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The smart scale — also known as a body fat scale — is one of the most popular smart home devices on the market today.
More and more families and individuals are investing their cash in these canny products as they seek to understand their body better — while also managing and improving their vital stats.
The technology is already pretty advanced and it’s true that smart scales aren’t just for athletes and the wealthy anymore. They’re on offer for a range of budgets and can help even the most out-of-touch bodies monitor and manage their weight, body fat, bone mass and much more.
We’ve been testing out these products for a while and have compiled our findings into this, a guide to the best smart scale of 2018.
Let’s get straight into it…
- 1 What are Smart Scales?
- 2 How Does a Body Fat Scale Work?
- 3 Are Smart Scales Accurate?
- 4 Who Should Use a Body Fat Scale?
- 5 The Best Smart Scales of 2018
Before we take a look at the ins and outs of smart scales, here’s a sneak peek at how four of our favorite body fat scales compare against each other:
|# of Metrics||6||12||11||8|
|Max Weight||400 lbs||397 lbs||396 lbs||400 lbs|
|# of Users||16||20||Unlimited||10|
|Syncs with MyFitnessPal?||Yes||No||No||No|
What are Smart Scales?
While we may not always relish the prospect, monitoring your weight is an essential part of health maintenance.
Traditional weighing scales give a clear indication of weight in terms of pounds and ounces, but they reveal nothing about your weight in more detail, and you also have to keep track of your weight evolution yourself.
Trying to remember what you weighed last month? You better hope that you wrote it down somewhere. Wondering how much of your 160 lbs is muscle? Keep on wondering — traditional scales can’t tell you.
Fortunately there’s a new breed of high tech scales that gives you a whole bunch of essential information about your weight and keeps track of everything for you so you don’t have to think about it — Smart Scales.
As well as providing you with an accurate weight measurement, these body fat scales incorporate innovative new technology to measure all manner of useful statistics relating to the health of your body, including BMI (Body Mass Index), heart rate, muscle mass, body fat, water weight, bone mass and other handy metrics to provide all the information you need to track your general health in one convenient device.
Your data — and how it changes over time — is usually stored in a companion app that comes free with the smart scale. This allows you to analyze your metrics over a period of time and find out what works best for you and your body.
How Does a Body Fat Scale Work?
At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking that a smart scale was just a regular set of weighing scales — they look pretty much exactly the same — but this new type of scale is in a class of its own.
They work by using biometrical impedance analysis (BIA) — a tiny and harmless electrical current sent through the body which passes more slowly through bone and fat than water or muscle.
A mathematical formula is then used to produce detailed data based on the amount of electrical resistance as it passes through the body. This data is then used to provide body composition statistics based on the ratios of bone, fat and muscle present in the body.
So how do you get your hands on all this practical data? The best smart scales are connected devices that use Wifi or Bluetooth to connect to fitness apps such as FitBit, Runkeeper and My Fitness Pal — as well as their own dedicated apps — and then upload all your stats so that they can be viewed easily by you at any time.
Are Smart Scales Accurate?
One question we hear again and again is whether you can really trust smart scales. After all, it sounds almost too good to be true that a relatively low cost piece of equipment can provide so much precise data.
On the whole, smart scales are mostly accurate, but compared to more professional measurements such as DEXA scans, Hydrostatic Weighing, and body fat calipers they may be less precise due to a few factors such as movement, body position (you need to remain perfectly still and always adopt the same position on the scales to get a totally accurate reading), dehydration, and foot calluses that can hinder the electrical current.
However, while they may not be 100% accurate, body fat scales nevertheless give an extremely good indication of body composition, and at a fraction of the cost of expensive professional measurements.
They’re a great tool for people who want to measure all these different metrics on a regular basis — and they’re certainly much cheaper and more convenient to use than getting a DEXA scan everyday!
Here’s a good video about whether these body fat scales really work:
Who Should Use a Body Fat Scale?
The convenience of use and range of information that smart scales offer make them an incredibly useful tool for anyone who is keen to keep a regular watch on their weight, body composition, level of fitness, and overall health — whether you’re an athlete in training, on a weight loss program, or just looking to hone your beach body for the summer.
Essentially anyone can find a lot of worth in a smart scale. They provide a much more complete picture of your health than regular scales and are much better for people looking to reach certain goals — whether that’s to lose weight, add muscle, or completely recomposition the body.
If you’re wondering exactly what your measurements mean, take a look at this handy guide which has graphs of ranges for body fat, visceral fat, body water, bone mass and more to see how you compare.
