The Weight Scale Is Not The Enemy You Think It Is!

The Weight Scale Is Not The Enemy You Think It Is!

There comes a time when we are all faced with that nerve wracking moment when we are told to step up on the doctor’s weight scale. Hearing that sound of the bar clanging on the machine is never fun, especially when the nurse moves the weight much further than you would have expected or liked.

Unfortunately, the scale is a device that we cannot avoid, as much as we would like to.

In this guide, we are going to discuss more about the weight scale. We’re going to talk about what they are, their history, how they work and so much more. By the time we’re finished, your head will be full of tantalizing factoids and information about the weight scale, you’ll be able answer any question anyone may ask you about them.

What Is A Weight Scale?

A weight scale is a device that you’ll find in homes across the world. These little devices are means of torture for some, especially for those who aren’t diligent about weight management. The scale is used to measure weight and/or mass.

The scale dates back as far as 2,000 BC in the Indus River valley that is now known as Pakistan. These ancient relics were actually balances, as they used two plates that were attached to a beam that would be attached to a center, fixed pole.

Woman using a weight scale.

The way objects would be weighed would be by placing the item on one plate. On the other plate, someone would place a weigh-setting stone until the two plates become equally balanced.

While this system is quite accurate, it can be rigged by using fixed weights, as Brennus, a Celt chieftain did in 390 BC when he demanded the Romans pay him a ransom of 1,000 pounds of gold.

The scale basically remained the same throughout the centuries. It wasn’t until the later part of the 18th century did it see any advancements. It was the spring loaded scale that was invented by Richard Salter in 1770 that brought on a new way of weighing items.

Salter’s scale used a spring to measure the tension that is exerted on the spring. This tension would then indicate the weight of the object being weighed. These scales are still used today because they are easy to use, cheap to make, and affordably priced.

Modern scales use electronics to weigh people and objects. These scales use electrical resistances on a deformable material and there’s an electrical current ran through them.

The variations in the conductivity of the resistances is what indicates how much something weighs. Most top range weight scales will act like an impedance meter, allowing it to calculate the lean and fat mass in the user’s body.

Difference Between Weight And Mass

You might be wondering what is the difference between weight and mass. According to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, mass is a measurement of how much matter an object is, whereas weight is the measurement of the gravitational pull is on that object.

In other words, the amount of mass an object has will remain the same no matter where it is, whereas the weight of the same object will change depending on where the object is.

Veritasium on YouTube created a video that explains the difference between the two and even conducted an experiment to demonstrate the difference.

Which Is A Weigh Scale To Use? Digital Or Analog

As we previously mentioned, there are two common types of scales that we use today: a digital scale and an analog/mechanical scale. Since both scales are still being use today, we have to wonder which scale is better.

Benefits Of An Analog Scale

People like analog scales because they do not require any type of power source to work. This can be appealing for those who prefer to limit their energy consumption. Also, since these scales are less likely to malfunction, maintenance and repairs will be very minimal, if at all.

Analog scale.

Analog scale.

Digital scale.

Digital scale.

Benefits Of A Digital Scale

The digital scale is generally preferred among users because it is much more accurate than the analog counterpart. Not only are digital scales more accurate (sometimes as accurate as .2 of a pound), but they can give you read them much easier than with an analog scale.

Also another benefit of a digital scale is that these modern devices often have Bluetooth connectivity. While this doesn’t mean you can play your favorite podcast through your scale, it does mean that the data collected from the scale can be transferred to your mobile device over Wi-Fi. Some examples of data collected include:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Fat Mass
  • Lean Muscle Mass
  • Hydration
  • …and more

How Does A Scale Work?

In this section, we are going to discuss how both an analog scale and a digital scale work.

Analog Scale

When you take the cover off of an analog weight scale, inside you will find a large dial that will indicate the weight of the item being weighed, a rack and pinion arrangement that will move the dial, a spring and a collection of four levers that will cross over the scale.

Under the lid, you’ll find 4 brackets that will fit into the levels. These brackets are going to measure and distribute the weight evenly over the levers. These four levers are designed to work in unison and distribute the weight much easier. These levers are connected to a plate that is at the bottom of a spring.

The long lever that touches the plate is fixed at the one end and there is a weight applied to the other end. The weight of the right side of the lever is dramatically reduced by a ratio that has been determined by the distance between the length from the left side of the lever to the weight, and the distance from the left side to the right.

