Bathroom scales need to do one thing: Give you a weight measurement you can trust. After more than six months of researching and stepping on and off a dozen scales (a total of 35 hours and more than 550 weigh-ins), we found the EatSmart Precision CalPal to be the most accurate and precise basic digital bathroom scale with one of the easiest to read displays. If you’d like your scale to sync with your smartphone and estimate your body-fat percentage as well, the Withings Body is the best smart scale available today, with the best smartphone connectivity experience for both iOS and Android.
Both the EatSmart and the Withings have a comfortable, wide platform and are attractive enough to leave out on your bathroom floor. Most important, both bathroom scales detect changes in weight of a few tenths of a pound, whereas most of the other scales will only respond reliably to a weight change on the order of half a pound, or will even pull your weight readings from memory without trying to measure you.
Our pick for basic digital scale offers the essential features most people need in a scale—and then some. It’s comfortable to stand on, the backlit display is one of the largest available (3.5 inches), it has a 440-pound weight capacity, and the scale turns on and off instantly. Weight readings are accurate and sensitive, detecting weight changes up to four-tenths of a pound when other scales couldn’t. The scale is backed by a confidence-inspiring two-year warranty, too. Also, although it’s a relatively inexpensive bathroom scale, the EatSmart CalPal offers a few more features than just your weight reading, including last reading and memory for up to four people.
If you can live without a backlit display, or if you’re not a fan of the EatSmart CalPal’s glass platform, the Taylor Glass Digital CalMax does almost everything the EatSmart CalPal can do. You’ll trade the convenience of using AAA batteries for the Taylor’s lithium battery and give up a backlit display, but if you’re concerned solely about getting an accurate weight reading, the Taylor Glass Digital CalMax won’t disappoint. For most of our tests, the EatSmart CalPal and the Taylor Glass Digital CalMax offered the same accuracy and precision we’re looking for in our bathroom scale, although our top pick was more accurate than the Taylor Glass Digital CalMax in a couple of our tests.
If you want advanced features such as weight tracking on your phone and body-fat measurements, both of which our weight-loss physician source highly recommends, get the Nokia Body+. The Nokia Body+ is one of the most feature-rich smart scales available (second only to the Nokia Body Cardio), with a weather forecast and body-fat measurement. The Nokia Body+ actually tries to figure out your weight every time you get on it using its four sensors, and in our tests it was the only scale that consistently measured weight changes of just two-tenths of a pound.
Previously, the Nokia Body+ was called the Withings Body, and the rebrand came with a few small updates that we haven’t had a chance to test yet. We had an easy setup experience with the Withings app on both iOS and Android. It automatically and seamlessly transferred our weight data to the scale’s mobile app (or other fitness apps) for easy weight tracking and weight-trends analysis, and we were particularly impressed with its high-tech features and reliability. However, some customer reviews have complained that the updated Nokia app is no longer as smooth as the Withings app that we tested. We look forward to trying this upgrade and finding out for ourselves.
If you want smart features but don’t want to spend much on a bathroom scale, we found the Eufy Body Sense Smart Scale to be reasonably accurate, and more precise than our favorite smart scale (the Eufy gave the same reading consistently, without appearing to replicate a weight from memory; the Withings would fluctuate by a couple tenths of a pound). The app doesn’t display weight-loss goals, making it a good choice if you simply want to track your weight. The display lights up and is easy to read, and the app is easier to navigate than most other smart-scale apps. We liked that body-fat percentage measurements show up in the app, rather than crowding the screen. The scale platform is smaller than that of our top pick, and the app needs to be open to collect data. A Eufy representative told us to expect low stock as they gauge reactions to the recently launched product, so this scale may be a bit difficult to get your hands on for the next few months.
If the Eufy is out of stock, the Weight Gurus Bluetooth Smart Connected Body Fat Scale (yes, it’s a mouthful) is a good value for a smart scale. This scale does sync your weight data and body-fat percentage over Bluetooth to its mobile app, which is well-designed, can now connect to third-party mobile apps. This scale has the largest and nicest display of the scales we tested and a large, attractive platform. However, it was less sensitive to smaller weight changes than our top pick.
To select our scales for testing and come to these picks, we interviewed several health and fitness experts, including Dr. Linda Everett, a bariatrician (a physician who specializes in weight loss); Kusha Karvandi, a certified personal trainer and founder of Exerscribe; Beth Skwarecki, a science-based health writer; and Rachel Pires, author and weight loss counselor. We also read hands-on tests and reviews from Consumer Reports, Good Housekeeping, Live Science, and similar outlets. Additionally, we spent hours poring over individual scales’ user reviews on Amazon.
