Last updated: September 8, 2021

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Being at the right weight for your age and height is a matter of overall health. Being overweight goes well beyond what is seen as fashionable and aesthetic: it can put your health, and life, at risk. Some people are lucky enough to have an organism that naturally maintains their weight, and they never have to worry about it. The rest of us need to have a scale.

Personal scales, which often go in one's bathroom, are small appliances that allow you to know your body weight whenever you need to. Many of them can calculate your weight down to the gram, giving you a precise understanding of your weight and health. The market offers many different models, and we've prepared this shopping guide to help you find out which one is most suited for your needs.




Key Facts

  • A scale is used to weigh yourself, giving a value in kilos and grams. These appliances are also called personal or bathroom scales.
  • In terms of accuracy, digital models offer a greater reliability than other systems that can be used in scales.
  • There is a wide range of models available out there. You should know which features to evaluate if you want to make the right decision.

Our selection: The best scales

This first section is our very own selection of the best scales available on the market. We tried to give you a brief summary of each product, their specific features and what other customers think about them. Each product offers a little something different, and all have great value for money.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about scales

Now that you've discovered the best scales available out there, you probably know of certain aspects that are of particular interest to you. Not everyone has the same needs and expectations with their personal scale, so it's important for you to know exactly what you're looking for. In the following section, we'll give you more information on scales to help you in your decision.

Caucasian female legs gently tread on the floor scales

Digital scales have a thin wire that modifies the electrical resistance when compressed. (Source: Andrey Kekyalyaynen: 37684480/ 123rf.com)

What types of scales are available on the market?

As you are well aware, scales are predominantly used for keeping track of your weight. A scale puts out your body weight in kilos and grams, but the latest models (many of them "smart" scales) provide not just amazing accuracy, but provide a range of other overall health indices.

Fitness and weight loss

Regular weigh-ins can help you in your weight loss plan.
(Source: De Martin: 42512394/ 123rf.com

What are analogue scales?

These devices do not operate electronically. Two different types exist: the first one works with springs and has been the most common type for decades – as a matter of fact, these models are still sold today. The weight goes to a single point and compresses a spring, which in turn rotates the scale's weight indicator. Depending on the model, the weight may be off by a few grams.

Also analogue, counterbalance scales are most commonly found in medical or dietitian offices. Their functioning is very similar to that of Roman scales: a counterweight is used to balance the scale and match the weight of the person on it. These models can also vary by a few grams.

Did you know that bodybuilders weigh all their foods to know their exact calorie intake?

What are digital scales?

Digital scales have a thin wire that modifies the electrical resistance when compressed. The resistance will change based on the weight that is placed on top, a sensor then measuring its value in kilos and grams. The majority of these digital scales are 100% accurate.

Which should I choose: analogue or digital?

A quick overview of each type should make it clear that digital scales, in general, provide more functionality and benefits than analogue scales. The numbers are typically easier to read from an LED screen, and they tend to offer more accuracy. Calibration is no longer an issue with digital scales, and many of them offer smart capabilities.  The performance of these are definitely much higher than that of analogue scales.

That being said, it doesn't mean that they don't also come with disadvantages. Digital scales, for instance, require batteries in order to operate. These can die on you at any moment, they are more likely to be damaged by use.

Both types of scales share similar prices, but note that smart models are more expensive.

How do smart scales work?

These models come with additional features and have the ability to connect to applications via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. These apps allow you to see graphs showing the evolution of your weight. Other available features are designed to analysed other data related to your physical fitness.

Weight loss concept with top view of weighting on scales

The weight goes to a single point and compresses a spring, which in turn rotates the scale's weight indicator. (Source: Didecs: 59026564/ 123rf.com)

Are smart scales or digital scales better?

While some models are certainly more costly, smart scales usually come with far greater features and advantages. Not only do they give you the possibility to quickly access data from your tablet or smartphone, but they also analyse other data that might of interest to you. But do remember that none of this can reface the advice and opinion of a medical professional or nutritionist.

