Lockdown has forced many of us into a more sedentary lifestyle than we’d like. So, for a number of people right now, smart scales are a great purchase. Not only will they help you to keep an eye on your weight but they’ll deliver important information on your body composition as well.
This is really helpful for people who want to improve their fitness, especially while we don’t have access to the gym.
The key benefit of smart scales over standard digital scales is the quality of the data you’ll get. You’ll be able to monitor changes to your weight and body composition and track your progress on your smartphone app. Seeing your progress in digits and graphs gives you positive psychological reinforcement and helps you to stay accountable.
For more information about smart scales, have a look at our guide below the round-up. And if you want to get a compatible fitness tracker, check out our recommendations for the best fitness trackers available.
1. Withings Body Cardio – Best Overall
Body Cardio is from health system developer Withings, though it's also sometimes sold under the Nokia brand, which previously owned Withings. It's the flagship model of a range that starts with the Body model that measures weight and BMI. Body+ adds body fat %, water %, muscle and bone mass. Body Cardio adds standing heart rate too.
The Withings Body Cardio does pretty much everything a smart scale can. It syncs with Withings' range of activity trackers for all-round fitness monitoring.
The Body Cardio is our favourite smart scale for the sheer number of stats and handy info like how much weight you've lost or gained since your last weigh-in. It's pricier than the others but offers just about everything you might possibly need. Our only complaint is the squiggly graphs on the mobile app.
It also offers a unique feature: Pulse Wave Velocity tracking, which could help you monitor your heart health.
Read our full Withings Body Cardio review
2. QardioBase 2 - Most stylish
The QardioBase 2 is as smart as it is stylish, offering a good range of body composition measurements, along with handy unique features like haptic feedback or the emoji display. Our only minor gripe is that the app doesn't make the most of all the data it gathers, but it does do more than enough for most.
It measures weight, BMI, body fat %, and muscle, bone and water mass.
The price is the only sticking point. The QardioBase 2 sits at a premium price point, and while it offers enough features to justify that price, it's worth remembering that you can get almost as much for a whole lot less from other manufacturers.
Read our full QardioBase 2 review
3. Eufy BodySense Smart Scale – Best Value
It's easy to recommend the Eufy BodySense Smart Scale at this price. If you're looking for an affordable alternative to the top-tier scales from the likes of Fitbit and Withings, this is a great option.
It offers 12 measurements including BMI, body fat percentage, muscle mass and more, and can sync with the Apple Health and Google Fit apps. These non-weight metrics have to be viewed in the Eufy app.
Up to 20 users can pair with the same set of scales, each able to set their own goals and track their own history and progression.
It misses out on some more advanced features such as haptic feedback, automatic user detection and the ability to see more than just your weight on the scales itself, but it offers a huge amount more than an ordinary set of digital scales and will be enough for most users.
Read our full Eufy BodySense Smart Scale review
4. Fitbit Aria Air – Basic scales with Fitbit integration
At less than half the price of the older, larger and slightly abler Fitbit Aria 2, the Aria Air expertly ticks the box that says "basic set of scales that wirelessly syncs with the Fitbit app".
It's a decent and affordable scale, and is easy to set up. Once you've done that, you just need to step on to measure your weight and monitor your progress in the Fitbit app - although, as the connection is via Bluetooth, you'll need your phone with you when you weigh yourself (with the Fitbit app open).
Read our full Fitbit Aria Air review
5. Eufy Smart Scale P1 – Body Age and Protein Measurements
If you want a simple smart scale that will track the core metrics in an easy-to-use app, can cover your whole family, and will sync up to the Google or Apple apps, there's really no reason to spend more than this.
On the other hand, there's also little reason to opt for the P1 over Eufy's own cheaper models like the BodySense, which will let you save a bit of money and only miss out on measurements that you don't really need - the body age and protein measurements here are nice-to-haves, but don't offer any deep insight into your health or weight.
This scale measures weight, body fat %, BMI, lean mass, bone, muscle and water mass, BMR and visceral fat. There's no Wi-Fi, no recharging, and no carpet support - but these are really the sort of premium touches that most people won't be worried about.
