Why do you need to know about the best smart scales?
One of the most popular things that you will hear at the gym these days is that getting shape isn’t just about the number on the scales.
More and more people are coming around to the idea that how much you weigh says very little about your physical health.
What matters is the composition of your body, and your proportion of muscle and lean body mass in relation to fat. This isn’t always easy to determine from just standing on the scales because – as the mantra goes – muscle weighs more than fat.
Also, if you are weighing in daily to monitor yourself and see how your fitness and diet habits are affecting your weight, the number on the scales can be very misleading. Fluctuating weight usually has more to do with water retention and hormones than whether you snuck a late-night snack the day before.
Well, that’s fine, we can all accept these facts. But how can your monitor all these things without paying a fortune to see a sports dietician or personal trainer on a regular basis?
Welcome to the world of smart scales.
Smart scales look like a normal set of scales that you have at home, but they use smart sensors and algorithms to determine your full body composition.
Most of these smart scales also sync with the latest fitness apps, so you can integrate your data over time and understand your progress.
In this article, we are going to talk about what exactly smart scales are and what they can do.
We will then share our list of the five best smart scales that you can buy today to better understand your body.
Finally, we will go through some of the metrics that smart scales provide. We’ll explain why they are important, what they tell you about your body, and what you can do with that information to boost your results.
More than Scales
When you stand on a set of smart scales, your weight will flash up on the display within a few seconds, just like it would on a set of digital scales. So, what makes smart scales different, and justifies the significantly heftier price tag?
Smart scales, also sometimes called body fat scales, have additional sensors that you won’t find on your standard scales.
These sensors are called bioelectrical impedance and sit under your feet. When you step on the scales, a small electrical current runs up through your leg and across your pelvis. The measures the amount of resistance to the current from body fat to help determine your percentage of body fat.
While the algorithms used are much more complex, as a general rule of thumb, the greater the body resistance, the higher the fat percentage.
Some scales will also have other sensors, such as a heart rate monitor that can read your heart rate through your feet.
The scales will integrate with a smartphone app, where you will also be asked to enter your vital statistics such as height and age, to help make the inferences of the algorithms more accurate.
The smartphone app for your scales will sync with your phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, just like a fitness tracker. And the app that collects your scales data will usually integrate with other fitness apps, such as FitBit, Google Fit, and so forth, so that you can integrate all of your data.
Generally speaking, the more you pay for your smart scales, the more sophisticated they will be. For example, there are some premium scales that have pregnancy modes and can provide separate weight information for mother and growing baby.
Most scales will be able to accommodate multiple users. They can intelligently tell who is standing on the scales, separate their data, and send it to the appropriate smartphone.
So, why would you want a pair of smart scales?
- You can collect information on the composition of your body that tells you a lot more about your health than just your weight.
- You can integrate your body composition data with fitness tracking data about your exercise and diet. This can help you gain a clearer picture of how one influences the other.
- You can manage when you analyse your data. While it is best to weigh yourself in the morning, you don’t necessarily want to be weighed down by that information for the entire day. You can set the scales not to display your weight, and just send it straight to your phone, so you can look over all your data at a more appropriate time.
For advice on other fitness technology that you can match up with your scales, check out our technology section.
5 Best Smart Scales
If you are looking for the best and most comprehensive smart scales on the market, then you will want something from Withings.
These clinically tested scales will give you all of your data including weight, BMI, fat-free weight, muscle mass, and much more. And while you are checking in on yourself for the morning, you can also check in on the day with temperature and weather info.
Their smart scales work over both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, so your data will update no matter where your phone is, as long as both the scales and your phone are connected to your home network.
The Health Mate app that works with the scales is compatible with most fitness tracking applications including Apple Health, FitBit, Google Fit, MyFitnessPal, and Strava. It is even compatible with Amazon Alexa if you want to use your smart speaker to check in on your trends and progress.
This model also includes a sophisticated pregnancy mode that can give expecting mothers data both about their changing body, and their growing baby.
The scales can accommodate up to eight users, differentiating between different users as they step onto the scales and sending their data to the appropriate application.
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
- Full body composition analysis
- Pregnancy mode
- Up to 8 users
- Compatible with most fitness trackers and Amazon Alexa
Healthkeep Smart Bathroom Weight Scale
If you are looking for a comprehensive smart scale that can sync with most major fitness trackers, then this option from Healthkeep has you covered.
They offer a variety of measurements including weight, BMI, BMR, fat-free body weight, subcutaneous fat, visceral fat, skeletal muscle, metabolic age, and body water.
You can do your measurements without your phone in your hand, as the scales will store the data and upload later via Bluetooth when the app is available.
It syncs with a variety of fitness trackers including FitBit, Google Fit, Apple Health, and Samsung Health, so it is easy to integrate this tool into your fitness regime.
An unlimited number of users can work with the same scales, which are smart enough to distinguish between different users and send the right data to the right account.
- Compatible with a variety of fitness applications
- Tracks 13 key body measurements
- Supports multiple users
PICOOC S3 Lite Body Fat Scales
If you are looking for a premium set of smart scales, and don’t mind paying a little more, you will be impressed by the AI-powered scales from German company PICOOC.
The scales give you a full overview of what is going on with your body including weight, body fat, muscle, visceral fat, protein, bone mass, and more.
Step on the scales, and you can see your results in less than three seconds, or have them sent directly to your smartphone app, via Bluetooth or WiFi.
The app uses smart AI technology to give you the most accurate readings. The scales themselves are also designed to be extra wide and with specially placed sensors for the most accurate readings.
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Connection
- 13 body measurements
- Dedicated PICOOC fitness app
- AI algorithm
- Designed for accuracy
RENPHO Body Fat Scale
If you are looking for an affordable set of smart scales that are comprehensive and works well with most fitness apps, then the RENPHO is a great choice.
