The Best Bathroom Scales
Bathroom scales need to do one thing: Give you a weight measurement you can trust. After more than five months of researching and stepping on and off a dozen scales (a total of 29 hours and 464 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 WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer is the best smart scale available today with the best smartphone connectivity experience for both iOS and Android. Both the EatSmart and Withings have a comfortable, wide platform and are attractive enough to leave out on your bathroom floor. Most importantly, both bathroom scales detect changes in weight of a few tenths of a pound, whereas most of the other scales require you to lose or gain at least half a pound before they notice 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 like weight tracking on your phone and body fat measurements, both of which are highly recommended by our weight loss physician source, get the Withings WS-50. The Withings WS-50 is the most feature-rich smart scale available now, with a heart rate monitor and body fat measurement. The WS-50 actually tries to figure out your weight every time you get on it using its four sensors, and it was the only scale that consistently measured weight changes of just two-tenths of a pound. It’s easy to set up on both iOS and Android and it automatically and seamlessly transfers your weight data to the scale’s mobile app (or other fitness apps) for easy weight tracking and weight trends analysis. While the other smart scales suffered from connectivity issues, poor mobile app design, and/or inaccuracy during most of the tests, the Withings WS-50’s weight tracking and high tech features were reliable each time we used the scale.
If you do want smart features but don’t want to spend a fortune on a bathroom scale, Weight Gurus’s Bluetooth Smart Connected Body Fat Scale (yes, it’s a mouthful) is the best value for a smart scale. Weight Gurus’s scale does sync your weight data and body fat percentage over Bluetooth to its mobile app, which is well-designed, but it can’t 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.
Table of contents
- Why you should trust us
- Who should buy this
- How we picked
- How we tested
- Our pick for basic scale
- Flaws but not dealbreakers
- The runner-up basic scale
- Our pick for smart scale
- Who else likes it
- Flaws but not dealbreakers
- The runner-up: a more affordable smart scale
- The competition
- What to look forward to
Why you should trust us
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.
Who should buy this
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 the 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 afterwards 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 to 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.
How we picked
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 down 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 points, design, and features.
There’s a great range of bathroom scales out there, 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 to 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 400 pound or more weight limits 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’s delicate internal framework—small mechanical parts such as tiny springs—tends these scales toward wear and tear as well as misalignment. Mechanical scales also only show weight increments of 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 to 665 digital bathroom scales.
Beyond weight: advanced scale features
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 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.
How we tested
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 their scales daily).
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 on the scales’ designs and usability.
Our pick for basic scale
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 two and a half centimeters in height, from floor to top of the scale, while 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 12.5 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 re-testing 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.
The runner-up basic scale
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 (pictured below) 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.
Our pick for smart scale
If you want more than just your weight reading, want to effortlessly track your weight via mobile app or online interface, or just want the most accurate bathroom scale available at this moment, take a look at the Withings WS-50.
The Withings WS-50 was the only scale that detected a 0.2-pound weight difference on each test. 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 (going from an additional 0.4 pounds to an additional 0.6 pounds over my original weight), the scales wouldn’t detect that. The WS-50 was the only one 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 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. They gave me a weight almost instantly for successive measurements. Each time I stepped on the WS-50, however, it took a few seconds more for the scale to give me my measurement, and often the arrows on the scale would tell me I needed to rebalance myself on the sensors to get a solid reading. For all of the tests, the WS-50 would give me two readings that were the same and one that was off by one tenth of a pound or at most two-tenths of a pound: e.g., 123.3, 123.3, 123.4.
What this tells us, though, is that the WS-50 actually weighs you each time you get on the scale, unlike some of the scales that calculate your weight based on your last reading or just use your last reading to simulate precision.
So while the WS-50 isn’t 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 only off by 0.1 pound, an acceptable discrepancy in our book if you can trust the scale is actually weighing you and accuracy (and weight change detection) is more important.
Besides accuracy, the WS-50 was one of our testers’ favorite scales. Everyone agreed it was comfortable to stand on the large, sleek platform—at 12.8 inches by 12.8 inches, it was among the largest of the bunch—and the 2.4-inch LED display, though not the largest here, was easy to read. Despite the need to shift and balance appropriately for the sensors to measure your weight, everyone was able to do it quickly without problems.
