We constructed a new type of global quality of life (QOL) scale deriving from the Borg symptom scales and compared four versions of this new type of scale (H scale) with four category rating (CR) scales and four visual analogue (VA) scales. Mean self-ratings and mean scenario ratings on different scales showed small but significant differences, and intercorrelations were higher amongst the H scales than amongst the CR or VA scales. H scales were on average most preferred (by undergraduates and elderly subjects) followed by CR and lastly VA scales in terms of case of use and perceived accuracy of representation. We investigated the preferred polarity of the scales: subjects preferred 'Perfect quality of life' to be indicated by 20 or 100 (with slight preference for the latter) rather than 0. The H scales have eight additional quantifiers between the end labels and there was good agreement about the perceived magnitude of these quantifiers.