As for me, although I’m not part of the “quantified self” movement (but slowly becoming a convert!) and don’t normally weigh myself often, I’ve spent the last decade or so banging on hardware, testing software, and evaluating household products to find the pros and cons for everyday users like you and me.
Just about everyone could benefit from a good bathroom scale. There’s a reason you’re weighed at every physical exam: Being over or under healthy weight recommendations is linked to a greater risk for health problems. Significant weight changes can tip you off to health or lifestyle changes that need your attention. Even simply monitoring your weight could be beneficial in the long run: Several studies, including the one done at the comprehensive National Weight Control Registry, have found that one of the most common characteristics of people who lose weight and, most importantly, keep it off for years afterward is regular (at least weekly) weigh-ins. As the saying goes, you can’t change what you don’t measure. Weight gain is often also very subtle, so we’d say you don’t notice what you don’t measure.
Rachel Pires, author of Diet Enlightenment, said weighing yourself can help you keep a weight-loss plan on track. “Overall, when you see how effectively you’re losing weight each week, and you have confidence in your plan, it helps you stay on track long-term.”
That said, weight is not a perfect self-contained measure of overall health. Your weight fluctuates throughout the day by between one-tenth of a pound and a few pounds, due to variances like your hydration, when you last ate, and even what you recently ate. “As long as you don’t become overly fixated with the number on the scale, the advantages to using one definitely outweigh the disadvantages,” Pires said. If you (and your physician) find your weight measurement helpful in progressing toward better health or maintaining the health you have, great—the bathroom scale can be a useful tool. The number alone, however, isn’t something to obsess over, and is just one metric of many that can inform your understanding of your body.
Smart scales can be more than four times the price of regular digital scales. They aren’t necessarily better than all the other digital scales—they just have more connectivity features. More-advanced digital bathroom scales offer more insights into your health, such as an estimate of body-fat percentage, now considered a better indicator of health than weight alone or BMI (an estimate of body-fat percentage based on weight and height). Only a handful of basic digital scales offer body-fat or other body-composition (e.g., bone-density) readings, so if you want a body-fat percentage estimate, you’ll need to invest in a smart scale. There’s another important reason you might want to spend more on a smart scale compared with one that doesn’t connect to your phone or sync your data online: effortless weight tracking. After jotting down weight readings for a dozen scales over a couple of weeks, we quickly realized the benefits of having a smart scale automatically do the tracking. Gathering that data didn’t take any thought or leave room for error, and it’s one less barrier to regularly monitoring your weight, which is already enough of a hassle for most of us.
The two most important qualities in a scale are accuracy (the scale correctly reads your exact weight changes) and precision (the scale gives the same reading if you do two or more readings in a row). First and foremost, you want to be able to trust the reading. Precision and accuracy, however, are things we could only measure ourselves through hands-on testing, so to narrow the vast universe of digital bathroom scales before we got to that step, we turned to several sources.
Our survey of Wirecutter readers (more than 600 responses) helped us find out the features people want most in a scale—beyond accuracy and reliability, things like a large backlit display, an aesthetically pleasing design, tracking weight history, and being able to sync weight data to their phones. We combined that with recommendations from our experts, editorial and user reviews, and the scales’ price, design, and features.
A great range of bathroom scales are available, from the no-frills kind that just show you your weight to ones that seem to want to measure everything possible. And, as we learned from stepping on scales hundreds of times in the last couple of months, not all scales feel the same when you weigh yourself.
After accuracy and precision, we looked at usability elements like maximum weight limits, platform size, display size, and what it was like to actually use the scale. We looked for scales that had a comfortable, wide platform, scoring scales lower that were 12-inch squares when others’ platforms were closer to 13 inches. (Like finding out you weigh 120.0 pounds versus 119.5 pounds, even a half-inch size difference in the platform is a big deal!) Readability of the LED display is also important: Some scales had 3.5-inch blue backlit displays that made getting the weight reading somewhat more pleasant, compared with 2-inch non-backlit displays. We also preferred scales that used AAA batteries (rather than less-common-around-the-house lithium batteries) and also scales with weight limits more than 400 pounds versus those that maxed out in the 300s.
