(CNN) — The term “self-care” is bandied about often, constituting everything from meditation to working on your fitness. In that vein runs smart scales, which promise to help you monitor not just your weight but also your BMI, bone mass and more. While their tracking of BMI and other biometrics are iffy (you can read more about that below), one thing is undisputed: An app-connected smart scale is one of the easiest ways to record your weight, allowing you to more easily track fitness goals over time.
Over the course of a month, we tested eight top-rated smart scales, paying close attention to how well these scales pair with devices, how accurate weigh-ins are, how they look and how they work overall. We downloaded apps, synced Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to varying degrees of success, spoke with a sports medicine professional for guidance and weighed ourselves many, many times. Ultimately, one held its weight above all others:
Best smart scale: Wyze Smart Scale ($33.98; amazon.com)
Pulling this thin, elegant glass scale out of the box, we were immediately sold on its simple good looks. The design of this scale is on par with several we tested that were far more expensive. It’s sleek and lightweight, and it fits in places most people like to stash a scale — like under the bed, a dresser or a very slim bathroom vanity.
Most of the scales have a similar look, but the Wyze Scale was lighter and easier than most to move around as we completed the setup process, one that was extremely straightforward. If you already have Wyze cameras in your home, you’ll use the same app; otherwise, just download the app and pair it with the scale. After inputting basic info like date of birth and height, hop on the scale for your first reading, then set up any weight goals you have. These are displayed across the top of the app, with a small graph (and a flag at the goal) to track your progress.
You’ll need to be within a few feet of the scale to pair your device, but once we had it paired we had no issues with it staying paired and recording all info. You can also pair with Apple Health, Google Fit, Fitbit and more, if you’d prefer to track your weight there.
We love how the numbers on the Wyze were displayed: simple-to-see white numbers that shone sharply and brightly. Even in a steamy bathroom and on a dark January morning, we didn’t so much as have to squint to read ‘em. It was the easiest-to-read scale we tested, as other scales had tiny readings or ones that were positioned underfoot.
Of course, if those glowing white numbers are wrong, the rest doesn’t matter. The Wyze scale, however, proved to be one of the most accurate scales we tested in terms of weight. Comparing it to readings on an analog scale, the Wyze was never more than 0.2 pounds off. In comparison, some of the other scales, like the Fitbit Aria Air, varied by up to a pound. Additionally, when we stepped onto the scale holding a 10-pound hand weight, the readings jumped exactly 10 pounds.
Since weight can fluctuate based on the time of day, we made sure to conduct our weigh-ins at the same times — mornings and afternoons — over the course of testing to ensure accuracy and prevent any major spikes or dips in the readings. With the Wyze scale, we didn’t encounter any strange fluctuations day to day indicating we’d gained or lost multiple pounds over the course of 24 hours. Most of the other scales had the same result, though some, like the Qardio scale, fluctuated by about half a pound most days.
And those numbers easily paired with the app, so it was simple to track our weight over the course of time. We did find that connected devices needed to be about 5 feet from the scale to register information in the app, so don’t leave it on your dresser while weighing yourself in your basement. It won’t work.
The app itself was very easy to use and read. It tracks weight, body fat, muscle mass, body water, lean body mass, bone mass, protein, visceral fat, basal metabolic rate (BMR) and metabolic age. (Note: All of the scales do their additional tracking through an electrical current that runs through your body. If you have a pacemaker or any electrical implant, you should check with your physician before using any of these scales.) When you open the app, you’ll see your weight displayed, with an overview of how much you’ve lost or gained, along with other metrics. You can set your weight tracker by week, month or year and watch that graph go down (or up) as you hit your goals.
If you’re already using a different fitness app, the Wyze scale will send your information to multiple apps like Apple Health, Google Fit and Fitbit (the company promises it will work soon with Samsung as well). Pairing is simple: Just go into the Wyze app, click on the gear logo and go into “Authorize 3rd Party Apps.” From there, after you weigh yourself, you can click into Apple Health (for example) and see your data displayed under “Body Measurements.”
The Wyze Scale can pair with up to eight devices, and we had no problem connecting an iPhone, iPad and Android phone during our testing. It also allows for eight recognized users, so multiple family members or housemates can track their fitness and health data. Note that like several other scales, the recognized users you add can toggle to see your information in the app as well.
Another note: Wyze was hit with a data breach, exposing user data — but not passwords — to hackers back in 2019. The breach is common for smart camera companies, and that was the focus of this hack. But a spokesperson for the company assured us Wyze has worked to correct this: “Internally, we have implemented a comprehensive list of security improvements and enhancements, such as reviewing and strengthening internal security policies and security settings for each server. We also improved our processes for internal Single Sign-On onboarding, mandatory multi-factor authentication for internal tools and security training across all of Wyze.
“Externally, we launched security features for our users, including multi-factor authentication to Wyze App and Wyze web, ability to change account email and abnormal detection engine that will send user alerts if our system detects an abnormal log-in behavior,” the spokesperson said.
