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Best bathroom scales: the smart way to ensure you’re staying in shape

Nowadays scales are innovative appliances that can do more than just tell you if you’ve packed on a few kilos

Cyclist magazine
21 Jan 2020

The act of stepping onto the scales might not have changed over the years, but the amount of information the humble bathroom scale can offer has increased tenfold.

It may not be the most popular of purchases, after all nobody enjoys stepping up to the plate, but there are plenty of reasons to splash out on new scales.

Modern scales do more than just tell you your weight in a multitude of units, some can even measure bone density and body water percentage.

Whether you’re feeling the flab spilling over the saddle after a festive season of indulgence, or you want something cutting-edge to assist you in reaching your peak performance, our picks of the best scales - both smart and a little less hi-tech - will keep you on the right track.

How to buy the best bathroom scales for you

What are the different types of scales available?

Scales can be broken down into three categories: mechanical scales, digital scales and super-fancy smart scales.

What are the advantages of mechanical and digital scales?

These two basic types of scales will do little more than tell you if that second slice of cake after dinner was a mistake, but for those who just want to keep tabs on their weight they’ll do the job.

Mechanical scales can cost as little as a fiver, and with no battery to replace they’re a great option for the budget-conscious. The need to regularly reset the scales to zero for accurate readings is a pain though.

Digital scales aren’t much more expensive, basic models can be bought for around £10, and are a little more versatile. Most models will display your weight in a variety of metrics and more expensive ones may even have a memory function to help track your weight over time.

What are the advantages of smart scales?

Everything is getting smarter these days, from televisions to fridges, and scales are no different.

Smart scales can perform a range of functions, depending on the model, from telling you your body fat percentage - very helpful for those wanting to distinguish between fat and muscle gain - to giving you BMI readings.

Some of the more expensive models can give you even more information about your body including bone density, body-water percentage and muscle mass, some models even have built in WiFi for sending measures to an app or website if you want a really detailed breakdown of your body.

What’s the best way to use my bathroom scales?

Even with modern day scales, the old standards still apply. So, always weigh yourself without any clothes on and at the same time of the day, for the most accurate and useful results.

Smart body analyser scales come with a longer list of no-nos, most important is that, due to them sending an imperceptible electric current through your body, they’re not suitable for those who are pregnant or who have a pacemaker.

Always remember, however, that it's possible to weight too little and eating disorders can affect amateurs and pros alike. Aim for a healthy weight, not just to weigh as little as possible.

Best mechanical and digital bathroom scales to buy

Salter Digital Glass Bathroom Scales: Best budget option

If you’re after an affordable way to weigh yourself, then this low priced digital scale is the best option on the market.

The slick design will allow it to fit in any bathroom, and you can toggle the display to show your weight in several different metrics. You can even step straight on without the need to wait for the scales to wake-up first, which is a nice bonus.

The included carpet legs are pretty fiddly to use, and it’s very much a no frills scale but for the price it’s a great buy. Cheaper mechanical scales are available but with significant drawbacks in terms of usability so stick with the Salter Digital.

Salter Academy Doctors Style Bathroom Scales: Best pick for longevity

If you’ve your heart set on a mechanical scale, or you’re opening a GP surgery, then these rugged scales are your best buy.

They might be on the pricey side of the mechanical scale market but the robust design and extra-large plate, perfect if you’ve got big feet, make them a worthy investment.

We found that the scales were still very usable on uneven floors, and that they don’t require batteries is a plus. One for those who want scales that are going to last them thousands of weigh-ins.

Buy now from Amazon for £59.99

Best smart bathroom scales to buy

Fitbit Unisex Aria 2: The best option for pairing with an activity tracker

Its predecessor was good, but Fitbit has made a few tweaks to the Aria 2 that helps make it among the best smart scales out there.

The first iteration was a real pain to setup, whereas this second run is effortlessly simple. Plus it offers more accurate calculations for weight, lean mass, body fat percentage and BMI, which is extremely welcome.

For those just hopping on this is a great scale, but if you own a Fitbit fitness tracker then this scale really becomes a must-use gadget. The scale sends your measures directly to the Fitbit app, allowing you to track long-term fitness goals with ease.

That the sleek design looks great in any contemporary bathroom is just an added bonus.

Withings Body Cardio: The best smart scales

Not only does the Withing Body Cardio scale measure all the usual stuff you’d expect, from muscle mass to BMI, it also keeps track of the health of your heart, and helps you get in peak condition for long distance rides.

The scale measures your Pulse Wave Velocity, which might sound confusing but the extremely user-friendly Health Mate app breaks down the information into easy to digest, colour coded charts.

Your other stats and measurements are sent to the app as well, so you can track long-term progress such as weight loss or muscle gain. The scale is able to track 12 different users at a time, so it’s perfect for those who have a house full of people who are looking to improve their cardio health.

Buy now from Amazon for £114.95

Tanita BC-731: Smart scales for under £50

Coming in at around half the price of the other smart scale options on this list, the Tanita BC-731 is the best choice for the budget-conscious.

Even with its (relatively) cheap price tag this smart scale can still offer all the body composition stats you need. Weight, body fat, muscle mass and BMI, the Tanita tracks it all. In fact, it even estimates your amount of visceral fat (the dangerous fats that collect around your organs) which plenty of more expensive options don’t offer.

Unfortunately, the big drawback is the lack of any sort of app or tracker connectivity for easy long-term tracking but it can store up to five user profiles, and considering the price its an expected trade off.

Beurer GS39 Talking Glass Bathroom Scales: The best speaking scales

If you find the experience of looking down and reading your weight from the display on your scales a little too much effort, then in steps the Beurer GS39 which will save you all that hassle by reading your measurements out to you.

Not designed for those who want to conceal their weight, the Beruer announces your weight in a choice of five languages and there is adjustable volume if you really don’t want the neighbours knowing how much you indulged over the festive period.

On a serious note, the speaking function is super useful for those with sensory difficulties making this a smart buy at a heavily discounted price point.

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