Scales: 5 Things to Know Before You Buy
Any effective weight loss or maintenance plan requires a good (and honest) bathroom scale. Knowing what to look for when purchasing a scale will help you choose the best one for your health and fitness goals.
1. Major Types
There are two main types of scales. Analog /mechanical scales have been around for many years, and most models today tend to be digital. This type features a simple interior spring that depresses when you step on the scale and shows your weight on a dial. Such no-frills scales are the least expensive, simple to use and require no batteries.
Unless they are solar, digital scales generally run on batteries and are more accurate than mechanical scales. They display and store your weight in number form, rather than on a dial. They are also capable of storing data for more than one person.
Digital technology has resulted in a wide variety of useful features that were previously not possible in scales. In addition to your weight, some digital scales also measure body mass index (BMI), body fat, muscle percentage, bone mass, body water, calorie consumption and even metabolic age. With some models you can track your weight on your computer or online. Obviously scales with these sorts of features will cost you a lot more.
Displaying accurate results is obviously important in a scale. As long as they have viable batteries, digital scales are highly accurate. Mechanical scales tend to become inaccurate over time as their springs wear out. It’s important to replace this type of scale every two to four years depending on how often you use it.
To check the accuracy of a scale, weigh something that has a known weight, such as a 5-pound bag of flour. All scales should return to zero when you step off of them.
An easy-to-read scale is important so that you are able to get an accurate reading. If you have difficulty seeing at a distance, look for a mechanical scale that has a large dial and numbers. In digital scales, seek out a model that has a large LCD screen and numbers, or choose a scale that projects your weight onto the wall in front of you at eye-level. If you wish to make reading your weight unnecessary, opt for a digital scale model with an electronic voice.
Bathroom scales come in a wide variety of colors, materials and sizes. Since you’ll be viewing this piece of equipment on a regular basis, it’s important that you like what you see and that the scale fits your home’s décor. Take a look at the market and you’ll find a wide variety of styles from which to choose, including models featuring stainless steel and glass and even scales that have a wood motif.
While older scales used to stop weighing at 300 to 350 pounds, newer mechanical and digital models measure weights up to as high as 550 pounds. When shopping for a scale, choose a model that will fit your required weight range. Also make certain that the scale is big enough for you to comfortably stand on it.