Technology is transforming our lives and fitness and health is no exception. The global health app market is expected to grow 31% every year until the end of 2020 according to market research firm Technavio. The rising demand for using data to track and monitor your health and fitness is booming. There are many devices that fit into this ecosystem including smartphones, smart watches, fitness trackers and indeed now also smart scales. But navigating the options for smart scales can be confusing. In this article we try to explain the kind of features you should be comparing, and the pros and cons of the best smart wifi scales on market.
Main features to consider
These 3 features should be what ultimately decides which smart scale you decide to buy.
- What health app are you using or planning to use – in many ways this might be the single most important thing to consider. If you are using MyFitnessPal, or Apple Health, or S Health or whatever app you prefer, you need to ensure that the scale you choose and its ‘native’ app will sync with your health app. If it doesn’t or if you have to go through hoops to set it up, it’s just not worth it.
- What do you want to measure – these days digital smart scales can measure all kinds of things other than weight. This includes body fat percentage, bone mass, lean mass and water content. It sounds great but it means you are paying more and there are issues with the accuracy of these other metrics
- Wifi or Bluetooth – you will need to decide between a smart wifi scale that uses your wifi to send data to your app or a smart bluetooth scale that sends data directly to your phone. Generally they both do the job fine just in different ways. But if you don’t have good wifi in your bathroom you may need to get a bluetooth smart scale.
Secondary features to consider
These are features that may differ between smart scales but in my opinion they really shouldn’t have a significant bearing on your decision. Or you need to at least make sure the scale satisfies your need according to the features I mentioned above before considering these.
- Number of users – All smart scales can track up to 8 users at the same time – I’m not sure when you will need more than that!
- Batteries/power – Most take 4 AAA batteries.
- Style/look – This is more about your taste and what fits in your bathroom, although most have a ‘modern’ or ‘sleek’ look.
- Display – Certain displays can add an element of personalisation that some people find important – do you want the scale to display your name along with your weight? Do you like emoticons with smiley or frowny faces?
- Maximum weight – All scales have a maximum weight they can take, typically around 350-400 pounds. If you are very overweight this may play into your decision.
Withings Body ($100)
Withing is a well-known brand and one of world leaders in connected health devices and apps. Actually they were the ones to launch the worlds first smart wifi scale. The Withings Body is their next-generation smart scale that uses new technology for more accurate weight readings. The native app for the scale, Health Mate is comprehensive. I do like the trend screen which shows the previous 8 weigh-ins, so you can immediately see what your progress is like. Withings is also know for its focus on interoperability with other products. This is why Withings products and particularly their smart scale and Health Mate app have been integrated with over 100 health apps and products. Overall, this smart scale has interesting features and advanced metrics. It comes in white or black.
- Advanced metrics
- New technology for more accurate readings
- Trend screen showing previous weigh-ins and your progress
- Compatible with large number of health and fitness apps
- Both wifi and bluetooth connectivity
Compatible apps: Withings Body is compatible with over 100 health apps, including MyFitnessPal, Lose It!, and Weight Watchers, Runkeeper, Runtastic and MapMyRun.
Native app: Withings Health Mate
Fitbit Aria ($128)
Fitbit is well-known for its fitness trackers but it also has a whole range of connected health devices, including the popular Fitbit Aria smart scale. It measures weight, BMI, lean mass and body fat percentage. While Fitbit doesn’t integrate with as many third party apps as Withings Body, it still does have a good number of partner apps. And besides its native Fitbit app is a comprehensive tool, displaying weight stats and progress trends in easy to read charts and graphs. Design-wise I like the minimalist polished glass surface and circular display of Fitbit Aria. Overall, Fitbit Aria is slightly more expensive than other smart scales but it is easy to install and integrates well with Fitbit’s ecosystem and associated data tracking tools.
- Part of the Fitbit ecosystem with powerful cloud-based data tracking tools
- Compatible with large number of health and fitness apps
- Modern, sleek design
- Only offers wifi connectivity
- More expensive than other smart scales
Compatible apps: Fitibit Aria is compatible with a number of 3rd-party apps, including MyFitnessPal, Lose It!, and Weight Watchers, Runkeeper, Runtastic and MapMyRun.
Native app: Fitbit
iHealth Lite ($70)
The iHealth Lite is made by iHealth Labs whose line of products include blood pressure monitors, blood glucose monitors, body analysis scales, pulse oximeters and activity trackers. They cover a whole range of health products not just fitness. This smart scale has a sleek mimimalist style that fits in any bathroom. It doesn’t integrate with as many partner apps like some of the other smart scales, but it does with the more important ones like MapMyFitness, Apple Health and S Health (now Samsung Health). The iHealth Lite doesn’t measure lots metrics and instead sticks to the basics – weight and BMI. Overall, if you don’t need a fancy smart scale with advanced metrics, the iHealth Lite is a great affordable option.
The iHealth Core is a beefed up version of the iHealth Lite. It provides additional metrics like body fat percentage and is also offers wifi connectivity. It costs $113 on Amazon.
- Affordable price tag
- Minimalist modern design
- Compatible with the more popular health and fitness apps
- Only offers bluetooth connectivity
- Only measures weight and BMI
Compatible apps: iHealth Lite is compatible with Apple Health and S Health.
Native app: iHealth MyVitals
There you have it. a selection of the best smart scales on the market, and the top 3 in that list. I would like to reiterate that if you already have a health app that you like and use, then your choice of smart scale should really be driven by what smart scales are compatible with the app. Below are some other posts that may be relevant to you.
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