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What Is Better: Electronic or Mechanical Scales?

Updated February 21, 2017

People frequently monitor their body weight at home using scales. Two common types of scales are electronic, also called digital, and mechanical. Both types provide about the same initial level of accuracy, although they differ in other aspects.

Electronic Features

This style calculates weight through an electronic sensor that reads the strain level of applied surface weight. The results display on a digital readout screen. The digital display is commonly easier to read than a pointer on the dial of a mechanical scale. Electronic scales generally require less adjustment over time since they have minimal components that can malfunction or require calibration.

Mechanical Scales

The mechanical scales in doctors' offices that use weights and levers to calculate weight are more accurate than the ones found in homes that operate only by weight applied when a person stands on them. Unlike electronic types, a mechanical scale has springs that wear out over time and require periodic resetting. Home mechanical scales are usually less expensive than electronic models.

Usage Guidelines

Properly using either type of scale increases accuracy. Scales require placement on a perfectly flat surface to generate accurate readings. Using the scale at the same time each day and wearing the same type of clothing ensures more accurate daily evaluations.

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About the Author

Cassie Damewood has been a writer and editor since 1985. She writes about food and cooking for various websites, including My Great Recipes, and serves as the copy editor for "Food Loves Beer" magazine. Damewood completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at Miami University.