Poll: What Kind of Scale Do You Own?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  225 comments   :  24,231 Views

Many people have a love-hate relationship with the scale. We love it when it gives us numbers that appeal to use, hate it when it seems to be "stuck" or going in the wrong direction. But no matter how you feel about the scale, using it is a reality for most people who are trying to lose weight. Weighing in is a quick, easy, cheap and pretty accurate way to measure your progress compared to other methods, but the scale is just one option out there, since other measures (waist circumference, body fat percentage, how your jeans fit) matter, too.

Will just any scale do? These gadgets run the gamut when it comes to price, features and accuracy. You can find a basic model for $5 or $10 at a big box store, a mid-grade model that stores info and estimates your body fat percentage, or a pricier version that does all that and connects wirelessly to your computer to upload your data and show you progress reports. Then of course there's aesthetics. Some really sleek, modern scales appeal to a certain design-minded consumer, while others are just as happy with the "flamingo pink" scale they've had for 15 years.

When a sleek, modern scale with all the bells and whistles arrived on my desk to test out recently, it led me to wonder: Do you own a fancy scale with a lot of bells and whistles, or just a basic model?

I do own a basic scale at home, but to be honest, I only step on it about once a year—sometimes less. I prefer to gauge how I feel, how my clothes fit, and how my body looks to determine if my weight has fluctuated or whether I need to pay closer attention to my diet or fitness plan.

I've used scales in the past (usually at the gym) that calculate body fat percentage, but never before had I seen a scale that did all that and also connected wirelessly to my computer as the Withings body scale does. I tried it out and it was pretty cool. It even connects directly to my SparkPeople.com account. I could see liking a fancy scale like this, especially if I was trying to lower my body fat percentage or lose weight. This type of scale could also serve as motivation or a reward, much like new workout gear can.

How about you: Do you own a fancy scale with a lot of features or a basic scale? Why?

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  • 175
    I have a Dr's type scale with the weights. I start the weights at my beginning weight and move it back. That way if I'm on a plateau, I still see that I have accomplished something. - 8/29/2010   2:38:28 PM
  • MIARA_
    I have a Tanita body fat/body monitor ones. It seems to track pretty well with the one at my doctor's office. - 8/29/2010   2:22:32 PM
    I have a basic scale. When I go to the doctors office, I weigh myself before I go then compare it to the doctors scale and mine is always right on. - 8/29/2010   1:23:05 PM
  • 172
    We've gone through a couple of scales because we got the least expensive ones and they died. At the moment we've got a Weight Watcher's digital scale. I think it can track weights for a couple of people, but we do not use that function and actually have no idea how to use it. I'm not entirely certain how accurate this scale is but we're only trying to keep track of day to day and week to week numbers, not get an absolutely one hundred percent accurate reading. - 8/29/2010   1:19:13 PM
    I have a basic digital--no bells or whistles. I check it against my Doc's scale and it is right on. - 8/29/2010   12:32:43 PM
  • 170
    I have the Weight Watcher's scale, had it for about 4 years. It has 4 buttons so that 4 people can keep track of their weight. It is accurate with the Dr's. office. Mine has been unkind to me for quite awhile. Hummm is it something I'm doing?? Yes, gaining weight and not losing. - 8/29/2010   12:12:54 PM
  • PADI1234
    I did not use a scale for many years or I would just weigh myself at the gym once a week. Now I use my Wii fit at as my scale. I like it because it tracks my wight loss/gain in a chart and tells me my BMI. The part I am not sure about is when my 5 y/o daughter in the room and after watching my Mii go up in weight says mommy your tummy is big. :) - 8/29/2010   11:32:30 AM
  • 168
    The Biggest Loser scale - digital with settings to save weights for a couple of people. I must admit I have a love hate with it since it's not dropping as much as I'd like. Do ya think that might have something to do with my eating? I found the sleek, glass ones too modern for my taste. - 8/29/2010   10:53:33 AM
  • 167
    I have a digital one that also tells me my BMI... and all I have to do is change my age yearly. : ) I have a healthier BMI after I eat rather than on an empty stomach... so not sure which is more accurate. They can be off by as much as 4% BMI. - 8/29/2010   10:22:38 AM
  • 166
    I had an ancient analog one, but it was starting to malfunction. The dial wouldn't go back to zero after I weighed myself, and I could get it to change by 5 pounds depending on how I stood on it. I think my kids jumped on it a lot :) So I got a new cheap simple digital one. It's all I need. (I kept the old one for the kids to jump on :) ). - 8/29/2010   5:49:55 AM
  • JAY75REY
    A basic digital scale without anything fancy. Seems to be working ok.

