Allows you to track progress of various metrics, like weight, BMI, muscle and bone mass, heart rate, etc. Reports in sync with other Withings devices. Compatible with other devices, including health apps and Apple Watch.
The scale’s data display shows only once. If you want to see the weight again, you have to step on and off again.
Bright display is extremely easy to read. No-slip top. Instant readings without tapping the scale and waiting to step on. Large 12" x 12" platform. Can handle up to 400 lbs. Accurate within 0.2 lbs.
It needs to be calibrated every time you move the scale.
Sleek, slim design. Large, easy-to-read digital display that lights up when users step on the scale. Accurate within .2 lb. Tempered glass is scratch and shatter resistant. Can handle up to 400 lb. Automatic calibration for easy use.
Some configuration issues.
Collects an impressive amount of data. Syncs with a user-friendly mobile app that connects with popular health apps. Establishes secure connection. Displays weight without phone and stores data until phone is available to sync.
Connecting to other applications requires manual intervention.
Helps you measure 12 health metrics, like weight, body fat, bone mass, visceral fat, and more. Can track up to 8 users. Easy to read. The wide platform is a plus for users with large feet. Weight limit of 400 lbs. Works with Apple Health, Google Fit, and Fitbit.
Occasional syncing problems.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
A bathroom scale can be a simple device that measures your weight, or it may measure other aspects of your health. Your needs and health concerns should inform your decision in purchasing a bathroom scale for you and your family.
Traditional analog scales are generally affordable, though their accuracy doesn’t compare to some digital models. Digital scales can read weigh with precision and may be able to measure other factors, like BMI. In some cases, digital scales can track your stats over time and may sync with a health tracking app. If multiple people will be using the scale, consider a model that allows for stat tracking for multiple users. Other factors like maximum weight and readability should also be considered.
If you know what you are looking for in a bathroom scale, take a look at our top choices. To learn more about the factors that should go into this decision, continue reading.
Type of Bathroom Scale (Analog vs. Digital)
Analog scales – the kind you grew up with – use levers, springs, and a rack and pinion to turn the display dial. They are inexpensive but can easily give inconsistent readings if they are moved often.
The digital, battery-operated scales used today authoritatively display numbers with precision. Many can measure to the half or quarter pound.
Accuracy is the most important factor, but the true measure of a bathroom scale is whether it’s “accurate enough.”
We had an inspector from the state of Arizona Department of Weights and Measures test several scales and compare the results to a Mettler Toledo state “official scale.” An individual who weighed 108.6 on the Mettler weighed 109.0 on the Withings, 109.3 on the Fitbit, 108.8 on the EatSmart, 108.2 on the Etekcity, and 108.0 on the Weight Gurus scale.
That’s right: a different result on every scale even when the scales were carefully placed on the same tile floor. But, they are all within a pound, which means they are pretty accurate and consistent.
Keeping an eye on your BMI allows you to identify the amount of fat versus muscle on your body. “Without tracking actual body fat, the consumer has no idea where their weight loss is coming from,” says Jim Cipriani, a personal trainer. “Just as ‘all calories are not created equal,’ all body weight is not created equal. Losing lean muscle weight is not good at all. With that, the resting metabolic rate drops making further weight loss harder... and, in fact, the ability to regain fat weight easier.”
“Keep in mind that the BMI measurements included in consumer bathroom scales only calculate for body fat in the legs and buttocks region,” says Dr. Barry Sears, president of the non-profit Inflammation Research Foundation. “To get a true indication of overall body fat, you need to also look at the body fat in the midsection and the arms.”
Even though fitness club scales are more likely to include those more complex measurements, bathroom scales still offer a valuable way to track body fat.
You’re going to want to look at the scale first thing in the morning before you’ve had a cup of coffee. It’s probably dark and you’re just coming to. To solve these potential readability issues, many modern scales have backlit displays with large numbers and these are the easiest to read. All scales on our list are backlit, so you can see the display for your pre-dawn weigh-in.
Scales that turn on when you step onto them take the fuss out of weighing yourself. It makes an early morning weigh-in that much easier. All scales we tested turn on at step up. You’ll have to wait a few moments with scales that measure BMI while they do an analysis.
Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian, nutrition communications consultant, and writer with a passion for helping others experience a happier, calmer life through drama-free, healthy eating. Through her writing, consulting, public speaking and counseling, she works with individuals, food companies, healthcare companies, and the media to help make delicious, nourishing food approachable and enjoyable.