For example, if someone who weighs 120 pounds steps on the scale with a 1:12 ratio, only 10 pounds is detected by the right side of the scale.

The spring moves vertically and it’s translated into a horizontal movement that is utilized by the rack and pinion arrangement. This will cause the dial to move in a circular motion, which will indicate the weight of the item.

Digital Scale

The digital scale is comprised of three parts: a structure, a load cell, and a signal conditioner.

The structure is the part of the scale where you are going to place the item to be weighed, be it a small piece of fruit or if it is a grown man. This platform can be made from a variety of materials, but most commonly you’ll find devices made from tempered glass or a stainless steel material.

Using a digital scale.

Depending on the size of the scale, the load cell will be placed inside the structure. These low capacity scales are generally the table-top scale like your kitchen scale. In larger scales like what you would use to weigh yourself, the load cell will be under the structure.

So, what exactly is the load cell? This is a transducer that converts the force applied to the structure and then converts it to an electrical signal. Every digital weight scale will have at least one load cell. Tablet-top scales are generally devices with a single load cell, whereas the floor scales for personal weighing will generally have four load cells.

Digital scales that are used at truck weighing stations will usually have anywhere from four load sensors all the way up to 8 load cells, depending on the rated load capacity.

Finally, we have the signal conditioner. This is what powers the load cell and receives and converts the signal into a readable number. The digital output can usually be adjusted to show the preferred unit of measurement, be it pounds or kilogram.

The signal conditioner can have extended features that will collect data, or it could control other pieces of electrical gear. For example, if your electronic scale is connected to a computer, it can automate certain functions of the business such as material inventory, billing automation, or even process control.

How Does A Digital Scale Calculate BMI (Body Mass Index)?

We already know that scales are incredibly useful keeping track of how much we weigh, but it isn’t all that it can do. There are some models of digital weight scales that can calculate your BMI—that crucial number that will determine if you’re average weight, or if you’ve stumbled into overweight or obese territory.

To get a better idea of how healthy you are, you don’t want rely on your weight alone. The amount of fat is on your body is a much better indicator of your health.

Typically this could only be done if you went to the doctor and undergo either hydrostatic weighing or dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Of course, you can also go to your gym and have someone use a caliper to get measurements.

A much more convenient and private way to measure your BMI is by using a digital scale with this capability. But, how does it work?

Well, simply put, these scales use a technology called “bioelectrical impedance analysis.” This method will assess your body composition, which is just the measurement of how much fat to lean muscle mass your body has.

This method sends very low electrical currents through your body. The current is usually affected the most by how much water is in your body, so lean muscle will have a lot of fluid and electrolytes floating around in it. This will have high conductivity. Fat and bone, on the other hand, will slow down that current.

Measuring body mass index.

Now, you can calculate your BMI yourself. To do this, you must remember that your BMI is your weight (in kilograms), over your height squared (in centimeters). If you don’t know your height and weight in kilograms, follow this formula:

1. For Weight:

125 pounds x 0.45 = 56.25 kilogram

2. For Height:

63 inches x .025 = 1.575 meter

Then you’ll want to square the answer from step 2:

· 1.575 x 1.575 = 2.480625

Divide the answer from the first step with the answer from the third step:

· 56.25 / 2.480625 = 22.7

In this example, a person who is 5’5” tall and weighs 125 pounds, their BMI is 22.7 percent. A healthy BMI will range between 19 and 25, so this person is healthy.

It is worth mentioning that while calculating your BMI yourself or with a scale is a good way to have an idea of your BMI. To get a more reliable answer, you should go to your doctor.

How To Maintain Your Weight Scale

For your scale to remain in proper working order, it is important that you maintain your scale and use it properly. Here are a few ways to care for your scale so it continues to function as intended:

