Want to keep track of your weight? We've tested a range of scales, both standard and smart models. We name the Withings Body+ the best choice, as it’s both multi-functional and consistent in terms of measurement, while being a premium product at two-thirds of the price.
We test all products ourselves and use them as they are intended to be used in everyday life. Each of the bathroom scales have been set with profiles, network services, and values according to the manufacturer's instructions and have then been used daily for at least one month. Test subjects consisted of two adults and a small child, plus intermittent measurements of interested visitors. Several bathroom scales were used at the same weigh-in to see if they differed and if so by how much. At the same time, a separate set of scales – not included in the test – was used as a reference. For diagnostic scales that also measure body fat, these were compared with other scales that do the same thing, combined with at least one caliper measurement per set as a reference point.
In our tests, we focused primarily on the following three factors:
Use: Do you simply stand on the scales or do you need to do something else? How easy is it to set up the different special functions?
Accuracy: The bathroom and diagnostic scales were checked against other models to see how well they performed. We also made sure they measured accurately as often as possible, without producing totally incorrect results.
Build quality: Because you have to stand on bathroom scales, it’s important they feel robust. Squeaky and cheap feeling plastic isn’t really desirable. We also took into account the scales' design and any special functions. We then took all the results and looked at them in relation to the price of the scales. For each set of scales tested, we allocated a score based on their value for money.
A bullseye set of diagnostic scales that make more expensive models obsolete
Price class: Premium Measurement data: Weight, body fat, muscle mass, bone mass, body water, caloric needs, and BMI Accuracy (weight): 90 grams (0,19 lb) Operation time: One year on 4xAAA batteries Maximum weight: 180 kg (396 lb) Miscellaneous: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
Withings Body+ kicks in the door and installs itself right in our hearts. It's to such a degree that we actually struggle to see why one would consider Withings' own high-end model, the Body Cardio. Sure, the Body Cardio has a rechargeable battery and can measure your pulse, but those are the only real differences between the two, and the Body+ is a whopping £50 cheaper (on average)!
If you've used one of Withings' scales before, you'll feel right at home here. The scales are well-built and the surface and display ooze of quality. The display is large, clear, and easy to read.
The Withings app is simple and connecting the scales to the app and your Wi-Fi is a straight forward process that even the least tech savvy of us can handle. As long as the different users don't have the exact same measurements, the diagnostic scales will recognise each individual user and send their relevant data to the app for easy tracking. It does occasionally overdo it by porting all measurements to the app, which seems overkill if you only want to, for instance, port your BMI.
The definitive advantage of using Withings has always been their focus on multi-connectivity. It is surprisingly difficult to find a workout or dietary service that doesn't work with Withings' systems. This means that you can port all your relevant measurements straight into the Apple Health or Myfitnesspal apps, just to name those two. We find it to be a great system as it saves you a lot of time you'd otherwise be using manually inputting data.
Throughout our testing, we found the scales to measure accurately pretty much every time. Once in a blue moon, it did randomly display measurements completely off, but we found this to be corrected simply by stepping off and onto the bathroom scales again.
When all is said and done, the Body+ is very close to being what we'd consider the end all be all in bathroom/personal/diagnostic scales (yes, we know these are not exactly the same things). The Withings Body+ does everything you could want it to and it's easy to use. Thus, if you want diagnostic scales that measure more than you actually need, with measurements that can easily be ported into different services for your convenience, then we can only recommend the Withings Body+. It passes with flying colours - both when it comes to regular and advanced use.
Withings Body+ Body Composition Smart Wi-Fi Scale - Black
Withings Body+ - Smart Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Bathroom Scale - Digital Bathroom Scale Incl. Body Fat Scale for Weight loss, Scales for Body Weight, Digital Scales for Body Weight, Body Composition Scales
Withings Body + Scale White
Excellent entry level scales for basic needs
Measurement data: Weight, BMI Accuracy (weight): 100 g Operating time: 1.5 years Max weight: 180 kg Miscellaneous: Bluetooth, WiFi, support for 8 users
Withings Body are an easy-to-use set of personal scales that give you all the details of both weight and BMI through the display on the scales as well as via the associated app. The scales are easy to set up, after which they take care of themselves.