And here’s a couple of visual guides to what different body fat percentages look like, first on women:
And on men:
It’s worth bearing in mind however, that due to the electrical current used, body fat scales are not recommended for pregnant women and people with pacemakers.
The Best Smart Scales of 2018
OK, now we’ve covered all the theory, it’s time to check out the product.
What’s the best body fat scale on the market right now?
The Garmin Index Smart Scale Body Composition Analyzer (phew! That’s a long name!) measures body water percentage, BMI, weight, skeletal muscle mass, bone mass and body fat. That’s an impressive number of metrics for a piece of home equipment.
The sleek and stylish design is easy on the eye, and has a bright, easy to read, LED display. Wifi is used to connect the device to your smartphone where all your body stats are displayed using the clear and simple interface on the Garmin Connect app.
While it’s a pretty good piece of kit, we definitely had a couple of niggles with it — most notably the fact that it will only store weight data once per day. This is likely to irritate you if you weigh yourself both first thing in the morning and later in the day — the latest weight will simply overwrite whatever went before. It’s also on the more expensive side and we can’t see where the customer is receiving value over some of the cheaper models on this list.
- Attractive design
- Measures a large range of metrics
- Simple to use and set up
- Impressive 9 month battery life
- Motivational ‘weight goal’ function
- Also syncs automatically with MyFitnessPal
- Can track up to 16 different people
- Only capable of saving data once a day
- Comparatively quite expensive
With the 1byone Body Fat Scale you get a lot of bang for your buck, as despite the bargain price tag it’s easily one of the best smart scales around. Seriously. Skip the Garmin and pick up this bad boy instead.
The 1byone monitors a wide range of metrics including body fat, BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), bone mass, visceral fat, muscle mass, body water content, and BMI. The Bluetooth connection provides smooth data exchange between the scale and the 1byone Smartphone app.
It’s not perfect — our one niggle is that it only measures in 0.2 lb increments where we’d ideally like it to be in 0.1 lb increments for utmost accuracy. But there’s no denying that it offers incredible value.
Here’s a closer look at what it has to offer:
- Very affordable low price
- Can monitor up to 10 different profiles at any time
- Easy to set up
- Huge range of metrics measured
- Can measure users with a weight of up to 400 lbs thanks to impact-resistant tempered glass
- Has a baby weighing mode
- 2 year warranty
- No Wifi connection, Bluetooth only
- Measures in 0.2 lb increments — most other scales are in 0.1 increments
Not only does the Nokia Body Cardio Smart Scale offer full body composition analysis, it is also specially designed to monitor heart health, including heart rate and pulse wave velocity — the rate at which the heart produces pulse waves inside the body’s arterial veins.
So if you need a scale that can offer more than just weight composition readings, Nokia Body Cardio could be the one for you. Of course, you will have to pay for the privilege — it’s in the same ballpark as the Garmin, towards the higher end of the market.
This is a super slim and stable smart scale with an appealing black or white design, and it can connect to the accompanying Health Mate app via either Bluetooth or Wifi.
- Ideal for daily monitoring of cardiovascular health
- Measures a wide range of metrics
- Attractive design
- Recognizes up to 8 different user profiles
- Also provides a daily weather forecast
- Works well on different surfaces
- Gives consistent results
- At the higher end of the price range compared to other smart scales
- Can sometimes take a couple of tries to get pulse wave readings
Just like the 1byOne scale, this is a really impressive smart product, especially taking into account its cheap price.
It can also track an impressive total of 20 different users at any one time, from 11 lbs up to just under 400 lbs. This reliable device is well made and visually appealing and uses Bluetooth to pair up effortlessly with the EufyLife Smartphone app.
- Simple to set up and use
- Affordable price
- Excellent range of body composition analytics
- Compatible with Google Fit! and Apple HealthKit apps
- Convenient Bluetooth connection
- Can track 20 different user profiles (great for student housing!)
- Doesn’t provide as accurate readings on carpeted floor surfaces — use on hard floors only!
- No Wifi connection
- EufyLife App is a little basic although at least easy to understand
Fitbit is one of the most famous fitness companies on the market, with their wrist trackers probably their most famous product. The Aria was Fitbit’s first foray into the smart scale market and now the Aria 2 is here — although you’ll need to pre-order as it hasn’t yet been released.
For Fitbit users, this is the number one scale to use — it syncs effortlessly with your fitness tracker and the accompanying app, which is easy to use and analyze. It’s super easy to use and set-up, and known for its accuracy.
