Scale on the floor with plant next to it.Weighing yourself on a weekly basis is one of the most important parts of a diet and exercise program. A daily or weekly weigh-in can keep you focused and moving toward your goals, and you’ll have the added motivation of seeing your weight drop on the scale over the weeks, months, and years. The only problem with weighing yourself weekly on a traditional scale is that you only see a number. And when you only look at your weight, you don’t get a full, bigger picture of your overall health. Smart scales are one of the recent additions to the connected health technologies available to make staying healthy easier to accomplish.

Smart Scale Buying Guide Quick Reference Handout

With a smart scale, you’ll see that your body weight is just one part of the puzzle when it comes to your health. Smart scales can measure a range of health indicators like body fat, body mass index (BMI), standing heart rate, bone mass, and more.

Table of Contents

        1. What is a smart scale?
        2. Technology built into smart scales
        3. Powering a smart scale
        4. What do smart scales measure?
        5. Maximum weight capacity of a smart scale

What is a smart scale?

A smart scale is a bathroom scale that looks just like a traditional scale, but this is a scale that connects and communicates data with other devices. The main difference between a traditional scale and a smart scale is that the smart scale compiles more than just one metric of your overall health, and it shares that data so you can easily save it for future reference. Some scales are able to capture data like heart rate, bone density, and body mass index then transmit that data to your phone or tablet so you can see a history of your overall progress. Additionally, many work in sync with fitness trackers and multiple health applications, thereby offering additional functionality and benefits.

Why should you choose a smart scale?

Having a smart scale means you can keep a detailed history of your weight, body mass, muscle mass, and heart health as it fluctuates over time. Because smart scales use apps to keep track of your health data, you can build up several years worth of health data as simply as stepping on the scale. Having your progress documented is a great motivator to keep exercising and sticking to a healthy diet.

Technology built into smart scales

A smart scale has built-in technologies designed to collect data from whoever steps on them. This type of scale uses bioelectric impedance analysis (BIA) to obtain your measurements. BIA involves the passing of a very weak, undetectable electrical current up through your feet. The results are consistent and accurate, and they will give you a picture of the state of your body on your weigh-in day.

Smart scales typically communicate with other devices via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. For example, once you’ve connected your scale to your home’s Wi-Fi, it will use your home network to transmit data to your phone.

All of your data will be logged in the smart scale’s compatible app, and you can share that data with friends and family, share it with a health care professional for enhanced health care, or sync it with your favourite compatible fitness apps. If you’re currently using a fitness tracker and app to track your health and fitness data, you may want to choose a smart scale made by the same manufacturer. That way you can ensure complete compatibility between your favourite app and your scale.

Withings smart scale with phone app

Powering a smart scale

Most smart scales use AAA batteries for power, but others will use lithium-ion batteries for extended power. Battery life will depend on how often you step on the scale.

What do smart scales measure?

Stepping on a smart scale will tell you your weight, but it can also go beyond what you currently weigh and show you a more complete picture of your overall health. There are several different metrics smart scales will measure for you.

1. Body fat

Your body is made up of muscle and fat, and when your weight drops, it isn’t always your body fat you’re losing. A smart scale will let you know what your body fat index currently is, and it will track your BMI over time so you can find out if you’re actually losing fat when you could be losing water weight or muscle mass.

2. Body Mass Index (BMI)

Your Body Mass Index is a good indicator of how healthy you currently are by incorporating height and weight into a summary number that categorizes people as underweight, overweight, etc. A high BMI (usually above 24.9) may mean you have significant body fat, and it’s a good metric to keep an eye on even if you’re not dieting or on an exercise program. Because your weight and BMI increase with unhealthy lifestyle choices, a high BMI may indicate health problems in the future.
App screenshot from a smart scale

3. Muscle mass

If you’re working out every week and you’re trying to increase your overall strength, you’re probably trying to lose weight too. When you step on a traditional scale and see that your weight has increased, your first reaction might be to worry you haven’t been working out enough. With a smart scale, you’ll be able to see if your weight has increased due to muscle mass acquired during your strength training workouts.

4. Bone mass

Smart scales can measure your bone mass. A low bone mass could indicate you are at risk for osteoporosis. With your bone mass measurement, you’ll be able to know if you should adjust your diet, exercise, or take vitamins to prevent further bone loss or slow the likelihood of future problems stemming from bone loss.

5. Water percentage

The amount of water you retain can affect the number you see on the scale, so knowing your hydration level is important when weighing yourself. Your hydration level can also let you know if you’re dehydrated and need to drink more fluids.

Lifestyle photo of a dark coloured fitbit smart scale on the bathroom floor

6. Heart rate and EKG

Knowing how hard your heart beats at rest is just as important as knowing how hard it beats during exercise. A smart scale can obtain your heart rate when you’re stepping on the scale, and tracking it over time can be a good indicator of your overall heart health.

The latest Withings smart scale also has a built-in handle so it can record a six-lead ECG you’ll be able to share with your doctor, and it can even keep track of your small nerve function so you can have a better understanding of your body’s nerve activity.

7. Pregnancy Tracker and Baby Mode

Smart scales will track your family’s growth and can adjust to different stages of life. Some smart scales have a Pregnancy Tracker so you can track your healthy weight gain for doctor’s visits. Some models also have Baby Mode so you can track your baby’s weight. All you’ll need to do is step on your scale while holding your baby and it will record your baby’s weight.

8. Nutrition tracking

Smart scale buying guide

When you want a helping hand managing what you eat and your calorie allowance, you can use your scale to track your daily nutrition intake.

How many people will be using the scale?

Having a smart scale means you can share your weight and other data with your friends and family, but you can also share the scale itself. You can set up multiple profiles within the compatible smart scale app, and whenever your family members step on the scale they will receive their own health data and have it assigned to their profile.

Compatible with top health and fitness apps

Different types of smart scales will sync with fitness watches including Apple Watch, Garmin, Fitbit, and Google Fit. Depending on which smart scale you choose, your scale may have real time data syncing so your weight is automatically uploaded to the different health and fitness apps you use.

Maximum weight capacity of a smart scale

A smart scale is similar to a traditional scale in that it has a maximum weight capacity. For most smart scales, that capacity is 400 lbs. Some scales may have a lower capacity of approximately 330 lbs. If you’re interested in knowing the maximum capacity of the scale, take a look at the manufacturer’s features prior to choosing your scales.

Take the next step

Fitbit Aria smart scale on kitchen tilesAlong with diet, exercise, and a fitness tracker to keep you motivated, a smart scale can be a valuable tool for anyone who wants to see a complete picture of their overall health. There are many kinds of smart scales with a variety of features that range from measuring your heart rate, BMI, muscle mass, and more. Now with this smart scale buying guide, you’re ready to find the right one for you. Check out a wide selection of all types of scales at Best Buy Online.

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