If you want to improve your fitness, a smart scale is a solid investment. It’ll provide you with measurements apart from weight to focus on, and a reliable and data-rich way to track your progress.
Smart scales use bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) to determine body composition. The scale itself is embedded with electrodes – as is the retractable handle in the case of the Body Scan.
The electrodes send a mild, painless electrical current up through your feet and the scale measures your body’s resistance to it. Lean tissue is a better conductor than fat, bone or skin, so the scale can build up a picture of your body by the speed and strength of the returning current. It tells you much more than an ordinary weighing scale.
In this article, we’ll be discussing the latest range of Withings smart scales: the Body Smart, the Body Comp and the Body Scan.
But you can still buy older Withings models, including the Body Cardio (Amazon US, $179.95; Withings UK, £149.95). Although older lines are being phased out and replaced by the new range, we still rate the Body Cardio as one of the best smart scales we’ve tested. You can find out more about it in our review.
Withings’ smart scales are not cheap but they are among the best available, promising weighing accuracy to 50g, delivering a wide range of metrics and accompanied by a free to use, high-quality app.
You can also export your data to a wide range of other health apps, or for more fitness help, opt to join the paid Withings+ subscription service which costs $/£/€9.95 per month or $/£/€99.50 per year, after an initial three-month free trial.
But if you want one, which one should you buy? Below, we give you a rundown on the prices and features of each.
What does a Withings smart scale measure?
All three scales – the Body Smart, the Body Comp and the Body Scan – will provide these measurements:
- Fat mass, muscle mass, bone mass
- Lean mass %, water %
- Visceral fat index – visceral fat is the more worrying fat that wraps around your organs and is distinct from subcutaneous fat
- Body mass index – your BMI is based on your body fat percentage. It’s a slightly controversial measurement but, in conjunction with other metrics, can provide useful information to many users
- Standing heart rate – an indicator of cardiovascular fitness
- Basal metabolic rate – your BMR is the number of calories your body burns at rest (this measurement is coming via a software update later this year)
- Metabolic age – based on the number of calories your body burns at rest and compared to others in the same age range (available when BMR arrives)
In the app, you’ll also get a choice of specialist modes: athlete, baby (weight only) and soon, a dedicated pregnancy mode. This will arrive via a software update in the coming months.
Price: $99.95/ £99.95
Availability: Buy from Withings US now/ Available from Withings UK Q3 2023
Colour options: Black or white
Power: AAA batteries (Withings estimates one set will last up to 15 months)
Additional features: As well as the measurements shown above, the Body Smart features Eyes Closed Mode. Turn on this feature and your weight won’t be displayed on the scale’s screen. Instead it can show step tracking, encouraging messages or even just air quality or the weather in your location.
Price: $199.95/ £189.95
Availability: Buy from Withings US now/ Buy from Withings UK now
Colour options: Black or white
Power: AAA batteries (Withings estimates one set will last for up to 15 months)
Additional features: As well as the measurements shown above, the Body Comp will provide a vascular age, to give more insight into heart health, and a nerve health score.
Price: $399.95 (expected)/ £399.95
Availability: US release date TBC (see it at Withings US)/ Buy it from Withings UK now
Colour options: Black
Power: Rechargeable battery with a life of up to one year
Additional features: Like the Body Comp, the Body Scan will provide a vascular age, to give more insight into heart health, and a nerve health score. It’ll also, of course, provide the measurements shown above. But there’s more.
While there are minor differences between the hardware of the Body Smart and the Body Plus, the Body Scan has an additional element: a retractable handle. In addition to the electrodes in the scale itself, there are four more stainless steel electrodes in the handle, which allow for segmental body composition analysis.
What does this mean? Well, smart scales can tell you your body fat percentage to a reasonably accurate degree but only overall. The Body Scan will break this down further to give you the fat and muscle percentage in your arms, legs and torso. It’ll also let you know how you compare to other Withings’ users.
It also contains a 6-lead ECG, which allows for tracking and analysis of the user’s heart rhythm and which can detect worrying heart patterns.
We tested the Body Scan. Find out what we thought in our full review.
Which Withings scale should you buy?
For people who are concerned with their fitness, rather than their health, we think that the Body Smart will do everything you want a smart scale to do.
If you want a little more health feedback, the Body Comp is a good option.
And for the smaller number of people who want as much health feedback as possible – with an emphasis on heart health – the Body Scan is undoubtedly the leading product in the market.
But smart scales don’t have to be pricey. If you’re looking for a simpler and much more budget-friendly option, have a look at our round-up of the best smart scales we’ve tested, which features reliable smart scales for as little as $25/ £25.