How To Calibrate Bathroom Scales

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If you are unsure how to calibrate bathroom scales, let us help tip the scales in your favour. Scales have come a very long way from the days of using a mechanical dial to make sure the settings are right. They can measure weight, body mass, body composition, and some advanced models even offer things like heart rate measurements.

While all this is undeniably excellent, it does then bring the slight complication of not knowing whether the scale is accurate or not. It's important to be able to accurately monitor your weight, for a wide variety of health reasons, which we won't bore you with here. If you're reading this, you're probably already aware of the risks of not managing your weight properly. And given the past few years, we're probably all a bit more conscious of looking after our health.

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Here then, is your guide to calibrating your bathroom scales, to make sure you know exactly what's going on when you step on the scales.

How To Calibrate Bathroom Scales

Some very advanced scales are designed to 'self-calibrate' no matter what surface you are on. So for these, you don't actually need to do anything. But any scales that have a calibration button, follow these steps:

  • Get some weights that you know are definitely accurate. Dumbells would be one example, or some unopened bags of flour. Make sure it isn't so heavy it will damage the scales. And we'd also advise that you choose something that won't roll around.
  • With your scale on a firm, level surface (we recommend a hard floor rather than carpet) switch it on and wait for it to warm up.
  • Once it's ready, press the calibration button on your scale. Depending on the model, this might come with one of a few names: Cal, Function, Cal/Mode, or just Mode.
  • Press the button until the scales are showing zero.
  • Next, put your weighty object onto the scales, making sure they are evenly spread out.
  • Wait until your scales have measured the weight.
  • You should then see something on your display to indicate that the measurement is complete. It might say Cal, End, or 0. When this appears, press the calibration button again, and this should finish the calibration process. You can now remove your object from the scales.
  • Scales will normally switch off once you've done this. If yours does not, then manually switch it off.
  • Finally, test your scale to make sure it has worked. Turn it back on, and put the same weight you just used back on. If the weight is the same as you saw previously, then you know it is working. If you don't get the same weight, you can try calibrating again. It may also indicate that it's time for a new scale.
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how to calibrate bathroom scales
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Credit: Omron Healthcare

What Is Calibration And Why Should You Calibrate Bathroom Scales?

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Simply put, calibration is telling your scales what a baseline weight is so that it can then provide accurate weight measurements when you use it.

Why does this matter? Well, primarily because accurate readings will give you a true picture of your health. You might be unsure of how much you weigh, or you may have a target weight you want to reach. If your scales aren't accurate, you won't be able to know what the reality is.

Other Tips For Accurate Weighing

Once you've calibrated your scales, the next thing is to ensure you are helping to make the reading as accurate as possible. There are a few things you can do for this:

  • Ensure that the scale is level and on a hard surface
  • Allow your digital scale to self-calibrate. Check the user manual for the process specific to your scale. But usually, it means waiting until the scales are displaying a zero before stepping onto them. Not doing this can skew the results.
  • Weigh yourself at the same time of day, preferably in the morning before eating or drinking anything, and ideally, after you've toileted. This is known as your 'dry weight'.
  • Don’t exercise, shower or swim immediately before weighing yourself.
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And one other pointer: our weight can fluctuate significantly for a variety of reasons: hormones, food and water intake, and even the time of day can all be a factor. So a single reading on any one day won't tell you the whole story. It's only by weighing yourself consistently over a period of time that you'll start to see a full picture form, to let you know how you are doing.

Looking For Bathroom Scales?

If you're in the market for some new scales, then here are some of the standout options that we think are worth considering:

  • Withings Body Cardio - a great-looking set of scales that also offer pretty comprehensive health monitoring features, such as weight, BMI, body fat percentage, muscle and bone mass, and heart health.
  • Fitbit Aria Air - if you're one of the millions of people who already owns a Fitbit smartwatch or fitness tracker, then this is a great add-on to help build a comprehensive picture of your health. It will integrate seamlessly with the Fitbit app, and allows you to track weight and BMI.
  • Omron Healthcare HBF-514C - these also offer a comprehensive overview of your body composition - body fat percentage, BMI, resting metabolism, visceral fat, and of course, your weight. And they also have a handle element, which Omron suggest offers more accurate readings than foot-to-foot measurements.
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As ever, it's worth doing your research to make sure that these products will be right for you and your needs.