Buying a bathroom scale in the 21st century

EatSmart Precision GetFit Digital Body Fat Scale w/ 400 lb. Capacity & Auto Recognition Technology
EatSmart Precision GetFit Digital Body Fat Scale w/ 400 lb. Capacity & Auto Recognition Technology

If you are thinking about buying a bathroom scale, it is a lot more complex than it was just 10 years ago. Maybe you have heard or read about some of the cool things today’s bathroom scales can do, and this is what is prompting your purchase. Or, maybe you have heard about some of the new features and feel a bit overwhelmed by all of the options that they provide. If either of these are true, read on. If you were just looking for a basic scale to measure your weight, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. This article will try to help you sort out some of the features and things to consider as you prepare to make your purchase.

How the new bathroom scales work

Omron HBF-514C Full Body Composition Sensing Monitor and Scale
Omron HBF-514C Full Body Composition Sensing Monitor and Scale

Modern bathroom scales work by combining information you input on your gender, height, age, and activity level with values they can measure directly. Generally, you stand on the scale in bare feet and the scale sends a low-level electrical signal though your body and measures the resistance the signal encounters. From this, the scale can figure everything else out. Note that the signal is safe and you will not feel a thing.

Bathroom scale measurement features

Ozeri Touch Digital Bath Scale -- Measures Weight, Body Fat, Hydration, Muscle and Bone Mass with Auto Recognition Technology for 8 Personal Profiles
Ozeri Touch Digital Bath Scale -- Measures Weight, Body Fat, Hydration, Muscle and Bone Mass with Auto Recognition Technology for 8 Personal Profiles

There are many features available in the new bathroom scales. The feature set depends on the brand and model of the scale. Here are some of the features being offered and what they mean:

  • Weight – This is the oldest thing a bathroom scale measures but still useful. Not only can the scale report this value, but the scale uses this value to derive other useful values.
  • Body fat percentage – High body fat levels can reduce your endurance and have been linked to heart disease cancer and diabetes.
  • Body water/Hydration level – Knowing your water or hydration level helps you address the problem if your levels are low. The right amount of water in your body can not only help you feel healthier, but you will also reduce your risk of developing serious health problems in the longer term.
  • Skeletal muscle percentage – Skeletal muscle burns more calories than fat. So, when you are considering fat loss, you should consider working to increase your amount of muscle.
  • Bone mass percentage – Bone mass increases rapidly in childhood and decreases after 30 to 40. Proper nutrition and regular exercise, including some level of muscle building, can help to reduce bone degeneration.
  • BMI (body mass index) – Body mass index is based on a person’s body weight and height. By using both of these values, the resulting value takes height and weight into account. This value is commonly used in the medical industry.
  • Vertical fat level – Vertical fat is found in the abdomen around vital organs. Excess vertical fat can lead to high cholesterol, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Daily caloric requirements/Resting metabolism – This indicates the calories that you need to maintain your current weight.
  • Body age – The body age is the value that takes into account more information than all of the other available values. This value is based on weight, body fat percentage, and bone muscle percentage. The value is compared to our biological age. A simplistic way of looking at this is that if your body age is 27, you have the body of a 27 year old. If your body age is less than ideal, you can look at nutrition and exercise to help improve this value.

Other bathroom scale buying considerations

  • Readout size– Bathroom scales come with various size and type readouts. Some are easier to read than others. Be sure you get one that meets the needs you have.

    Escali High-Capacity Bathroom Scale with Body Fat/Body Water Monitoring (440lb / 200kg)
    Escali High-Capacity Bathroom Scale with Body Fat/Body Water Monitoring
  • Accuracy – Most modern bathroom scales are reasonably accurate, but some are more accurate than the mainstream group.
  • Maximum weight – Be sure you buy a scale that can accommodate the largest person you plan to weigh. Maximums for scales seem to be between 300 and 500 pounds.
  • Memory – Some bathroom scales remember who you are, so when you stand on them, they automatically retrieve your gender, height, age, and the other information you initially entered and use it in their calculations. Some will even store your previous readings, so you can easily compare values. Another important thing to consider with this feature is the number of people the scale can remember. If you have a large household, you will want the ability to remember more people.
  • Battery – Some scales use standard AA or AAA batteries that are readily available and inexpensive. Others use special batteries that last longer before needing to be replaced but are not as readily available or inexpensive.
  • Style – There is a huge variety in the looks of bathroom scales. Some are very sleek and modern looking, while others are more traditional looking.
  • Cost – The more features you want, the more you need to pay. You need to find the balance between the features you want and the amount you are willing to pay.

Conclusion

Never has buying a bathroom scale been so exciting, yes, exciting. If you take advantage of any of the features of these modern scales, you can conveniently measure more than you ever could before and use this information to help you on the path to being healthier.
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David P.

This is a really helpful article. I was a bit overwhelmed thinking about getting one of these new type of scales and this has helped clear things u a lot for me. I now have a better grasp of the options that are available and can search for what I want with a good foundation. Thanks.

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