It is a pricy scale, but you get a lot of features, including a reading for your body fat percentage and heart rate measurement, automatic data upload to the Withings app via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, tracking for up to eight household members, and integration with Apple’s HealthKit as well as more than 60 other apps.
Perhaps the most important feature for a smart scale is its ability to store and share your data to your other devices and the cloud, and in this respect the Withings WS-50 didn’t disappoint. Both the iPhone 5 and Nexus 5 connected to it immediately over Bluetooth and each weigh-in was recorded automatically to the Withings app, even if the phone was in an adjoining room. It was basically frustration-free and you can view the colorful charts of your weight progress easily in the mobile app or on Withings’s site. The Withings WS-50 is also the only smart scale of the pack that can connect to your phone over either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, whereas the other smart scales, including the FitBit Aria and Easy@Home smart scale, are limited to one or the other. Also, by connecting the Withings app to the MyFitnessPal app on the phone, you’re able to automatically see weight readings and other data from Withings (such as steps taken, tracked by my 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, like the indoor air quality reading and the weather forecast, I actually appreciated seeing when weighing myself, even though we wouldn’t recommend buying this scale for those features in particular. My body fat percentage reading on the WS-50 did vary from one reading to the next by between 0.3 to 0.6 percent, but so did the readings on the other smart scales. For features like this, we knew to adjust our expectations.
Who else likes it
The Withings WS-50 is PCMag’s Editors’ Choice for Wi-Fi-enabled scales, and Laptop Mag gave it a 4.5 out of five stars. Pocket-lint also found the scale accurate, and FitTechnica gave it a perfect 10 out of 10.
People who own this scale also seem to like it. The WS-50 got an average of four out of five stars on Amazon with 2,759 reviews. And the majority of Wirecutter survey respondents who own it said they’d buy it again (55 out of the 75 owners, or 73 percent), citing its simple setup, automatic weight tracking, array of features, and long battery life.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Those who didn’t like their Withings scale 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 it if you care about accurate data.
To get more nitpicky, the WS-50’s display, while 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 that display. The small plastic feet at the bottom of the scale also make it less stable than scales with rubber feet, so the scale was prone to sliding a bit depending on how I got on it.
Withings’s warranty is also only good for one year from 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 something 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 WS-50 is the most expensive scale of its kind at time of writing, about 50 percent more expensive than the WS-30 (which lacks body fat and other advanced measurements; our thoughts on this model are below) and slightly more than the Fitbit Aria.
The runner-up: a more affordable smart scale
If you don’t want to spend quite so much on a smart scale but still want a reliable one that’s fairly accurate and connects to your phone, the Weight Gurus Bluetooth Smart Connected Body Fat Scale is our runner-up pick. Like the Withings WS-50, it has a large platform, tracking for up to eight users, and body fat analysis. It 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).
In some ways, the Weight Gurus scale is a nicer one than our top picks, even though it’s less sensitive. It was the scale most of my friends and family said they would buy, because of its easy-to-read huge blue backlit display, attractive design, and user-friendly features like beeping when the reading was done. It was actually a fun scale to use, as far as you can connect “fun” and “bathroom scale.” Although the Weight Gurus scale can’t connect to other apps, its dedicated app is nicely done, with attractive graphs and tracking of weigh-ins by week, month, and overall. From the Web interface, you can also export your weigh-in data to a CSV file. The unusually long five-year warranty also makes it a good choice.
If it weren’t for a few flaws, this might have been our top pick. The WS-50 was more consistently sensitive to small weight changes, whereas the Weight Gurus scale only picked up on 0.4-pound differences occasionally. The Weight Gurus app also 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.
The Withings WS-30 would logically be our runner-up for this category, since 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 the WS-50, the scale wouldn’t connect to either of the phones over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. In other words, we couldn’t get the smart features for this smart scale to work.
The Fitbit Aria passed each of the precision tests with flying colors (the weight never changed during three successive weigh-ins), but it had several accuracy blunders. After weighing myself three times and getting 122.7 pounds as the result each time, then adding my 1.0 pound weight, the Aria told me I weighed 123.7. So far so good. But when I got rid of that 1.0 pound weight and used a 0.4 pound one instead (a difference, math whizzes will notice, of 0.6 pounds), the scale told me I weighed my original 122.7 pounds. Like the other scales, the Aria only detected weight changes of more than 0.4 pounds.
