If there’s one area in our lives where technology should bring great improvements it’s health. And thankfully, it is. These days we’ve got fitness trackers and smartwatches, tech-infused sleep aids, health and fitness apps galore and, da da da… smart scales.
I definitely do wear my Apple Watch regularly — and it certainly does a great job keeping track of things like steps and my heart rate — but of all the health gadgets out there I value my smart scale most of all. I’ve been using a Withings smart scale for a couple of years now and the data that it has measured for me has been invaluable.
Why? Trends. It’s one thing to see if you’re up or down a pound or two from day to day, but it’s an entirely different ballgame when you can analyze your weight — and other metrics — over the course of a year or two. Those are the numbers that really matter as they show how well you are sticking to your fitness routines and diet (healthy or otherwise). I find this long-term data incredibly motivating.
As you may know by now, there are several smart scales on the market from which to choose from. Some from company’s you may have heard of and others from cheap knockoff brands. Most of them all measure the same basic information: weight, BMI (body mass index), lean mass, body fat percentage… you get the point. So what really sets them apart?
Several important things. One obvious thing is looks — this is an object you’re going to be seeing a lot of. But you can’t go by looks alone, as they can be very deceiving in this product category. The QardioBase, for instance, looks more sleek and sophisticated than almost any other smart scale I’ve ever seen — but it gets horrible reviews.
But more importantly, the ecosystem within which the smart scale you purchase lives is incredibly important — and there are several to choose from. Every company in the space these days seems to have their own platform for tracking your fitness and/or health info. Fitbit, Withings, UnderArmour, Nike, Apple… the list goes on. Some are more useful than others — and the apps that accompany them (where you interface with your data) can really make or break the experience (so it’s worth paying attention to the screenshots to see if it looks like something you can live with).
Finally there are other small details you should pay attention to when you’re looking for the best new smart scale: how many users can be tracked, the weight limit, the screen size and detail, etc.
So here are my picks for the 3 best smart scales on the market right now. And yes, this is one of those times when I’ve actually saved the best for last!
If you are looking for a basic smart scale that “just works” then you’d be hard-pressed to find a product better than the Fitbit Aria. With the Fitbit Aria you’ll cover all the basics by measuring weight, BMI, lean mass and body fat percentage.
Though it’s been around for awhile now (scroll to the last item listed on this post for the newest smart scale on the market) in many ways that is a good thing. It’s reliable and gets pretty positive reviews overall.
It’s also highly affordable (at just $99 on Amazon at the time or writing).
The design is, like the features, pretty basic. But it’s not ugly by any means. And it comes in two color options: black or white. Aside from just numbers, the screen will also display charts to help you understand trends and even a smiley emoji when you’re on the right track.
I’d call the Garmin Index a solid, if not utilitarian, choice. While it tracks metrics like weight, body mass index, body fat, skeletal muscle mass and more, it can do a few things that the Aria and other scales can’t. For instance it can track up to 16 users and can support a person who weighs up to 400 lbs.
What I like most about the Garmin Index is it’s app design. It’s sleek and easy-to-read and important information pops off the screen making understanding your health data easier. I also like the larger display.
The design of the Garmin Index is very straightforward: I certainly wouldn’t call it beautiful. But at least it comes in two color varieties (like the Aria): black and white.
Withings Body Cardio
If you want the top-of-the-line, most technologically-advanced smart scale in the world then you want the Withings Body Cardio. I’m a long-time Withings fan: I’ve used several products from this company and always come away impressed. As a tech reviewer, there’s only one scale I’ve deemed good enough to be in my house and it’s a Withings.
The Body Cardio measures everything you’d expect it to: weight, fat mass, muscle mass, bone mass and water composition. If that’s all it did, it would still be the best smart scale on the market. But it goes one important step beyond the capability of all other scales: it also measures Pulse Wave Velocity to help you monitor arterial/cardiovascular health.
So the features are outstanding (and unmatched) on the Body Cardio, but what about those looks?! This scale is super-thin and looks downright sexy (especially compared to other smart scales). This is a device that is meant to look good, even though it lives on your floor.
And yep: it works on carpet and hard floors — that’s something no other scale can say (that I’m aware of).
Recommendations and Conclusion
- Most Advanced: if you want the best-looking smart scale with the best features, go with the Withings Body Cardio.
- Best Price: if you want an affordable smart scale that will be reliable without breaking the bank, go with the Fitbit Aria.
- Toughest: if you want something that can handle a large family or a larger body, go with the Garmin Index.
I know that having a smart scale in my home and in my life has been a good thing. Without it, I’d have very little idea where my health stood outside of how I felt or when I visited the doctor. Smart scales are empowering and I’m very glad to have one, which means I definitely recommend one for you as well. To your health!