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30 Types of Scales for Weighing People and Things in Your Home

Women stepping onto scale to weigh herself

Okay, when I decided to publish this topic "types of scales" I thought it would be a short article. I had no idea I would discover so many different scale options for weighing people and things in your home. This is a terrific guide setting out all the scales you can buy for your home.

Okay, when I decided to publish this topic “types of scales” I thought it would be a short article. I had no idea I would discover so many different scale options for weighing people and things in your home. Frankly, our research team did a phenomenal job with this… it’s both helpful and very interesting.

This is a terrific guide setting out all the scales you can buy for your home.

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Types of Scales

Kitchen

Kitchen scale

Source: Wayfair

Don’t knock the kitchen scale. We received one for a wedding present and it’s come in handy many times over the years. Ours is a large bowl with scale and it’s just awesome.

Kitchen scales are useful in any home because they allow the cook or baker to quickly and accurately weigh out their ingredients. They usually have a tare feature that makes it easy to continually weigh ingredients in the same bowl without having to dirty other bowels or dump out the bowl being used. Additionally, most come with the ability to choose between units of measurement so that it’s easy to switch from grams to ounces without a lot of waiting.

Discover 8 types of kitchen scales here.

Health/Bathroom

Bathroom scale

Source: Hayneedle

Most people like to have a scale in their bathroom so they can quickly and easily keep track of their weight, and a bathroom scale is the best option for this need. They are flat, easy to store in a cupboard or by the toilet, but strong enough to weigh most members of your family. While you can easily buy bathroom scales that come with amazing features, these will greatly increase the cost of the scale. A simple scale that only shows your weight is much less expensive. If you are interested in the composition of your body and your fat, water, and muscle stats, you will need to choose a scale that offers these features.

Pet

Pet scale

Source: Houzz

Pet scales are indispensable at a veterinary office, but are also very useful for someone who breeds dogs or is concerned about the health and weight of their animals. They are much larger than scales used for humans, making it very easy for the pet to stand completely on the scale. In addition, they often have a textured surface so there is no concern over the pet accidentally slipping when they are on the scale, and can easily be wiped clean in case of an accident. When looking for a pet scale, make sure it has an upper weight limit that will work with your animal and that you have enough space in your home for it to go on the floor

Balance

Balance scale

Source: Etsy

These scales are traditionally associated with law, and while they can be used to see which one of two items is heavier than the other, they do not offer the precision that most people need when using a scale. This means they are often relegated to being used as decoration in a home or office. However, there are some balance scales that are used by scientists, but these come with weight sets for correctly identifying the weight of the item and are perfectly calibrated to be exact.

Physicians

Physician's scale

Source: Wayfair

These scales are much more expensive than the scale an average person has, but are incredibly accurate and easy to use. They are commonly found in a doctor’s office, and feature a flat platform, a weight beam that can be read by the patient and the doctor, and sliding weights to help determine the weight of the patient. They are very heavy and built to last, and while most only go up to around 400 pounds, conversion kits are available that will increase the amount of weight that these scales can measure.

Infant and Toddler

Infant and toddler scale

Source: Hayneedle

It can be very difficult to accurately weigh infants and young toddlers, and since it’s not sanitary to lay them down on a scale to get an accurate measurement, buying a curved scale specially designed to carefully hold them is the best option. These are common in pediatrician offices, but can also be bought for home use if you want to keep track of your baby’s weight.

Luggage

Luggage scale

Source: Home Depot

With recent new rules from airlines about the amount and weight of luggage that can be brought on a plane, more and more people are looking for fast and easy ways to weigh their luggage. Instead of trying to precariously balance it on their bathroom scales, using a dedicated luggage scale is the best way to do this. These scales work by hooking to the handle of the luggage. When the scale and luggage are lifted, the weight of the luggage works on the scale to show the weight. This makes it easy for regular travelers to ensure they aren’t taking too much luggage with them on their flight.