The Wyze Scale’s accuracy, easy-to-read display and simple but useful app — not to mention its sleek design — make it your best option when searching for a smart scale, especially considering its relatively cheap price of $33.98.
How accurate are smart scales?
Smart scales promise to give you a clear picture of your health and fitness status without making you do a lot of work. But are their measurements of stats like body mass index (BMI), body fat and the like accurate? Not exactly, explains Stella L. Volpe, PhD, RDN, ACSM-CEP, FACSM, head of the Virginia Tech Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise. “Some of the technology of these scales has, I’m sure, improved, but bio-electrical impedance analysis (BIA) anyway can be a little bit off,” Volpe says.
“What I worry about is that typically they’re not going to be as accurate as obviously the high-end instruments, and that could lead to people thinking either that they’re really lean or that they’re really over fat, and neither might be actually true. They could be somewhere in the middle,” explains Volpe. “I think using scales to try to go beyond what we know can be measured better. People need to be aware that when they do take these measurements, that they might not be accurate going on either side of the standard deviation. It might not be exactly accurate.”
How we tested
The testing process for the smart scales was in-depth, lasting almost a month, and involved downloading plenty of apps, learning a lot about different metrics and speaking with Volpe about how the measurements worked — and if they worked at all. Finally, we weighed ourselves. Over and over.
Here’s a breakdown of our testing:
- Readability: Literally, could the numbers and information be easily read while standing on the scale? We found out by standing on every scale and looking at those numbers.
- Accuracy: We put these smart scales up against the most basic scale — created only for gauging weight — comparing their measurement of our body weight as well as our body weight plus a 10-pound hand weight.
- Consistency: We looked at whether the day-to-day readings fluctuated much — while accounting for some holiday treat fluctuation on our part — to make sure the scales weren’t just accurate but also consistently accurate.
- Technology: We determined how easily the scales paired with apps, and how close devices — phones, tablets — needed to be to the scale to register any readings on the apps.
- Ease of setup: For this test, we started from scratch for each scale, turning it on, connecting with any apps, connecting with external apps and making sure the Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi connection worked.
- How many different devices can it pair with? We checked to see if you could use your scale with your phone, tablet, laptop and more.
- App’s usability: How easy is the scale’s app to use, how does it present information and what does it track?
- App compatibility: Do you need to use the scale’s official app, or can you pair with and sync up easily with Apple Health, MyFitnessPal, Google Health, Fitbit, etc.?
- How many users it can track: Can you add your whole family so everyone can track their metrics? And most importantly, is that information private?
- Overall footprint: Do the scales take up a lot of space, can you tuck them away easily and are they cumbersome or heavy?
- Design: While we recognize that what is aesthetically pleasing can be subjective, we’re giving our unvarnished opinion on which of these scales are the most attractive, and if they are available in different colors.
- Warranty: We looked into whether the product has one and, if so, how long it extends.
How we rated
Using the procedures described above, we gave each smart scale a score in each subcategory, combined those numbers for a maximum score in each category, then totaled those numbers for a final overall score. We broke down the scores as follows:
- Performance had a maximum of 45 points: readability (10 points), accuracy (10 points), consistency (10 points), technology (10 points) and ease of setup (5 points).
- Compatibility had a maximum of 35 points: how many devices it paired with (10 points), app usability (10 points), app compatibility (10 points) and how many users it recognized (5 points).
- Build had a maximum of 10 points: overall footprint (5 points) and design (5 points).
- X factors had a maximum of 10 points: warranty (5 points) and privacy (5 points).
- Other factors: In addition to our points rubric, we considered other factors like the scale’s price and its capabilities compared to other models.
Other smart scales we tested
Eufy Smart Scale P1 ($26.99, originally $44.99; amazon.com)
This smart scale, one of two we tested from Eufy, was another strong contender. It was easy to set up out of the box, with a simple download of the app from the Apple App Store (it’s also available for Android). It’s a nice-looking scale, and the app was simple to follow (you can also pair with Apple Health, Google Health and Fitbit). The Eufy P1 was also extremely consistent and accurate over repeated daily weigh-ins, both with and without the 10-pound hand weight we used to test. We really liked the round edges on this scale; if you have little ones running around, you don’t need to worry about them (or you) scraping up against it. The only drawback with the Eufy P1 is that while you can have 16 individual users, everyone can see one another’s information. (It’s up to you if you want to share your weight and progress with 15 family members!) It was neck and neck with the Wyze scale, despite it being double the price, so we think you’re much better off opting for the Wyze scale.