A few other things ruled the Aria out as the runner-up: It only weighs up to 350 pounds (one friend got an error on the scale because of that limit), the platform is on the small side (12.2 inches by 12.2 inches), and the scale would only connect 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 only connects 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 only detected weight changes when I was holding the 1-pound weight (both books together).
The Taylor Bluetooth Body Fat Smart Scale unfortunately died early, 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 only available for pre-order. It is available now, but public opinion is really mixed. Jill Duffy of PC Mag 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.
With the introduction of the Polar Balance bathroom scale and integration with their fitness trackers and Flow app, Polar will provide individualized weight loss insights. While this is different approach, the scale lacks many features seen in similarly priced offerings. The Bluetooth device only measures 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.
With introduction of the Health Box, Under Armour has entered the digital fitness arena. The Health box includes a fitness tracker, heart rate chest strap and the UA Scale. One the UA Scale’s first testers Ray Maker of DCRainmaker liked the scale and found the integration with their fitness band to be impressive. “It’s surprisingly fast, as the activity band has notified me within 2-3 seconds of stepping off the scale that a new weight measurement was recorded,” said Maker. But there is one big issue with Under Armour’s WiFi bathroom scale…the $180 price tag. Our current pick the Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer provides more metrics than body fat and body weight for considerably less.
Garmin’s Index Smart Scale was introduced to get more health data Garmin Connect platform. The Index Smart Scale records more info that the majority of 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 their Garmin Connect Insights initiative. But we don’t think it’s worth relying that platform until it matures.
While most smart scales are more than $100, the $40 Pivotal Living Smart Scale offers an affordable way to wirelessly record weight and body fat percentage. This financial savings does come with a big compromise. Pivotal Living’s 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. Hopefully, Pivotal Living will consider opening up in the future.
The Withings WS-50, though two years old, 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 3 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. While it detected the 0.4-pound change in one of the tests, more often than not would only detect a 1-pound or more weight change.
BalanceFrom High Accuracy Premium Digital Bathroom Scale will remind you of your last weight measurement (mercifully, it shows you the last weight in green backlit rather than red for bad or green for good). However, it only detected 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 measures body fat, water, and bone mass, with memory for eight users. I couldn’t find a way to see my last weight using the scale, despite reading the scale’s manual (which basically says “just step on the scale”). Its performance was also very erratic: For one test, it accurately detected every weight change (reading 0.4 pounds, then 0.6 pounds, etc. 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 Ozeri Precision II has a backlit display, which, after giving you your current reading up to 440 pounds, will show you in red or green how much your weight has changed since your last weigh-in. Unfortunately, as with the other basic bathroom scales, this scale did not consistently detect weight changes when I held or removed additional weights.
To be honest, the weight tracking features weren’t even that useful in these scales. Only the Ozeri WeightMaster recorded up to the last 30 days’ weigh-ins, so you’d end up having to record your weight manually anyway to get any meaningful data from your weight tracking, and just the last day’s data could be distracting. (Okay, I found it annoying.)
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 1.5 inches by 2 inches.
What to look forward to
Withings’s newest scales, The Withings Body and Withings Body Cardio, build on the same advanced platform and design that made the Withings WS-50 so successful. Along with weight, BMI, and body fat percentage, the Withings Body gives measurements for total body water percentage, bone mass, and muscle mass. The Withings Body Cardio adds a standing heart rate 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,” an overall indicator of your cardiac health. Per our research into the topic, a home bathroom scale may not be able to measure any of these things with useful accuracy, but we have not yet had an opportunity to test all these bells and whistles.
The Verge, Engadget, and CNET have all reported on these new scales, calling attention to their slim (just 0.7 inches) design. “The Withings Body Cardio is sleek—much more sophisticated than the old digital one that has been stuffed under my bathroom sink,” says The Verge’s Katherine Boehret. “It comes in white or black, and its surface is made of a high-strength, tempered glass.”
We weren’t previously thrilled by the accuracy of the Withings WS-50’s BMI measurements. According to Steve Dent of Engadget, “Withings says the BodyCardio scale measurements provide a ‘good correlation’ with medical-grade sphygmometers based on testing at two French hospitals. (The company says it will release the results of its study on Friday [June 10, 2016] at the European Society of Hypertension’s Paris meetup.)”
(Photos by Melanie Pinola.)
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Originally published: December 1, 2015