How to choose bathroom scales

What to look for in a set of bathroom scales

If you recall your science classes at secondary school you may remember that measurement has several components, not just one.

Accuracy

Reliability and

Increment

are all important concepts for measurement.

Accuracy is the extent to which your measurement represents reality. If the scale says you weigh 95kg, do you really weight 95kg or do you weight 96 or 94?

Reliability is repeatability. If the scale says you weigh 95kg this time, then you get off the scale and stand on it again immediately, will it say 95kg again, or will it say 96 or 94 the next time?

Increment is how small the measurement difference can be. Can your scale tell the difference between 95kg and 95.1kg?

If you are buying a scale because you are planning on tracking changes in you weight across time (like most of us), then what matters to you most is reliability (or repeatability) and increment. It does matter to you whether you go up or down 100g between weigh-ins, but whether you actually weigh 95kg or 94kg doesn’t matter (quite) as much.

  1. Make sure it is reliable

This is the most important thing. Test the scale 10 times and make sure it reads the same every time, to within 100g.

  1. Only buy digital

The modern technology is much better than the old technology in terms of accuracy, reliability and increment. Only buy digital scales these days.

  1. Make sure it has 100g increments

Most modern scales will have 100g increments; so don’t settle for anything else (and don’t bother with anything more)

  1. Make sure you can stand steadily on the scale

This sounds a bit silly but some scales are too small for your feet or feel unstable. Make sure you feel steady on the scale and that you can stand on the same spot on the scale every time. Pressure on different parts of the scale can result in different readings.

  1. Make sure you can read the screen easily

Some scales have small displays or need you to lean forward to see the number. Leaning can change your reading. If you need to lean forward to read the scale make sure that your scale has taken a stable reading before you do so.

  1. Do consider a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth scale

A connected scale is no longer a total luxury. If you can afford it and you are comfortable setting it up, get yourself a connected scale that links to your smart phone with a decent app to track your progress across time. It’s a bit of a luxury but it’s the one modern feature I’m willing to pay for.

  1. Keep it simple

There’s all sorts of other cool stuff a scale can do these days, but I am yet to see the value in it. I do value my BMI measurement, but I don’t need that on my scale. I don’t trust the body fat measurement. It varies far too much for me to believe it is reliable or accurate. I don’t mind buying a scale with other cool read-outs, but I will generally ignore them, so I won’t reject a scale because it has them, I just don’t want to pay for them.

  1. Auto on and off and auto identification

I have so much technology in my home that I struggle to understand how it all works. I am happy to sit down once and link up my scale, (providing it’s easy to do), but I don’t want to do anything each time I use my scale. I just want to get on and get off. I can handle pushing an ‘On” button (with my foot) if needs be but that’s it. I won’t buy a scale that requires me to do any more than that.

So get yourself a good digital scale with 100gm increments and preferably a connection to a good smartphone app. A good scale is not an extravagance these days. It’s a health tool.

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