By Melanie Pinola
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After more than five months of researching and stepping on and off a dozen scales (a total of 29 hours and 464 weigh-ins), we found the EatSmart Precision CalPal to be the most accurate and precise basic digital bathroom scale with one of the easiest to read displays. If you’d like your scale to sync with your smartphone and estimate your body-fat percentage as well, the Withings Body is the best smart scale available today, with the best smartphone connectivity experience for both iOS and Android.
Who should buy this
We don’t recommend weighing yourself on 12 scales every day, but using one reliable scale regularly could keep you on track. Photo: Melanie Pinola
Just about everyone could benefit from a good bathroom scale. There’s a reason you’re weighed at every physical exam: Being over or under the healthy weight recommendations is linked to a greater risk for health problems. Significant weight changes can tip you off to health or lifestyle changes that need your attention. Even simply monitoring your weight could be beneficial in the long run: Several studies, including the one done at the comprehensive National Weight Control Registry, have found that one of the most common characteristics of people who lose weight and, most importantly, keep it off for years afterward is regular (at least weekly) weigh-ins. That number on the scale alone, however, isn’t something to obsess over, and is just one metric of many that can inform your understanding of your body.
How we picked and tested
The two most important qualities in a scale are accuracy (the scale correctly reads your exact weight changes) and precision (the scale gives the same reading if you do two or more readings in a row). First and foremost, you want to be able to trust the reading. Precision and accuracy, however, are things we could only measure ourselves through hands-on testing. To narrow down the vast universe of digital bathroom scales, we turned to a reader survey, expert recommendations, editorial and user reviews, and the scales’ price, design, and features. We also eliminated analog and mechanical scales from consideration.
Some scales have advanced features. When considering smart scales to test, we looked at the scale’s ability to track weight history, estimate body-fat percentage, and record weights for multiple people. All the smart scales we considered record your weight in their mobile apps and/or websites for months, making these scales the most user-friendly way to track your weight. For more on the features we looked for, see our full guide.
Our pick for basic scale
The EatSmart Precision CalPal was the most accurate of the six basic scales we tested and could detect when our tester held a 0.4 pound book in all but two of the rounds (within a 0.2 pound margin of error) when other similarly priced scales didn’t. The rest of the scales more often than not ignored that weight change. The EatSmart was also reassuringly precise for each test: When our tester weighed themselves three times in succession, the readings were always the same.
The EatSmart Precision CalPal has a comfortable platform and a display that won’t leave you squinting. Photo: Melanie Pinola
The EatSmart can save up to four user profiles. Once you save your information, the scale will remember you every time you weigh yourself and let you see your last weight with the “memory” button.
Although some people may not like the scale’s glass platform and curved sides that make it seem less sturdy and small, we appreciate that this scale looks nicer than others we tested. Despite the glass platform, this EatSmart maxes out at 440 pounds, far more than most scales’ limits of 400 or even 350 or 300 pounds. Whether you’re near this weight maximum or you want to weigh yourself with your luggage, capacity makes a difference. The scale also has a big, easy-to-read blue backlit display and, with a two-year warranty, double the typical warranty length of most bathroom scales.
The runner-up basic scale
If you want to save a few bucks, the Taylor Glass Digital CalMax is your next best bet. Manufactured by the same company, Taylor, the CalMax offers some features that are identical to those in the Precision CalPal, including 440-pound maximum weight measurement, 0.1-pound weight increments, and a 12-inch platform. But unlike the CalPal, the CalMax cannot recall the last weigh-in, does not have a backlit display, and uses a lithium battery instead of AAAs.
For some people the all-glass design of the EatSmart Precision CalPal can be off-putting. If you don’t like so much glass, note that the CalMax comes in two variants, one with see-through glass (pictured below) and the other with a silver backing that gives the appearance of being more solid from above.
The CalMax display is nearly identical to that of the CalPal except it has no backlight, which makes it difficult to read in low-light situations. Photo: Melanie Pinola
Functionally, in our tests the CalMax was just as precise as the CalPal and nearly as accurate (it didn’t detect weight changes of 0.4 pound in a couple of tests). If you can live without a backlit display and weight tracking, this model is a basic digital scale that’s more accurate than most. It also has an unusually long five-year warranty.
Our pick for smart scale
Smart or not, the Withings Body is one of the more pleasant scales to stand on, though you need to balance yourself properly on the scale to get your final reading (pictured above: the previous model, the Withings WS-50, which is outwardly identical). Photo: Melanie Pinola
If you want more than just your weight reading, want to track your weight via a mobile app or online interface, or simply want the most accurate bathroom scale available now, take a look at the Withings Body.
The Withings Body was the only scale in the group to detect a 0.2-pound weight difference on each test. Some scales accurately detected our tester’s weight change going from just them to them holding a 0.4-pound book, but when our tester switched in the heavier 0.6-pound weight (that is, going from an additional 0.4 pound to an additional 0.6 pound over original weight), those scales wouldn’t detect that. The Body was the only model that recognized each weight change every time.
It is a pricey scale, but you get a lot of features, including a reading for your body-fat percentage and heart-rate measurement, automatic data upload to the Withings app via Wi-Fi tracking for up to eight household members, and integration with Apple’s HealthKit as well as more than 60 other apps. And perhaps most important for a smart scale, you can store and share your data with your other devices and the cloud.
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