We decided to eliminate analog or mechanical scales (the kind with a dial) from consideration entirely. Mechanical scales have been shown to be significantly less accurate and less precise than digital scales, and Consumer Search says that analog scales’ delicate internal framework—small mechanical parts such as tiny springs—tends these scales toward wear and tear as well as misalignment. Mechanical scales also show weight increments of only 1 pound, can be hard to read, and need to be set to zero and recalibrated manually. They’re also a dwindling category: As of this writing, only 45 bathroom scales on Amazon are mechanical, compared with 665 digital bathroom scales.
Many bathroom scales can now do much more than simply weigh people. Tracking weight history, estimating body-fat percentage, and recording weights for multiple people are the features that our experts recommended we look at in a bathroom scale—features we looked for in smart scales as well as less-expensive scales, if available.
Weight trends over a month or so are more helpful to understanding your weight than any single day’s weight measurement. All the smart scales we considered record your weight in their mobile apps and/or websites for months, making these scales the most user-friendly way to track your weight. A handful of scales without mobile apps do show you the last few readings on the display after giving you your current weight, and we included a few of those scales in testing.
Many home scales now attempt to measure body fat—a measurement some people are interested in but not everyone wants (another number to obsess over). Those who do want it should note that measuring body fat is complex, for a couple of reasons.
Previous studies, such as one done by Consumer Reports in 2010, have found that body-fat measurements from consumer bathroom scales aren’t all that accurate. Berkeley Wellness explains that scales that measure body fat through your feet rely on bioelectrical impedance, which sends a small (painless) electric current up your legs. Muscles contain more water than fat does, and thus conduct electricity better, so the scale calculates your body-fat percentage based on your body’s resistance to that current and other data you enter into the scale (height, age, and gender, plus the scale’s measurement of your weight). Scales with only foot electrodes—as most bathroom scales that measure body fat are—tend to underestimate body fat in people with lots of it and overestimate it in leaner people, a 2008 study published in Obesity Facts found.
“While the body-fat readings in scales aren’t perfect, they are more accurate than calipers,” said Dr. Linda G. Everett, a medical weight loss physician in Philadelphia. Readings can vary by water retention and even the clothes you’re wearing, so “getting a baseline from your doctor is a good idea if they are using a medical grade body composition scale,” said Everett.
Some scales—both basic and smart—add other features that we didn’t consider important, such as calculating BMI (you can calculate it yourself easily with an online calculator and BMI can be very misleading), providing calipers and a tape measure along with the scale, estimating your daily calories burned, forecasting the weather, measuring the room’s carbon dioxide, and so on. These are features we simply ignored, focusing on accuracy and precision, usability and design, price, and smart features.
After eliminating scales that didn’t fit our criteria from each category, we had a manageable 12 bathroom scales to test across both smart and basic categories.
We set up all the scales in one room according to the scales’ manuals, calibrated them as instructed, and, for the smart scales, connected them to an iPhone 5 and Nexus 5 Android phone over Bluetooth (or, if necessary, Wi-Fi) using their apps. Then I weighed myself a ridiculous number of times over a three-week period.
On each day’s test, I stepped on and off each scale three times, noting whether my weight changed within those few minutes to test for the scales’ precision (consistency between readings). And then I weighed myself four more times on each scale with a 0.4-pound book, a 0.6-pound book, the two books together (1.0 pounds), and a 10.1-pound dumbbell, sometimes switching the order of the weights to check differences between weight gains and weight losses. The books and the dumbbell were weighed at the post office so I could be sure of their weight accuracy (I’m told the post office calibrates its scales daily). For updates to this guide, we used shoes of different weights and a 5-pound dumbbell.
All in all, I weighed myself on each scale at least 40 times (more for the scales that ended up being our top picks).
What I learned is that scales often offer a seemingly manufactured sense of precision and accuracy: They may calculate your weight based on your previous readings rather than actually weighing you each time.
For example, after weighing myself, then weighing myself again while holding a 10-pound dumbbell, and then weighing myself yet again without the dumbbell, one of the scales rudely told me I weighed 10 pounds more than I do. Other scales would at first correctly show the additional weight difference when I was holding one of the books, but would then revert to my previous weight measurement without the book. Although some scales read my weight nearly instantly, the downside is they often seemed to be pulling from memory, whereas scales that took a few seconds to display the weight reading, such as our top picks, actually measured weight each time. I requested comment from the companies that made the offending scales, but they were not forthcoming with an explanation.
