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One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight through diet and exercise. A bathroom scale can help you track your progress toward your goal but, of course, it needs to be accurate.
“Sure, your weight can fluctuate, but ultimately, if you weigh 105.4 pounds, your scale’s display should read 105.4 pounds,” says Bernie Deitrick, a test program leader at Consumer Reports.
In our labs, we put bathroom scales through a number of tests. We use a calibrated lab scale that displays the correct weight to the hundredth of a pound as our reference to weigh stackable weights, which we then use to simulate individuals weighing 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, 180, 210, and 325 pounds. (According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average adult male weighs 200 pounds and is 5 feet, 9 inches, and the average adult female is 171 pounds and 5 feet, 3.5 inches.) We compare the readings from each bathroom scale with those of the lab scale to determine the accuracy of each model.
We take multiple readings of each weight on each scale (using our stackable weights) to determine a model’s consistency rating. Our tester also stands in different positions on each scale to see whether the readings change. Most don’t, but you’d be surprised how much the display can vary based on how you shift your stance. That makes up our unbalanced weighing rating. We also check to see how easy each scale is to use, from how large the numbers on the display are to how simple it is to adjust the scale to your preferences, and whether you can read the scale without needing to turn on a light.
At home, you’ll get the most accurate picture of your weight if you step on the scale at the same time of day each time you take a reading. Usually, it’s easiest to do it right when you get up in the morning, before you’ve had a chance to drink anything, exercise, or eat.
For more information on how to choose the right bathroom scale, see our bathroom scale buying guide. CR members can get ratings and reviews of the top five scales from our tests—listed here in alphabetical order (not by rank)—and access to our full bathroom scale ratings.
Best Bathroom Scales From CR's Tests
CR’s take: The 400-pound-capacity Extra Wide Platform Body Scale EW180 bathroom scale earns top marks in all our lab tests, though we find it to be a hair less accurate than other top models. It’s very wide, which makes it especially well-suited to users with stability concerns. This model doesn’t have Bluetooth and can’t share weight readings with a smartphone app, so you’ll have to choose a different model if that’s important to you. It measures weight in 0.2-pound increments. (Some models measure in 0.1-pound increments.)
CR’s take: The glass-top 400-pound-capacity Fitbit Aria Air earns Excellent ratings for accuracy, consistency, and unbalanced weighing, and measures weight in 0.2-pound increments. Our tester found it a little hard to set up, but it still earns a Very Good rating for ease of use. It can be used with Bluetooth or WiFi to connect to the Fitbit smartphone app to upload weight readings and track your progress digitally. Up to eight users (such as other family members) can be invited via the app to create a profile on the scale for weighing themselves, provided they also have their own smartphone with the Fitbit app installed and a log-in.
CR’s take: Though this scale can’t connect to the internet through Bluetooth or WiFi, the sleek Taylor Digital Glass Chrome 7506 earns Excellent ratings for accuracy, consistency, and unbalanced weighing. It gets a Very Good rating for ease of use because the display is a little hard to read in dim lighting. So if you use your scale early in the morning or late at night, you’ll have to turn on an overhead light to read it. This scale has a glass top and shows weight in 0.2-pound increments.
CR’s take: Talk about precise: The Withings Body bathroom scale measures in 0.1-pound increments and earns Excellent ratings for accuracy, consistency, and unbalanced weighing. You get Bluetooth connectivity so that your weight progress data can be uploaded to the Withings Health Mate smartphone app. Up to eight people can use this scale with their own personal user settings. It has a 396-pound capacity.
CR’s take: The moderately priced WW26 bathroom scale earns Excellent ratings across the board in CR’s tests. It can measure up to 400 pounds and shows weight in 0.1-pound increments. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity that some other scales have, but our tester found it very simple to use.
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