Read our full Eufy Smart Scale P1 review
Data beyond weight
Smart scales measure more than just weight. A decent set should also provide body mass index (BMI), lean mass and body fat percentage.
When monitoring health data, remember that the benchmarks given are just averages. An individual’s ideal measurements may differ from these, depending on various factors, and still be healthy. If you're worried about any of your stats, speak to your doctor.
Common health metrics for smart scales
BMI: Although BMI has come under fire from some people, it’s a weight indicator that works for most people, most of the time. If you are unhappy using BMI as a metric (for example, if you lift weights and have high muscle mass), look for a scale that shows you your body fat percentage instead. However, doctors suggest that an ideal BMI for adults is in the range 18.5 to 24.9.
Body fat percentage: This is the portion of your body made up of fat cells. For men aged 20 to 40, 10-20% body fat is considered healthy. For older men, 18-25% is good. For women aged 20 to 40, 19-26% body fat is healthy. For older women, 23-35% is healthy.
Lean mass: This is a measure of muscle, organs, bones and water, rather than essential or storage fat. Having a high percentage of lean mass boosts your metabolism, making it easier to maintain an overall healthy weight.
Visceral fat: This is fat that exists around your vital organs, and is one of the main risks to long-term health.
Body water percentage: This is the volume of water in body composition. It’s somewhat age dependent but but men should try to get to a total body water percentage between 50 and 65 percent. The ideal range for women is between 45 and 60 percent.
Bone mass: Bone density is an important health metric because, like muscle, bone is a living material that can become stronger with exercise, as well as a healthy diet (including calcium and vitamin D). For most people, bone mass starts to reduce after the age of 40, and regular exercise can prevent this loss.
Basal metabolic rate (BMR): This estimates the energy (measured in calories) expended by the body at rest to maintain normal body functions (heart beat, respiration, maintenance of body temperature, etc).
Pulse wave velocity (PWV): This is currently exclusive to the Withings Body Cardio (although it’s disabled in the US because of regulatory issues). It’s a measure of arterial stiffness and blood flow rate that is used clinically as a key indicator of heart health and blood pressure problems.
Fitbit users might prefer the automatic syncing between the company's scales and the app, and Withings tracker users will choose the Withings scales. But you can use any of these scales, and always manually log your weight in your particular health app. Most sync well with Apple Health or Google Fit.
Some scales claim they sync with Fitbit, but it's usually a round-about process. For example, Withings scale users can share the data from their Health Mate app account to their Fitbit app. So, it’s data sharing between apps, not from the scale to the Fitbit app.
Fitbit users might not get many metrics from the Aria 2 and Aria Air (see the related reviews) but syncing is automatic.
All of the scales reviewed here allow for more than one person to sync their data with the relevant app, so your entire household can use them individually.
The scales either use Bluetooth to recognise each user's phone or take a good guess at who is standing on them based on previous weight. The latter is only likely to be an issue if two members of the household are of a similar weight.
Positioning the scales
Where you place your scales is important, as you’ll get different readings (sometimes out by a few kg or pounds) depending on where it is on the floor. Put it on a flat, hard surface if possible (bathroom tiles work well). Don’t place it on carpet, as this will trick the scales into understating your weight.
Some scales (for example, the Salter Body Analyser Scale) can be adapted for use on carpet. A few others will work well on carpet without needing adaptation (the QardioBase 2). Just make sure to compare the first few results with a hard floor to check they're consistent.
When to weigh yourself
Your weight and body fat percentage (and therefore other metrics) will change throughout the day so it makes sense to weigh yourself at the same time each day.
For many people, their weight is lowest first thing in the morning.
Wi-Fi or Bluetooth
Some of the scales tested here can connect wirelessly with mobile apps via your home's Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth. The advantage of Wi-Fi is that you don't need to have your smartphone anywhere near the scales when you step on, as you would with Bluetooth-only scales.
However, Bluetooth is generally easier to set up in the first place and doesn't require a strong Wi-Fi signal in the bathroom.