    - 8/29/2010   3:00:33 AM
  • 164
    digital scale...couldn't find plain old scales like grandma had when I bought these. However, I think the are stuck, and I need to change the battery! - 8/29/2010   1:46:08 AM
  • 163
    I have an older Tanika scale - "old" meaning I think it's like the 2nd generation - it has two buttons for two people to keep track of their scales. (the newer ones I've seen can track much more.). Several points that the instruction manual made clear, and I've proven it to myself, is that being dehydrated will throw off the BMI fat percentage reading. When it has seem abnormally "high" I have gone and drank a good 12-16 ounce, many times more (my favorite glass is a tall plastic ice tea "glass" that holds 24 oz - I've measured them!!), and step back on in a few - I might have gained a few ounces because of the water I drank, but the BMI level will be better. The second thing is that the scales most commonly available at Big Box stores and places like Bed Bath & Beyond (where I got mine) are set up for the "average" person, ie one who not a highly trained very slender very low-body-fat ranged person. So if one is thin and muscular and trains every day, and uses one of these non-specialized scales for "every body", the BMI levels will be incorrect for these people too. I'm not at that point of being so muscular and thin that I need a more specialized set of scales - guess I'll cross that bridge when I get there - but in the mean time, my Tanika works great. I'm VERY thankful it isn't one of those "talking" scales because a) I don't hear well enough that I could understand it if I did, and b) I wouldn't want it blabbing my information to all the hearing members of my family and c) it lies, it lies, it lies!! ;-P Just Joking!!! - 8/29/2010   12:54:59 AM
  • 162
    I have a basic scale and I love it. I get on it every morning to check in. I don't freak out when it gets "stuck" or even moves in the wrong direction. In fact, I see those days as challenges and motivation to stay committed and focus that day on achieving my weight loss goals. I've lost 31 lbs in 3 months and am down 3 sizes and into the healthy BMI for the first time since high school. So I think it's working! - 8/29/2010   12:54:32 AM
    I haven't owned a scale in years. I am however, weighed three times a week at the hospital and usually turn my back to the digits. I have anorexia and have a constant problem with feeding/nasal tubes so a scale in my home would be a disaster for me. - 8/29/2010   12:17:02 AM
  • 160
    I found this article just in time. I am shopping for a new scale. My scale does not calibrate correctly. I need to adjust to zero before I stop on it everytime. - 8/28/2010   11:50:20 PM
  • 159
    I have a battery powered digital scale with a body fat reader and a basic step on with a hand. There was a time when I was always throwing them out - 8/28/2010   10:53:40 PM
  • 158
    I don't own a scale and never have. My parents had an obsession with the number on the scale which I inherited, so I chose not to have a scale. I use other means, such as how my clothes fit, to tell if I am gaining or losing weight. I leave the weigh-ins to the doctor's office. - 8/28/2010   10:44:33 PM
  • 157
    I have a simple electronic scale and I love it. I dont think we need to spend fancy amount on the scales as everything is the same. We are worried about how much we weigh at the end of the day. - 8/28/2010   10:10:30 PM
    I don't own a scale at all. I know if I did, I would be too obsessed with my weight and it might change how I am feeling. Instead I weight myself at my club, but not on any consistent interval. Like you, I try to use other measurements, like how my clothes feel, rather than a number on the scale.

