Scale buying guide

Last updated: March 2013

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Getting started

Getting started

If you go to the trouble of weighing yourself, you want to hear the naked truth. To find out whether most scales deliver we tested models without bells and whistles, such as body-fat indicators. (In the past, we've found that scales with that feature weren't very accurate at measuring body fat.)

All of the scales in the Ratings are digital, not analog. Many digital scales require a tap of the foot before you step aboard. The Tanita HS-302 is solar, working with sun or artificial light, so it needs no battery. The other digital scales use lithium batteries and turn off automatically to prolong battery life. Most also have a low-battery indicator. All of the scales can handle a maximum weight of at least 300 pounds.

How we tested

To test accuracy, we used male and female volunteers, who sometimes wore a weighted vest to make them heavy enough for the scales' weight range. Panelists stepped on our calibrated lab scale, a Toledo 8140, and then on each of the test scales in random order. To assess how consistent readouts were, we had two panelists of different weights climb on and off the scales, alternating among them so that the scales didn't just "remember" the weight of the most recent occupant.

What we found

The top four scales were accurate within plus or minus 1 pound from 97 to 100 percent of the time. All scales were at least good at repeating the weight they'd measured.

Bottom line

All of the digital scales were accurate, so look mostly for the style and functions you like. The Ratings (available to subscribers) comments provide details.

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