Today?s personal body scales no longer resemble clunky old lead weights that scrape along your bathroom tiles, to be drop-kicked into your laundry cupboard, never to see the light of day. In 2007, bathroom scales have become stylish bathroom accessories often made of tempered glass with chrome or stainless steel trims to complement contemporary bathroom fitouts.

They do so much more than indicate your weight, too. Many scales available today have the ability to assess your body mass (an assessment generally used by GPs and health experts to determine if a person is underweight, overweight or within a healthy weight range), your muscle ratio or even store multiple readings to help you manage your health and fitness. Gadgetguy.com.au Home appliance managing editor Ella Smith brings you some product highlights.

Style and intelligence from Joh Bailey

From Joh Bailey there?s the JBWB005 digital scales that calculate fat, water and muscle ratio as well as your overall body weight ($59.95 RRP). Then there?s Joh Bailey?s JBWB006 digital scales ($39.95 RRP), pictured below, with a memory function to store and compare current weight readings to the last record. Both models are finished in 8 mm tempered safety glass and have a weight capacity of 180 kg.

No need to hide your Sunbeam scales

Sunbeam?s Therapeutics battery operated wellbeing personal scales ($149.95 RRP) not only measure weight (in stones, pounds or kilograms, up to 150 kg) on an LED screen but also acts like an on-call personal trainer, with four other body measurement indicators including body fat, water percentage as well as bone and muscle mass. The company suggests body health is best assessed by comparing the balance of body fat and muscle, rather than considering body weight alone. The scales? water percentage indicator also ensures you monitor your hydration levels.

Included with these scales is a reference chart of standard measurements (divided by sex and age) and an auto-memory function that stores personal readings for future comparisons, for monitoring change in body composition over time.

Mind your BMI with Homedics

Homedics? HealthStation Memory Scale with BMI (SC-380 -$79.95 RRP) feature WeightPLUS technology which includes a body mass index (BMI) reading, last weight and BMI recall. Up to four users may use the scales as there are four user memory buttons and the scales can take up to 180 kg. Users can see their personal data, in pounds and kilograms, on a two-line, two inch LCD. A lithium battery is included and scales come with a lifetime guarantee.

Analyse more than fat: Homedics? Body Fat Analyzer and Scale

Homedics? HealthStation LCD Digital Scales (SC-560 – $129.95 RRP) use what?s known as bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) to determine body fat percentage, body water percentage, muscle and bone mass to a 0.1% accuracy. The scales feature four user memory buttons for storing data for up to four people, on a three line, 1.9 inch LCD. Both normal mode and athlete mode is available (for people whose body build is different from non-athletes) and you can switch between pounds and kilogram readouts. It operates on a 9 volt battery (not included).

Weight watchers from Weightwatchers

Weightwatchers? WW35 Body Fat Glass Scales measure and monitor both weight and body fat for up to 10 users using semiconductor technology (measuring weight at four points and finding the average) and bioelectrical impedence analysis (BIA). Made from chrome and glass, the scales have a 172 kg capacity (in kilograms and pounds) and feature a 3.3 cm digital display, with weight displayed in 0.05 kg increments. Powered by a lithium battery, the scales turn on with a light tap and come with a 10 year warranty.

What is BIA?

Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) is a method for estimating body composition. BIA determines the electrical impedance, or opposition to the flow of an electric current, of body tissues, which can be used to calculate an estimate of total body water (TBW). TBW can be used to estimate fat-free body mass and, by difference with body weight, body fat.