    In the past I have tried out some scales that measure body fat, but found them to be less than accurate since I exercise a lot. That caused me a lot of frustration - another reason not to own one! - 8/28/2010   9:30:21 PM
  • 155
    we have one that tells body fat percentage too but I have not calibrated it with real measurements. My clothes are not a good measure as many are elastic, or adjustable, or old. so I weigh almost daily. I like the idea of one that connects to my Sparkpeople account but am too cheap to buy a fancy one. - 8/28/2010   9:25:02 PM
    I have 3 use weight watchers but don't like what is says - 8/28/2010   8:29:07 PM
  • 153
    Health-O-Meter bar scale, that looks like it's straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting, stands tall in the bathroom. - 8/28/2010   7:31:47 PM
  • T1GGER1
    ai have the Biggest Loser scale lots of bells and whistles and programmable features I cannot figure out how to work. It is very accurate though. - 8/28/2010   7:03:47 PM
    I paid $6 for my scale, and I use it often (2-3x / week). I have been on other scales and they have read the same as mine at home, so I trust that it works correctly. My boyfriend agrees. It's just a plain ol' white standard scale! I don't think I would buy one with a body fat percentage calculator; I agree with the author that I kind of tell the differences in my body with clothes and by simply looking at myself. - 8/28/2010   6:55:52 PM
  • 150
    I have a simple scale with an electronic readout (large print). I like to weight 2x a day; morning when I wake, then evening when I arrive home from work. This ritual helps me validate my day (good or bad) and years ago I read if your scale starts to read the same or within 1 or 2lbs (morning to evening) then after the initial water weight loss you will start seeing actual progress with weight loss. Whether true or not, I like this visual, but I remember it is only one tool and not to beat myself up if the number isn't a good one. I just try to do better tomorrow. - 8/28/2010   6:36:59 PM
  • 149
    I have a Homemedics health station - 8/28/2010   6:02:09 PM
    I own a simple electronic scale. I know its not the super accurate kind, but I just want something simple to track, so this is what I use. - 8/28/2010   5:03:06 PM
  • 147
    A big basic stand on scale with huge numbers. - 8/28/2010   4:48:53 PM
  • 146
    I have a thin digital and I adore it. - 8/28/2010   4:23:43 PM
  • 145
    All my does is tell me the amount of pounds I weigh - 8/28/2010   3:38:54 PM
  • 144
    I have a basic digital scale that estimates body fat as well. I have had it for several years and while I realize it may not give me an accurate assessment of my body fat, I have decided it is at least relative. If I see my weight drop but an increase in body fat, I can assume I am not eating enough or something. Preferably, I see both a weight decrease AND a body fat decrease. As long as that is happening I don't take to much to heart what the body fat reading is. - 8/28/2010   3:24:09 PM
  • 143
    I have a new scale that is digital & shows .2# but I didn't waste money on buying one with all the other features, since I read several articles by doctors saying that they weren't accurate and a waste of money. I'm frugal and don't want to waste money on something I don't need. I do keep back up NEW batteries so my scale is accurate but I haven't needed to change them yet. Funny thing is the scale keeps a place for 2 people and it keeps a record of the LAST person who has weighed, so I have learned the weight of 2 of my sons' girlfriends since they have apparently weighed while visiting & using the bathroom. LOL - 8/28/2010   3:15:10 PM
  • 142
    I have an older (5 yrs) Weight Watcher digital scale that weighs to the nearest 1/2 pound. Very accurate, but no bells and/or whistles. I use it daily first thing in the morning and record my weight once a week. - 8/28/2010   3:10:56 PM
  • 141
    I weigh every Sunday morning on a plain scale. - 8/28/2010   3:10:35 PM
  • 140
    I weigh myself once per week and a basic digital scale. I keep it at the same spot on the floor. The scale is fairly accurate, it is .08 off from my doctor's scale. - 8/28/2010   2:58:59 PM
  • 139
    Bells and whistles medium grade. Of course, I do not use the bells and whistles of the BMI and just use it to weight myself. I like the idea of the scale mentioned that can connect to my computer but worry that the cost is not worth it. - 8/28/2010   2:55:09 PM
  • 138
    I have a basic digital scale that measures my weight to the nearest 1/5 lb. I really don't trust scales that claim to measure body fat, and I have no interest in using a scale to track progress when I already have SparkPeople for that. That said, I weigh in regularly, and use the info to guide my choices and actions in the healthiest way possible! - 8/28/2010   2:54:59 PM
  • 137
    I have an old side scale that's about 20-30 years old. - 8/28/2010   2:49:02 PM
  • 136
    Well, I have a fancy one but I don't believe it for anything other than weight. It calculates body fat percentage and water supposedly, but seeing as my body fat% according to it can fluctuate 20%, it isn't believable. This morning it said I am 74% body fat ....ummmm NO I am not. I'm not skinny yet but 74% body fat...nope. I think I will more easily go with yesterday at 53%, I like that number better even though it is still higher than it should be...I don't know what the real number is. - 8/28/2010   2:26:59 PM
  • 135
    I have a basic digital scale that works pretty well for me, it was birthday gift from my mom a few years ago; I know, it sounds like an odd gift, but I wanted one, LOL! My older scale I had before that quit working, and I really didn't have the extra money to spend on another one at the time. - 8/28/2010   1:44:40 PM
  • 134
    I have a relatively fancy one. Digital w/memory for up to 4 people, measures to the .2 of a pound, and includes body fat in the measurement. Due to some alarming "cracking" noises when I step on (also audible with my 205 lb S/O), I tend to avoid using it. I've switched to the fancy digital scale at the gym! Plus, I'm always wearing essentially the same thing. With it being at the gym, it also gives me the additional motivation to make sure and get in for my workouts consistently. :o] - 8/28/2010   1:17:20 PM
  • 133
    I do own a Tanita with all the bells and whistles that I really don't need. the body fat percentage is not accurate at all. However, I will say the weight is. If I buy another scale, I'm just buying a scale that does weight only. no body fat or anything else. it just isn't worth the extra money.

