Accurate Body Scales


About a dozen readers wrote in with suggestions for an accurate body scale, one that would give you a consistent reading within less than a pound, even if you say, stepped off the scale and back on again. Four people recommended the Tanita digital scales as providing repeatable readings to within 1/5 of a pound. The Tanita UM-015 was selling at Costco for $25, which is a good deal. Three people recommended the Soehnle line from Germany. (Thanks to Blake Sobiloff, Bill, Ger, Dan Dubnov, John Biddle, Myles Kelvin, Peter van Impelen, Phil Mann.) But before you head to the store, read this note:

“I’ve got a low-end digital scale and in an attempt to fake quality, the manufacturer has built in artificial repeatability. If a subsequent weighing is within about 2 lbs. of the preceding weighing then the previously reported weight is re-displayed — regardless of
how much time has passed. So a person loosing a steady .1 lbs a week will show the same weight for 14 days and then suddenly loose two pounds. I find that in order to get an accurate re-measure I have to step on the scale holding a weight between each actual measurement. Just a word of warning about using repeatability as an indicator of
quality.” — Ryan Brase

With that warning in mind the scale below may be a best choice. Also, a scale for very large folks.

– KK

A physicians’ balance beam scale is consistently accurate. We’ve had one now for at least 25 years; its accuracy has remained constant through many moves, changes in humidity, and so forth. Measurement is in 1/4 pounds, which is good enough. There is a readjustment knob if you think there is an error when changing the scale’s placement. If
only my weight and height had remained so constant….

– Martha Robinson

If you want consistency and accuracy in a body scale, I strongly suggest an old-fashioned balance beam scale. Even a cheap one (<$200) will do a better job than most expensive electronic scales. Also, they are kind of fun to use, they have an eye level display, and the batteries never run out.

– Danny Hillis

Detecto Eye-Level Beam Scale
(Fedex shipping $20)
Available from
NorthShore Care

I’m a big dude so most scales don’t even cover my weight. Consequently I had to think different to get a decent scale. I found this digital postage scale. It reads up to 400lbs in half pound increments, has a remote, mountable readout auto tare (useful when
weighing the dog). It isn’t particularly pretty but being in the top percentile in weight and height has certain drawbacks and requires special tools.

– Bryan Covington


400-pound Digital Freight Scale
Available from