The best bathroom scales are the most accurate, even if that means they don’t always give you the answer you were hoping for. Basic models show weight, more advanced ones add body fat and body water percentages, or even simple weather forecasts (so you can plan what to wear). Body fat is measured by the scales sending a tiny, imperceptible electric current through your bare feet (which means they’re not suitable for pacemaker-wearers).
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a guide to healthy body weight, based on your height. Advanced scales have wi-fi built in to save your measurements to an app or website so you can track changes and spot trends over time. These scales were tested for accuracy, speed and simplicity of use.
1. Withings Body Cardio: £140, Apple
These slick scales have a lot of information to share. And because they have wi-fi, you can check measurements over a period of time on the accompanying smartphone app which works with iPhones and Android handsets. As well as weight, they calculate BMI, fat composition, muscle mass, water content, and pulse wave velocity, a useful indicator of heart health and issues connected to hypertension – and they tell the weather too. Withings has made a series of scales and this one is easily the most sophisticated and attractive. Note that because it’s gathering so much information, it takes longer than it would to just get your weight (though it’s still only seconds, of course). It has a rechargeable battery, too, which is handy.
2. Tanita BC730/GREEN Innerscan: £40, amazon
The compact and lightweight Innerscan has lots of measurements available. It has a big display that can show two metrics at a time and, like the Withings scales, recognises who you are automatically when you step aboard. The Tanita calculates a lot of data: weight, BMI, body fat, bone mass, muscle mass and more. It’ll even work out your metabolic age – if this is higher than your actual age, you need to improve your metabolic rate though exercise.
3. Salter MiBaby Mother and Baby: £45, Amazon
These scales let you weigh yourself as normal using ‘adult mode’. But switch to ‘baby mode’ and it cleverly resets the scale to zero when you’ve weighed yourself so when you get back on the scales holding baby, it just displays your child’s weight. The supplied PC software and height chart makes it easy to measure your baby’s BMI, too.
4. ColourMatch Spots: £13, Argos
Here’s another affordable option if you just want to know your weight. These electronic scales will also pep up your bathroom. There’s a range of colour options including a giddily bright fuchsia, purple, blue and polka dots. It can measure weights of up to 150kg. It runs from a button cell battery which is supplied and lasts for months. Replacements are widely available.
5. Fitbit Aria: £72, amazon
The Aria tells you your weight, body fat percentage and body mass index. It has wi-fi so it saves your measurements, and those of up to seven others, to a website and smartphone app available for iPhone and Android. Like the Withings, you can choose to display weight in pounds, stones and pounds or kilograms. The Aria is available in black or white and offers detailed, accurate measurements across a wide range of metrics. If you have a Fitbit activity tracker, this is a great companion.
6. Salter Magnifying Mechanical Scales: £6, amazon
Sometimes it can be hard to read bathroom scales because your eyes aren’t close to your feet (obviously). These basic scales have a clever solution: in the middle of the window where the red needle indicates weight, the glass magnifies what’s beneath. Fine on hard or carpeted surfaces, these scales measure up to 130kg, or 20st 6lbs.
7. Terraillon Web Coach One: £70, amazon
The display on the Terraillon is high-contrast and uses big numbers (3cm high) so they’re easy to read when you’re standing on the scales’ glass platform. They use Bluetooth to connect to the Wellness Coach smartphone app (for iPhone and Android), to track weight and BMI. It measures weight up to 160kg in increments of 100g along with pounds or stones. The app works by offering tips and encouragement every week for two months and lets you set targets for ideal weight, for instance.
8. Withings Smart Body Analyzer WS50: £90, amazon
Another wi-fi enabled scale, the WS50 tells you weight, BMI, fat mass, heart rate, air quality and weather. Like the other Withings scales, it displays your last five readings while it calculates fat percentage. With both Withings scales if you move them before standing on them, it’s important to let them settle for five seconds or you’ll get an inaccurate weight. The display is the same high-contrast white-out-of-black text as on the other Withings scales.
9. John Lewis Digital Glass Bathroom Scale, £18, John Lewis
This own-brand set of scales looks classy, not least thanks to its toughened glass construction. It reports weight only and measures up to 150kg (23st 9lbs). The carpet feet are flexible enough to work on uneven floors.
10. Salter Mechanical Bathroom Scale, amazon, £25
The classic-looking Salter scales use a mechanical system to tell you your weight, so you’ll need to squint at the arrow to see exactly what you weigh. The textured mat is comfortable to stand on and the platform is big enough to stand easily on it. The feet are designed to make it work on carpeted as well as hard surfaces and it measures up to 150kg (23st 9lbs). That is all it measures, however, providing no other figures.
The two Withings scales (Body Cardio & Smart Body Analyzer) are the most versatile and well-informed, and even have smartphone apps that offer sound health advice. The Tanita is the best-value machine that measures a wide range of metrics. And the Salter Black and White has a pleasing retro design that will suit traditionalists.
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