The REPHNO app is compatible with most of the major fitness tracking applications, including Samsung Health, Apple Health, and Google Fit.
It measures 13 essential elements including weight, BMI, muscle mass, and body fat percentage.
The data is sent to your phone application via Bluetooth, but the scales will also store the data for a period of time, so you don’t need to worry about losing anything if you forget your phone.
The whole family can use the same scales, as you can program different profiles, and the scales are smart enough to tell the difference between different users without any fiddling.
- Bluetooth Connection
- Compatible with popular fitness tracking apps
- 13 measurements
- Multiple users
FitBit Aria Air Smart Scale
If you are a fan of FitBit, who really are responsible for launching the era of personal fitness tracking, why not get a pair of scales specifically designed to work with your Fitbit fitness tracker of choice.
Just like your tracker, the scales sync with the FitBit app via Bluetooth, and integrate with all the data that you are already collecting there.
The scales determine your weight and BMI, allowing you to get a better image of how your activity and eating are influencing your body composition.
Track multiple uses with the same set of scales as they intelligently determine who is stepping on.
- Integrates with FitBit application
- Bluetooth connection
- Multiple users
- Easy to read analysis
Body Composition Measurements
You will find that your smart scales provide you with a list of body composition measurements, but what do they all mean, and what can you do with that information?
Below we will look at the most common body composition measurements provided by smart scales, beyond weight.
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
BMR is the number of calories that your body burns while resting.
This is unique for every person and depends on your body composition, activity levels, heart rate, and so forth.
Smart scales can make a good estimation of your BMR based on the other body composition metrics that it collects and your heart rate.
Smart scales can give you an idea of the density of your bones, though without specific details of their composition, for example, the percentage of calcium, Vitamin D and K, Potassium, and Magnesium.
However, a general overview is useful, as bone density tends to diminish from about the age of 30 onwards. This should happen slowly enough so as not to cause you any problems. But it can be a major issue if it happens too quickly.
Other symptoms of loss of bone density are usually only noticeable when the problem is fairly far advanced, so monitoring bone density can be a good idea.
Fat-free mass is the weight of your body excluding fat, so the weight of your skeleton, muscles, and major organs.
This is important because you should be calculating your daily protein needs based on your fat-free mass, as you feed your lean body mass, and not your fat.
For more information on how much protein you need to be eating, and how to get it, read our protein guide.
If you are working to build muscle mass, you will want to know what percentage of your body is muscle, as opposed to fat, bone, and organs, in order to measure your progress towards your goal.
Percentage Body Fat
This is a measure of exactly how much fat makes up your total body weight. Ideally, men should be aiming for a body fat percentage of between 10 and 20 percent, which women should be looking at between 18 and 28 percent.
Some scales will also be able to tell you how much visceral fat you have in comparison to subcutaneous fat.
Subcutaneous fat is the fat under the skin, which is visible and unsightly, but isn’t particularly dangerous. Visceral fat is the fat that sits around your organs and is associated with a variety of diseases.
Skeletal Muscle Mass
This is the muscle that sits around the skeleton and supports mobility and posture.
Some smart scales will be able to show you the distribution of your skeletal muscle mass, which will allow you to focus on where you need to build muscle to correct imbalances.
Total Body Water
This helps you understand how much water you have in your body and how hydrated you are. It can also help you understand fluctuating body weight, and this is often down to the retention of loss of water.
Your scales may be able to divide your water weight between extracellular water which is the water located outside your cells, and intracellular water, which is located within your cells.
Men should have a total body water composition of between 60 and 65 percent, women should have between 45 and 60 percent.
Can smart scales really measure body fat?
Yes, smart scales can measure body fat. They contain sophisticated sensors that send an electrical impulse through your body while weighing you. It then measures your body’s resistance to those impulses. The different parts of your body, fat muscles, and organs, have different levels of resistance.
Your smart scales can use this data, in combination with information that you have provided about yourself, to provide a fairly accurate picture of your body composition, including your percentage of body fat.
How long does it take to lose 10 percent of body fat?
It is impossible to say how long it will take to lose a certain amount of body fat, as it depends on a lot of factors. For example, if you are very overweight, you will find it much easier to shed excess fat than someone who only has a little bit of excess fat to lose.
While a calorie deficit is essential for losing body fat, a consistent calorie deficit does not guarantee continued weight loss. Your body becomes accustomed to the reduced energy and your BMR reduces. So, in theory, you need to reduce your calorie intake even further to continue losing weight at the same rate.
But his is inadvisable, as you can permanently undermine your metabolic rate, which means that the moment you add more calories you will gain weight quickly.
Why does my weight keeping changing on the scale?
It is completely normal for your weight to fluctuate day to day depending on how much water your body is retaining, how well you slept, and what you might have eaten recently.
It is normal for an adult’s weight to fluctuate as much as five pounds on any day without having any significant relation to their overall body composition.
However, also beware that you are using your scales correctly. Digital scales should not be moved between uses as they will lose their measure of zero. This can lead to fluctuating and inaccurate readings.
If you are serious about monitoring your body in order to monitor your health, you need a set of smart scales.
Knowing how much you weigh tells you very little about the overall health of your body. You can weigh 20 pounds more than you did five years ago and be significantly healthier if that weight is muscle.
You may have been hovering around the same weight for years, but your health could be diminishing if you are developing new stores of visceral fat while losing muscle tone.
Smart scales are a great way to get an idea of what is going on inside your body on a regular basis at home, and integrate that information with data that you collect from other fitness trackers.
While it is not a replacement for regular checkups with professionals, it is a valuable tool for monitoring your health and progress towards your fitness goals.
Last update on 2021-05-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API