Smart scales measure a lot more than weight

Julianne Ross, CNN Underscored
Fri January 4, 2019

Story highlights

  • Smart scales help you hold yourself accountable for your goals, and can measure water weight and body fat percentage
  • We're rounding up the best smart scales to put in your bathroom right now

Health is about more than weight, which is why modern smart scales do more than weigh you. While these scales can't yet tell you if those jeans make your butt look good, they can measure and track changes in things like muscle mass, water weight and body fat percentage to give you a more well-rounded look at your health.

You're likely familiar with the shortcomings of old-fashioned analog scales, whose swinging needles can be both hard to read and suspiciously inconsistent. Smart scales not only take the guesswork out of weighing yourself, but also sync your health metrics to your phone or tablet via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Each time you step on, your stats are linked to a fitness app that can graph your progress — making it easier to see long-term changes in your body, and, in theory, create better habits. One small 2017 study found that smart scales encouraged more frequent self weigh-ins, suggesting that whether you want to lose, maintain or gain weight, these scales may help you hold yourself accountable for your goals.

Smart scales get their measurements using something called biolectric impedance analysis, or BIA, which involves passing a weak electrical current through your feet (you don't feel it, we promise). Do keep in mind that, because even the highest-end devices can be only so accurate when it comes to BIA measurements, smart scale results aren't to be taken as gospel. Where this information is really useful is in getting insight into whether you fall into a healthy range and, even more importantly, in monitoring any big changes over time. With all these scales, it's also important to measure yourself on a hard, flat surface (i.e. don't put the stage on top of the bath mat) for the most accurate results.

We've rounded up the top three smart scales that come highly recommended by regular reviewers and experts alike to help you build healthier habits in 2019.

Withings Body+ (starting at $74.95; amazon.com)

Withings boasts that two-thirds of its weekly scale users lost weight in six months — an impressive stat that the company attributes to its comprehensive weight and nutrition tracking software. The highly praised Body+ model is full of bells and whistles that make it one of the most comprehensive smart scales on the market.

The Withings Body+ is both Bluetooth- and Wi-Fi-enabled. In addition to offering what it deems your "full body composition" analysis — that is, body mass index, bone and muscle mass, and water and fat percentages — the scale can track and even automatically recognize up to eight users. Its data syncs with more than 100 popular health and fitness apps, including Google Fit, MyFitness Pal, Fitbit, Runkeeper, and Apple Health, while the sophisticated yet clear display can show your last eight weigh-ins in "trend mode" — so you can conquer any scale fear and put less-than-perfect days in perspective.

It features specialized modes related to monitoring pregnancy and babies' growth, and, as an added incentive for stepping on in the mornings, it even displays your local weather forecast.

Eufy Smart Scale (starting at $39.99; amazon.com)

With its minimalistic tempered glass surface and white LED display, the sleek Eufy looks much more expensive than it is and can hold its own against scales that cost twice as much. Users appreciate its accuracy, reliability and well-designed accompanying EufyLife app. The app has to be connected to your phone via Bluetooth to collect data, but it integrates well with with Google Fit, Fitbit, and Apple Health.

The scale itself only displays weight, so you'll have to open the app to access all 12 of its body health measurements. Of course, this could be a benefit for those who'd like to keep their actual scale experience on the simpler side. And, impressively, Eufy supports up to 20 accounts at once — meaning everyone in the family (or shared apartment) can track their fitness goals after logging in.

The Eufy BodySense comes with the required four AAA batteries and has an automated on/off function to preserve power. With a 15-month warranty, it's a great value that will look chic in your bathroom.

Renpho Bluetooth Smart Scale (starting at $27.99; amazon.com)

This budget pick has more than 4,000 5-star Amazon reviews, with many users applauding its user-friendliness, accuracy, and accessible price point. The Renpho measures 11 health elements, including BMI, body fat percentage, muscle mass, and bone mass, for an unlimited number of users. Its app can sync with Apple Health, Google Fit, and Fitbit, making it easier to keep your health data in one place and even share that data with friends, if that's something you're into.

As with the Eufy, the Renpho syncs data via Bluetooth. You don't need your phone on hand to weigh yourself; step on whenever, and the scale will remember your measurements and upload that data to your phone the next time it's connected. The red LED display is sharp and bright, but, similar to the Eufy, it will only display your weight. For other measurements, you'll need to log onto the app.

Three AAA batteries are included, though some users report less than ideal battery life. Even so, this is a great introduction to the world of smart scales that doesn't break the bank.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.