Along with a renewed interest in a diet plan may come a need for a new bathroom scale to measure the results. Consumers have a wide assortment of models to choose from, including some that can electronically measure the percentage of body fat. Trying to choose the right scale for your specific needs can be challenging indeed. You should consider the accuracy, range, readability, and any extra features that a model offers.
One important element to consider in a quality bathroom scale is accuracy. As painful as it may be, dieters need to have a realistic starting point to measure their results. Older scales featuring a spring action can become very inaccurate as the mechanism wears out. A good scale should have a means of "zeroing out" the starting weight for better accuracy. This means the device should be easily adjusted to begin precisely at zero, or turned down slightly to account for known additional weight, such as clothing.
A way to measure accuracy in a new bathroom scale is to place an object with a known weight on it. A 5 pound (2.26 kg) bag of sugar or a 10 pound (4.5 kg) weightlifting plate should register accurately on a new scale. Do not buy any device if the readings of a known object are seriously inaccurate or the scale does not return to zero after a weighing.
Another important consideration is the scale's range. Older models for home use tended to stop at 300 pounds (136 kg), and accuracy above 250 pounds (113.3 kg) was variable. Newer digital and spring dial scales may have ranges as high as 500 pounds (226.7 kg) or more. Most consumers may not have a need for a device that can measure so much weight, but it is a consideration for morbidly obese people beginning a diet plan.
Because a bathroom scale remains on the floor while the user is standing, how easy it is to read the numbers could also be a legitimate concern. Spring-operated scales often have large numbers in increments of 10, while the individual pounds may be small hash marks. Digital scales may display large electronic numbers easily read from 5 or 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 meters) away. To check readability, stand on the scale as you would during an actual weighing and look down at the display without crouching. The results should be easy to translate.
Some newer models feature extras such as an electronic voice, paper printout, or body fat measurements. Users stand on a set of metallic footpads that send a small, harmless current through their bodies. Based on the natural electrical resistance of body fat, a small computer can calculate the ratio of fat to muscle mass. This feature gives dieters an extra factor to consider when evaluating the effectiveness of their diet plans. Lowering body weight and the ratio of fat to muscle are both important aspects of safe dieting.