Before deciding which scale is best for you, take into account the 'repeatability' factor - getting a consistent weight reading if the scale is stepped on more than once under the same conditions. Strain gauge scales have the best repeatability and are therefore more reliable if you want the most accurate result every time.
There are four different models:
- MECHANICAL ANALOG: This is the most basic type. This scale uses spring mechanisms to determine weight, which is then displayed using a rotating dial. With repeated use, mechanical analog scales will become less accurate as the springs begin to wear.
- DIGITAL STRAIN GAUGE: This is a very accurate type of scale which uses electronic devices to measure weight. There are two types of digital strain gauge scales:
a. Multi Load Cell: This is the newest technology, as well as the
most accurate and repeatable over time. The reading is taken
from the four corners of the scale. The LCD display has a long
battery life. Most models have lifetime lithium batteries included.
b. Single Load Cell: This is a very accurate scale with the fewest
moving parts. The reading is taken from a single cell. Some
models have an LED display, requiring periodic battery
replacement. Most models have lifetime lithium batteries
- BODY FAT / BODY MASS INDEX: This is a digital scale with the added feature of determining your percentage of body fat or body mass. It sends a harmless amount of electrical currents at different rates through the body. The resistance, along with the user's height, gender and weight are all taken into consideration, resulting in the body fat percentage. The scale also helps you differentiate if changes in weight are due to loss in fat or muscle.
More advanced Body Fat Scales have a composition monitor, a highly accurate advanced system that analyzes up to seven fitness indicators, including any or all of the following: weight, body fat percentage, skeletal muscle percentage, body mass index (BMI), visceral fat, body age, and the user's resting metabolism.
Many scales offer a built-in memory that can hold the readings of multiple users, from as many as one up to twelve (check scales for specifics).