Butcher

Butcher scale

Source: Houzz

These scales are perfect for easily weighing large amounts of meat. They can be installed permanently in the back of a butcher shop or the hook can be put over a tree limb when out in the field, making them ideal for a hunter as well. They can hold large amounts of meat, which is great for processing or for weighing game. The weight of the meat below the scale pulls down and allows the scale to weigh it. With large numbers that are easy to read as well as sturdy construction, there’s no concern over this scale breaking during normal use. They’re perfect for indoors and outdoors and since there are no electrical parts, there isn’t any concern over the scale shorting out or becoming damaged if the user is caught in a sudden storm.

Features

Digital

Digital scale

Source: Home Depot

Digital scales make it incredibly easy to determine the weight on the scale. The numbers are usually very large and the screen is generally backlit, making it almost impossible to make a mistake when reading the scale. Both kitchen and bathroom scales can be digital, and many people opt for digital over analog so they can keep a close track on their weight or on the ingredients they are putting in their meal. As long as you keep batteries on hand for these scales, there are very few problems you will experience with it, as it is very difficult to mistake the numbers.

Analog/Mechanical

Analog/mechanical scale

Source: Houzz

These scales are preferred by some people who want to be able to quickly gauge the weight of an item or person, but aren’t worried about being exact. When used in the kitchen, they often come with a bucket or bowl on top that makes it easy to weigh out items like apples or nuts, while in the bathroom they are almost identical to a digital scale except for the display. Some people do not like using analog scales in the bathroom, as it can be very difficult to know your exact weight, while others don’t mind as long as they can tell the ballpark figure.

Batteries Included

Scale with batteries included

Source: Houzz

If you want to be able to get started weighing things right away, it’s best to opt for a scale that comes with batteries. This keeps you from having to dig through your home looking for the right size and number of batteries and will ensure that you don’t need to run to the store to get some.

Bowl Included

Scale with bowl included

Source: Wayfair

Some kitchen scales come with bowls, making it very easy to weigh out liquid ingredients or to prepare a recipe without having to worry about dirtying another dish. This makes the process very easy, as otherwise it can be difficult to find a bowl that is not too heavy to easily use on the scale. Included bowls are usually clear and lightweight, can be washed in the dishwasher, and are strong enough to stand up to years of use without cracking or staining.

Wall Mountable

Wall mountable scale

Source: Houzz

Perfect for the person who doesn’t have a lot of storage room in their kitchen and needs to keep their scale out of their drawers, being able to mount the kitchen scale on the wall saves a lot of space. Additionally, many of these scales will also function as a clock, turning a single-use item into a dual-purpose item. It’s easy to remove the scale from the wall to weigh ingredients and then slip the scale back up onto the base left on the wall when you are finished.

Portable

Portable scale

Source: Etsy

While some scales are so large that they can’t be easily moved, if you like to do crafts or need a scale you can take with you, you will need to buy a portable scale. These are small enough to slip into a bag or luggage, but still powerful and accurate so you don’t have to worry about whether or not your weights will be correct. They are great for measuring out ingredients to make makeup, for candy making, and for beading. It’s important to make sure the portable scale you choose is powerful enough for your needs and can hold higher weights.

Measure BMI

BMI measurement scale

Source: Wayfair

While most people are content with simply knowing their weight, if you have major health concerns or your doctor wants to you track the exact proportions and composition of your body, you will need to choose a scale that can measure your BMI. This allows the scale to quickly tell if you if you are under or above your ideal weight for your height and makes it easy to work towards your goal of becoming healthier.

Measure Body Fat

Body fat measurement scale

Source: Wayfair

Knowing your body fat is important if you are working hard to build muscle and cut fat, making this feature important for body-builders. It can be hard to know if you are on the right track with trimming fat off of your body if you don’t have an easy and reliable way to measure your progress, and this scale makes staying on top of the amount of body fat you have fast and easy. This allows users to check their body fat each day and ensure that the steps they are taking to cut their fat are working.

Measure Body Water

Body water measurement scale

Source: Wayfair

It can be very important, especially if you have been sick or battling a disease, to keep track of the amount of water you have in your body. If your doctor wants you to track this on a daily basis, you will need a scale that offers this feature.

Measure Bone Mass

Bone mass measurement scale

Source: Wayfair

As people age, it is very common for them to begin to lose bone mass. While this may be normal, it is not ideal and can result in medical problems if not addressed. If you are concerned about your bone mass and want to keep track of it, it’s important to buy a scale that has this feature, as this will allow you to keep a record to show your doctor and will help them to understand your health and to address any concerns that you or they have.

