Best bathroom scales 2021: how smart scales improve how you monitor weight and health, and the best models

For superior health and weight tracking, scale things up with smart technology

Friday, 7th May 2021, 4:22 pm
5 best smart scales 2021
5 best smart scales 2021

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How do smart scales work?

As well as measuring weight, smart scales pass electrical currents through the body to read its composition, so should be used with bare feet. These bioelectrical impedance impulses sound daunting, but don’t worry – these are so tiny you will not be aware of them and the process is completely safe, even during pregnancy. People with pacemakers should not use this type of scale, however.

What can be measured?

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You’ll be able to connect the scale to your phone via Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth, to have a host of measurements and stats to hand. You’ll learn a lot about your body composition and soon tune in to what the numbers mean if you follow the guides on your app. 

Depending on the model you choose, you can expect to find out more about your weight trends, BMI (Body Mass Index), bone density, muscle mass, body water percentage, and a BMR (basal metabolic rate) reading, showing the calories used when you’re active or resting. 

As the choice of scales gets more advanced – and pricier – it’s even possible to see what’s going on in specific parts of the body, to help target those gym sessions for different areas.

Who should use them?

Smart scales are certainly not just for dieters. Even those who are content with their present weight and fitness levels will get a lot out of connecting with their data. 

Tracking your health stats through each scale’s recommended app is also a good way to highlight areas that aren’t just about slimming or gym goals. Lack of hydration which can cause problems with concentration, for example, so it’s a great idea to keep tabs on body water percentage.

Is it essential to link to an app?

All the scales we tested here came with app recommendations for use, usually the manufacture own. The majority will also connect to the health pages on your smart phone, such as Apple Health and Google Fit. 

If you want to keep things simple, disable Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi – it just means you will have to squint at the display rather than track the numbers on your smart phone screen and you may only get basic weight and BMI readings.

We found the apps useful for showing graphs, charts and readings history, with lots of tips and tricks to achieve the goals we could also set on there. 

There’s a real feeling of achievement when you see how a focus on health and fitness can alter your body composition.

Withings Body+ Scale

Withings Body+ Scale

Dimensions: 32.5x2.3x32.5cm

Max weight: 180kg/28st

Recommended link: Health Mate app

Multi-user: up to 8 people

Readings: Weight, BMI, body fat percentage, body water percentage, muscle mass, bone mass

Out of all the scales we tried in this round up, this Withings model was easiest to set up straight from the box – even the batteries were pre-loaded. 

It took no time at all to register and log our first set of measurements and as New Year dieters we even got some fireworks graphics to welcome in a healthier 2021. 

Over the weeks, these were a cinch to use, with no need to conjure up the app before stepping on. The HealthMate app showed trends in chart form and sharing advice how to reach our health goals.

 Our only moan with this choice was fluctuating muscle mass readings; the app didn’t offer much explanation for that, so we had to read up elsewhere on the reasons. Of all the scales we tried, this is the one staying in our bathroom.

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Tanita RD545 Body Composition Scale

Tanita RD545 Body Composition Scale

Dimensions: 32x5.7x38.5cm

Measurements: kg, lb, st

Max weight: 200kg/31st

Recommended link: My Tanita app

Multi-user: up to 4 people

Readings: Weight, BMI, body fat percentage, body water percentage, muscle mass, bone mineral mass, BMR, metabolic age, visceral fat, 5 Segmental fat Readings, 5 segmental muscle readings, physique rating

Hold the pull-up console when you stand on the base and you can check an extensive list of measurements as they transfer to your app. 

With an additional frequency impulse for medical-grade readings, this is a fully accurate Bluetooth scale that will highlight small differences over days or even hours.

 A hefty price tag, yes, but a segmental monitor like this will help users understand what’s going on in every single part of your body. If you are targeting specific areas in your weight loss or training, these are astounding – and a bit addictive! 

We could analyse the trunk, right and left arms and legs in turn, which was incredibly motivational as you see how targeted exercises or weights were working…or not. 

The dial-style readings show how balanced your body is and all the info can be exported as a graphics-packed PDF. 

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Garmin Index S2 Smart Scale

Garmin Index S2 Smart Scale

Dimensions: 32x31x28

Measurements: kg, lb, st

Max weight: 180kg/28st

Recommended link: Garmin Connect App

Multi-user: up to 17 people

Readings: Weight, weight trend, BMI, body fat percentage, skeletal muscle mass, body water percentage, muscle mass, bone mass

Easy to connect, we liked the bright, colourful read out – the display on this model which felt a cut above most of the others. 

We could cut the stats we didn’t want to see and there was a reminder of our previously-recorded weight at the end of each session with a note of any change. 

Using this pre and post run was useful for tracking hydration, too. It was motivational to see the ‘Last 7 Days’ view of the facts on the Garmin Connect app and commit to step, running and swimming challenges it set. 

A useful and interesting tool if you care about your health and with its generous 17- user functionality, it’s great for groups of friends or clubs who want to log results together.

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Fitbit Aria Air Scale

Fitbit Aria Air Scale

Dimensions: 30x2.6x30

Measurements: kg, lb, st

Max weight: 158kg/25st

Recommended link: Fitbit app

Multi-user: up to 8 people

Readings: Weight, BMI

This basic scale is at a bargain price, but you won’t get the body composition info of more expensive models. If you already have a Fitbit, this is perfect. 

If not, this is a great buy anyway as you don’t have to own a Fitbit device to link to; just download their app and it will log and track your data via Bluetooth every time you step on. 

We had a few teething troubles linking at first but opening the app beforehand solved that – lots of the others we tested use a Wi-Fi connection to automatically upload. Not this one. 

The Aria’s minimal design was one of the most straightforward we looked at with no fancy design touches but this is a reliable, no-frills way to log weight over time.

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Salter Curve Bluetooth Smart Analyser Scale

Salter Curve Bluetooth Smart Analyser Scale

Dimensions: 30.6x33.6x30cm

Measurements: kg, lb, st

Max weight: 200kg/31st

Recommended link: Salter Mibody app

Multi-user: up to 8 people

Readings: Weight, BMI, BMR (basal metabolic rate), body fat percentage, body water percentage, muscle mass, bone mass

We loved the look of this curved choice, which looks less ‘medical’ than some of the other scales we looked at, yet had lots of impressive functions, especially for this price point.

 Considering the amount of information this compact choice could offer, we’d say this is a very good way to discover the difference between a bog-standard family scale and something more analytical. 

Set up was pretty straightforward, and after downloading Salter’s own Mibody app, we could set up profiles and alter the modes to suit kids, athletes too. 

With one marathon runner, one dieter and two children in our tester’s family, this was an ideal combination. The Salter scale remembered everyone as soon as they stepped on, uploading new stats to the app via Bluetooth. 

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