Kid weighing on scale

How to Weigh Luggage at Home Without a Scale

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You’re preparing for your flight but realize that you don’t have a luggage scale to weigh your bags. What do you do? You don’t want to risk reaching the airport and having to pay overweight fees.

Never fear, this post will explain several ways that you can weigh your bag at home using common household items.

Do You Have to Weigh Your Luggage?

Before you worry about having to weigh your bag, check your airline’s baggage policy to confirm your bag allowances. In some cases (excuse the pun), your airline may not impose a weight limit on your bag.

Carry-on Baggage Weight Limits

Most North American airlines do not place a weight limit on your carry-on bag. However, your carry-on bag should be light enough that you can lift it in the overhead bin unassisted.

Unsurprisingly, many low-cost carriers place a weight limit on carry-on bags. U.S. low-cost airlines have a limit between 33 to 35 pounds.

VivaAerobus has a carry-on baggage weight limit which is calculated by the combined weight of your carry-on bag and personal item.

Checked Baggage Weight Limits

Without exception, all airlines have a weight limit for checked bags. This limit ranges from 40 to 50 pounds.

Airline Carry-on and Checked Baggage Weight Limits

The following limits apply to standard economy fares (not basic economy or premium economy fares):

AirlineCarry-on Bag Weight LimitChecked Bag Weight Limit
Aeroméxico33 pounds (15 kg)55 pounds (25 kg)
Air CanadaNo limit50 pounds (23 kg)
Alaska AirlinesNo limit50 pounds (23 kg)
Allegiant AirNo limit50pounds (22 kg)
American AirlinesNo limit50 pounds (23 kg)
Delta Air LinesNo limit50 pounds (23 kg)
Frontier Airlines35 pounds (15.9 kg)40 pounds (18.1 kg)
Hawaiian AirlinesNo limit50 pounds (23 kg)
JetBlue AirwaysNo limit50 pounds (23 kg)
Southwest AirlinesNo limit50 pounds (23 kg)
Spirit AirlinesNo limit40 pounds (18.1 kg)
Sun Country Airlines35 pounds (15.9 kg)50 pounds (23 kg)
United AirlinesNo limit50 pounds (23 kg)
VivaAerobus33 pounds (15 kg) (personal item + carry-on)55 pounds (25 kg)
Volaris22 pounds (10 kg)55 pounds (25 kg)
WestJetNo limit50 pounds (23 kg)
Airline Carry-on and Checked Baggage Weight Limits

Use A Bathroom Scale to Weigh Your Luggage

The easiest and most accessible way to check your luggage weight at home is by using a bathroom scale. Here’s how:

Step 1: Weigh Yourself First

Weigh yourself without any luggage on the scale and record your weight.

Step 2: Weigh Yourself with Your Luggage

Hold your luggage and step onto the scale. Record the weight displayed on the scale.

Step 3: Calculate the Weight of Your Luggage

Subtract your weight without luggage from the weight with luggage. The result will be the weight of your luggage.

An Example

Let’s put this method to the test with an example:

  • Step 1: Weigh yourself on the scale without luggage. The scale’s reading is 150 pounds.
  • Step 2: Weigh yourself on the scale while holding your packed luggage. The scale’s reading is 170 pounds.
  • Step 3: You can now calculate the weight of your luggage by subtracting your weight from the weight of you holding your luggage. 170 pounds – 150 pounds = 20 pounds

The weight of your luggage is 20 pounds. Ta-da!

Note: This method of weighing your luggage is not as accurate as using a luggage scale,

What to Do if You Don’t Have a Bathroom Scale?

Firstly, congratulations. I’m too self-conscious to go without a bathroom scale in my home. I find myself always wanting to weigh myself after Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner.

Ask a Neighbor to Use Their Scale

The easiest way to weigh your luggage if you don’t have a bathroom scale at home, is to ask a friendly neighbor to use theirs. Bathroom scales are a common household item. You’re sure to find someone in your neighborhood who owns a scale.

While you’re at it, you could even ask them if they have a luggage scale that you could borrow.

Compare Your Luggage Weight to a Household Item

There may be items in your home which have a labeled weight that you can use as a comparison. Typical items that you could use are a 10-pound bag of flour or dog food, or gym weights.

Let’s use gym weight as an example. You could collect weights that weigh around your airline’s baggage weight allowance.

After lifting the weights and getting a sense of how much they weigh, you can then lift your packed luggage and see if it feels heavier or lighter.

Admittedly, this is not an exact way to weigh your luggage, However, if you have no other way to do so, this can give you a general estimate of your luggage weight.

Lift Your Luggage with One Hand

Another method to measure your luggage without a scale is to simply lift it with one hand. Assuming that your baggage allowance is 50 pounds (23 kilograms), most people typically struggle to lift items weighing more than this weight with one hand.

This method is not particularly scientific but works in a pinch if you have no other options available.

Visit a Store That Has a Scale

I know that this post is about measuring your luggage “at home”. However, drastic times call for drastic measures!

Another option is to take your packed luggage to a store that uses scales, such as post offices, gyms, supermarkets, or a Staples. I find this to be the most inconvenient way to get your bag weighed. You would need to transport your packed bag to the store and then politely ask staff to weigh your bag. If the store agrees to do so, you may have to wait a while, depending on how busy it is.

Hot Tip: As a courtesy, you could call the store before you visit. This consideration may increase the chance of the store helping you. They can also advise what time is best to visit.

Buy a Luggage Scale

You could avoid all this inconvenience, tedium, and inaccuracy by buying a luggage scale. They are an incredibly useful travel tool that gives exact weight readings. Airlines aren’t shy about applying overweight bag fees. These fees are typically $100, while luggage scales cost only a fraction of this,

They’re also very portable so you can take them with you on your trip.

Tips and Tricks

Pack Light

The best way to avoid the hassle of checking luggage weight is to pack light. Consider only bringing essential items and avoiding unnecessary items that may add weight to your luggage.

Use Packing Cubes

Using packing cubes can help you organize your luggage and keep it compact. They also help you keep track of your items and ensure you don’t overpack.

Know Your Airline’s Baggage Policy

It’s important to familiarize yourself with your airline’s baggage policy, including weight restrictions, size restrictions, and any extra fees that may apply. In the event that your weight reading is inaccurate, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for any potential overweight bag fees.

Final Thoughts

Checking your luggage weight at home without a scale is easy and straightforward, requiring only a bathroom and basic math skills.

If you don’t have a bathroom scale at home, you have a few other options:

  • Ask a neighbor to use their bathroom or luggage scale.
  • Use household items as a weight comparison.
  • Visit an establishment that uses scales.

However, if you have the time, investing in a luggage scale is a convenient and accurate way to weigh your bags. I know that I feel less stressed at check-in, having weighed by bag at home with a scale,

Remember to always check your airline’s website or contact their customer service for the latest information on baggage allowances and fees.

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