What is the difference between home scales and medical weighing scales?

Home scales are a must-have for your bathroom. Whether you’re using weight as a metric for regularly monitoring your body health - or you just want to ‘check in’ on your body weight every couple of weeks or so - having a weighing scale in your bathroom is very convenient.

These days, weighing scales can be purchased at your local supermarket, your pharmacy and online too. The choice is greater than ever before - and prices can be very low.

But wait - why is there such a difference in prices between scales? Why would a Marsden scale cost you more than, say, a scale you’ve just found on Amazon? The answer is quality and reliability - and when you rely on your scales to tell you the truth, it’s important to know they’re accurate.

In this blog post, we outline the difference between ‘cheap’ home scales and professional medical scales - and why choosing which one to go with when you make your purchase can have a big impact on your dietary and fitness plans further down the line.


More often than not, cheap bathroom scales are built from lower quality components, as they are created with a lower budget in mind. They also tend to be mass produced and therefore do not undergo the same calibre of testing, if any, that medical scales do. As a result, they’re more likely to break and will do so at a much quicker rate than a high quality scale.

Class III Approved medical scales, on the other hand, use high quality parts to ensure that the scales can last much longer than the standard bathroom scale. In the medical profession scales are used every single day, sometimes multiple times a day, and are expected to be much more durable than a cheaper bathroom scale. So, although the cost may be higher, you’re actually purchasing a better value scale, that will outlast anything you could purchase from your local supermarket.


As doctors may be prescribing dosage for medication of the weight they display, all professional medical scales need to be Class III Approved. These patient weighing scales are legal for medical use and, as a result, are significantly more accurate than the average bathroom scale.

You may have noticed that your home scales don’t show the same weight as the scales at your GP or slimming group. This undoubtedly leads to some confusion. But, it’s because supermarket scales are not held to the same standard as professional scales, so can get away with being inaccurate.

This blog post summarises these inaccuracies: a mum weighed herself on 10 different scales and records how their results compare to each other. Only 3 of the scales recorded the same as her own scale and, when a 45-pound weight was tested on the scales, none of the scales displayed the correct weight.

It's important to be careful with inaccurate scales, as they can give you the wrong impression of how healthy your body is. If it shows a much higher weight than you actually are; this could then lead to misconceptions surrounding weight gain - especially in teenagers. By making decisions based on this incorrect weight, you could end up harming your body more than you’re helping it.

The result is that you won’t have a clear understanding of your weight, or worse have an inaccurate one.

My scales vs other scales

When it comes to scale quality, the Class III Approved scales used in the medical sector are the most reliable for weighing. This is because they’re legally required to provide repeat results when tested.

Scales used in gyms also tend to be of a high quality .Typically most gyms choose to use Class III Approved scales, however sometimes they choose a different scale of an equivalent quality and accuracy.

As discussed previously, bathroom scales do not tend to be of a high quality. They are cheaply made and provide varying results when tested. It’s recommended to purchase a slightly more expensive, long-lasting scale than a supermarket version, because that way you know you will be seeing your actual weight, rather than an incorrect one. When you next go to your GP, wouldn’t you rather see the same weight you see on your scale at home, rather than one that’s 3lbs above what you thought? How will that affect your motivation and mental state?

My scales vs other scales

Digital scales are more reliable than mechanical scales because there’s less things to go wrong. For starters, a traditional analog scale has more parts than a digital scale so, simply, there are more parts that can break.

Furthermore, a report by BMC Public Health discovered that the mechanical scale was incorrect by an average initial weight of 0.95kg.

Additionally, mechanical scales can be incorrectly read as a result of human error. Unlike digital scales, their display can be read wrong from different angles. This could create vastly different results, depending on angle and eyesight. Choosing a digital scale, not only provides precise results, but also negates the opportunity for human error.


We recommend using a medical scale at home if you’d like the ultimate accuracy in your weight loss goals, and if you want to avoid any confusion when it comes to understanding your weight. We’ve chosen a handful of our scales that would work in this scenario, check them out below:

The M-550 Floor Scale is Marsden’s lowest priced Class III Approved medical scale, yet has a range of convenient and easy to use functions and is also covered by the Marsden 4 Year Warranty. It has a capacity of 160kg with graduations as low as 200g below 100kg, increasing to 500g after that.

The M-430 Floor Scale is robust and long-lasting thanks to its stainless steel construct. It has a capacity of 220kg with graduations of 200g. It is a highly dependable, digital alternative to dial scales, and widely used around the world.

The M-545 Floor Scale features a new, easy-to-use remote indicator and also has Body Surface Area (BSA) and Body Mass Index (BMI) calculations built in.

All of these scales are covered by the Marsden 4 Year Warranty.

Further Reading

We've mentioned Class III Appoved Scales in this article, but what are they?

While we’ve dipped into it in this post, we actually have a whole blog post comparing mechanical scales to digital scales.

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