Build quality feels very good. The scales have a shiny glass design that feels so luxurious they can sit out in your bathroom all the time, but at the same time they’re well built.
The scales have no problem distinguishing between family members and communicate via the display, showing the name, weight and (via a graph) how the person’s weight has changed recently. The graph covers a very short period of time, which can be quite encouraging if you’re on a diet. But if you’re only making sure your weight stays constant over longer intervals, it would have been nice to be able to set that graph to span a longer period of time.
You receive a weekly report via email and you can set weight goals to see how you well you are doing. There’s also an app where you can easily track your values. Family members who want a personal profile must create a user in the app. The rest then happens automatically after you have synced the app to the scales – a very simple procedure.
Some other ‘fun’ details are that the Body wishes you happy birthday via the display and also tells you what the weather is doing where you live.
The measured values are correct when we compare them with other personal scales. With many scales your weight fluctuates a little depending on how you stand on them, but you don’t get that problem with the Body. Unlike Withing's slightly more advanced scales, however, you don’t get fat measurement. And as the BMI value is quite basic in nature, really the Withings Body is mainly just useful for telling you your weight in kilos.
The Withings Body is battery operated and the manufacturer claims that you’ll get 18 months’ battery life. So far we’ve been testing it a couple of times a week for about 6 months and have had no problems with the battery. Nor did we have any problems with reliability or build quality either.
These home scales are aimed at buyers who are tired of constantly buying new bathroom scales because they break or start to show errors. These scales are affordable, the values are accurate and you’ll be informed of all the basic things you want to know. Via email, app or simply via the display. The Withings Body are great personal scales for anyone who just wants to know the basics.
A nice update if you already use Garmin products
Price class: Premium Measurement data: Weight, body fat, muscle mass, bone mass Accuracy (weight): 90 grams (0,19 lb) Operating time: One year (4xAAA batteries) Maximum weight: 180 kg (396 lb) Miscellaneous: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
Garmin's first set of personal scales was a fairly complicated story for its time, with close integration of Garmin's own ecosystem and a lot of measurements. If these original scales were compared side-by-side to the Garman Index S2, the two would very much appear similar. Yet, the S2 is not about new functions, but rather focused on a new design and a significantly improved built.
We never really thought of the original Index as being an ugly unit, but when compared to the new and updated model, the old one looks almost archaeic. The shape has been rounded, it's a tad smaller, and the display has been upgraded for a vastly improved look and feel. Especially the display is a lot easier to read and supports the viewing of relevant information to a whole new extent.
If we disregard the fact that the plastic feet tend to make quite some noise when dragged along the floor, then we actually have a really stable and well-built set of scales. Just like the original Index, the S2 measures your weight, body fat, muscle mass, water levels, and bone mass. Like the previous model, the Garmin S2 delivers all the results and values to the extent they are measurable.
If there's anything users of the first Index didn't like, it was the unstable Wi-Fi function. While we never personally experienced issues, we know for a fact that it was a topic of hot debate. This is why Garmin has specifically made strides to improve the Wi-Fi connectivity, in order to ensure a stable and reliable connection. Based on all of our testing, we are happy to announce that they succeeded, as we did not have a single Wi-Fi related issue.
One thing that is unchanged from the previous model is the fact that this is a set of Garmin scales. If you already utilise a variety of Garmin products, the Index S2 will nicely integrate through the Garmin Connect app. Oppositely, if you do not use Garmin products, you will find that the S2 struggles to communicate with other services that are not Garmin related, unfortunately.
In the end, the Garmin Index S2 is a solid choice for a set of bathroom scales if you want a solid data foundation and measurements, and if you're already using Garmin products anyway.
