The bathroom scale is no longer a simple slab of plastic built for mercilessly shaming you. Oh no, these things can now shame you in much smarter ways. Not only can they tell us more about our bodies then ever before, but with the help of our smartphones can tell us how our bodies are changing over time. They've truly earned their place in the smart home.
In 2018 we expect a lot more from these scales in our bathrooms. Some can tell us about our bone density, some can tell us when we've hit a personal goal - some will even wish you a happy birthday - but all should be able to perform the basic task of helping us track our weight.
Read this: 7 bathroom tech trends for 2018
We've rounded up some of the latest smart scales and put them to the test. We stood on them, sat on them; we piled on a bunch of calories and then stood on them some more. Basically, we've done our best to determine what makes these scales "smart", and which one is best for you.
Fitbit Aria 2
Back for a second effort with the Aria 2, Fitbit has now firmly cemented itself as one of the most reliable players in this market. Like the original, eight users can register with a single scale, with stats fed back regarding weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage and lean mass.
But what makes this an upgrade? Well, the Aria 2 has been re-engineered with FDA approval in mind, and the company claims itâs more accurate than the previous model. There are also some slight design tweaks â a brighter backlit display and the addition of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi â which makes this a much simpler setup through the Fitbit app, and a fairly painless experience to sync over.
In terms of whatâs tracked, itâs a fairly basic package. Once you step onto the glass slab, youâll have to confirm your ID (with the option to cycle through different profiles, if multiple people use the scale) and then see the data pop up in stages. As we say, this is also fed into the Fitbit dashboard after syncing wirelessly with your smartphone, allowing you to view trends over time and stay on track with customizable weight loss/gain goals.
Considering these are all standard features, the biggest upshot of selecting the Aria 2 is really the wider ecosystem. If you're a Fitbit wearer then everything is going to the same place, and you can fill this out even more by inputting your water and calorie intake. After a few weeks, the graphs inside the app will make for useful reading and provide a bit of a motivating edge â especially when you can share your results and compete against friends.
As far as battery life goes, this is a pretty similar deal to what youâll find with something like the Polar. Youâll need to lock some batteries into the back, and Fitbit notes that this should tide you over for around a year â something we expect is affected if the scale is taking consistent readings from a busier house.
Feature check: Eight user profiles, weight, BMI, body fat percentage, lean mass.
- Sleek, slim design
- Solid Fitbit app
- Easy setup and syncing
- Not worth upgrading
- Lacks advanced features
- Minimal data interpretation
The BodySense Smart Scale from Eufy is clear about one thing: it wants to offer a no-frills weight tracking solution that doesn't break the bank. On that count, it definitely succeeds. The BodySense is easily the most affordable smart scale option we've tested.
Powered by four AAA batteries, the BodySense supports up to 20 accounts, so you won't have to worry about sharing this with family members. However, you will have to switch between the accounts before you step onto the scale via the Eufy Life companion app, which can be a small annoyance.
As for the tracking, you're getting 12 different measurements: weight, body mass index, body fat percentage, water, muscle, bone, basal metabolic rate, visceral fat, lean body mass, bone mass and muscle mass. In our tests, we found the weight to be highly accurate - the BodySense does use two pairs of sensitive sensors that were listed by the FDA.
The other metrics were a little more difficult to gauge, but at the very least they do provide for a good look at your progress over time. Speaking of progress, the Eufy Life app won't let you set a goal or even congratulate you on milestones (rude!). It simply keeps track and plots everything onto a graph, though it will let you know whether your metrics are healthy for your age, height and gender.
Easy color coding will tell you whether you're normal, low, high or excessive in each metric. It'll also tell you where you need to be to be in a healthy zone. For those who aren't into being hit with notifications every time we do something with a health-based app, it's refreshingly freeing.
Finally, the BodySense comes with both Apple Health and Google Fit support, so you can share your weigh-ins with the rest of your health ecosystem.
Note: We've noticed that the BodySense is no longer on the Eufy website. We've inquired whether it's been pulled permanently or just temporarily. It's still available to buy on Amazon.
Feature check: 20 user profiles, weight, BMI, body fat percentage, basal metabolic rate, far, bone mass, muscle mass.
- Simple to use
- Lots of profiles
- No goal setting
- Lacks features
- Switching between accounts a pain
Ok, first things first. That's clearly Nokia's name emblazoned on our scale in the photo. That's because since originally testing the scale, the company formerly known as Withings has, well, becomes Withings again. If you bought this scale as the Nokia Body, fear not, as Withings tells us it will continue to support those scales with future updates.
The Withings Body isn't the most feature-rich of the company's smart scale range - for that you'll want the Body Cardio - but as it's the most affordable of the family, it's the one a lot of people will undoubtedly be interested in. Good news then: it does a decent job.