I gave each scale a 0.2-pound margin of error. So, for example, if a scale weighed me at 120.0 pounds and I then got back on the scale with a 0.4 pound book, I considered the scale to be accurate if it said I weighed anything between 120.2 to 120.6 pounds. Most scales show weight in increments down to one-tenth of a pound, so it was surprising to see that most of them really aren’t that sensitive. I considered a scale precise if it was able to give me the same number three times in a row with no margin.
With 12 scales laid out on my dining room floor, it was also impossible for friends and family members who came over not to try them too. So over the course of testing, eight other people—from my fourth-grade daughter’s 60 pounds to my big-and-tall friend’s nearly 400 pounds—also stepped on and off the scales and gave me their opinions of the scales’ designs and usability.
The EatSmart Precision CalPal was the most accurate of the six basic scales we tested and could detect when I held the 0.4 pound book in all but two of the rounds (within a 0.2 pound margin of error) when other similarly priced scales didn’t. The rest of the scales more often than not ignored that weight change. The EatSmart was also reassuringly precise for each test: When weighing myself three times in succession, the readings were always the same.
The EatSmart can save up to four user profiles, and it will detect who you are based on your weight as long as two or more users aren’t within 6 pounds of each other. Once you save your information (entering your height, weight, gender, and activity level), the scale will remember you every time you weigh yourself and let you see your last weight with the “memory” button.
This EatSmart maxes out at 440 pounds, far more than most scales’ limits of 400 or even 350 or 300 pounds. Whether you’re near this weight maximum or you want to weigh yourself with your luggage, capacity makes a difference. The scale also has a big, easy-to-read blue backlit display and, with a two-year warranty, double the typical warranty length of most bathroom scales.
Besides the basic specs, though, there are a couple of small details that make this scale stand out among other basic scales. The scale lets you know when it’s got your reading by flashing three times before settling on one number, and it continues to display that reading for about half a minute after you get off the scale. That might not sound like a big deal, but if you’re logging your weight manually (as you must if you don’t have a smart scale) or trying to get your reading with your luggage but can’t see the display while you’re standing on the scale, that extra time to see your weight is very helpful. (By contrast, the GoWise scale would quickly turn off even while I was still standing on it!)
The EatSmart Precision CalPal is an upgrade to the EatSmart Precision Digital scale we chose as our top pick in 2013. It has a higher weight limit, a better backlit display, and additional features for the same price.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The glass platform: You either love it or you hate it. Most of the people who tried the scales for me were hesitant to use the EatSmart Precision CalPal because of its mostly glass platform. Although made of heavy, tempered glass, it looks less sturdy than the other scales because it’s mostly see-through and the glass platform is thinner than the other scales’ enclosed full bodies. (Other scales measures 2½ centimeters in height, from floor to top of the scale; the glass platform part of the Precision CalPal is about half a centimeter tall—still plenty thick but possibly off-putting for some.)
The curved sides also make the scale feel smaller, or at least narrower, than other fully square scales, even though it’s a roomy 12½ inches wide at its thinnest and 13 inches wide at its widest. Some people might prefer its less-boxy shape and the way the glass blends in with any bathroom decor. (As I was retesting this scale the other day, my husband remarked, “This is a nice-looking scale,” which says a lot considering we have had 11 other scales taking up our dining room for the last few months.)
It takes a few seconds longer to get a reading on the Precision CalPal, which was acceptable for us because the readings were consistent and accurate for the most part.
In addition to your weight, the EatSmart Precision CalPal also measures your BMI and how many calories you should consume in a day if you want to maintain your weight. For most people looking for a basic digital scale, these are probably unnecessary features. We dispensed with the value of BMI measurement above, but your caloric needs can vary greatly depending on your body composition, activity level, and goals; if you want a change, it’s best to do some research and consult with your physician.
If you want to save a few bucks, the Taylor Glass Digital CalMax is your next-best bet. Manufactured by the same company, Taylor, the CalMax offers some features that are identical to those in the Precision CalPal, including 440-pound weight measurement, 0.1-pound weight increments, and a 12-inch platform. But unlike the CalPal, the CalMax cannot recall the last weigh-in, does not have a backlit display, and uses a lithium battery instead of AAAs.
