Everything is digital these days – our phones, our TVs, our cars, and now even household items like bathroom scales. But not everything has to be digital. Whether it is because you prefer a vintage look and feel or you simply do not want to fork out extra cash for something that you think is unnecessary, there are many reasons to buy a simple mechanical analog weight scale over a digital one. In this post we go over a list of the best non digital bathroom scales on the market.
Advantages of non-digital mechanical bathroom scales
There are a few ways in which mechanical scales have a significant advantage over digital scales:
- They are relatively hassle free – there is no need to change batteries, no need for any set-up with bluetooth connections and health apps.
- They are more eco-friendly – no batteries, no electricity needeed
- They are cheaper
While digital scales can do a lot more (for instance storing, tracking and monitoring data as well as being able to measure other things like body fat percentage) they do tend to cost more as well. So if you are not interested in the fancy functionality a non-digital scale is a good option.
Are mechanical scales less accurate than digital ones?
One of the most important considerations when purchasing a bathroom scale is how accurate they are. This is often used as an argument to say digital bathroom scales are better than mechanical ones.
Is this really true though? It’s important to look at how they work. I don’t want to get too technical but digital scales typically use a strain-gauge mechanism and mechanical scales use a spring mechanism. The digital scales use an analog-to-digital converter to translate the readings into digital information, much in the way that a CD or MP3 encoding sche digitizes the waveforms of music. But both types use mechanical components, it’s just that digital scales will display results digitally.
So while you can display more precise information digitally (for instance lbs to the nearest decimal point), there isn’t really any consensus that digital scales are inherently more accurate. It really depends on how the mechanical components have been set up and designed.
The important part about using a scale is the ability to reset it to zero, and make sure it is calibrated. Normally, a mechanical bathroom scale has a dial where you can manually set it to zero. Digital scales often reset automatically to zero.
Speaking of accuracy, the body fat analysis capabilities and other fancy metrics that some digital scales have are based on Bioelectrical impedance analysis which is not considered a particularly accurate or consistent measurement of those metrics. We have another article specifically about mechanical vs digital bathroom scales if you would like to know more.
Features to look out for in a non-digital mechanical scale
Before choosing your preferred mechanical/analog scale, you will want to consider the following features:
- Non-slip – does the platform have a rubberised non-slip material – obviously this makes things safer in a wet environment
- Platform size – some mechanical scales are larger than their digital counterparts – you’ll want to consider how this looks in your bathroom but a large platform is good for stability, particularly if you are a heavy person.
- Display – How large is it? In some scales you can see the entire dial and some just a part of it – this is more about aesthetics but might also something to consider if you don’t have great eyesight.
- Measurement units – If you measure yourself in lbs make sure the scale does too!
- Max weight – All scales have a maximum weight they can take – if you are a heavy person look out for this.
- Warranty – typically 5 years for these scales
Generally there are two ‘types’ of mechanical bathroom scales – the larger ‘doctor-style’ bathroom scales and the smaller normal-looking ones. The doctor-style bathroom scales generally have large platforms for larger feet and have higher weight thresholds. Aesthetically these scales may not look as trendy as other scales, but what they lose in looks they make up for with function and stability. They are better for larger/heavier people.
Top 5 Non-digital bathroom scales
Borg High-Accuracy Modern Dial Scale
Platform size: 14 x 12 inches
Max weight: 330 lbs
Warranty: 3 years
This scale has a modern and sleek design that fits in any bathroom. It is easy to calibrate, as it comes equipped with a cog so you can set it back to zero without any hassle It doesn’t have a non-slip platform so you just need to a big careful in a wet bathroom.
Health o Meter Scale with Oversized Dial and Extra Large Platform
Platform size: 17.9 x 12.7 inches (3.8 inches deep)
Max weight: 400 lbs
Warranty: 5 years
This extra large platform comes with a soft-touch mat so it is stable and comfortable, and able to handle weight up to 400 lbs. The analog design is easily adjusted, as it comes equipped with a cog so you can set it back to zero without any hassle. The oversized dial is designed for easy reading although some reviews on Amazon comment on the relatively small size of the numbers. Aesthetically, this may not look good in all bathrooms but it’s meant to be practical not beautiful.
KINLEE High Quality Stainless Steel Extra-Large Analog Dial Scale
Platform size: 18 x 13.4 inches
Max weight: 350 lbs
Warranty: 5 years
This is another extra large mechanical scale with an oversized dial. Good for stability and good for overweight people. A non-slip textured mat ensures easy and safe weighing. Like the Health o Meter scale, these scales are more about practicality than beauty. At 8.6 lbs it’s not great for moving around.
Taylor Mechanical Rotating Dial Scale
Platform size: 9.5 x 10 inches
Max weight: 300 lbs
Warranty: 5 years
Price: check on Amazon
Compared to the other scales on this list, this bathroom scale is compact and can fit into tight areas due to its design. You can still read weight at a glance with a rotating scale dial in 1-pound/1-kilogram increments. It’s a very simple and very affordable option.
Peachtree RB-125 Mechanical Bathroom Scale with Magnifying Lens Dial
Platform size: 10 x 10.2 inches
Max weight: 275 lbs
Warranty: 5 years
This is another lightweight, compact scale that can fit in tight spaces. It has a non-slip surface as well. And a mechanical dial with zero adjustment knob. This is also an affordable option for a simple mechanical bathroom scale.
How does a mechanical scale work?
Traditional mechanical scales measure weight using a spring mechanism. These are the basic principles of how it works:
1. Levers focus weight on a calibrated spring.
2. Dial or pointer rotates as spring stretches.
3. Weight appears in window or pointer indicates weight.
4. Mechanism also used on pulse count scales.
How can you ensure the bathroom scale is as accurate as possible?
If you are really concerned about accuracy there are a few things you can do to ensure your reading are accurate and consistent. This applies to mechanical as well as digital bathroom scales.
- Make sure the scale is on a hard surface – no carpets
- Make sure the scale is on an even level surface
- Use it at the same time whenever you weigh yourself – drinking, eating and activity throughout the day will change your weight, so choose a consistent time to weigh yourself. Mornings are good, before you have consumed anything for the day.
- Finally, calibrate your scale – mechanical scales usually have either a dial or knob located at their base. Find an object of known weight and place it on your scale. Use the knob to adjust the scale’s reading to the correct weight. Repeat this process regularly.
At the end of the day, if you are not that interested in storing and tracking your weight on an app, buying an old school mechanical bathroom scale is a really good option. These non digital scales are affordable, they are easy to set up, and they are pretty much just as reliable as their digital counterparts.