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Options abound when choosing bathroom scale

By: Maggie Fazeli Fard The Washington Post
May 14, 2013
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photo - Withing's Smart Body Analyzer can use WiFi or Bluetooth to sync to your smart phone or tablet. Illustrates HEALTH-SCALES (category l), by Maggie Fazeli Fard (c) 2013 The Washington Post. Moved Friday, April 12, 2013. (MUST CREDIT: Withings.)
Withing's Smart Body Analyzer can use WiFi or Bluetooth to sync to your smart phone or tablet. Illustrates HEALTH-SCALES (category l), by Maggie Fazeli Fard (c) 2013 The Washington Post. Moved Friday, April 12, 2013. (MUST CREDIT: Withings.) 

When most people set out to buy a bathroom scale, it is with one objective in mind: to measure how much they weigh. But faced with store shelves or a digital marketplace overflowing with options, choosing the right scale can be a daunting task.

Do you go with the body-fat calculator, or the one that will talk to you in Spanish? The solar-powered unit, or one in a fabulous print? Or do you forgo modern touches and go the old-fashioned route, opting for a trusty analog dial?

Here are some tips:

- Analog scales are the simplest way to measure weight. Also called mechanical scales, they operate on a spring mechanism that doesn't require batteries, and generally feature large foot platforms and easy-to-read dials. They're widely available in stores. On the downside, they don't offer bells and whistles such as body-fat calculations and accuracy can be an issue.

- Digital scales that measure only body weight are similar to analog ones in terms of simplicity, with increased accuracy. They are battery-operated and easy to find in stores, and some have memory capabilities that can store as many as 10 previous weight readings.

- High-tech scales dig deeper into the body composition story than analog or basic digital scales. Many models calculate body fat percentage using a small electrical pulse that distinguishes between fat and muscle tissue.

Others, such as Withings's Wireless Scale ($100) and Smart Body Analyzer ($150), can use WiFi or Bluetooth to sync to your smartphone or tablet, instantly updating digital weight and BMI charts. Talking scales, such as Royal Tel-Weight's bilingual scale ($70), are useful for the visually impaired.

- High-capacity scales provide an alternative for people weighing more than a "standard" scale can accommodate. Most scales max out at 300 pounds, but EatSmart's extra-wide bath scale ($37) can hold up to 440 pounds.

- Design-minded scales can be matched to the look of your bathroom. Conair makes a digital one using sustainably grown teakwood panels ($95), while Beurer offers mirrored ($70) and bedazzled ($39) options. Escali's bamboo digital scale ($50) is solar-powered.

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