Withings Body Plus ($73.63, originally $99.95; amazon.com)
The Withings Body Plus, one of three we tested from Withings, which also makes sleep trackers and fitness watches, was another scale we really liked. It was our favorite from the Withings scale lineup by far. Setup was straightforward, with easy-to-follow directions and quick pairing. If you can set up a Bluetooth speaker, you can set up this smart scale. The app the scale works with is called Health Mate, and you can add individual accounts for family members, so no nosy relatives or housemates can see your health data. Also, the scale works with Wi-Fi, so if you’re logged in, you don’t need the app open or your phone close by to register a reading. The weight readings were consistent with repeated testing. The only knock on this scale is that the numbers are extremely difficult to read while you’re standing on it, as much of the display is taken up by a graph that can be either motivating or depressing, depending on what direction it’s going. One cool option on this and the other Withings scales is a pregnancy mode, which gives users an overview of the week with the current stage of pregnancy and cumulative weight gain, along with how it compares with personalized recommendations.
But being able to set up different accounts for different users and the pregnancy mode don’t, in our opinion, justify the $79 price tag, especially considering how hard to read the display is.
Fitbit Aria 2 (amazon.com)
The Fitbit Aria 2 was recently discontinued, but if you can find it you’ll get a great scale if you’re already integrated into the Fitbit universe. Another black, glass, lightweight scale, it can slide right under a bathroom vanity and has easy an easy-to-read display. It uses the Fitbit app, and if you’re already tracking your workouts, weight, BMI, lean mass and meals in the app, the Aria will make that easier and fits in seamlessly. You can add eight users to the scale, and if you sync up with friends on Fitbit, you can share your successes. If you’re just doing a regular, nonsynced weigh-in, the numbers on the scale take around 10 seconds to show up, which some reviewers disliked. This is a great scale that was close to the Wyze in overall points. It’s an ideal choice if you enjoy Fitbit products and its app, but if you find the app a bit busy, this might not be for you.
Qardio Base 2 ($119.99, originally $149; amazon.com)
This scale was easy to set up, but the weight and unique shape made it tough to tuck away easily. The Qardio weighs a couple of pounds more than the rest of the scales and, to us, looks like it belongs in Drake’s house. It’s very sleek and cool, but you can’t see the numbers clearly when you’re standing on it. We found the app a little clunky on an iPhone, as tabbing through information got overwhelming. We also found it kept tracking our info as a guest, even when we were logged on and had our phone nearby with the app open.
Fitbit Aria Air ($39.95, originally $49.95; amazon.com)
The lower-priced Fitbit Aria Air was a bit of struggle to set up. First, we had to download a firmware patch for the Air, then the Fitbit app. Once the patch was downloaded it was easy peasy, but we weren’t fans of the extra step. We also had to reboot our phones almost every time we wanted to sync, which was an issue users called out as well. While the Air has a similar sleek look to the Aria 2, it didn’t feel as balanced, and our weigh-ins were not consistent — for instance, we weighed in 2 pounds heavier in the kitchen than in the bathroom with this scale.
Withings Body ($59.95; withings.com)
This scale is essentially the same as the Withings Body Plus, but it only tracks weight and BMI. It was accurate and consistent, and we didn’t really have any issues with it. The design is almost the same as the Body Plus, as was the setup. It offers the same option for pregnancy tracking, and it did what it promised. But it doesn’t provide much for the price when compared to other scales we tested, and it shared the issue of small readout on the actual scale itself.
Withings Body Cardio ($149.95; withings.com)
The most expensive of the Withings scales we tested, this option was also easy to set up, and it was consistent and accurate on a tile floor, on a wood floor and on a rug. It promises to track weight, body mass, BMI and standing heart rate (though, again, we should note that our expert questions if any of these numbers outside of weight and BMI are accurate). This scale also pairs with Alexa, and you can ask her for your weight and other measurements if that sounds fun to you. But we don’t believe these little bells and whistles justify this scale’s high price.
Eufy Smart Scale C1 ($27.99, originally $32.99; amazon.com)
This is the lower-priced Eufy model, and the price difference really showed in testing. Setup was simple and the design was similar, but we had an incredibly difficult time getting readings beyond weight and BMI. We also found that Amazon reviewers noted it’s tough to connect with the electric spots on the scale, which produce these other readings. The suggestion was to use a towel to “dampen the contact points.” That sounds like a good way to get a shock (or worse!), so we did not try this. Weight readings were accurate, but not being able to access any other info (the app didn’t always sync) took a lot of points away from this scale.
Greater Goods Wi-Fi Smart Body Composition Scale ($49.95; amazon.com)
Of all the smart scales we tested, the Greater Goods was the wildest ride, even though we never got it to work. This scale works through Wi-Fi, not Bluetooth, so setup should have been as simple as logging in, but that was not the case. After multiple tries, we reached out to Greater Goods customer service, who were extremely easy to deal with. They asked what error message we had (we didn’t get one — the app worked and the scale worked, but they just weren’t connecting) and to send a photo of the router we were using. We troubleshot a few options, like rebooting our Wi-Fi and phone. Unfortunately, according to Greater Goods, their scales don’t work well with our internet router. They explained: “We run into issues with our scales connecting to Xfinity routers. With that said, we can either send you a travel router (which will basically work as a bridge to connect your network with the scale) or we can send you a Bluetooth scale.” Since we couldn’t fully test this scale, we cannot recommend it.