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What Should I Consider When Buying a Bathroom Scale?

Michael Pollick
Updated May 16, 2024
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Along with a renewed interest in a diet plan may come a need for a new bathroom scale to measure the results. Consumers have a wide assortment of models to choose from, including some that can electronically measure the percentage of body fat. Trying to choose the right scale for your specific needs can be challenging indeed. You should consider the accuracy, range, readability, and any extra features that a model offers.

One important element to consider in a quality bathroom scale is accuracy. As painful as it may be, dieters need to have a realistic starting point to measure their results. Older scales featuring a spring action can become very inaccurate as the mechanism wears out. A good scale should have a means of "zeroing out" the starting weight for better accuracy. This means the device should be easily adjusted to begin precisely at zero, or turned down slightly to account for known additional weight, such as clothing.

A way to measure accuracy in a new bathroom scale is to place an object with a known weight on it. A 5 pound (2.26 kg) bag of sugar or a 10 pound (4.5 kg) weightlifting plate should register accurately on a new scale. Do not buy any device if the readings of a known object are seriously inaccurate or the scale does not return to zero after a weighing.

Another important consideration is the scale's range. Older models for home use tended to stop at 300 pounds (136 kg), and accuracy above 250 pounds (113.3 kg) was variable. Newer digital and spring dial scales may have ranges as high as 500 pounds (226.7 kg) or more. Most consumers may not have a need for a device that can measure so much weight, but it is a consideration for morbidly obese people beginning a diet plan.

Because a bathroom scale remains on the floor while the user is standing, how easy it is to read the numbers could also be a legitimate concern. Spring-operated scales often have large numbers in increments of 10, while the individual pounds may be small hash marks. Digital scales may display large electronic numbers easily read from 5 or 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 meters) away. To check readability, stand on the scale as you would during an actual weighing and look down at the display without crouching. The results should be easy to translate.

Some newer models feature extras such as an electronic voice, paper printout, or body fat measurements. Users stand on a set of metallic footpads that send a small, harmless current through their bodies. Based on the natural electrical resistance of body fat, a small computer can calculate the ratio of fat to muscle mass. This feature gives dieters an extra factor to consider when evaluating the effectiveness of their diet plans. Lowering body weight and the ratio of fat to muscle are both important aspects of safe dieting.

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Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to HomeQuestionsAnswered, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By cloudel — On Feb 03, 2013

I did not know you could measure your body fat at home on a scale. I think that knowing your body fat is more intimidating than knowing your weight.

By orangey03 — On Feb 02, 2013

Another thing to consider is how precise you want the measurement of your weight to be. If you get a digital scale, you can see measurements like 125.6 or 124.3. If you are happy with just seeing half-pound increments, then you can go with a different kind.

By DylanB — On Feb 02, 2013

@StarJo – What type of bathroom weighing scale did you get? If you have one with a spring and hands on it, once a week should be good. If you have a digital one, you might want to weigh every day.

I say this because the ones with the springs in them can fluctuate a little. If you move them from spot to spot, this can affect the reading.

Also, if you move them from a warm room to a cold room, their accuracy can be affected. This is why I have a digital scale, and I like to weigh myself every day, because it is accurate down to the ounces.

By StarJo — On Feb 01, 2013

I bought a bathroom weight scale last week. Now I just have to decide how often to weigh myself.

Some people say once a week is good, because it gives you something to work toward. Others say that you should keep up with your weight every day, because if you start to stray from your diet, seeing your weight go up could motivate you to get back on track.

By anon271703 — On May 28, 2012

Finding a bathroom scale that works on a digital platform scales principle, rather than via an old fashioned spring, should mean that your scales are more accurate and also that they last for a longer period of time.

By anon134747 — On Dec 15, 2010

Bathroom scales are crap and should not even be bought! I spent months thinking I was obese because the stupid scale told me I weighed over 200 pounds. I lost a couple of pounds, at least my clothes fit looser, but the scale barely budged. I went to the doctor and the doctor's scale said I weighed 174 pounds!

By anon134602 — On Dec 15, 2010

I have had a digital bathroom scale for years now and have found it to be a great tool. Accurate and reliable. I bought one by the EatSmart company on Amazon.

By anon78311 — On Apr 18, 2010

I once found two models of bathroom scales in a store. None of them had any brand name or country of origin on the package. I suggest that such types of scales should be avoided like the plague. - adjutor

By bananas — On Jul 21, 2008

Having a bathroom scale and weighing oneself makes it much easier to lose, and then to keep the weight off. Those numbers staring at you in the morning are good motivators.

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to HomeQuestionsAnswered, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a...
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