Many older scales claimed (relative) accuracy up to 300 pounds. But new designs and technology can now handle even more. Several of the scales we tested can take up to 400 pounds.
The weight supported also affects physical dimensions. A wider platform is easier to stand on, especially for users who have larger feet or mobility issues. All of our chosen scales are 12 to 13 inches wide and are unlikely to present a problem.
Note, though, that few scales work on carpet, and they all need a level surface in order to achieve accurate results. If your bathroom is carpeted, either find a block of wood or tile to place the scale on top of or look into a scale that includes separate carpet feet.
Perhaps the best reason to invest in a more expensive bathroom scale is the opportunity to save your data to mobile and web applications, which makes it easy to track trends. If you’re trying to get healthy, it can be heartening to see the trajectory of your weight and BMI over time.
But the data collection gets even more useful when it’s used in conjunction with other applications or shared with health professionals. If you use a Withings’ blood-pressure monitor and also buy its bathroom scale, for instance, you can see if there is a relationship between your weight and your blood pressure readings.
Fitbit’s software logs all sorts of data, such as the daily number of steps, heart rate, and the number of steps climbed. Their app also allows you to manually enter all the food you eat, which can help you see how different foods affect your health.
Depending on the scale, data can be shared with other software, too, such as Runkeeper or MyFitnessPal. On an iPhone, the mobile apps can be set to communicate with the Apple Health app, which makes it possible (if not precisely easy) to provide a doctor with exercise data, including weight and BMI.
There are other additional features that are not as important but you should still be kept in mind.
Ease of use. Some scales can be tricky to use – even the most basic of features. If you’re not the most tech-savvy person, a scale that simply tracks weight might be the best choice.
Scales that can store information for multiple users. Keeping track of everyone’s information on one device can be handy.
Connecting to Bluetooth and/or WiFi. If you plan to sync your information from the scale to an app, check to see if the scale uses Bluetooth or WiFi. Some scales can use both while others can only use one – or neither.
Excess body fat is a more powerful predictor of future illness than is excess body weight. What matters most are trends, in both weight and BMI. If you want to evaluate whether your diet is working, the bathroom scale shows if you lost weight or gained muscle mass.
Be sure to occasionally calibrate your scale. Normal usage, jostling, and moving it around can easily offset the calibration, which means inaccurate readings.
Your weight can vary by as much as 4-6 pounds throughout the day. For best results, weigh yourself before eating, between 6-8am, and preferably without any added weight on (clothes, shoes, etc.)
A reliable bathroom scale can be found for under $25. In fact, two of our choices come in around $20. If all you want is a scale that gives you consistent weight results, you’ll be able to find an electronic scale in this price range.
Our best of the best pick, the Weight Guru, falls in this price range. These bathroom scales have a few more features like measuring BMI, data collection and storage, and syncing with mobile apps. Syncing with apps may not be as easy as some higher priced models.
These scales integrate with apps either through Bluetooth or wirelessly. They track impressive amounts of data and can be used to track several users at once, a great feature for families. Bathroom scales in this range are usually integrated with other fitness equipment of the same brand. Information can be stored and shared with physicians.
Q. I need to lose a lot of weight. What features are critical for me?
A. A lot depends on where you are starting out in your weight loss journey. First, check the maximum weight measured on the scale to be sure it will give you accurate readings at your starting weight. You’ll also need to consider the width of the platform. A 12 to 13 in. platform should be enough to provide a stable surface no matter your weight.
Q. Can any scale tell me progress vs. weight? I’d rather not focus on my weight but whether or not I’m progressing towards my goal.
A. There are a few bathroom scales out there that can be set to display how much weight you’ve gained or lost, not your actual weight. Another alternative would be to buy a scale that syncs to an app that displays your information on a graph. You won’t have to pay attention to the actual numbers unless you want to.
Q. I have mobility issues. What scale is best for me?
A. Mobility issues make getting on and off the scale difficult. You’ll want to look for a scale with a wide platform that’s at least 12 in. wide. A platform of that size will remain steady while you are getting on the scale. Also check the height of the scale. Scales range from .9 in. to almost 2 in. high. It will be easier to step onto a scale that’s closer to the ground.
Q. I have impaired vision. Can a scale tell me my weight?
A. Yes, there are scales that give an audible reading – especially helpful for the visually impaired.
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