Consumer Reports: Best Scales

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Research shows stepping on the scale frequently can be an effective motivator to help you shed weight and keep it off. (WLS)

Research shows stepping on the scale frequently can be an effective motivator to help you shed weight and keep it off.

But today's digital devices do so much more than simply display pounds. Consumer Reports weighs in on whether they really measure up.

When it comes to your weight, more isn't always better. And it turns out, the same might be true for your scale.

Consumer Reports tested six scales, which not only measure weight but also things like body mass index and fat.

"These scales work by passing a very small electrical current through your body. Electrical current passes differently through fat and muscle and based on the amount of current, they can determine your body composition," said Bernie Deitrick, Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports tested accuracy by sending volunteers to a university lab, where they measured body fat using a highly sophisticated device called a Bod Pod.

Testers used this scientific benchmark for each volunteer, to assess a scale's accuracy at reporting body fat.

None of them came close to the numbers from the Bod Pod for all the volunteers.

"They weren't very accurate at measuring body fat, but they were consistent. So if you want to track your body fat composition over time, they are useful," said Dietrick.

That said, an $80 Tanita provides the best combination of accuracy for weight and consistence for body fat.

The $130 Fitbit Aria Smart Scale can send results right to your smartphone, via Wi-Fi.

"It's useful to know how much body fat you have, but a better indication of your overall health is body mass index, which you can calculate knowing your height and your weight," Deitrick said.

Which means all you really need is a basic scale like a Consumer Reports top-rated Taylor 75-0-6, for $25.

Your Body Mass Index can be a good indicator of obesity. You can calculate your BMI with a simple formula, on our website.

All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2016. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not for profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit
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