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Cheap Scales Buying Guide

Conair, EatSmart, Health o Meter, Taylor, Tanita, Seca Scales, Soehlne, and Newline are some of the popular producers of bathroom scales. Some weight-loss companies, such as Weight Watchers, also make a buck or two off bathroom scales that bear their own moniker.

There are two types of scales on the market today: digital and analog. Many of the newfangled, high-tech versions are more than weight machines. Some can assess your body fat percentage and give you the news through voice activation, and many display your weight in pounds or kilograms. There's no arguing with these digital bathroom scales -- they give a precise number, usually down to tenths of a pound. But if fudging a bit is more your style, you might prefer the standard mechanical bathroom scale with a pointer that rests on a tiny marker (and sometimes wavers back and forth between two) and can be adjusted to give you a closer approximation of the results you want.

For most consumers, though, the most important factor in choosing a bathroom scale is accuracy, followed by consistency and durability. Experts from Mayo Clinic say digital bathroom scales have a better track record for giving the proper weight and for longevity compared to the mechanical scales designed for home use. Moreover, digital scales measure in smaller increments than mechanical scales and the readout, displayed in digits, is much easier to see.

For all these reasons and because the difference in price between cheap mechanical and digital scales is relatively small, we include only the latter on our list of picks, although we do mention a couple of cheap mechanical scales in the discussion that follows. Our research indicates that the EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale (starting at $29) and the Elite Home ESC-9008X (starting at $22) are the best cheap scales, and the Taylor Precision 7329B Lithium Electronic Scale (starting at $13) qualifies as the runner up. We found that the Taylor LED Superbrite Scale (starting at $18) doesn't cut it; users gripe about inaccurate readings and other performance issues.

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