The Fit & Well team sample the top scales out there, proving that weighing yourself is more than just a number
Do you do it first thing, after you’ve been to the loo, before breakfast and completely starkers? If so, join the Fit & Well club! But, however you weigh yourself, the number on the scales alone means very little when determining health and long-term fitness. Which is why we put smart scales to the test.
Scales have certainly got smarter – they can now measure muscle mass and metabolic rate, for example – and some are even clever enough to work out where in your body you’re storing fat and determine your heart rate.
Withings Smart Body Analyzer review
WHAT: A seriously smart set that calculates weight, body fat percentage, and heart rate, using built-in electrodes.
TOP FEATURES: Simply download the app to set up a target weight and deadline – it will then tell you how much you need to lose per week to reach your goal. Plus, you can measure your heart rate – as you lose weight your resting heart rate should decrease, a good indicator of total wellness.
GET THE MOST FROM IT: Hook up your scales to Facebook, so your network can cheer you on when you reach key milestones.
Salter MI Body Bluetooth body analyser scale
WHAT: These are built for the 21st century – sleek, with a sophisticated understanding of your body’s make-up.
TOP FEATURES: You can track weight, body fat, body water, muscle mass, visceral fat, body mass and metabolic rate via your smartphone.
DOWNSIDES: It’s a bit fiddly to programme, so do read the (very small print) manual first.
GET THE MOST FROM IT: New research suggests we all weigh less at the end of the working week and most on Sunday night (when we’ve been eating more, moving less). So I’m going to weigh in on Friday morning.
Fitbit Aria review, £86.99
WHAT: A super-slick looking Wifi smart scale. A beautiful piece of kit.
TOP FEATURES: No need to turn them on, just step on with bare feet for a weigh and body fat reading that links to the Fitbit app on your phone. The app then shows you your BMI, weigh and body fat in easy-to-read graphs.
DOWNSIDES: Took a couple of tries to set up – the scales have their own Wifi and then you have to link back again on your phone to your normal Wifi. Made me feel like I needed to buy a Fitbit band to get the full benefit of the whole ‘monitoring’ lifestyle.
GET THE MOST FROM IT: The results from the scales appear on your dashboard, which also tracks exercise, calories burned, calories in vs calories out and how much water you’ve had. A great way to keep track of everything.
Blueanatomy Bluetooth Smart Body Scale, £89.99
WHAT: Its app tracks weight, plus body fat, water, bones and muscle measurements.
TOP FEATURES: Gives lots of detail, and logs what time of the day you weighed yourself as you can vary during the day.
DOWNSIDES: The Bluetooth connection doesn’t always work first time. If you just want to hop on quickly, you can check your weight but none of the other info appears.
GET THE MOST FROM IT: Family members can set up their own user profile.
Tanita BC-545N Body Composition Monitor review
WHAT: Ultra hi-tech scales, which let you analyse your body in great detail.
TOP FEATURES: Programme in your age, sex and height, and these scales will reveal BMI, body fat percentage, muscle and bone mass, and base metabolic rate (the calories you’ll burn just to keep basic bodily functions ticking along), recording it all so you can review at a later date. The most novel element? The body segmental analysis – a breakdown of how muscle is distributed in your body (with each leg and arm and your torso measured separately). Great for spotting imbalances in your workout routine.
DOWNSIDES: If you want this type of hi-tech in-depth analysis, then the price tags is worth it. If not, you might want to go for a cheaper model.
GET THE MOST FROM IT: Use the paper progress chart to record your stats, especially if you’re training for a particular event.
Smart Weigh Body Fat Digital Precision Scales review
WHAT: A machine of many talents: it tracks weight, BMI, body fat/water, muscle and bone mass. You simply programme in your age and heigh.
BEST BITS: It’s super easy to set up. If you’re a tech newbie, this is for you. It’s like an old-fashioned set of scales – so no Bluetooth or complicated apps – with all the smart stuff built in. Step on it to reveal your weight initially, then remain standing on the scales to reveal the other info. A great budget buy at its sale price.
DOWNSIDES: As there’s no app attached to these scales it makes it hard to keep track of your weight and statistics. I also struggled to keep up with the information displayed on the screen, as the scales scrolled through the stats very fast.
GET THE MOST FROM IT: Read the booklet, which explains what’s normal for your sex and age in regards to water content, body mass and body fat. Keep your own record of your weight and body analytics to keep track of your progress.
Tanita BC-731 Body Composition Monitor review
WHAT: A stylish design, it offers a detailed analysis. Multiple users can set their age, weight, height and gender, and guests can also use it.
BEST BITS: It measures weight, body fat/water, visceral fat, basal metabolic rate, calorie intake, metabolic age, muscle and bone mass. It was inspiring to find that my metabolic age is 28 (I’m 43!)
DOWNSIDES: The instructions were confusing. The results flash up to fast and icons are a bit small to read when on the scales.
GET THE MOST FROM IT: There’s a tracking sheet to chart progress. Although there’s no app, it still offers a lot.
Beurer BF800 Bluetooth Diagnostic Scales review
WHAT: A sleek set of scales that pairs with an app via Bluetooth. It measures weight, body fat/water, muscle ratio, bone mass and BMI.
BEST BITS: It’s quick to set up, and once I got used to all of the stats, it gave a full picture of my health.
DOWNSIDES: At the moment, the app only gives a reading in kg or lb, so I had to convert it to stones.
GET THE MOST FROM IT: The weight graph is a great guide. The app also tracks sleep, glucose and blood pressure.
Terraillon Webcoach Easy View review
WHAT: A scale that tracks your weight, body fat/water, muscle and bone mass, as well as room temperature.
BEST BITS: The app, which is a great motivational tool. It’s easy to use and updates your calculations via Bluetooth. It encourages you to set goals and you can win virtual trophies. It also gives personalised tips.
DOWNSIDES: It’s only compatible with newer iPhone models with iOS8
GET THE MOST FROM IT: Add extra information to the app, such as steps, calories burned and blood pressure.
Garmin Index Smart Scales
WHAT: Sleek and stylish, they use of-the-moment technology for those wanting to shape up over time.
BEST BITS: The scales record multiple users’ weight, body mass index, body fat/water, bone and muscle mass. Great for checking all aspects of your health and sharing with an online group. It’s like a GP in your home.
DOWNSIDES: Setting them up takes time and patience. There are no instructions so I found a YouTube tutorial online – you’re expected to already know about fitness tracking devices.
GET THE MOST FROM IT: These scales are designed for those with other Garmin devices. You can connect your readings to your mobile app or computer and then track your progress in detail. If you choose the computer option you need an ANT USB stick, which isn’t included in the box. I think for the price you’d expect it to be.
There are also apps you can download to set goals and track you weight loss when you need some much-needed motivation.