Why Do I Weigh Less on Carpet?

Why Do I Weigh Less on Carpet?

Most scales are kept in a bathroom because it’s the easiest and most accurate location to weigh yourself, but do you know why? It’s not just because weighing yourself without clothes before or after you get out of the shower is convenient. It’s also because most bathrooms have a hard floor that isn’t carpet. 

Weighing yourself on a carpet can give you an inaccurate reading. That’s why it’s important to know how scales work and why you should never weigh yourself on a scale that’s on a carpet. 

How Does a Scale Work?


To understand how different surfaces can give different readings, we must first understand how a scale works.

A scale has load cells under the surface of the scale that you stand on. These load cells bend when weight is placed on the surface. The bend of the load cells is registered and calculated within the scale to provide a weight measurement reading. 

There are four feet on the scale to provide stability and keep the scale even. If the scale has more weight on one of the feet than another, the load cells can bend and cause an inaccurate reading. 

Low-profile scales sit close to the ground, with little room between the ground's surface and the scale's bottom. This is why using a low-profile scale on a hardwood floor, or another hard flat surface is so important.

What Happens if You Use a Low-Profile Scale on a Carpet?


Image courtesy of: https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/5344/weight-on-carpet-vs-hard-floor

When you place a scale on carpeted floors or rugs, you can cause the load cells to bend from the carpet fibers below. This can give an inaccurate reading of what you’re trying to weigh. The downward force of the load cells is how objects are weighed, so when there is an upward force to the load cells, it can cause the load cells to minimize the bend.

So, what does this do? This makes the object you’re weighing appear to weigh less than what it truly does. That’s because there is less of a downward bend in the load cells due to the upward force of the carpet below. The less of a downward bend in a scale, the less the object will weigh.

A scale will still work on a carpet; you just need to be mindful that the reading may not be 100% accurate. If using a scale on a carpet is your only means of weighing yourself because you don’t have a hard surface, then you should absolutely use a scale on the carpet or rugs. Remember that the weight reading you get is likely less than your actual weight.

There are other options you can try if you have to use a scale on a thick carpet or an uneven floor.

You can place a plank of wood on the carpet to set your scale onto before you weigh yourself. This hard surface will help prevent any upward force of the carpet from minimizing the downward bend of the load cells, giving you a more accurate reading. 

You can also try to adjust the height of the feet on the scale to make the scale sit higher off the carpet fibers. This will prevent the carpet from creating an upward bend to the load cells. 

If neither of these two options works for you, then you can use the scale on the carpeted floor. Just remember that the reading may be less than your actual weight.

You Can Also Weigh More on a Carpet

Sometimes, using a scale on a carpet can cause you to weigh more. This mostly happens when using an analog scale on a carpet. The load cells in an analog scale won’t bend as much, increasing the distance between the fulcrums in the scale. This causes the object to have an increased weight reading rather than a decreased weight reading. 


If you’re using a bathroom scale to weigh yourself, we recommend always finding a solid floor with no carpet or rug underneath. This will give you the most accurate body weight reading. If you don’t have a solid surface you can place the scale onto for an accurate reading, try to adjust the feet of the scale as high as they will go so that the bottom of the scale doesn’t come into contact with the carpet below to create an upward force and an inaccurate weight reading.