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There are various situations where weighing yourself becomes necessary, such as determining eligibility for blood donation based on weight. However, purchasing a personal scale might not always be feasible for everyone. If you’re seeking a free option to weigh yourself, several businesses provide this service, and you can probably find nearby locations that offer it.
Common places offering free access to scales include pharmacies, fitness centers, or health-focused stores. It’s important to note that while these businesses typically offer this service, it’s not guaranteed that every branch or location will have a scale available for public use.
To ensure availability, it’s advisable to contact or visit your chosen location beforehand to confirm if they provide access to a scale for public use.
Finding a free scale
To find a free scale, go to places like pharmacies such as CVS or Walgreens. They often have scales for public use. Superstores like Target or Walmart, along with department stores such as Dillard’s or Macy’s, might also have floor model scales in their home goods sections that you can try for free.
Fitness centers also offer scales in locker rooms, but these are usually available if you have a membership. You might have to pay for a membership to use the scales at the fitness center.
Weight vs. Mass
The distinction between weight and mass boils down to gravity. Mass refers to the amount of matter in an object and remains constant regardless of location—whether on Earth, the moon, or any other planet. For instance, your body possesses a specific mass that doesn’t alter wherever you are.
On the other hand, weight measures the force exerted on an object due to gravity. It’s the measure of how heavy an object is relative to the gravitational pull acting upon it. This means that your weight will differ based on the gravitational force of the celestial body you’re on. Therefore, a scale measures your weight, not your mass, because it quantifies how much gravity pulls on your mass at a particular location.
How often should you weigh yourself?
How often you should weigh yourself depends on your goals and what works best for you. Despite daily weight fluctuations due to changes in body water, frequent weigh-ins can provide valuable insights into your body’s patterns and overall trends.
Consistency matters when weighing yourself. Try to weigh at the same time each day, preferably in the morning after using the bathroom. This consistency helps establish a baseline for accurate measurements.
Regularly checking your weight doesn’t just offer data on body mass changes; it also helps with sticking to a calorie deficit and achieving better fat loss. Studies suggest that frequent monitoring promotes awareness of how your actions affect your results.
However, relying solely on the scale isn’t recommended. It’s essential to use multiple methods to track progress, such as measuring body dimensions, taking photos, noticing changes in clothing fit, and paying attention to what you see in the mirror.
The scale offers immediate feedback, but your primary focus should be on overall progress rather than just the number on the scale. Nevertheless, data from the scale is a valuable tool in achieving your desired results.
Places to weigh yourself for free
The locations listed have scales that you can use at little or no cost. While the usage requirements aren’t usually stringent, we’ve compiled some useful tips for each place. Additionally, we offer guidance on locating the scales upon arrival.
The list is arranged to prioritize places where you’re more likely to find easily accessible scales, and where the likelihood of using them for free is higher.
1. Publix (or other local grocery store)
In Florida, many locals are familiar with the distinct Publix supermarket experience, marked by the iconic scales at the entrance. These scales, crafted in an industrial style, are made by a Swiss company called Mettler Toledo. Although they are no longer being manufactured, they remain available for free public use within the store.
The concept of placing scales in grocery stores originated from George Jenkins, the founder of Publix. During the 1940s when household scales were uncommon, shop owners charged a small fee for patrons to use scales. Jenkins, envisioning an enticing shopping experience, introduced the idea of offering free scales within his stores. He aimed to encourage customers to weigh themselves and then become captivated by the allure of the supermarket.
Reflecting on Jenkins’ innovative idea, a Publix historian remarked that he hoped people, upon entering, would be drawn in by the aroma of fresh donuts, vibrant displays, and the refreshing coolness of the store.
Jenkins’ strategy proved successful, as people continue to use these scales regularly. Late-night visits often witness individuals checking their suitcases’ weight to ensure they comply with airline baggage limits.
These distinctive scales are exclusive to Florida-based Publix stores. However, you might want to inquire at your local grocery store to see if they offer a similar feature!
