Best Scales 2017 – Tech Advisor

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Everyone’s getting fitness trackers, walking more than 10,000 steps a day, donning the trainers and setting out on a jog recommended by RunKeeper or another of the many exercise apps.

For many of us exercise is as much about weight loss as it is general fitness. All those Fitbit steps go hand in hand with the 5:2 Diet or some other fashionable eating regime because we realise we’re overweight and need to shed a few kilos. You need to look for scales that will help you maintain a healthy weight and look at other health metrics.

A standard set of digital scales will do the trick, but in today’s world of the quantifiable self we appreciate all our data to be digitally collated and presented to us in attractive graphs and charts.

For this we need a set of smart scales that sync with a smartphone app.

Not just weighing machines

Smart scales measure a lot more than our weight. A decent set should also inform us of our Body Mass Index (BMI), lean mass, and body fat percentage. These metrics help us understand what our own best weight should be, as it depends on your height as much as your actual weight in kilos or stones.

When measuring the various health stats remember that these averages are just that, and an individual’s best ranges may differ depending on various factors. If in doubt discuss these with your doctor.

Common health metrics for smart scales include:

BMI – this is a measure that shows if you are a healthy weight for your height. 14 stone (89kg) might be an unhealthy weight for someone of average height, but perfectly acceptable for a 6ft 5in man. Doctors suggest that an ideal BMI for adults is in the range 18.5 to 24.9.

Body fat percentage – this is the portion of your body made up of fat cells. For men aged 20 to 40, 10-20 percent body fat is considered healthy. For older men the range 19-23 percent is good. For women aged 20 to 40, 19-26 percent body fat is healthy. For older women 23-30 percent is good.

Lean mass – a measure of muscle, organs, bones and water, rather than essential or storage fat. Having a high percentage of lean mass boosts your metabolism, making it easier to maintain an overall healthy weight.

Visceral fat – this is fat that exists around your vital organs, and is one of the main risks to long-term health.

Body Water Percentage – the rate of water in body composition. Aim for a body water percentage just over 50 percent. It depends on age as well but men should try to get to a total body water percentage between 50 and 65 percent. The ideal range for women is between 45 and 60 percent.

Bone Mass – bone density is an important health metric because, like muscle, bone is a living tissue that can become stronger with exercise, as well as a healthy diet (calcium and vitamin D). For most people bone mass starts to reduce after the age of 40, and regular exercise can prevent this loss.

Pulse Wave Velocity – PWV measures the elasticity of the aorta arterial wall, and so arterial stiffness. High speed (v= 9.2m/s) indicates risky high blood pressure and stiff arteries. Low blood pressure and soft arteries result in low speed waves (v= 5.3m/s).

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) – an estimation of the energy (measured in calories) expended by the body at rest to maintain normal body functions (heart beating, respiration, maintenance of body temperature, etc).

Multiple accounts

All of the scales reviewed here allow for more than one person to sync their data with the relevant app. This is great if the whole family or flat share want to use the scales.

The scales either use Bluetooth to recognise each user’s phone, or take a good guess at who is standing on them based on previous weight, and this general works well. The only problem can be if some people’s weight is very similar to another’s, which will confuse the scales.

Positioning the scales

Where you place your scales is important, as you’ll get different readings (sometimes out by a few kg or pounds) depending on where it is on the floor. Put it on a flat, hard surface (bathroom tiles work well) if you can, and not on carpet, which will trick the scales into understating your weight. Some scales (for example, the Salter Body Analyser Scale) can be adapted for use on carpet.

When to weigh yourself

Your weight and body fat percentage (and therefore other metrics) will change throughout the day so it makes sense to weigh yourself at the same time each day. You should be at your lightest as soon as you wake up.

Wi-Fi or Bluetooth

Some of the scales tested here can connect wirelessly with mobile apps via your home’s Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth. The advantage of Wi-Fi is that you don’t need to have your smartphone anywhere near the scales when you step on, as you would with Bluetooth-only scales.

Best scales 2017 UK – smart scales reviews

Nokia Body Cardio


Qardio QardioBase


Qardio QardioBase

Fitbit Aria


Fitbit Aria

iHealth Core


iHealth Core

Koogeek Bluetooth Wi-Fi Smart Health Scale


Koogeek Bluetooth Wi-Fi Smart Health Scale

Salter Curve Smart Analyser Pro Scale


Salter Curve Smart Analyser Pro Scale

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