In the end, a smart scale is the better option if your budget allows it. That being said, these models do provide an incredible amount of information, and you need to be ready to learn how to analyse these data yourself. It is also important that you do not start obsessing over every single value, as this can quickly become overwhelming.

Which scale best suits my needs?

It's very possible that you already have a pretty good idea of which type of scale is most adapted to the use you'll make of it. As you now know, you have three main options: analogue scales, digital scales and smart scales. However, if you're still unsure about the best option for you, here is a quick table to help you make the right decision:

Type of scale Who it is for
Analogue scale You only weigh yourself from time to time and your weight isn't so important to you.
Digital scale It is ideal if you weigh yourself frequently and like to have a precise value.
Smart scale You weigh yourself very frequently and want to other data beyond your weight.

What data do smart scales provide?

As you now know, you can gain access to many data that go well beyond your simple weight with a smart model. You can review some of these characteristics in our ranking. However, you may not necessarily know exactly what each of these refer to. In the following list, we give you a brief explanation of the most common values:

  • Weight: It calculates your weight in kilos.
  • Body mass index: This specific parameter combines your weight and height to indicate whether you are overweight or obese.
  • Basal metabolic rate: This represents the energy used by the organism to perform its vital functions.
  • Metabolic age: It quantifies tour level of physiological wear in years. It doesn't represent your real age: a person with a healthier lifestyle will have a lower metabolic age.
  • Visceral fat: This is the fat that is located around the abdomen, surrounding the internal organs that are in that zone. This data will help you to know your risk of suffering from a metabolic condition.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of scales?

Having at least one scale in your home is incredibly useful, and there are so many options on the market. It pays to know which type of scale best suits your needs, considering various features and price ranges you are interested in. Here is a quick pro and con so that you really have all the information you need regarding scales.

Advantages
  • They are a quick way to know your weight
  • You can find affordable models
  • They maintenance and cleaning are very straightforward
  • Certain models offer very advanced functions
Disadvantages
  • They can make you obsess over your weight
  • The amount of data can be overwhelming

Shopping Criteria

We couldn't possibly end our guide on scales without talking about the most important aspects to consider when purchasing one. While we've already discussed many criteria in the previous section, here are other key points we encourage you to take into account to choose the right model:

Type

You now know the three main types of scales that are available on the market: analogue, digital and smart. Evaluate all three types and decide which model is most tailored to your needs. The use you'll make of it should be the deciding factor here, and it will help you get your purchase right.

Portrait of young brunette beauty using household scale.

Having a scale at home is naturally useful, and can offer different interesting features. (Source: Lithian: 52892372/ 123rf.com)

Size

While it is true that, by and large, most models offer similar sizes, there are still differences to be found when it comes to dimensions and shape. Always have that in mind when making a purchase. It will influence where and how you store your scale.

Accuracy level

A scale will help you know your weight, which is why it's important for your device to give you the most accurate value possible. As we've already discussed, analogue models wont be as precise as digital or smart models – unless these have a problem or their batteries fail. The typical accuracy is to the nearest 100 grams.

Design

If you think that you want to leave your scale in plain sight, it might be interesting to buy a model with an attractive design. You could also find a scale whose colour matches that of your bathroom. We recommend you to keep it in good condition, which means cleaning it with the rest of your bathroom.

Features

As you've discovered throughout our article, the scales available on the market can offer very different features. You should think about which ones are most important to you, and opt for a model that satisfies your needs. Remember that analogue scales and digital will only be able to tell you your weight. Go for a smart model if you're looking to truly get the most out of your device.

Summary

The main function of scales is to give you your weight, but recent models can offer you much more than that. They can now truly evaluate your overall physical fitness in depth. Knowing some of the data offered by smart scales can help you change your lifestyle habits to healthier ones. That being said, this should always be done under the supervision of a health professional.

The type of scale – analogue, digital or smart – will have a big impact on the cost of the product. The use you'll make of the scale will ultimately determine the model you need and the price range you should consider.

We hope you found our shopping guide on scale very interesting and useful. If that's the case, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below, or share our article on your social media!

(Source of featured image: Andrea De Martin: 42512389/ 123rf.com)

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