Pharmacies provide free access to blood pressure machines without any specific requirements. You can use these machines at your convenience whenever the store is open, and they are commonly found at popular pharmacy chains like Walgreens, CVS, and in superstores such as Walmart or Target. The more recent versions of these machines often include a seat that functions as a scale as well.
To locate the nearest pharmacy offering these blood pressure machines, a simple Google search for “pharmacies near me” should provide the necessary information. Once inside the store, these machines are usually positioned near the pharmacy counter for easy access and use.
Most gyms have scales in locker rooms or bathrooms for members’ use. Even if you’re not a member, you can often request a free tour to check out the facilities and use the scale on a case-by-case basis at big-chain gyms.
If you live in a community with a homeowner’s association (HOA), your monthly fee might include access to a gym. Check with the clubhouse or management to see if you have access to their facilities, which usually include a free-to-use scale.
Many employers offer gym facilities for employees or provide perks like free or discounted memberships to local gyms. Explore your employee benefits package to find out if you have access to a gym through work, where you can often find a scale to use.
In summary, even if you’re not directly aware of a gym membership, there are several avenues to access a scale for weighing yourself, such as through gyms’ trial tours, community facilities, or employer benefits, making it relatively easy to find one.
4. Department stores
Department stores like Dillard’s, JCPenney, Sears, or Macy’s usually offer household scales without specific prerequisites; customers can test floor models before purchasing. To find these scales, visit the home goods or bathroom section in your nearest department store.
5. Higi Station
Higi operates a vast network of over six thousand FDA-cleared healthcare stations known as Higi Stations. These stations offer free screenings for blood pressure, weight, and BMI. Their primary aim is to bridge the gap between physical and digital healthcare experiences.
When you visit a Higi Station, you have the option to sign up for their free platform, enabling you to monitor your health data over time. Alternatively, you can use the station as a guest without signing up.
The company’s objective is to make health monitoring accessible to consumers nationwide. Higi Stations are strategically placed across almost every state in the country, aiming to reach people wherever they are located.
To find a nearby Higi Station, you can easily check their website by entering your zip code. This allows you to locate and use a station in your vicinity for health screenings and tracking.
6. YMCA (or other community and fitness Centers)
Your local YMCA or community center focuses on supporting young people, promoting healthy lifestyles, and encouraging social responsibility. With over 2,700 locations, there’s a good chance you’ll find a YMCA near you.
As a member, you can easily access facilities like free weight measurement services. But being a member means more than just that.
The YMCA provides a range of benefits, such as group fitness classes and personalized training programs. They cater to various interests and abilities, aiming to enhance physical fitness, education, and social engagement.
Signing up for a YMCA membership also includes a complimentary fitness assessment conducted by a certified personal trainer. This assessment is a great tool to consistently track your weight and fitness progress.
These perks are specifically offered by the YMCA, but it’s essential to verify these amenities with your local branch. Additionally, there might be similar fitness facilities nearby that offer comparable benefits, so exploring options in your area could be worthwhile.
7. Doctor’s office or Medical center
When you have your yearly check-up, your weight will be measured as part of the assessment. So, you’re guaranteed to have your weight checked at least once annually.
If you have a good relationship with your main healthcare provider, you can ask to drop in occasionally for a free weight check. Most providers are supportive and happy to assist in monitoring your weight and achieving your health goals.
You can also inquire at local medical centers, urgent care facilities, or hospitals. Despite it seeming like an unusual request, people are often willing to help.
The scales in these places are usually more accurate than generic digital scales found in stores. They’re regularly calibrated and of higher quality.
8. Student health centers and nurse’s office
Student Health Centers and Nurse’s Offices are places commonly found in educational institutions such as grade schools, middle schools, high schools, and colleges. They often have weighing scales available for students to use.
If you’re in any of these educational levels and you need to weigh yourself, you can usually do so by asking the nurse at the office.
To locate the weighing scale, if you’re in grade school, middle school, or high school, you should visit the nurse’s office. For college students, you can find weighing scales in either the nurse’s office or the student health center.