For some people the all-glass design of the EatSmart Precision CalPal can be off-putting. If you don’t like so much glass, note that the CalMax comes in two variants, one with see-through glass and the other with a silver backing that gives the appearance of being more solid from above. Although we don’t see any risk of breaking through either of the glass faces of these variant models, sometimes the illusion of backed glass is enough to calm some people’s fears. A silver backing also helps to hide smudges from dirty feet.
Functionally, in our tests the CalMax was just as precise as the CalPal and nearly as accurate (it didn’t detect weight changes of 0.4 pound in a couple of tests). If you can live without a backlit display and weight tracking, this model is a basic digital scale that’s more accurate than most. It also has an unusually long five-year warranty.
If you want more than just your weight reading, want to track your weight via a mobile app or online interface, or simply want the most accurate bathroom scale available now, take a look at the Nokia Body+, formerly the Withings Body.
We tested the Withings Body prior to its rebranding, and it was one of the only scales in the group to detect a 0.2-pound weight difference every time. Some scales accurately detected my weight change going from just me to me holding a 0.4-pound book, but when I switched in the heavier 0.6-pound weight (that is, going from an additional 0.4 pound to an additional 0.6 pound over my original weight), those scales wouldn’t detect that. The Body was the only model that recognized each weight change every time.
It was not the most precise scale of the bunch, however. Even though precision is one of our criteria, we think this shortcoming is actually acceptable, if not a good thing. Most of the other scales gave the same weight for each of the three weigh-ins when I stepped on and off in succession; in fact, they gave me a weight almost instantly for successive measurements. The Body+ takes a little longer to read your weight accurately and can sometimes appear to fluctuate a lot as you shift your weight around it, as our tester found when he weighed himself every day for two months.
What this tells us, though, is that the Nokia Body+, unlike other scales, actually weighs you each time you step onto it. Some of the scales we tested calculate your weight based on your last reading or merely use your last reading to simulate precision.
So though the Body+ is not precise in the technical sense of the term, the scale is reliable and consistent. Each time the reading was off during the three-weighs-in-a-row test, it was off by only 0.1 pound, an acceptable discrepancy in our book if you can trust that the scale is actually weighing you and if accuracy (and weight-change detection) is more important to you.
With its large, sleek platform—at 12.8 inches by 12.8 inches, it’s among the largest scales we tested—the Body+ is comfortable to stand on. And the 2.4-inch LED display, though not the largest, is very easy to read.
It is a pricey scale, but you get a lot of features, including a reading for your body-fat percentage, automatic data upload to the Nokia app via Wi-Fi tracking for up to eight household members, and integration with Apple’s HealthKit as well as more than 60 other apps. We were particularly impressed by the Withings app that we used in tests, but some users have reported problems with the rebranded Nokia app. We look forward to testing it ourselves.
Perhaps the most important feature for a smart scale is its ability to store and share your data with your other devices and the cloud. In this respect, the Body+ did not disappoint. Both our iPhone SE and Nexus 5 connected to it immediately over Wi-Fi, and each weigh-in was recorded automatically to the Withings app, even if the phone was in an adjoining room. The system is frustration-free, and you can view the colorful charts of your weight progress easily in the mobile app or on the Withings site. Also, by connecting the Withings app to the MyFitnessPal app on the phone, you can automatically see weight readings and other data from Withings (such as steps taken, tracked by the phone) in MyFitnessPal. If you have a favorite fitness app, you don’t have to ditch it in favor of the scale’s app.
Some features that we initially felt were superfluous, such as the weather forecast, I actually appreciated seeing when weighing myself, even though we wouldn’t recommend buying this scale for those features in particular. On our test model, the body-composition readings were the most wild, varying between two and three percentage points on some days. So far, this kind of result isn’t unusual for smart scales that attempt such tricky body measurements. For features like this, we know to adjust our expectations and watch the overall trends.
The Nokia Body+ has a sibling scale, the Nokia Body Cardio, which adds standing heart-rate measurements and something called pulse wave velocity, which measures the pace of your blood as it passes through your arteries to give an estimate of “arterial stiffness.” These features are meant to give an overall indicator of your cardiac health. We haven’t tested the Body Cardio yet, but we don’t think these additional features are worth the extra $50 on the price tag.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Those who didn’t like their Body+ noted the body-fat percentage inaccuracy, as mentioned above, and the time it takes to get a weight reading—an admitted inconvenience over the instant-read scales, but worth waiting for if you care about accurate data.