Measure Muscle Mass

Muscle mass measurement scale

Source: Wayfair

For people who are working hard to build muscle and aren’t as concerned with losing weight, a scale that will measure their muscle mass is important, as it will allow them to quickly and easily track muscle gain. This is important for people who are interesting in competing in a bodybuilding competition or who have been told by their doctor that they need to gain more muscle to be healthier. Some of these scales will actually track muscle gain or loss for the user so they don’t have to rely on keeping track of it themselves.

Built-In Alarm

Built-in memory scale

Source: Wayfair

It can be difficult for some people to remember to weigh themselves each day, even with the scale easily accessible in the bathroom. By buying a scale that has an alarm to remind you to weigh yourself, you’ll never worry about keeping track of your results again. These scales will sound when it’s time to weigh in, but turn off afterwards so that they can conserve batteries.

Slip-Resistant

Slip-resistant scale

Source: Wayfair

While glass scales may look great in a bathroom, they can be very slippery when they get wet, which is why many people opt for a scale that has a slip-resistant top to avoid accidents. Look for a scale that has a textured surface so that you won’t have to worry about the surface being slick when you are using it

Memory

Memory scale

Source: Wayfair

While many people want to keep track of their weight and stats, doing so on paper can be frustrating. But when you use a scale that will keep track for you, it’s a lot easier to maintain your healthy lifestyle. Look for a scale that can track multiple people at once so that everyone in your home can use it without worrying about messing up each other’s stats and information.

Speaking Function

Scale with speaking function

Source: Houzz

A talking scale makes it very easy to note your weight without having to worry about actually being able to see the numbers. This is important if you have blurry vision in the morning, don’t want to put in your contacts before weighing yourself, or are prone to losing your glasses. Having your weight read out loud to you makes it very easy to keep track of and ensures that you are sure of what the scale says, even if you are having trouble seeing the numbers.

Suggests Calorie Intake

Calorie intake scale

Source: Wayfair

Scales that can connect to your smartphone or computer via Bluetooth are able to give you advice about what kind of calorie intake you should have each day. These scales make it easy to sync to your device and keep track of your weight and other stats, and allow the app to analyze your data and make suggestions about how to improve your health.

Unit Selection

Unit selection scale

Source: Wayfair

It’s important in the kitchen that you can choose what unit you are using to weigh, as cookbooks from different parts of the world will often rely on different units of measurement. When you select a kitchen scale that can change quickly between different units, you will be able to use recipes from around the world without having to worry about making the conversions yourself. This will save you time and frustration and ensure that your recipe turns out the way it should. Look one for one that can measure grams, ounces, pounds, milliliter, and liquid ounces to get the most use from your scale.

Material

Glass

Glass scale

Source: Hayneedle

Glass scales look great in any bathroom and are very easy to clean. A lot of kitchen scales are also made with a glass top, and for the same exact reason. They can be easily wiped clean, no matter what is spilled or splatters on them. In addition, using a glass top also allows the manufacturer to add details or colors to the scale, producing something that is as attractive as it is functional. This is especially important if you do not have a place in your home to tuck away your scale when it is not in use, as having an attractive scale will make it look like part of the décor as opposed to something that sticks out in the room.

Metal

Metal scale

Source: Houzz

Metal scales generally come with some sort of rubber on the top to help users keep their grip when stepping on the scale, but are very hardy and can stand up to a lot of use without any worry that they will crack or break. Unlike plastic, which can stain easily and look dirty in a short period of time, metal scales are easy to wipe clean and have a more rugged appearance. This means they won’t begin to look old and will continue to look their best for a longer period of time. If you have a large family and everyone wants to use the scale, you may want to opt for a metal one as it will be strong enough to stand up to the use of a lot of people.

Wood

Wood scale

Source: Houzz

Wood or bamboo bathroom scales look great and very natural, ensuring that they don’t look out of place in a neutral and airy bathroom. Instead of having metal or plastic scales that can look heavy and strange in a lighter bathroom, choosing a wood scale ensures that it goes along with the feel and décor of the room. These scales are just as sturdy as plastic scales, but they aren’t usually able to hold as much weight as a strong metal scale can. Make sure the wood has been sealed correctly so you don’t have to worry about the surface of the scale being damaged from water or humidity, as bathrooms are generally wetter areas of the home.

