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Are digital or analog scales more accurate?

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Old 05-05-2010, 03:51 PM   #1
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Default Are digital or analog scales more accurate?

I was in a back room at work and noticed one of those heavy-duty non-digital scales like this guy, so obviously I jumped on to see what it would say (furtively looking over my shoulder lest anyone catch a glimpse of my weight, lol). Well, with my clothes and shoes on it read 280 on the dot, both times I got on it. And it was flush at 0 with me off of it. This is a couple of pounds lower than my digital, which was bouncing around between 281.2 and 281.8 this morning.

Is it likely that the non-digital was accurate? I doubt it, but I figured I'd ask just in case because it would be nice to be a little lighter than I thought

For reference, my digital is a cheapo $15 one, and the office is clearly a more expensive one, but does digital automatically mean more accurate?
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:09 PM   #2
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I would tend to think that digital ones are more accurate, but that's just what my gut feeling without doing any research.
Having said that, you have realize that there ALWAYS will be some difference when going from one scale to another. I don't think there is anything wrong with the digital one, it's only just a number anyway. As long as you stick to the same scale, you will see the trend (whether your weight is going up or down). A pound here or there does not matter.
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:22 PM   #3
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Higher precision does not mean higher accuracy.

Digital scales generally give you more precision. But they give you way more precision than you need, really, as your weight can fluctuate by 0.1 or 0.2 pounds just by putting on a sweater, or drinking a glass of water, or taking off your glasses.

Accuracy, though - how true the readout number is to the actual weight - depends on too many factors to be assessed with lump statements like "digital scales are more accurate." Factors such as zeroing, non-linearity, calibration - the accuracy of the scale depends upon these factors and more, which are determined by the quality of manufacture and the type of scale. You can't really make generalities. A very expensive analog scale might be more accurate than a cheap digital scale, even though the digital scale shows you more digits.

This is why you really can't compare your weight from scale to scale. As Tomato says, it's the trend over time (and I'll add, over a *lot* of time) that matters.
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:39 PM   #4
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You're right, I know the only important thing is the change, and I am seeing a loss, but I'm kind of obsessive and want to know NOW! Lol. I guess I will test my home scale against an object whose weight I know and go with that.
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:49 PM   #5
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I had one of those scales, and if someone over the max weight steps on it it will totally put it out of skew to the tune of about 13 pounds in the case of the one I had. So I tend to be wary of those ones.
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Old 05-05-2010, 06:51 PM   #6
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my problem with analog scales is that its too easy to fudge. the number moves around if you stand on them and lean forward, or lean back, or if you stand on them in different positions. i always go digital
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Old 05-06-2010, 09:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juliastl27 View Post
my problem with analog scales is that its too easy to fudge. the number moves around if you stand on them and lean forward, or lean back, or if you stand on them in different positions. i always go digital
I have that problem with my digital. I have to get on and off of it up to 5 times before I get the same number twice, and if I move at all during the weighing it bounces around. I think I'm just going to go buy a better scale.
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