To get more nitpicky, the display, though readable, isn’t as large or as bright as other scales’ 3-inch-plus blue backlit displays, and it crams a lot of information in. The small plastic feet at the bottom of the scale also make it less stable than scales with rubber feet, so the Body+ was prone to sliding a bit depending on how I got on it. However, this could be an advantage if you prefer to store your scale under bathroom cabinetry and want to slide it out for use.
Nokia’s warranty is good for only one year from the date of purchase from an authorized reseller. Other scales, like our smart-scale runner-up, offer much longer warranties. A smart scale is a sizable investment, so this is a factor to consider, though perhaps not a dealbreaker, especially if you have a credit card that can double the manufacturer’s warranty.
The biggest dealbreaker for most people will probably be the price. The Body+ and its sibling, the Nokia Body Cardio, are the most expensive scales of their kind at the time of this writing, about 50 percent more expensive than the standard Nokia Body, formerly known s the Withings WS-30 (which lacks body-fat and other advanced measurements; our thoughts on this model are below) and slightly more than the Fitbit Aria.
If you want smart-scale features without spending a lot of money, the Eufy BodySense Smart Scale is easy to use and half the price of the Nokia Body+. The Eufy is not quite as accurate and has a smaller platform (11.8 by 11.8 inches), but we found the layout of the app easier to use than those of our other favorite smart scales, especially if you aren’t focused on losing weight. It can measure weights between 11 and 397 pounds. And it comes with a 15-month warranty, three months longer than Nokia’s.
The BodySense Smart Scale failed to consistently detect changes on the order of a few tenths of a pound. However, the BodySense is precise: I consistently got the same reading for my body weight several times in a row, even when I recalibrated the scale between readings.
The BodySense app displays graphs that make it easy to see trends in your weight. It doesn’t push you to enter a weight loss goal or congratulate you on hitting a new low, which are features in other apps that might be annoying or even counterproductive if you are trying to maintain or gain weight. The Body Sense can track up to 16 users, and can also connect to Apple Health and Google Fit apps.
Unlike the competition, the BodySense displays body fat measurements in the app rather than on the scale’s screen. We think most people will prefer this, as it can be hard to take in multiple figures at once. The app does need to be open to reliably sync to the scale, unlike the Nokia app.
In the near term, you may run into trouble finding the BodySense scale. A representative for the company tells us that it has made improvements to the app after receiving feedback since the product launch in February, and will fully restock the scale once it’s confident that the update is well-received. We like it enough to recommend it now.
If the BodySense is out of stock or you would prefer a larger platform, we also like the Weight Gurus Bluetooth Smart Connected Body Fat Scale. Like the Nokia Body+, it has a large platform, tracking for up to eight users, body-fat analysis, and can measure up to 400 pounds.
The Weight Gurus scale was consistently accurate with changes in weight of 0.6 pounds or more, and sometimes detected changes in weight of 0.4 pounds (but not always, unlike the WS-50).
The easy-to-read huge blue backlit display was the nicest of all the smart scales we tested, and the platform is nearly as large as the Nokia, at 12.7 by 12.7 inches.
The Weight Gurus app features graphs and listings of your weight history, as well a count of how many days in a row you’ve weighed yourself. However, it didn’t always automatically sync my weight data with the app—sometimes I had to trigger a sync by restarting the app while the Withings scale synced automatically in the background. (Again, I have not had a chance to test the rebranded Nokia app yet.) The Weight Gurus app is now compatible with FitBit, Apple Health, and Google Fit.
The Weight Gurus scale comes with a five-year warranty.
The Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer is the discontinued version of our upgrade pick, the Nokia Body+, and its sibling, the Nokia Body Cardio. It’s very similar in shape and design, but the Nokia Body+ has updated sensors and does away with the Bluetooth connection in favor of Wi-Fi only. Before it was replaced by the Nokia Body+, the WS-50 was our top smart-scale pick.
The Withings WS-30 would logically be our runner-up for this category, because it is just like the WS-50 but without the extra measurements like body-fat percentage, indoor air quality, heart rate, or weather. Unfortunately, we can’t recommend the WS-30 as the runner-up because, although the scale’s weight measurements were roughly as accurate and as reliable as those of the WS-50, in our tests the scale wouldn’t connect to either of the phones over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, turning it into a dumb scale.