Plastic & Acrylic

Plastic acrylic scale

Source: Houzz

Plastic scales are generally less expensive than their counterparts and work great in most bathrooms. While you can sometimes find ones that are white, these are more prone to staining, so black is preferable, especially if you want to keep your scale looking its best. They can crack or break if they are dropped or the edge is stepped on, so it’s important to be careful with them. In addition, they also don’t usually have as high a capacity as their stronger counterparts do, so it’s important when shopping to make sure the scale you choose is able to hold all of the members of your family.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel scale

Source: Wayfair

Stainless steel kitchen scales look great in any kitchen and are incredibly easy to wipe clean. While in the past stainless steel would often get smudged and look dirty because of fingerprints, newer stainless steel appliances and scales are much harder to smudge. If you want your kitchen scale to match with the rest of your kitchen appliances, you will want to opt for stainless steel, as it looks great and functions incredibly well, even after years of use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below we set out commonly asked questions and answers regarding scales.

Are scales accurate?

The not so simple answer to this question is a conditional yes. Scales made for the consumer market don’t compare to the more accurate versions used by doctor’s offices and laboratories. They also cost thousands of dollars less. Though less precise than their expensive cousins, scales made for the home market can provide readings that are within a reasonable margin of error. To achieve the most accurate readings, the scale should be used on the same hard flat surface daily. It is also vital to weigh yourself at the same time each day as weight can fluctuate 5 to 6 pounds per day.

Are scales accurate on carpet?

No, scales are not accurate on carpet. Neither the sensors on digital scales nor the springs on mechanical scales are designed to work on soft cushiony surfaces. Placing a scale on thick carpet can increase weight readings by up to 10 percent. Because they have different internal mechanisms, digital scales have a lesser margin of error on carpet. However, both mechanical and digital scales are calibrated by their manufacturers on hard flat surfaces. There is virtually no chance that a scale placed on carpet will stay level enough to give an accurate reading.

Are scales accurate when the battery is low?

Generally speaking, digital scales can be inaccurate when their batteries are low. Digital scales convert mechanical energy (i.e.- your weight pressing down on a sensor) to an electrical signal that displays your weight. If batteries are low, the electrical current may not be high enough to properly amplify this signal. Without proper amplification, the electrical signal can be “misread” by the scale thus producing inaccurate readings. Signs that your scale may need new batteries include faded or blinking displays, unstable and/or inconsistent readings and any evidence of rust or corrosion. It is important to that there is not a 100% correlation with low battery levels and inaccurate scale readings but it is simple enough to switch out a set of batteries to ensure peak performance.

Can scales measure body fat?

No, a standard scale is designed to measure weight and nothing else. There are body fat scales on the market but Consumer Reports found that the best models were still only 80% accurate. The Army uses a body fat calculation that includes weight, height, age and the circumference of certain body parts (neck and waist for men, neck, waist and hips for women). Skinfold calipers are an often-used low tech method of measuring body fat. Most high-tech methods for measuring body fat with great accuracy are costly and inaccessible to the average consumer.

Can scales measure BMI?

No, scales cannot measure your body mass index (BMI). BMI is a simple calculation based on your weight and height. To find your BMI using pounds and inches, the formula is: Weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703. To find your BMI in kilograms and meters, the formula is weight (kg) / [height (m)]2. If the math seems intimidating, there are many free online calculators that can calculate your BMI simply by plugging in your height and weight. Although BMI is calculated in the same way for men, women and children, a healthy BMI is slightly different depending on your age and sex.

How do I calibrate digital scales?

Most modern digital scales self-calibrate when they shut themselves off. If you move your scale, however, it needs to be calibrated. The simplest method to achieve this is to place the scale on a hard, flat surface and tap the scale with your foot. Once the display reads zero, the scale is calibrated and ready for use. You can test the calibration of your scale with items that have a known weight. Hand weights are ideal for this but you can use other household items as well. A full (72 Ounce) bottle of laundry soap, for example, weighs 5 pounds.

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