  • Never use your scale on carpet or uneven surfaces because you’ll get an inaccurate reading. Instead, always make sure you are on a hard flooring that is flat, even and stable. Even slight vibrations from a washer or dryer could give you an accurate reading.
  • Your scale is not waterproof! Make sure that your scale does not have too much exposure to moisture and it isn’t sitting in water. If you need to clean your scale, use a bit of Windex on a cloth and wipe down your scale. You can also use regular dish soap on a damp rag to wipe the platform down with.
  • Be mindful to not press too hard on the scale. Sometimes too much force will cause the load cells to get out of whack and that could result to an inaccurate reading. Also, if you’re moving your scale for one reason or another, be careful not to jostle the scale around too much. Too much vibration could damage the delicate electronics.
  • Avoid keeping your scale in extreme temperatures. Your scale is designed to be used indoors and at room temperature. If you notice that your scale isn’t responding immediately or it is giving you a very off weight reading, then the temperature may be too low.
  • Replace the battery from time to time to ensure accurate readings. Most scales will have an indicator on the LCD display letting you know the batteries are dying.
  • Use a scale that matches your needs. By overloading your scale and putting more weight on it than it was designed to handle, you’re going to damage the load cell and that will void any warranty your scale may have come with. Also, never try to fix the scale yourself. This, too, will void any warranty.

Popular Manufacturers Of Weight Scales

When you start looking for a new scale, you could go with the run of the mill scale you’ll find at some discount store. Sure, the scale may work, but you have to ask yourself how accurate is it. If you’re using a random scale, you don’t know how reliable the weight is and how long it will stay that way.

To avoid that kind of frustration, we recommend going with a company that is known for making quality weight scales.

Different weight scales.

Here are a few reputable manufacturers who are leaders in making reliable devices:

Etekcity

Etekcity is an ecommerce retailer that focuses on creating quality items for home improvement, consumer electronics, and outdoor equipment. The unique gadgets are home essentials that every home needs to make their lives more enjoyable and fulfilling.

The company is located in Asia, Europe and China. The Etekcity weight scales is just one innovative product you can find in their lineup. You can find other items like lighting solutions, air mattresses, massaging pillows, portable lanterns, and even LED hair barrettes! If you need an electrical gadget for the home, you’ll be able to find it with Etekcity.

Greater Goods

Greater Goods is a company that collaborates with charities and creators to make great products for a good cause. The goal of Greater Goods is to give customers an award winning experience and top notch products, while taking care of the people who produces those products.

To the Greater Goods company, they want to make products that create positive changes for everyone involved with that products creation. Some of the products you can find in their product line up, other than a variety of Greater Good weight scales include medical equipment, chef knives, toothbrushes, and even coffee.

EatSmart

The EatSmart company was formed in 2005 and they strive to designing, developing, and creating innovating health care products that meets and surpasses the needs and expectations of their consumer.

The company places a 100% EatSmart Satisfaction Guarantee. This pledge ensures that no matter where you buy the product or when, you can return the product for a replacement or a refund. Pretty admirable for a company, wouldn’t you say? Other than the EatSmart weight scale, you’ll find products like travel accessories, thermometers, and kitchen scales.

Conclusion

There’s nothing quite as deflating than stepping onto a scale and find out that you’ve gained weight, even when you thought you were “behaving” and eating well. Going to the doctor and finding this out is even more damning because then you have your physician asking questions and making you feel bad by suggesting you go on a diet.

When you find yourself in a position where you want to get serious about living a healthier lifestyle, a weight scale can help you along that journey. The scale can be both a source of motivation or a quick reminder of a weekend of poor meal choices and copious amounts of liquor, but either way, it is an important tool that you cannot go without.

For several millennia, people have been using some type of weight scale, and it is still used today—albeit it has underwent many noticeable (and appreciated) changes. Until recently, the analog scale could be found in most homes in the country. However, like everything else in our lives, the scale has become modernized.

Now, we have a choice between that dial scale our grandparents used, or we can choose a digital weight scale. Although the dial scale is much more affordable and easier to use than a digital scale, it could be much less accurate than a digital scale.

Man using a weight scale.

Not only that, but many digital scales on the market today are capable of giving you your weight, but it can also calculate your body mass index and other important metrics one may want to track.

As you take your health more seriously, you’ll appreciate the added features of the modern digital scale. Not only that, but some scales even use Bluetooth technology for tracking and syncing your data, but they also have internal memories that can track multiple users.

In some cases, these features could be very beneficial, especially for people who are on a strict weight loss regime, they are training for an event, or they’re athletes.

If you’re one of those people and you’re thinking about upgrading your scale, you might be tempted to pick up the first one you see.

Before you do that, might we suggest you visit our buying guide that will provide you with key features you should look for when shopping for a scale, but we’ll also provide you with five mini-reviews of weight scales that we think are some of the best on the market.

We hope that the information we’ve provided you with will help guide you to finding a scale that will be beneficial to your journey.

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