One way that it does fall behind many of the other scales on this list is that it doesn’t measure as many metrics — just weight, body fat, lean mass and BMI. If you want access to as much data as possible, it might be worth looking elsewhere.
- Stylish design
- Simple to set up and easy to use
- Can handle up to 8 different user profiles with discretion
- Intuitive user interface
- Syncs easily with Fitbit app, as well as other apps like My Fitness Pal
- Measures only a limited range of body metrics
- Still awaiting release…
The unique concept behind the Under Armour HealthBox is to combine different devices including a set of Wifi Smart Scales, a wearable activity tracker, and a heart rate monitor to provide a comprehensive all round overview of body health.
The shiny circular Smart Scales look great, with a large, clear LED display. These scales are designed to identify different users by how much they weigh, and information can be stored for up to 8 different profiles.
While it certainly looks good — and we love that everything is there in a complete package for you — there’s no denying that it comes with a hefty price tag. We’re not sure how justified it is either — after all, the scales can only track weight and body fat percentage.
- Package offers a good all round view of health
- Scales have a cool design
- Can be used with both MapMyFitness empire and UA Record apps
- Possible to set weight goals
- Large, easy to read display
- Works well when combined with the fitness and heart health trackers
- Smart Scales only track weight and body fat.
- Package is very expensive
Data is synced via Bluetooth for a trouble free connection, and daily results are displayed in the Weight Gurus app in a well presented set of charts and graphs.
This is another very high quality, very low price product that we think will suit most households. It’s no surprise at all that it’s a bestseller in the industry!
- Accurate and consistent
- Elegant design
- Works for up to 8 different users
- App can be combined with other apps such as Apple Heath, MyFitnessPal and Google Fit
- Light, thin device that is portable and easily stored away
- A piece of every purchase is donated to the company’s charity partners, including Love146
- No Wifi, just Bluetooth
- Relatively short battery life
The four electric sensors of the iHealth Core accurately records 9 different types of body composition information including weight, body fat, lean mass, water weight, daily calories, Body Mass Index, visceral fat, and muscle and bone mass.
As an added bonus this clever little Smart Scale features a temperature sensor which lets you know if you need to adjust the heating and humidity levels for a healthier home environment. A simple Wifi connection to the iHealth MyVitals app allows you to easily see and track your stats.
If you’re on the heavier side, the iHealth Core is a good buy — it can provide accurate readings for users up to 400 lbs.
- Provides consistently accurate data
- Supports up to 10 users
- Intuitive and straightforward to use
- Has a good range of metrics
- Accurate for up to 400 lbs
- Can store up to 200 readings offline so you can sync with the app at your convenience
- Good quality product
- Mid market pricing
- Initial set-up can be a little tricky
- Large and heavy device compared to other models
Capable of tracking 16 different user profiles at any one time, and providing data on ten different body metrics including hydration, body fat, Body Mass Index, muscle mass, visceral fat, bone mass and protein levels, the Yunmai Smart Scale is an excellent all round smart scale.
What’s more, the Yunmai app easily integrates with other popular fitness apps, including Fitbit and Google Fit — it even comes in a choice of colors and has an alarm to remind you to take your daily weigh-in.
Plus, it’s super affordable — especially considering it’s an FDA listed smart scale brand.
It’s not perfect — we find a couple of the metrics to occasionally be a little inconsistent — especially hydration and protein levels. The major indicators — weight, body fat and muscle mass were as reliable as the other scales we tested, however.
- Very affordable
- FDA listed smart scale brand
- App syncs with other health apps including Apple Health, Fitbit and Google Fit
- Super simple to set up
- Attractive, colorful design
- Comprehensive range of metrics
- Stats are well presented in easy to understand graphs and charts
- App comes with food diary and goal setting options
- Readings can occasionally be inconsistent
This Smart Scale measures 11 different body composition metrics — including weight, BMI, body fat and more — and data is synced automatically via Bluetooth to the RENPHO app on your Smartphone.
Setup is simple and the app is compatible with a large number of fitness apps such as Apple Health and Fitbit so you can link everything up seamlessly. Four electrodes give greater accuracy when measuring metrics.
- Very low price
- Sleek design
- Works with a wide variety of apps
- Easy to set up and use
- Supports multiple profiles
- Automatically turns off when not in use
- Only weight is displayed on the LED screen, the app must be used to access other metric results
- Bluetooth only, no Wifi
What’s your pick for the best smart scale?