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Problems With Weighing Scales And How To Read Weights Accurately

Both the analog and digital weighing scales could present some challenges when obtaining accurate readings from them. However, there are a few dos and don’ts that can help you to check your weight accurately without much trouble.

Before we look at those dos and don’ts, remember that certain things we introduce in the process can affect the accuracy of the reading displayed. It may either result in a ‘false high’ or ‘false low’ reading. Other factors too that relate specifically to the weighing scale itself can affect accuracy in the reading and so need to be checked.

How to get an accurate weight reading

In order to get accurate weight reading, you have to do the following when recording your weight.

  1. Calibrate the scale. 
    1. With the analog weighing scales, calibrating it means bringing the pointer to lie exactly on zero when there is no weight on it. Avoid any form of parallax error
    2. Most digital weighing scales have calibration or rest buttons. So, do well to calibrate the scale as often as possible.
  2. If the scale uses batteries (dry cells) then make sure that the batteries are active. To be on the safer side change the batteries for a new one when you realize these signs;
  • Inconsistent scale reading
  • Unclear display readings/ low display readability
  • Unstable readings and 
  • Rusted batteries/ corroded battery terminals
  1. Keep the weighing scale on a flat and hard surface so as to avoid the tilting of the scale when you stand on it. This is important because you may get a wrong reading if your weight is not evenly spread over the scale.
  2. Remove any personal ornaments on you that may add up some weight. Some of these include wristwatches, shoes, heavy bangles, etc.  
  3. Mount the weighing scale with both legs without any shoes on (since the shoes can add up some weight).
  4. Stand straight and do not bend. If possible get another person to do the reading for you. This is to prevent you from bending down to read it by yourself. By bending down while taking the weight reading, you will be introducing a margin of error in the reading. This kind of error may be significant sometimes so try and avoid it.
  5. Do well to stand on it for a few seconds to minutes for the scale to completely read your weight. The very first value obtained after mounting it may not necessarily be your exact weight. Usually, at the first instance, there is some form of extra pressure exerted and some scales may take a while to adjust. When your weight is evenly distributed on the scale, it will automatically adjust and give you the right reading.
  6. Do well to keep your arms by your body when taking the reading since spreading your arms can also introduce some margin of error in the weight reading.
  7. After the reading has been recorded, you can now unmount the scale.
  8. It is also recommended that you check the weight more than once to be sure of the value recorded.
Image by kalhh from Pixabay

How do I know my weighing scale is accurate?

Do the following if you want to know that your weighing scale is accurate or not.

  1. If it is an analog scale, make sure that the pointer is on zero (in the case of digital scales, make sure it displays a zero reading) when it bears no weight. Or calibrate the weighing scale
  2. Weigh something of known weight.
  3. Weigh two different things and weigh them individually before adding the individual weight to see if it gives you the same value
  4. Weigh a particular thing multiple times to see how close or far each reading is from the other (Accuracy and precision)
  5. Check if your batteries are not dead. If you are not sure about that, replace them with new ones.

If you want to know whether you are overweight or not check out this post: How to know if you are overweight


Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.

His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.

He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.

Chief Editor at Wapomu.com

MPSGH, MRPharmS, MPhil.

Isaiah Amoo is a practicing community pharmacist in good standing with the Pharmacy Council of Ghana who has meaningful experience in academia and industrial pharmacy. He is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, England, UK and currently pursuing his overseas pharmacy assessment programme (MSc) at Aston University, UK. He had his MPhil degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He has about 5 years’ experience as a community Pharmacist and has also taught in academic institutions like KNUST, Kumasi Technical University, Royal Ann College of Health, and G-Health Consult. He likes to spend time reading medical research articles and loves sharing his knowledge with others.

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