques have advantages, they may require more preparation or specialized equipment. In contrast, a scale is easy and quick to measure.

How do I weigh a postal package without a postal scale?

Yes, sure! It may seem difficult to weigh a postal package without a scale, but there are some simple methods. Estimating weight with household items is one method. Find an accurate bathroom scale first. Step on the scale alone and weigh yourself. Step back on the scale with the package. Subtract your initial weight from the new reading to estimate the package weight. This method works best for smaller items because larger packages are harder to balance on the scale.

Another method uses everyday objects as references. Place weighted objects like flour bags or textbooks on one side of a seesaw. Place your package on the other side to achieve a makeshift balance. Next, compare the balance to the known weights to estimate the package’s weight. This method may not be precise, but it can estimate smaller packages.

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