Classic analogue scale in solid packaging
Price class: budget Measurement data: weight Accuracy (weight): 100 g Operating time: infinite (analogue) Max. weight: 150 kg Connectivity: no
Medisana PSD is a really basic analogue personal scale. The big shape is reminiscent of a healthcare centre and doctor’s clinic, which nevertheless gives a reassuring feeling. The maximum weight peaks at 150 kg and the numbers on the scale’s round window are quite large so that you can easily see the result. Whole and half kilograms are at least easy to read, while hectograms are a bit more difficult for obvious reasons.
The window with the weight board is really the only thing that feels like plastic. Otherwise it is a heavy and solid scale in powder-coated steel. The surface where you put your feet is rubberised to prevent slipping, even if you just got out of the shower. If anything, we would say that the shape makes the surface you are standing on feel a little narrow. A square scale would have solved this problem, while it could also probably be made a little thinner for easier storage.
When unpacking, and possibly after moving the scale, you may need to calibrate it, i.e. make sure that the meter starts at zero and not somewhere else when nobody is standing on the scale. This is done using a small knob at the back of the scale, hidden enough to prevent accidental knocks. We quickly noticed that this was something to keep an eye on, because our tester gained ten kilos immediately after unpacking.
All in all, Medisana PSD is a classic and incredibly simple analogue personal scale. There’s no need to worry about fat measuring, cloud connectivity, or changing batteries. Stand on it and it will show your weight. Leave it in storage for twenty years and it will do the same when you take it out.
Good value scales, but not really what they should have been
Price class: Intermediate Measurement data: Weight, fat, water, muscle mass, bone weight, abdominal fat Accuracy (weight): 50 g Operating time: 240 days (4 AAA) Max weight: 150 kg Connection: Bluetooth
The Xiaomi Mi Body Composition Scale 2 is probably one of the cheaper sets of scales you’ll find that measure body composition, and not just fat and weight. When you connect it to Xiaomi's Mi Health app, you get 13 different values measured.
The scales only connect to Xiaomi's app and then only via Bluetooth. This means you need to have the app installed and running so that all values can be synced properly. We would have preferred to see a Wi-Fi connection here, avoiding the need to bring out your mobile, but considering that all data is actually locked into the app, that wouldn’t have been an option.
The app itself feels a bit messy and poorly translated. Mi Health has primarily been developed for Xiaomi's activity band and finding where your data is stored for the scales is a bit tricky. Once you’ve sussed it out, you do get a lot of data to look at and also a lot of useful explanations as to what the different data points mean. At the same time, the app is plagued by a lot of bad translation and we don’t really agree on the levels set in the app. Ideal weight is almost at starvation level, which just feels wrong for users with eating disorders.
When it comes to measured values, the scales handle most of the data fine and within perfectly reasonable values. However, the fat value seems to be five percent higher compared to both our manual measurements and readings from other scales, which makes us a little sceptical of other fat level measurements.
You will need to find all the data in the app, because the very basic display doesn’t show much of it. We would have liked greater opportunities to choose what’s shown on the display, but unfortunately that’s not possible.
The Xiaomi Mi Body Composition Scale 2 is very cheap for what it does. It measures things like weight, water and muscle mass fairly accurately, but seems to have some problems with fat measurement. The connection is simple but the app is both poorly translated and quite locked. Basically, you’re getting what you pay for with Xiaomi's scales.
Stylish, convenient scales which often get the most important thing wrong
Price class: Premium Measurement data: Weight Accuracy (weight): 100 grams (0,22 lb) Operating time: 12 months Maximum weight: 180 kg (396 lb)
The Omron HN-289 is a traditional set of scales, which have been given a modern design. Essentially, these are ordinary scales with a glass sheet over the entire top part, with only the logo and a small display visible.
Our version was the silver variant, which in practice means the glass plate is frosted with a light silver tone underneath. The sturdy glass top makes the scales feel stable, even if they do rock a little when placed on the floor.
