What the best bathroom scale has

  • An ample weight capacity. Bathroom scales designed for home use have weight capacities ranging between 300 and 550 pounds. Newer models typically have higher capacities between 350 and 450 pounds.
  • Weight and body fat measurements. Some more advanced digital scales offer both body-mass and body-composition measurements. If you're looking to build muscle mass or reduce fat, a body-fat scale will be useful for tracking progress.
  • Small measurement increments. Scales with smaller measurement increments offer more accurate readings. Look for a scale that measures within 0.2 pounds and 0.2 percent, at a minimum.
  • Several mode options. The best bathroom scales offer weight measurements in both pounds and kilograms, while some models also offer measurements in stones.
  • Multi-user memory capacity. Some bathroom scales have an internal or cloud-based memory, which can store historical data for one or more users. If your whole family will be monitoring their progress, multi-user tracking capabilities are helpful.
  • Large, backlit display. When standing on a bathroom scale, it can be difficult to read the display that sits at your feet. The best bathroom scales offer larger displays with backlighting, so they're easier to read in dim lighting.
  • A wide platform. The wider the platform the easier it is to stand on, especially for users with larger feet or mobility issues. Look for a bathroom scale with a platform of 13 inches or more.
  • Battery-powered operation. Solar-powered scales save energy but typically don't work well unless they're under bright lighting, which isn't common in household bathrooms. Battery-powered scales will work under any lighting conditions.

Know before you go

Are you measuring more than body mass? Some scales have the ability to measure body fat and other body-composition metrics, which can be a more accurate prediction of overall health than a simple weight measurement. If weight loss is your primary goal, a simple weight-tracking scale will be enough. Body-fat measurements using bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) are less accurate than professional measurements, such as hydrostatic weighing (water displacement method), but these techniques are not practical for most users.

Will you store the scale when not in use? Not everyone wants a bathroom scale taking up space on their floor. Professional upright scales are not easy to store, and they're generally less attractive than their sleeker, modern-looking digital counterparts. Digital scales and body-fat scales come in both plain styles and more modern-looking versions, with shiny black or chrome finishes. Others are often minimalistic, with clear glass and chrome accents that blend well with any décor.

How many people will use the scale? Look for a scale that can track weights and/or other measurements for multiple users if more than a single family member will be tracking their weight or fitness goals.

Are you a high-tech junkie, or do you want to access your stats on the go? Users who are looking to improve overall health, and love having access to their personal data via their smartphones will appreciate the functionality of high-tech body-fat scales. These scales store data in cloud-based applications, and some programs even track fitness activities and caloric intake.

What's to come

The past few years have seen the emergence and growth of Wi-Fi-enabled, digital body-fat scales. They're capable of remote monitoring from a cloud-based application. These scales are becoming increasingly prevalent (and increasingly affordable), and each generation offers more functionality and features than past models.

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