No one really enjoys stepping on a scale. But whether you’re looking to lose, gain or maintain weight, it’s important to choose one that will deliver a reliable reading every time, even if it’s not always the one you want.
Scales have come a long way from the temperamental mechanical models once seen in every bathroom. They are now nearly all digital, with electronic screens, modern glass designs and the ability to detect even the smallest weight change. These are cheap, easy to use and more than adequate if you just want to know how much you weigh.
However, the latest smart scales can do a lot more. These use bioelectrical impedance analysis technology to send a safe (and painless) electrical current through your body, which measures body fat, muscle mass, water percentage, bone mass and more.
They must be used barefoot, while it is also important to note that they should not be used by anyone who is pregnant or uses a pacemaker.
These scales will often also calculate your BMI, using your weight in kilograms divided by your height in metres squared. Some wifi or Bluetooth-enabled models can then record all these results to your smartphone to help keep track of your progress and provide an ongoing insight into overall health.
We considered the cost, style, accuracy and useability of all these scales, including how easy it was to set up profiles and sync to an app if required, to find the ones that truly deserved to take up our bathroom space.
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Withings body+ body composition wifi scale
Need an incentive to jump on the scale? This stylish smart model comes in black or white glass, and could give you the nudge you need thanks to its high-tech features and user-friendly extras. It does almost everything – measuring weight in kilograms, pounds and stones, as well as monitoring body fat, BMI, water percentage, fat and bone mass.
We especially liked the fact it tracks muscle mass, a great feature for keen exercisers who may otherwise see weight gain due to an increase in lean muscle tissue. The screen displays a graph – plotted with your previous eight measurements as well – so you can instantly see progress.
The scale can store results for up to eight people, and also has a specially-designed pregnancy and baby mode, which can monitor a baby’s weight when you step onto the platform with it in your arms.
Buy now £74.96, Withings.com
Salter eco power digital bathroom scale
This innovative scale isn’t just sustainable but also a gamechanger for the disorganised. It doesn’t need batteries – ever! – to work, but is instead self-powered by pressing the raised button in the middle with your foot before stepping on for the big reveal. We were unsure this would be as responsive as a battery-operated model, but results were immediate and consistent. The scale also comes with a whopping 15-year guarantee.
Weight can be viewed in stones, pounds or kilos and is displayed on a large, easy-to-read LCD display on the glossy toughened glass platform.
There are no extra options to view body fat or BMI, but these scales are a hassle-free choice if you just need the basic numbers. Our only minor gripe was that the central button means it’s not possible to use the scale to weigh boxes or suitcases on their own.
Buy now £31.99, Amazon.co.uk
Wilko electronic glass bathroom scale
This is a great option for anyone on a budget. This slim, transparent glass scale looks unobtrusive in any bathroom and does the job cheaply if you just want to hop on occasionally and check your weight. It comes with a 3v lithium battery included, is clear to read and can display weight in kilograms, stones and pounds.
It’s a good idea to find a flat, solid surface before use though – we found our weight could fluctuate by a couple of pounds on certain floors, so it was always a good idea to step on twice to double check (then accept the kindest result, obviously).
Buy now £12.00, Wilko.com
Terraillon window vocal digital bathroom scale
No more peering at tiny screens trying to read the numbers on curved white scale with an extra-large LCD display. A great choice for the elderly or visually impaired, the battery-operated scale will announce your weight in either kilograms, stones or pounds and can even be programmed to speak in French, German or Spanish as well as English.
It also has an adjustable volume control which can be set to low, high or silent, which is handy if more than one person is using the scale and they don’t all want their weight read out loud. However, we thought the spoken option was really useful when weighing luggage that covered the digital display. We also found the white plastic platform made this scale very secure and less slippery than some glass models, so it’s a good one to choose if you’re less steady on your feet.
Buy now £33.65, Amazon.co.uk
Eono by Amazon digital body weight bathroom scale
This sleek transparent glass scale impressed us with its accuracy, given the low price. It features four high-precision sensors that delivered reliable results every time we stepped on, even when we tried the scale on different floor surfaces. We liked the fact it weighs as soon as you stand on the scale too, rather than needing to be tapped to be activated.
Weight can be shown in pounds, stones or kilograms, and the extra large platform means it should suit the whole family. It comes with a 15-year guarantee, a low battery indicator, auto-calibration and two AAA batteries so it’s ready to use straight from the box.
Buy now £16.99, Amazon.co.uk
Beurer BF400 signature line white diagnostic bathroom scale
This simple white scale could be a secret weapon for anyone looking to lose weight. Available in black or weight, it’s packed with features normally seen on much more expensive models, and will measure BMI, body fat, bone mass, water and muscle percentage to deliver a more complete picture of your general health. It also allows up to ten users to store their results and monitor their progress.