If you’re traveling and need to weigh yourself without spending money, here’s a handy tip: Firstly, ask your hotel if they provide free scales in the rooms, especially if it’s a higher-end hotel. If not, you’ll likely find scales available in common areas like the lobby, bathroom, or the fitness center.
These places often have scales accessible to guests, and the fitness center, in particular, is usually open around the clock or for extended hours. It’s a convenient way to check your weight while on the road, though it’s not meant for continuous use.
Keep in mind, however, that focusing on weight while traveling might dampen the joy of your trip, so consider if it’s essential for you.
10. Pet stores
These stores primarily cater to pet-related needs, selling items like food, toys, and accessories for various animals such as dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, and fish. The scales found in pet stores serve the purpose of weighing animals for health monitoring and sometimes billing purposes.
It’s generally acceptable for the public to use these scales to weigh themselves, provided they’re placed in areas accessible to everyone, like the store’s public sections. However, it’s essential to avoid using scales situated in restricted areas, such as the grooming or veterinary sections, where access might be limited to staff or customers with specific needs.
To find a nearby pet store, a quick online search using search engines like Google can help. Typing “pet stores near me” in the search bar will usually generate a list of nearby stores, including major chains like Petco or PetSmart, enabling individuals to locate these stores in their vicinity for pet supplies or to use the available weighing scales.
11. Weight-loss groups
Joining a weight-loss group can be a smart choice if you’re struggling to break through a weight-loss plateau. These groups offer more than just regular weight monitoring.
They provide a range of benefits. Firstly, they offer accountability and social support. Being part of a group of people with similar goals can motivate you to consistently make healthy choices each day. This support system can be uplifting during tough times and celebratory during successes.
Additionally, these groups follow a structured approach that provides educational resources and shared strategies for maintaining weight loss. They also offer progress tracking, which can be encouraging to see your advancement.
Before joining, it’s essential to research and find a group that suits your preferences. Consider well-known options like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, as well as groups sponsored by health clinics or local practitioners. While virtual support groups are available, they might lack the convenience of having access to free scales for monitoring weight.
12. Family or friend’s house
The idea is to make weighing yourself more enjoyable by turning it into a friendly weight-loss competition with friends, family, or neighbors.
Here’s how it works:
- Get a Supportive Group: Find people willing to join a weight-loss challenge. This could be family members, friends, or neighbors interested in getting healthier.
- Create Daily Challenges: Set daily wellness tasks that promote overall health. This could include exercises, healthy eating habits, mindfulness practices, or other wellness-related activities.
- Weight Loss Competition: Track weight loss progress over a specific time period. The winner is determined by the highest percentage of weight lost.
- Add a Wager: To make it more engaging, each participant can contribute a small amount, like ten dollars, to create a prize pool. The winner and runner-ups with the most significant weight loss percentage would split the pot.
- Supportive Environment: This creates a supportive and encouraging environment for weight loss among people you care about. It’s a more relaxed and intimate setting compared to formal weight-loss groups.
- Access to a Scale: Being part of this group ensures you have regular access to a scale for free, making it convenient to track progress.
By turning weight loss into a friendly competition within a trusted group, it can make the process more enjoyable and motivating, providing support and encouragement along the way.
13. Community health fairs
Community Health Fairs offer an excellent opportunity not only to have your weight checked at no cost but also to support your overall health and well-being. These events are often organized by local health authorities or healthcare institutions, such as schools, and they periodically provide free clinics throughout the year.
Participating in these events serves a dual purpose: it allows healthcare students to gain practical experience in assessing patients and recording vital signs while offering valuable healthcare services to the community. These clinics typically include screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol levels, glucose, and Body Mass Index (BMI). Weight assessment is a fundamental part of these screenings.
It’s essential to note that these clinics are usually supervised by professors or experienced healthcare professionals. If you’re comfortable with students performing these basic health functions under supervision, these events are an excellent opportunity for you to take advantage of.
Moreover, apart from the weight check, these screenings offer a wealth of health information. They often provide guidance on managing conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and dietary recommendations. This information can significantly benefit individuals on a weight-loss journey.
