Stylus gauge recommendations ?

Priorities are ease of use & accuracy.

Thanks in advance.


Any of several of the available digital stylus force gauges should be fine.  I use an Ortofon DS3, because it has a readout to three decimal points, but you can spend a lot less for a perfectly good one.  Don't overthink it, is my advice.

Thanks lewm.

The Ortofon seems like a safe bet as they've been at it as long or longer than anyone.

When I ordered a new cartridge from Gene Rubin Audio (a Hana ML), Gene also sold me a very simple, very modestly priced Ortofon stylus force gauge. It operates like a simple lever. It worked just fine.

Use any of them but don't think a $20 gauge is repeatedly accurate to three decimal points. Good news is one decimal point plus your ears should be fine. ( same can be said for spirit levels - ever priced a calibrated Starret :) )


I forgot to mention, because it should go without saying maybe, that you do have to be careful that the weigh pan is nonferrous (i.e., will not be attracted to the magnet in any cartridge), and must gauge the force at approximately the level of the surface of an LP mounted on the platter surface. So the weigh pan should be above the platter surface by about the thickness of an LP.  Surprisingly, some of the cheap ones appear to use stainless steel with a low level iron content. Seems the Riverstone is OK on that score.

I have a Metrosound and a Shure, plus a digital one with two decimal points.

Digital is easier but all can work just fine. The last one is your ears.

The Riverstone is all you need (great design, good build quality, simple to use), and it's cheap: $32.79 on Amazon.

The Riverstone measures VTF very close to the level of a record. Important for many tonearms.

I use the Ortofon scale and really like it. I had the Riverstone but it gave me some trouble, I honestly forget what / how, but I chunked it a long time ago 😅

I have a bunch, none of the 900 dollar ones, I still have a Technics SH-50P1 strain gauge from 1973 that works, but analog dial, not 3 decimals deep. I have a few of the cheaper digital ones, I like the DS3 Ortofon. It has no dimple as I recall.

Believe it or not, some of the digital gauges benefit from warm up. It’s in the instructions of one. And I’d put a fresh battery in if you are trying to do a serious adjustment.

My experience- you’ll get different measurements with different locations on the platter, but within 10ths or 100ths is also academic to me and it is one part of a combination of factors in set up.

That "Neoteck" is sold under many brand names at many different prices.  Some versions have metal cases and cost more.  I have one and used it for years, but I eventually detected that the weigh pan on mine was ever so slightly magnetic.  This is not to say that all of the scales that look exactly like the Neoteck, under many different brand names, will also attract magnets on the weigh pan.  Caveat emptor. Otherwise, they are quite nice.

I have the Ortofon DS3 and a more expensive Clearaudio one.  Both are functionally the same and measure at ~ record level, but the DS3 has a larger platform, making measuring easy, and I found out more recently is big enough to accommodate weighing a brush + stylus for a vintage Stanton 980.  I used to have a Riverstone, not sure what happened to it.

I’ve used AcousTech (a popular style sold under many different brand names), Cartridge Man, Clearaudio, Ortofon DS3. The clear winner for accuracy and dependability is the Ortofon DS3, Clearaudio second.

To elaborate further, the Ortofon and Clearaudio measure perfectly, but the Ortofon is easier to use due to a larger measuring area. I have also used a Riverstone which is mostly accurate, usually within 1/10 gram, but suffers I believe from having a separate  attachment for the record level measuring area whereas the others are integrated into the chassis with less chance for deviation in measurement. 

Based on all your kind replies I've decided to go with the Ortofon DS3, price not being a factor considering the potential hazards when handling cartridges.

Thanks to all.


Currently use Rega, bought/,tried many. Depends on one's level of passion.

Another vote for the Riverstone- 

Years back (around 4o yrs?) I started with a shure balance beam- it was very accurate. Then I splurged on aa very pricey digital scale from the UK. Total crap. About a year or two ago I bought the Riverstone (about $30) and I'm delighted 

Actually in my view the better ones have a calibration weight to eliminate any variance from depleted batteries etc.

I have used the Technics Strain Gauge SH50 for many years, which includes a calibration weight of 1.5 grams and the ability to adjust the gain to precisely match the calibrated weight.



The Ortofon tracking force gauge at $165.00 should be an engineering marvel. I had an $8.00 milkshake a couple days ago, it was really worth it!