If you need a little extra help to see the numbers you want, the scale will also display your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and active metabolic rate (APR). This is the number of calories you need at rest and the number needed for your daily life, which differs for everyone according to age, weight, height, gender and levels of activity. Knowing these can help users adjust calorie intake or increase exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle, though it’s always a good idea to seek advice on weight loss goals from a doctor too.
Buy now £34.99, Stressnomore.co.uk
Eufy smart scale C1
A cinch to set up from the box, this lightweight Bluetooth-enabled scale is a good choice for anyone who really wants to understand their body and health without spending a fortune. It was the easiest of all the scales we tested for pairing with the accompanying app, which was also simple to understand and excellent at displaying results.
The scale itself has a large, easy-to-read screen and while it only displays weight, the app tracks 12 measurements each time, including body and visceral fat, muscle mass, BMR, bone mass and water. Having to check the app to see these could put some people off, but we preferred seeing them laid-out clearly on our phone than on the scale itself. It can also sync with Google Fit, Fitbit and Apple Health and can track a staggering 16 users at the same time, recognising each one automatically.
Our one complaint? Weight is only displayed in either pounds or kilograms and we would have liked the option to see it in stones too.
Buy now £29.99, Currys.co.uk
If you want to get serious about your health, this is the scale for you. The black glass device focuses less on weight and more on looking after your heart to reduce the chance of developing problems later on. It can even be connected to an Omron blood pressure monitor for greater insight, though this costs extra.
It measures six body metrics on the screen including skeletal muscle, resting metabolism, body fat and BMI. These are synced over Bluetooth to a reassuringly clinical-looking app to easily record results and monitor weekly, monthly and yearly progress. It can track up to four users at a time, and syncs almost instantly. We especially liked the large display on the scale itself, which clearly labelled each measurement with words instead of symbols (which can be easy to forget later on).
Buy now £99.99, Amazon.co.uk
Weight Watchers ultra slim glass body analyser scale
This is a neat, slimline – no pun intended – scale that offers everything most users will ever need. Ideal for those who don’t want to bother with an app, the neat silver and clear glass scale weighs in stones, pounds and kilograms, and also measures body weight, BMI, body water, bone mass and body fat. Results are clearly displayed on the large digital screen, though we sometimes found it hard to remember the numbers before they were replaced by the next set of measurements.
It memorises four different users so is great for the whole family, although you do need to keep the instructions to hand to set up each profile initially. Once up and running, we found the scale extremely accurate, and especially appreciated the fact it could be set to athlete mode to acknowledge different fitness levels.
Buy now £21.99, Weightwatchers.co.uk
Brabantia bathroom scales
All the numbers you need are at your fingertips, or toes at least, with this distinctive silver and black scale. It stores up to eight user profiles, taking into account age, gender, height and whether each person does physical exercise for a more accurate result. You then need to skip to the right profile before you step on to store your results, which only takes a second but might be a little annoying if all eight are being used.
Weight is measured in stones, pounds or kilograms and the scale will also monitor body fat, water, BMI and muscle percentages, scrolling through these in turn on the digital screen. An icon denotes what each measurement refers to and though these take a while to memorise, they would soon become second nature for a quick health check each morning.
Buy now £58.00, Brabantia.com
Bathroom scales FAQs
How do smart scales work?
Smart scales help to give you a clear picture of your health and fitness by offering additional metrics besides weight, including body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, muscle mass and more. They do this by sending a small non-harmful electrical impulse through your body to measure the resistance, or impedance, your body gives against the current in different tissue types like bone, fat and muscle. They must be used barefoot and it is important to note that they should not be used by anyone who is pregnant or uses a pacemaker.
Are smart scales more accurate than mechanical scales?
While mechanical and digital scales can give you a basic reading of your weight, smart scales can provide you with even more information about your body, allowing you to log your weight and track changes remotely on your smartphone. They are the most accurate of all the options and also offer the most comprehensive view of the composition of your body.
What other features should I look for?
As well as tracking your weight, smart scales can calculate everything from body fat and muscle mass to BMI, water percentage and even your resting metabolism. These measurements can help give a better overview of your general health and knowing how much fat, water, muscle and bone your body is made up of can give insight into whether you are achieving your health goals. However, it’s important to remember that these values are estimates and that you should always consult a doctor for the most accurate measurements and advice.
The verdict: Bathroom scales
The Withings body+ body composition wifi scale is our top choice for its impressive syncing capabilities, sleek style and thorough measurements that give a great insight into overall health. The Eufy smart scale C1 has almost as many features for half the price, so is an excellent investment if you’re curious to know more than just what you weigh.
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For more tech to give helpful health insights, here’s our review of the 8 best heart rate monitors to track your fitness