Usually, a “best of” list needs little explanation beyond the title. “These are the best [fill in the blank] products on the market right now.” But when it comes to the best bathroom scale, we may have to carefully define our terms. Does “best” mean most intuitive functionality? Coolest design? Most reliable? Or would it be more, well, accurate to say these are the most “accurate” products on the market right now?
We doubt anyone invites people up to their bathroom to check out their stylish, state-of-the-art new scale (but hey, you do you!), so accuracy would seem to be the obvious starting point. But as we know, fitness is a lifestyle, and everything from our shoes to our water bottles is interconnected and working with us toward achieving our goals. So we’re going to define “best” as the most well-equipped to engage in your overall health and fitness lifestyle with helpful and practical data, but the question of accuracy will be addressed.
To that end, here are the smartest, most practical, and most accessible smart scales available in 2019.
The reason the Withings Body+ tops so many rankings is due to its insanely sophisticated data-tracking and sharing capabilities. While that could mean posting your weight on Twitter, it doesn’t have to unless you want it to (also, why would you want it to?). But it actually means that the Body+ syncs with popular devices such as FitBit Ultra and Digitfit, and even has a complementary website (which is free to access) where your data — including your weight, which can be measured on the easy-to-read display in pounds, kilos, and even stones alongside fat percentage and BMI — can be easily shared with your doctor. As PC Mag put it, “The display demystifies all the numbers and percentiles that can otherwise be confusing to someone without much medical knowledge.”
One of the reasons the QardioBase 2 ranks so highly is that it’s smart and sensitive. The scale includes a “pregnancy mode” that’s more important than you might think. You see, some scales — in order to track your full body composition — send tiny waves of electricity through the bottom of your feet. Normally it’s harmless and painless, but it’s enough of a risk that pregnant women and people with implanted medical devices are advised not to use smart scales. Some scales, like the otherwise highly rated Eufy Smart Scale, don’t allow you to toggle off the pulse. The QardioBase also boasts simple setup and easy syncing with iOS or Android devices via a free app.
Fitbit Aria 2
Praised for its accuracy and consistency when measuring metrics such as basic weight and BMI, the Fitbit Aria 2 earns its points for how seamlessly it fits into the “fitness ecosystem” created by all of Fitbit’s products. It may not go deep with its measurements, but that’s not an issue for most users. Sure, the Aria 2 doesn’t measure muscle or bone mass or water percentage, but who beyond serious athletes really needs that? Like the Eufy device, though, the Aria 2 does not have a means of turning off its bioimpedance signal, so it may not be suitable for pregnant women or people with pacemakers.
Garmin Index Smart Scale
Unlike some others, the Garmin proudly displays all of its metrics on its primary display — weight, body water, body fat, bone mass, and BMI. While that may be an effort to hide the fact that it lacks some of the interconnectivity of the others here, it does make the Garmin a practical and useful option. It reads all of the body metrics you could want, shows them to you on the scale’s display, and automatically records them in the Garmin Connect app — simple and effective.
How Accurate Are Smart Scales?
With all the talk of “fitness ecosystems,” devices that can differentiate between up to 20 different users, and apps that make data sharable and manageable, these scales still fight against the question of accuracy.
A lot of smart scales boast of their ability to measure body fat, but experts feel that the variables are too vast and plentiful to be measured with any degree of accuracy by even the top models. According to University of California’s Berkeley Wellness, “scales with only foot electrodes underestimated body fat in people with lots of body fat and overestimated it in leaner people. Even the manuals say the devices may be less accurate for elderly people, highly trained athletes, children, and people with osteoporosis, among others.”
They go on to mention that little things such as how hydrated you are when you step on the scale, when you last ate, how recently you exercised, and even if the soles of your feet are excessively dirty or calloused can sway your results wildly.
In addition, according to a study published in the International Journal of Exercise Science, devices that claim to measure BMI face a consistent issue. “The common complaint about using body mass index is it does not take into account adiposity or body fat distribution and is prone to misclassifications based on size, gender, age, and race.”
So when considering a smart scale, lean more toward accessibility, ease of use, and how you want your data stored and shared above selling points such as “body water” or “bone mass.” The more granular the data a device claims to mine, the more likely it’s stepping into murky accuracy waters. Keep it simple, and go with what best integrates into your overall lifestyle.
If weight is a concern, Openfit is a digital streaming platform for integrated fitness, nutrition, and wellness that can help you realize all of your health goals. Try it now for free!