The scales are very simple. You stand on them and they show your weight in large and clear numbers. These scales don’t even pretend to offer any more than that and so they shouldn’t be compared with more expensive diagnostic scales with lots of functions.
However, even performing such a basic function, these scales don’t seem very happy with their lot. Only a few weeks after first use, you are met by the text 'Lo' on the display, which indicates a low battery level. Being delivered with poor quality batteries can happen to the best of products. However, the same thing happened again only one or two weeks later, and by the third battery change (and cleaning the battery terminals), it became apparent that these scales are just fatigued all the time. Yet, if you wait a moment, then stand on the scales again, they will show your weight without complaining about the battery... Odd.
No matter how many fresh batteries we put in the scales, however, the biggest problem was that the above mentioned fatigue affected the results. Somewhere, around every tenth weigh-in or so, your readings go several kilos up or down. The solution is the same as for the batteries – get off the scales and then stand on them again, and it works fine, but this is quite a nuisance.
The Omron HN-289 is a set of small, attractive and well-built scales which, despite its simplicity, is far from trouble free. What causes the battery warnings, and the incorrect weigh-ins, is difficult to say, but both happen far too often for us to be satisfied with such basic scales.
Acceptable scale that costs way too much
Measurement data: Weight Accuracy (weight): 100 g Operating time: 6 months Max. weight: 180 kg Connectivity: Bluetooth
The Fitbit Aria Air will mostly be of interest if you’re already using one of Fitbit’s various health and fitness trackers or smart watches. While it’s possible to share the weight logged in the app with other services, it is, of course, primarily intended as a supplement to your main Fitbit.
The connection to the app is easily set up in the same way as you add a new health and fitness tracker. The scale only communicates over Bluetooth, which means that your phone needs to be close and the app needs to be open in order for it to register any data. Meanwhile, it’s easy to share the scale with other Fitbit users in your household, and since the app needs to be open when weighing in, there’s never any confusion about whose weight data is being logged.
The actual smart scale looks relatively anonymous and should be able to blend into most people’s bathrooms. Fitbit claims that the batteries (3 AAAs) should last for six months, which feels quite short in terms of the connectivity and the data being measured.
While the scale operated very reliably during our test period, and never went crazy and started displaying random numbers, it still feels a bit too “basic”. Fitbit likes to boast that it “measures” BMI too, but this is more of a blunt mathematical formula than measurement with a sensor. It doesn’t display any body fat percentage or similar, despite the fact that the scale has a hefty price tag.
This means that you need to be a fairly fanatical Fitbit user to see any point with the Fitbit Aria Air – and even then, the price tag is pretty hard to swallow.
Plasticky and fiddly scales with functions that only work sometimes
Price class: Premium Measurement data: Weight, body fat, muscle mass, bone mass Accuracy (weight): 100 grams (0,22 lb) Operating time: 9 months Maximum weight: 180 kg (396 lb)
The Omron BF511 is a set of diagnostic scales that measure your weight, BMI, fat percentage, fluid volume and muscle mass. Details for up to four users can be stored for use on the scales. Such a low number of users feels even worse when you consider that you manually have to switch the user with a button press. Scales that automatically guess who’s standing on them (and are usually right) can usually do twice as many profiles, if not more, without any issue.
The Omron BF511 is a rather strange device, especially if you’re used to ordinary scales that you more or less just stand on. The scales themselves are quite large and heavy. They are also made of very creaky plastic, which doesn’t exactly make you feel confident.
On the scales, there are four metal plates that are used for half of the measurement. The idea is that you can disconnect the entire front part of the scales – the handle. The handle is attached with a pull-out cord and consists of two grips with metal parts for measurement as well as a display and buttons.
Getting started with this requires you to study the manual to set the basic settings for different users. In other words, none of it is very logical. At each weigh-in, you have to manually set who’s standing on the scales.
