Your Bathroom Scale Guide

Go into any home-products store or browse online and you're likely to be overwhelmed by the sheer variety of scales for sale. So what's really important when making this purchase?

The first choice you'll need to make is between the two main types of bathroom scales: Digital and analog. Digital scales use batteries and offer readouts on an electronic screen. Analog scales are the more old-fashioned kind that employ internal springs and indicate the user's weight via a needle that points to the number. Most experts recommend that consumers buy digital scales, as analog scales are more fragile and can wear out faster. Also, they can be harder to read, as weight is measured in greater increments with a needle that may wobble. One exception is a professional analog scale, such as those found in physicians' offices, which are quite sturdy and accurate. But most users will probably find them too cumbersome and expensive for regular home use.

Digital scales run the gamut from basic, inexpensive models to high-end versions. Here are some of the features you may want to consider:

Small Weight Increments. Your scale should break down your weight by the ounce or, at the very least, the quarter-pound. A scale that only offers whole numbers may not give you the encouragement you need if you're losing slowly.

Body Scanners. Some versions don't just tell you your weight, they offer feedback on your percentage of body fat, water, and bone and muscle mass. This can be helpful if you think you're retaining fluid or if you've added a pound or two since starting a strength-training routine.

Solar Power. If you don't relish changing batteries frequently and if you've got a sunny bathroom, a scale that uses solar energy may be appealing.

Wi-Fi Connectivity. If you're a gadget guru, you might go for a scale that sends your weight information to a computer or mobile device so you can keep track of your progress anywhere.