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Introducing Bathroom Scales That Do More Than Carry Your Weight

Home * The appliances are undergoing a major make-over, with particular emphasis on more hip and modern designs that also offer better technology.

February 09, 2001|GREG MORAGO | HARTFORD COURANT

Sunbeam, the market leader in bathroom scales, is introducing a new line of 10 fashion scales designed to be as attractive as they are accurate. The scales are being introduced at the 2001 International Housewares Show in Chicago and go on sale to the public later this year. Rowenta, the German manufacturer of the world's leading high-performance irons, is branching out this year with its first bathroom scales for the U.S. market. And, like Sunbeam, Rowenta's three new scales focus on eye-catching design coupled with improved weight-gauge technology.

Since when did the scale go so upscale? The answer is clear to any homeowner or apartment dweller who has sought to upgrade a bathroom. Like the kitchen, which in the past decade has become the subject of many a make-over, the bathroom is going uptown. If you've invested in fancy shelving, showy tiling and shiny new fixtures, your clunky old bathroom scale isn't going to make the grade in the new fashion-conscious environment. If kitchen appliances can morph into gleaming objects of design desire, well, the bathroom scale can, too. And has.

"The trend now is that consumers are spending more money on appliances for the home. That's where high-end scales come in," said Jennifer Genest, spokeswoman for Rowenta. "More people are putting money into remodeling kitchens and bathrooms. If you're going to redo your bathroom, your old $10scale isn't going to cut it anymore. You want something that complements the work that you've done. You want a scale that has the technology but also focuses on the design."

According to HomeWorld Business, the leading newsmagazine serving the housewares industry, unit sales of bath scales has remained relatively flat over the past four years. But the money being spent on scales has risen each year since 1996. In 2000, Americans spent $182.6 million on bath scales.

One of Sunbeam's new fashion offerings is a scale that folds up like a laptop computer and can be stored horizontally. Both Sunbeam and Rowenta are offering dual-display scales that feature the traditional dial display and digital readout.

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For all the gussying up bathroom scales are going through, they still must do one thing well: measure your weight. If you're on any kind of diet or health routine, an accurate bathroom scale is essential.

"It's an important tool for weight loss. One of the principles of weight control is that you must be aware of what you are eating. You also need to know how much you weigh and how well you're doing. You need a scale that can measure your weight within a fraction of a pound," said Terry Dunkle, founder and president of DietPower, a nutrition and weight-loss software company based in Danbury, Conn.

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Dunkle's Web site http://(www.dietpower.com) sells the Planax brand bath scale for $59, which measures to the nearest 0.2 pound. One interesting note about the new breed of fashion scales: They're taking into account heavier Americans. Where traditional bath scales max out somewhere over 200 pounds, the new scales go up to 300 pounds --some to 350.

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