Even more so, for everything to work properly, you also have to make sure you follow the checklist below. Stand barefoot directly on the metal plates. Your feet mustn’t be too wet (like just out of the shower, for instance), the handles should also be held in a special way, your arms at a particular angle and so on. It’s all very serious, which is reassuring in a way… but also quite fiddly to use.
In addition to displaying all the measurements, you can also compare these, in a very simplistic way, with previous results. Once again, however, navigating your way around is totally illogical, which means you don’t really feel inclined to use this function.
Wi-Fi or any other sort of connection to the outside world is lacking which, to be fair, isn’t Omron's intention here. At the same time, connectivity would make your history much easier to follow.
With all that said, are the readings at least any good? For the most part, measurements all stay within reasonable values. At the same time, it’s important that you have some idea of what these should be right from the start. This is because the scales very often give completely misleading values, even when our testers follow all the instructions.
If you stand on the scales five times in a row, the weight, fat or water values are totally wrong at least once or twice, while the scales show the correct result the rest of the time, and when the scales get it wrong, they really get it wrong, with a 10-20% higher fat percentage than what's actually the case. Of course, such measurements are then also saved, which messes up your history completely.
The idea behind the Omron BF511 is very good, but the extremely cheap construction, combined with a fiddly interface and incorrect readings mean this simply isn’t a very good product.
Omron BF511 Clinically Validated Full Body Composition Monitor with 8 High Precision Sensors for Hand-to-foot Measurement - Turquoise
Omron Family Body Composition Digital BMI Muscle Bathroom Weighing Scale BF511
Omron BF511 Clinically Validated Full Body Composition Monitor with 8 High Precision Sensors for Hand-to-foot Measurement - Blue
(Diagnostic) bathroom scales, or simply just scales, are a type of product found in more or less every home. A set of scales is a helpful device that quickly and easily shows whether you’re gaining or losing weight, whether fast food is taking its toll and whether your gym membership is paying dividends.
Essentially, bathroom scales are very simple devices. You stand on the scales and they tell you your weight. Whether or not you write down that measurement is up to you. If you do keep a note of your weight in a diary or via an exercise app, there are several ways to make the weigh-in more interesting.
Though this is just scratching the surface. Bathroom scales are the more conventional scales, which focus on the measuring of weight. Yet, more and more scales are becoming diagnostic scales. What this means is essentially that the scales incorporate a variety of electric measurements, app support, and bioimpedance to give you the complete picture of your health.
Although you can pay just for design, sometimes there are extra features which may make a set of scales cost more:
The most basic feature is BMI (Body Mass Index) calculation, which is an approximate and simple way to see whether you’re overweight or underweight.
Another feature is fat measurement, something that takes place via what's known as bioimpedance. A weak electric current is sent through your body, and by examining how long it takes for the current to travel through the body, the amount of fat can be calculated (because fat, muscle, water and bone have different densities and conduct the current differently). This is one of the most common methods of measuring fat, and also the simplest. While medical tools or a caliper can provide more accurate readings, scales with fat measurement often provide a useful figure too. It’s worth remembering that factors such as exercise or dehydration can easily affect this type of measurement, so it’s important to be consider when you use it.
The next step is to use bioimpedance to measure more values in the body, such as how much the body’s bones, muscles, and water content weigh. In addition to the amount of water, there are values that either change slowly (muscles) or not at all (bones), but which can still be interesting to keep track of if you’re logging your body values.
Another feature that has been added to scales in recent years is smartness – in other words, whether or not the bathroom scales are connected. Smart scales can send all data, either by Bluetooth to an app on your mobile or by Wi-Fi to a service on the internet. This way, you don’t have to remember or write down the numbers yourself and you also get nice graphs of how your values have changed – or not – over time.
It’s worth mentioning that some manufacturers like to lock you into their own app and their own service, and if you already use an app to log your diet or exercise, it may be worth checking to see which scales can communicate with it.