All of us, at one time or another, have stepped onto floor scales. Whether it be for hospital check-ups or home dieting, we rely on such equipment and moreover the accuracy of what it tells us.
But how can we trust the figures staring back at us are indeed correct? For every precise floor scale there are a handful that are wildly inaccurate.
In this blog we’ll identify some key features that differentiate the reliable from the unreliable.
It’s an obvious assertion but cost is typically a barometer of quality. Professional scales, such as those available on our website, will always be more accurate than cheaper, supermarket offerings. They also come complete with a Class III rating, a seal of approval and a mark of professionalism.
Always look out for such accreditation, along with the MDD equivalent if intending to deploy yours in a medical environment. The latter means that model is approved for monitoring, diagnosis and treatment – where accuracy is vital.
When it comes to specification, reliability comes down to several features…
Sensors and Measurements
Superior models nearly always come complete with four precision sensors, combining to reduce the margin of error and provide more accurate data. Certain products boast more but never opt for anything less.
If possible, seek out floor scales that measure to the nearest tenth. Round numbers are commonplace but if you’re banking on complete accuracy it’s better to read 150.4 than 150 for example.
Indeed, the number following any decimal point could well determine next steps, whether that a course of treatment, meal plan or something else entirely.
We place more faith in those scales that go up (or down) in 50g increments, as these tend to provide the highest accuracy. If in doubt, view associated data sheets that should detail exact capabilities.
Design is an important factor in the reliability of floor scales. Robust casting will extend the lifespan of the product and by extension its accuracy. While calibration is necessary no matter the model, the likelihood is off the shelf options will be more susceptible to damage and corresponding drift.
Elsewhere the larger the platform, the more accurate the reading – particularly when dealing with larger patients. It serves to purchase models that allow for at least 200kg of weight. If you feel you need more, the likes of the Marsden M-530 Bariatic grant extra capacity.
Compromise here can result in unreliable measurements so find the scales that best suit your particular needs.
Be sure to check the platforms themselves are made from non-slip surfaces meanwhile silicone coated mats generally help with comfort and make for easier, more accurate weighing.
Be mindful also of the need to clean the apparatus. Dirt and moisture can easily impact measurements negatively so err towards scales that are easy to clean and contain plastic and plexiglass screens.
As a rule of thumb, the greater a floor scales’ capabilities, the more accurate its readings.
Premium options offer the likes of built-in movement compensation technology – which helps those who are unsteady on their feet and guards against huge discrepancies.
Others afford a mother-child function which takes into account the extra load and homes in on the infant’s true weight. The Seca 877 is an example of this.
You’ll ideally purchase equipment that displays height and weight in a single operation, so too those with a long battery life approaching somewhere near 100 hours.
Finally, the most reliable, modern day floor scales provide BMI calculations as standard. If you place great stock in the accuracy of your equipment, be on the lookout for all of the above.
It’s not uncommon for the same object (or individual) to register vastly differing weights on the same day. This occurs when different floor scales are used to weigh the same thing.
It’s safe to assume the more professional of those deployed is the more accurate. That said, if it’s consistency as opposed to accuracy you crave, it’s wise to use the same weighing equipment each and every time... even if that is your own bathroom scales.
A 2016 BBC investigation found that those sold in supermarkets were roughly 30% out in their average measurements. So, in answer to the original question, the most reliable floor scales are the medical kind produced by Shekel, Seca, Marsden and the like. And you get what you pay for.