Perfect Bake Pro review: A handy smart scale for baking newbies, but a hindrance for pros

MSRP: $99.99

The Good The Perfect Bake Pro's app has a robust selection of recipes and easy, step-by-step instructions that will help you make some great baked goods using weight as the main way to measure ingredients. The scale's stainless-steel finish and Bluetooth connectivity are nice upgrades from the first Perfect Bake we reviewed in 2014.

The Bad Want to add your favorite cookie recipe to the app? The process is confusing because of a counterintuitive interface that's almost like building a recipe in reverse.

The Bottom Line The Perfect Bake Pro scale would be a good buy for a novice for whom baking is intimidating. But if you have your own collection of recipes, this gadget will get in your way.

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7.7 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 7
  • Usability 7
  • Performance 8

Successful smart kitchen appliances know when to jump in and help you cook and when to just get out of your way. The Perfect Bake Pro excels at the former, but needs some tweaking on the latter. The Perfect Bake Pro is an updated version of the connected scale and app that we reviewed back in 2014 from the Perfect Company (formerly Pure Imagination). For the most part, the updates to the connectivity and finish of the scale make the new version more appealing than its original. But the Pro's app still needs some work before it can earn its Perfect name.

The $100 Pro works the same way as the original: You pick a recipe from the app, connect the scale to your iOS or Android device, put a mixing bowl on the scale and follow the app's step-by-step instructions. As you add ingredients, the app detects the weight and tells you when you've added the right amount. Using weight when you bake rather than volume adds a level of precision that helps guarantee consistency across batches - and it goes a long way toward cutting back on the measuring spoons and cups that usually fill a sink after a day of baking.

The Perfect Bake app uses weight to tell you how much of each ingredient you need.

Screenshot by Ashlee Clark Thompson/CNET

The Perfect Bake Pro retains all the qualities we liked in the original model. There are plenty of recipes to choose from, the app is easy to use and you can adapt your recipes based on how much of an ingredient you have on hand. And the Pro addresses some of the problems we had back in 2014: The scale's original white-plastic finish has been upgraded to stainless steel, the appliance now connects wirelessly via Bluetooth and the app now allows you to add your own recipes.

It's that last upgrade that slowed down my baking with the Pro. This component of the app is counterintuitive given the way that people normally build recipes. Recipes are usually made of a list of ingredients followed by instructions. But with the Pro, you have to build recipes by first selecting the appropriate container, then the correct order that you have to add the ingredients, then the amount of each ingredient that you need (the app automatically converts volume to weight). I'd like to see future versions of the app let you add a recipe in the traditional format, then convert it to the Perfect Bake outline.

The confusing interface made me botch my favorite oatmeal-raisin cookie recipe, an old standby I've baked plenty of times. The cookies were edible, but making them was a lot harder than it had ever been. I can usually throw these cookies together, even with the use of many measuring spoons and cups. But the Perfect Bake's focus on the precise weight of my ingredients and the order I added items to the bowl slowed me down and made me second-guess my own skills. If you have a favorite recipe that ain't broke, don't put it in the Perfect Bake app -- you don't need to. This is an app that excels at introducing you to something new.

The confusing build-your-recipe feature in the Perfect Bake app made making my favorite oatmeal-raisin cookie recipe harder than it should have been.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The Perfect Company is leading the wave of manufacturers that are pairing robust apps with connected kitchen scales to add precision to the way you cook, bake and drink. The Perfect Company debuted the Perfect Blend system for smoothies at this year's CES event and has also made a Perfect Drink Pro for cocktails, an updated version of the drink system we reviewed last year. But for Perfect to continue to compete with similar products like the similar Drop scale, the company needs to make adding existing recipes to its Perfect Bake app as easy as following the ones the app already provides. Until then, the Perfect Bake Pro is a good investment for a new baker, but might get in the way if you have your own lineup of tried and true recipes.

Features

  • Comes with an oven thermometer, three mixing bowls and a stand for your mobile device
  • Compatible with iOS and Android devices
  • Works with the Perfect Drink app