14. Public restrooms
Public restrooms in places like malls, movie theaters, and gas stations sometimes feature scales for public use. However, if you’re specifically seeking out this amenity, truck stops are your most reliable option.
These stops often provide not only restrooms but also additional facilities such as showers, laundry services, and scales. To find a scale in a public restroom, keep an eye out near the entrance during your next visit. Do note that the presence of scales can differ significantly depending on the location you visit.
15. Miscellaneous options online
If you’re open to using a pre-owned scale for yourself, there are a few options to explore. Websites such as Freecycle or Facebook Marketplace often have people giving away items for free, including bathroom scales. You can also check platforms like OfferUp or Goodwill, where scales are usually available at significantly reduced prices.
Another avenue to consider is looking into your insurance policy’s online benefits section. Some policies might offer provisions that help cover the cost of a scale and have it delivered to your doorstep.
While these options may not always provide a free scale, they typically offer much better deals compared to buying brand new from regular stores.
Places without scales
These types of establishments usually don’t have scales available for checking weight:
Bars: Bars primarily focus on serving drinks and socializing, so having a scale might not align with their atmosphere or purpose. Additionally, concerns about promoting body image or self-esteem issues may discourage the presence of scales in such settings.
Clothing stores: While clothing stores might be interested in helping customers find the right size, having a scale might not be practical or necessary for their business. Instead, they rely on sizing charts, fitting rooms, and staff assistance to assist customers in finding suitable clothing.
Coffee shops: Coffee shops generally prioritize providing a relaxed environment for enjoying beverages and conversations. Including a scale might not fit their ambiance or the services they offer, which are mainly centered around coffee and socializing.
Concert venues: Concert venues are spaces designed for music performances and entertainment. The focus is on the stage, sound quality, and audience experience, making the inclusion of scales irrelevant to their primary purpose.
Hair salons: Hair salons concentrate on haircare services like cutting, styling, and coloring. Including a scale might not be necessary for their operations, and it might not align with the atmosphere that hair salons aim to create for their clients’ comfort.
Libraries: Libraries are dedicated to providing access to books, resources, and a quiet space for studying or reading. Scales typically don’t have a place in this setting, as libraries prioritize an environment conducive to learning and research.
Museums: Museums focus on exhibiting art, history, science, or cultural artifacts. These places aim to educate and inspire visitors, and the presence of scales doesn’t usually correlate with their thematic exhibitions or educational objectives.
Nail salons: Nail salons specialize in nail care services like manicures and pedicures. While self-care is promoted in these places, the inclusion of scales might not be part of their standard services or necessary for the services they provide.
Restaurants: Restaurants primarily focus on offering food and dining experiences to customers. Scales are not typically part of their setup because their emphasis is on providing meals, service, and ambiance rather than weighing customers.
The bottom line
If you’re looking for a place to weigh yourself without spending any money, there are a few options available that won’t cost you a dime.
Gyms and Fitness Centers: If you’re a member of a gym or fitness center, chances are they have scales in the locker rooms or other communal areas. Gyms usually provide scales so members can track their progress. It’s important to stick to the same scale for consistent measurements.
Local Community Centers: Many community centers, recreational facilities, and public spaces offer scales for public use as part of their health initiatives. Checking with these places might lead you to a free scale.
Pharmacies and Drugstores: Some pharmacies and drugstores have scales available for customers. These scales are typically placed in a specific area of the store. Although these scales aim to promote health, keep in mind that they might lack privacy compared to home scales.
Health Clinics: Certain health clinics or medical offices have scales in their waiting areas. If you have an appointment or are visiting for any reason, you might get the chance to weigh yourself there.
Wellness Events: Keep an eye out for community wellness events or health fairs. Sometimes, these events offer free health screenings, including weight measurements.
Friends or Family: If you have friends or family with scales at home, consider asking to use theirs occasionally. To ensure accuracy, it’s crucial to stick to the same scale every time you weigh yourself.