The Withings Body measures 32.7cm x 32.7cm x 2.3cm and is covered in a high-tempered glass, with black or white options available. At the top is a small but bright LED screen that'll display your weight, BMI and other information such as the day's weather forecast. As for the metrics, those are actually the main ones - weight and BMI - but it also has a pregnancy tracker in there, should that be useful to you. If you opt for the pricier Body+ you'll get more body composition analysis such as muscle and bone mass. Or you can go for the top-of-the-line model, the Withings Body Cardio, which also tracks your standing heart rate.
Setup is relatively painless, although it took us a couple of attempts to get it connected to the home Wi-FI, something you'll need the smartphone app to do. The scale runs on four AAA batteries that should last around 18 months. However, if there's ever any problem syncing your weigh-ins, the Body scale can store up to 16 readings in its memory.
This thing has automatic user recognition (it detects by weight) and can support up to eight different profiles. The Health Mate app is as simple to use as the scales, plotting your progress on easy-to-read graphs and letting you set goals. If you're using other Nokia/Withings devices, the information from those will be fed into the same app to give those weigh-ins a little more context.
Similarly, you can have your steps displayed on the Body during a reading if you're wearing a Withings smartwatch. Oh, and there's integration with other services too, so you can have updates sent to your Google Fit or Fitbit apps, for example.
Feature check: 8 user profiles, weight, BMI, pregnancy tracker.
- Super simple
- Great app
- Lacks advanced metrics
- Smudge magnet
- Sometimes slow to get a read
You may think of Garmin as full focused on running watches and other trackers, but its Index smart scale is also available to keep a tab on your weight. You get more than the standard look at your pounds, obviously â body mass index, body fat percentage, body water percentage, skeletal muscle mass and bone mass are all included.
The upside to that is that the Index unlocks more raw data than almost all of its rivals, though itâs unfortunately spoiled somewhat by how it's presented in the Garmin Connect app. You can get a look of your weight data from the current day in the My Day section of the app, but things get pretty messy if youâre looking to compare it to previous data. Youâll have to trawl through the Calendar, and it can be tough to actually find graphs that make it easier to see how youâre progressing (or faltering) over a wider period of time.
Unfortunately, itâs also not the only area the Index comes up short against other scales. While the design is relatively harmless in the wider context of a bathroom, itâs still on the bigger side, sitting at 35 cm x 31 cm x 3 cm, and weâve also had our fair share of issues with the stability of the four plastic legs propping it up. Itâs not cheap, either, compared to the likes of Fitbit and Polar â something which is compounded by the fact the Index is now roughly two years into its life.
Battery life rests at roughly nine months, Garmin says, thanks to the four AA batteries youâll slide into the back, and up to 16 profiles can be created for the scale (though we only suspect youâll need this many if you live in a hostel or are taking part in some sort of strange family reunion weigh-in).
Feature check: 16 user profiles, weight, BMI, body fat percentage, body water percentage, skeletal muscle mass, bone mass, Wi-Fi.
- Extensive data
- Lots of profiles
- Wi-Fi syncing
- Pretty clunky design
- Garmin Connect app
Polarâs Balance is super slim; jump aboard and itâs like standing on a piece of glass. Actually, thatâs literally the case â a piece of splash-proof glass is held up by four, small, rubber feet in each corner. The glass, measuring less than a centimetre thick, houses a monochrome display where big, easy to read numbers show up. (How big those numbers are depends on how many cakes youâve been eating.)
It shows lbs or KGs. No stones for you Brits, so youâll have to do the maths. You change the unit using a button on the back. Thatâs it â thereâs no BMI measuring with the Balance.
You can get BMI data though â once you get your reading onto the Polar Flow platform. With Flow youâll get a BMI score based on your personal info, your weight and Polarâs algorithms. However getting data onto Polar Flow is a bit more fiddly than it needs to be.
The Polar Balance syncs to a Polar wrist-based device such as the Loop, V800 or M400 using Bluetooth - thereâs no Wi-Fi on board here, like the Fitbit. Thatâs obviously a bit annoying if, like me, you tend to weigh yourself in the morning before you jump in the shower â a place and time where you donât necessarily wear a running watch or fitness tracker. In turn, you then sync your Polar wearable of choice with the Polar Flow smartphone app, which eventually pings the reading up to the cloud.
Thatâs where the fun starts. Polar Flow will present its Weight Loss Speedometer user interface, where you choose a target weight and get a visual of how youâre doing. Youâll also be given a daily activity goal, as well as how many calories less you need to consume to help reach your target.
Powered by 3 AAA batteries, weâre told that youâll get a yearâs worth of Balance life from them, based on four readings a day. That might seem excessive, but the Balance does support pairing with up to 10 wearables so a number of people in one house could make use of it without killing the power too quickly.
Feature check: 10 user profiles, weight, BMI, Bluetooth only (no Wi-Fi).
- App alerts on diet and exercise
- Decent price-point
- Slim design
- Limited measurements
- No Wi-Fi
- Requires Polar wearable