Not all bathroom scales are equal. Those ones you remember from your childhood, with dials that swung crazily around as you stepped on and off, with springs whizzing and clunking, well, they still exist, but now you can have accuracy, extra features and silence.
The latest bathroom scales are connected, saving your weight to a website (that only you can access) or phone app.
Scales measure much more now, such as fat content, heart rate, water content, muscle mass, BMI (body mass index, which tells you if your weight is healthy or not) and more.
Some of these are achieved by putting an electrical current through you as you stand on the scales. This is called bioelectrical impedance analysis.
Don’t worry, you can’t feel this, but it means that you have to stand on the scales barefoot and, more importantly, are not recommended for use by anyone who is pregnant or uses a pacemaker or defibrillator, for instance.
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Withings body cardio: £129.95, Withings
Withings is the healthcare gadgets company of the moment, excelling with wearable tech, blood pressure monitors, sleep trackers and, above all, smart scales. Step on and you’ll read your weight, and while it calculates the next metrics, it shows how that weight compares to your last five measures. As well as weight it tells you your body fat percentage, muscle mass, bone mass, body water and BMI. Stay on the scales and it’ll report on your heart rate and pulse wave velocity, a statistic referring to heart health. All that, plus today’s weather. It’ll even wish you happy birthday on your special day. None of which would mean much if it wasn’t accurate and easy to use. Fortunately, it’s both and it looks good, too (choose from black or white finishes). Your stats are recorded to an elegant-looking smartphone app so you can see how your weight has changed over time – measurements are stored automatically and for years. These are the best smart scales by a country mile: if there’s a fault it’s that if they get especially wet, they can stop working. Plugging the scales into the mains to charge the built-in battery usually solves this.
Salter curve bluetooth smart analyser: £49.99, Salter
The display on these scales is sharp and easy to read. It covers weight, body fat, water, muscle mass, bone mass, BMI and BMR. The last one is basal metabolic rate, the calories you burn when you’re at rest. The data is saved to the Salter MiBody app which is colourful but not as in-depth as some here. Eight users can store their measurements. There are also child and athlete settings for more carefully tailored results.
Fitbit aria 2: £119.99, Withings
Fitbit isn’t just about smart wristbands, though these scales talk to the same smartphone app. The scales have a slick design and a clear, easily-legible screen. As well as weight and body fat percentage, it’ll also tell you your BMI and lean mass. Since it works with Fitbit’s trackers it can help inform you about how your activity affects what you weigh. The scales are quick and reliable, and can recognise up to eight users.
Tanita body composition scales BC601: £164.99, Argos
These scales offer especially detailed results, thanks to the eight electrodes used to make measurements. A handset with electrodes in it pulls out on a retractable cord for some of the results. This design also makes it especially easy to read. It’s designed to give separate readings for different parts of the body: right arm, left arm, trunk and so on. That can help if you’re trying to ensure you build up both arms equally, say, or are rehabilitating one part of your body. It’s solid and easy to use – once you’ve mastered all the different readings. Four people can use the scales and it measures body fat, water and muscle mass as well as weight.
Withings body+: £89.95, Withings
This is similar to the body cardio above but not quite as advanced. But it’s still smart and comes in a range of attractive colours: white, black, pastel green and sand. Metrics include body fat, water, muscle, bone mass and like the body cardio it recognises up to eight people automatically as soon as you step on. The same smartphone app works for these scales, too and it has the daily weather forecast, too. In fact, apart from the heart rate and pulse wave velocity, it does most of the things the pricier model does.
Beurer GS39 talking glass scale: £50, Argos
These scales only measure your weight, nothing else. But before you say they’re not smart, please note: they can speak. A voice tells you your weight in one of five languages. Useful, then, if your sight isn’t what it might be. You can pick whether to be told in stones, kilos or pounds. You can adjust the volume or turn the voice off if you don’t want anyone else to hear. Of course, if you’re going to turn the speaker off permanently then there are other scales which are as good but cheaper. Note that to activate these scales you must tap them firmly with your foot to wake them before you step on, which some people might find annoying.
John Lewis & Partners anti slip bathroom analyser scale: £25, John Lewis & Partners
These scales aren’t as smart as some here, but they are an affordable alternative with some skills above the basics. As well as weight, they measure body fat and tell you your BMI. And the anti-slip finish is a welcome feature in itself. The design is attractive and neutral enough to fit most bathrooms.
Garmin index: £149.99, Garmin
Like Fitbit and Withings, Garmin makes fitness wearables, too, so these scales report to the same Garmin Connect app. This means other information to do with your sleep, calories burnt and so on can be integrated to improve the meaning of data. These scales have a large screen and measure BMI, body fat and muscle along with your weight. Up to 16 people can be automatically recognised, so this is a good option for a large family or small club, for instance.
The verdict: Smart bathrooms scales
Either the Withings body cardio, which is highly effective and detailed or the Withings body+ scales offer the best experience, though the Tanita body composition scales are great for athletes, say, wanting the most complete data they can get.
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