The Fitbit Aria had several accuracy blunders in our tests. Adding a one-pound weight yielded a one pound change, but taking that weight away and adding a different, smaller one meant the scale remeasured me as if I’d just removed the one-pound weight.
The Aria weighs up to 350 pounds only (one friend got an error on the scale because of that limit), the platform is on the small side (12.2 by 12.2 inches), and the scale would connect only to the iPhone at first—neither the Android Nexus nor a Samsung Galaxy S5 could connect. Setup was a pain because of constant connectivity issues. This might be because the Fitbit Aria connects only over Wi-Fi and not Bluetooth (which the other smart scales use and might be more reliable).
The Easy@Home Bluetooth Body Fat Digital Scale has a stylish large platform and supports Apple’s HealthKit, but you have to have the iOS or Android app open for it to sync your reading and Easy@Home’s app constantly had connection issues with the scale. When it did work, the app recorded a different measurement than the scale showed. Additionally, in more than a few tests, the scale detected weight changes only when I was holding the 1-pound weight (both books together).
The Taylor Bluetooth Body Fat Smart Scale unfortunately died early in our tests, reading 0.0 for a few days before actually breaking (with a loud crack when my husband, who weighs about 150 pounds, tried it one day).
When we last tested scales, the QardioBase was available only for preorder. It is available now, but public opinion is really mixed. Jill Duffy of PCMag heaped praise on it, and Nic Healy of CNET was also positive, if slightly more reserved. But its Amazon reviews are so abysmal that we can’t consider recommending it.
The Bluetooth device of the Polar Balance bathroom scale measures only weight, and BMI is calculated by the app. Third-party apps like MyFitnessPal are not currently supported. Unless you already have a Polar tracker or watch, we’d recommend passing on the Balance for now.
There is one big issue with Under Armour’s Health Box WiFi bathroom scale—the $180 price tag. For that price, it measures only body fat and body weight, nothing else.
Garmin’s Index Smart Scale records more info that the majority of the competition, including BMI, body-fat percentage, water percentage, muscle mass, and bone mass. Along with sleep and activity data, this new data can contribute to a clearer picture of an individual’s overall health and lead to actionable goals with the company’s Garmin Connect Insights initiative. But we don’t think that platform is is worth relying on until it matures.
The Pivotal Living Smart Scale offers an affordable way to wirelessly record weight and body-fat percentage, but its closed platform does not allow your data to be shared with other apps or services. Even with the affordable price, locking away customers’ health information isn’t the right move.
At $70, the Yunmai Smart Scale is a little more expensive than our runner-up smart-scale picks, and it failed our accuracy tests: It was unable to detect a change of 0.2 pounds every time, and even had trouble catching a change of 0.7 pounds during several tests.
The Withings Body is the smartest option available now.
Basic weight tracking scales
The Ozeri WeightMaster II gives your current weight, then cycles through your previous day, last three days, previous week, and previous 30 days, using red or green backlighting to show you if you gained or lost weight. Some testers who tried it appreciated the scale’s no-frills, anti-slip design. Though it detected the 0.4-pound change in one of the tests, more often than not would detect only weight changes of 1 pound or more.
BalanceFrom High Accuracy Premium Digital Bathroom Scale will remind you of your last weight measurement (mercifully, it shows you the last weight in green backlighting, rather than red for bad or green for good). However, it detected only changes of at least 0.6 pounds, was inaccurate sometimes by 0.3 pounds, and its 12-by-12-inch platform is the smallest of the bunch—much less comfortable to weigh yourself on than the larger platforms despite that big display.
The GoWise USA Slim Digital Bathroom Scale’s performance was very erratic: For one test, it accurately detected every weight change (reading 0.4 pounds, then 0.6 pounds, and more when I held those weights), but on other days it didn’t detect any weight change at all when I stepped back on the scale with the weights.
The Balance Basic Bathroom Scale’s platform is smaller than those of our favorite basic scales (11.8 by 11.8 inches), and it measures weight in 0.2-pound increments, a lower resolution than our favorite scales. The weight limit is 400 pounds.
The Ozeri Precision II did not consistently detect weight changes when I held or removed additional weights.
In a buying guide last updated March 2013, Consumer Reports really liked the Taylor 7506, but it reads as an outdated and subpar model by our standards: 0.2-pound increments versus the 0.1-pound increments we looked for, a small 11.75-inch-long platform, and no backlighting. The display is also small, at 1½ by 2 inches.
(Photos by Michael Hession.)