Weighing your options: A guide to buying a scale
When most people set out to buy a bathroom scale, it is with one objective in mind: to measure how much they weigh. But faced with store shelves or a digital marketplace overflowing with options, choosing the right scale can be a daunting task. Do you go with the body-fat calculator, or the one that will talk to you in Spanish? The solar-powered unit, or one in a fabulous print? Or do you forgo modern touches completely and go the old-fashioned route, opting for a trusty analog dial? Here are some tips to help make that decision a little less, er, weighty:
• Analog scales are the simplest way to measure weight. Also called mechanical scales, they operate on a spring mechanism that doesn't require batteries, and they generally feature large foot platforms and easy-to-read dials. But they don't offer bells and whistles such as body-fat calculations, and reviews show accuracy can be an issue.
• Digital scales that measure only body weight are similar to analog scales in terms of simplicity, with increased accuracy. They are battery-operated and some models have memory capabilities that can store as many as 10 previous weight readings.
• High-tech scales dig deeper into the body composition story than analog or basic digital scales. Many models calculate body fat percentage using a small electrical pulse that distinguishes between fat and muscle tissue. (Scales don't offer the most precise body fat measurements but can be useful for tracking the percentage change between weigh-ins.) Others, such as Withings' Wireless Scale ($100) and Smart Body Analyzer ($150), can use WiFi or Bluetooth to sync to your smartphone or tablet, instantly updating digital weight and BMI charts.
• Design-minded scales can be matched to the look of your bathroom. Conair makes a digital scale using sustainably grown teakwood panels ($95), while Beurer offers mirrored ($70) and bedazzled ($39) options. Escali's bamboo digital scale ($50) is solar-powered (by natural or artificial lighting).