Consumer Reports tests best bathroom scales

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Today's digital devices do so much more than simply display pounds. (WPVI)

Research shows stepping on the scale frequently can be an effective motivator to help you shed weight and keep it off.

But today's digital devices do so much more than simply display pounds.

Consumer Reports tested six scales, which not only measure weight but also things like body mass index and fat.

"These scales work by passing a very small electrical current through your body. Electrical current passes differently through fat and muscle and based on the amount of current, they can determine your body composition," said Bernie Deitrick from Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports tested accuracy by sending volunteers to a university lab where they measured body fat using a highly sophisticated device called a Bod Pod.

Testers used this scientific benchmark for each volunteer to assess a scale's accuracy at reporting body fat.

None of them came close to the numbers from the Bod Pod for all the volunteers.

"They weren't very accurate at measuring body fat, but they were consistent. So if you want to track your body fat composition over time, they are useful," said Bernie.

That said, the $80 dollar Tanita provides the best combination of accuracy for weight and consistence for body fat.

The $130 dollar Fitbit Aria Smart Scale can send results right to your smartphone via WiFi.

"It's useful to know how much body fat you have, but a better indication of your overall health is body mass index, which you can calculate knowing your height and your weight," said Bernie.

This means all you really need is a basic scale like this Consumer Reports top-rated Taylor 7506, for $25 dollars. It's another good reminder that sometimes less is more.

Your body mass index can be a good indicator of obesity. You can calculate your BMI with a simple formula.

Click here for more information about the scales tested by Consumer Reports.

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