    If I really want to know if I'm losing body fat, all I have to do is take my measurements. if the inches are dropping, so is my body fat.
    - 8/28/2010   1:02:17 PM
  • 8DAWN8
    If you count the one with the Wii Fit, otherwise I don't own a scale. I guess I never saw the need to buy one since I can step on the one at my local grocery store or at the gym. No, I don't care who's looking when I do step on it. - 8/28/2010   12:36:39 PM
  • 131
    I had been weighing in once/week at my Y. I was usually in my swimsuit on the way to the pool, usually in the morning. Then they changed their scale in the locker room. Then the scale broke. I had been avoiding having a home scale because I find them hard to program if they have lots of features, and worried about how accurate they'd be if not. After reading your blog, and checking out the Withings site, I made the leap & ordered one. Can't wait to link it up to SP and keep track of my weight with the same scale, the same way every week. - 8/28/2010   12:28:00 PM
  • 130
    I have a really fancy scale. The only thing it doesn't do is communicate with other devices. I'm 53, the age of menopause and maximum risk of declining bone density. This is something I'm concerned about, having been told that I have osteopenia. I also use it to monitor my fluid consumption, because unless I pay serious attention to it, I don't seem to feel the thirst to drink the amount I should be drinking to maintain regularity and not get headaches. So I have a Tanita scale I bought on sale at drugstore.com that measures overall weight, bone mass, % water, % fat, and a couple of other things I don't pay much attention to. I may not be achieving all of the results I want (yet), but my bone mass has increased over the last couple of years. I don't step on it too often, but I like having my data (yes, I'm considered a geek but I don't care; it rolls right off), and I'll be thrilled if I can beat osteoporosis. - 8/28/2010   12:14:30 PM
  • 129
    I don't own a scale. I use our shipping scale at work. It is calibrated yearly and is always accurate. I weigh myself on Tuesday morning, before eating anything, and after drinking 2 glasses of water. My nutritionist weighs me in late afternoon and I can be 3 - 5 pounds heavier than I was in the morning. - 8/28/2010   12:06:36 PM
  • 128
    I don't own a scale. I found that I get obsessed with it if I have one in my home. I weigh at the medical clinic each time I'm there. If I get really concerned or curious in between, I can weigh in the nurse's station at school, but I rarely do. - 8/28/2010   12:00:18 PM
  • 127
    I have an ordinary digital scale. I really like the large numbers as I can read them without my glasses on. I think it is important to tell our readers to weight themselves on the same day of the week and at the same time. Always wear the same clothes to remove all variation. I always weigh myself barefoot. This way you are getting your true weight. - 8/28/2010   11:50:51 AM
  • 126
    I have a basic scale, but I can get different readings depending on how close my feet are to the front or back edges, so I am never sure how accurate it is even though it reads in tenths of a pound. I also have an old balance scale, the kind you see in doctor's offices; it seems to be very accurate. - 8/28/2010   11:18:29 AM

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