Renpho, headquartered in California, has a growing list of affordable health-focused, smart home products, such as a smart bike, massagers, air purifiers and two smart scales. We’re reviewing the basic smart body fat scale.
There’s also a premium model, which costs a little more at
£36.99 in the UK or
$49.99 in the US. It has improved accuracy and Wi-Fi compatibility.
As the brand doesn’t have its own line of wearables, the scales aren’t designed to perform best within one specific ecosystem. They’re a good all-rounder. Download the app for either Apple or Android and it should work equally well. We used it with an iPhone and it immediately offered to sync up with Apple Health but it’s also compatible with FitBit, Samsung Health and Google Fit.
The basic scale is available in black or white and has two power options. There’s a model that’s rechargeable via USB,
which costs £33.99, and one that’s powered with three AAA batteries, which is
a little cheaper at £29.99. This is the version we’re testing.
Renpho smart scale design
- LED display
- Scale only displays weight
- Other measurements are via the app
The basic scale is tempered glass, subtly decorated with an abstract design that elevates it visually beyond what you might expect at this price point. Inset into the glass are disc-like metal electrodes at the pad and heel of your feet, which allow the scale to give measurements including body fat percentage, visceral fat, body water, bone mass and more.
If you haven’t used a smart scale before, here’s how they work. When you stand on the scale with bare feet, a current is sent into your body to measure the amount of resistance from body fat. This information is then used to calculate your body makeup. The current isn’t dangerous and you won’t feel it.
The Renpho basic scale has an easy-to-read, red LED display at the top. However, it only shows weight. You’ll have to open the app to find the rest of your measurements. In our experience, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some scales that display multiple measurements show them one after another, so they can easy to miss – or hard decipher in time.
Setting up the Renpho basic scale
- Bluetooth device
- No Wi-Fi connectivity option
Setting up a smart home device is always a product testing moment of truth. Some devices take ages to pair and can be frustrating to use. Often, it seems that Wi-Fi is the more complicated connecting option. But this scale only uses Bluetooth and doesn’t have a Wi-Fi pairing option. This means you should just be able to turn on Bluetooth and find it immediately, which is what happened in our test.
Bluetooth has a shorter range than Wi-Fi, however, so the scale and your phone will need to be relatively close to transmit data.
Once you’ve downloaded the free Renpho app for either Apple or Android, place the scale on hard flooring. Some pricier scales can work on carpet but this one doesn’t have soft flooring support. Still, if you’re storing your scale in your bathroom, you probably won’t miss this feature.
Then, simply stand on the scale with bare feet. In our test, it worked right away, sending the measurements straight to the profile I’d set up in the app.
Using the scale
- 13 measurements
- Easy to use app
The scale gives a total of 13 measurements and calculations: body weight; BMI; body fat percentage; water percentage; skeletal muscle; fat-free body weight; muscle mass; bone mass; protein; BMR; subcutaneous fat; visceral fat; and metabolic age.
You’ll undoubtedly find some of these more useful than others and some not very useful at all.
And how accurate are these numbers anyway? We measured them against another scale that offers a similar data set and found the two to be pretty much in agreement, so the answer is likely to be: accurate enough.
Renpho’s Premium smart scale promises ITO coating technology for more accurate results, which may be a better options for athletes.
The point of a smart scale, in any case, isn’t to worry too much over one specific measurement but to use it as part of a health and fitness programme to track changes in your body. Hopefully, by eating well and getting exercise, you should start to see positive progress, which should encourage you to keep at it.
The app displays the data simply and clearly, showing the date of the last weigh-in at the top of the measurements page. Click on a measurement and an explanation will appear beneath it. Again, this will be more or less useful to you, depending on exactly how you want to use the scale.
I’m not sure what to do with the information that I have a protein mass measurement of 14.2%. The glossary beneath tells me that this is within a standard range and that protein helps to build and maintain muscles, organs and other tissue, which doesn’t really get me much further. Still, others might find this data useful.
There’s also a trends page, which graphs the changes from weigh-in to weigh-in. It’s basic and unfussy but easy to read. You can also set yourself goals and set up reminders to weigh yourself.
Renpho says that an unlimited number of people can use the scale. And there are two ways to do so. You can opt to add more measurement users to your account, which could be useful if you’d like to keep track of your kids’ growth.
Bear in mind that some measurements are available only for people 18 and over as Renpho doesn’t have a reliable algorithm for children’s bodies.
But having two or more accounts on one phone can be tricky, as I found when my partner’s weight was accidentally registered to my profile and my metabolic age leapt by a dismaying five years. To make sure that the data goes to the right account, open the correct profile before standing on the scale.
On the plus side, I learned that deleting a weigh-in from a profile is pretty easy to do, although the erroneous weight still remained on my profile page until it was superseded by another, more accurate one.
The other option is to download the app on another phone and set up a separate account. This will be more useful for most couples as well as families with older kids. When testing it, we had no problem using the scale across two separate accounts on two phones, as long as each user closed the app once they’d weighed in.
Price and availability
The Renpho basic smart scale is very competitively priced, even undercutting the similarly featured and similarly reliable
Eufy BodySense smart scale (RRP £36.39). The battery powered model we tested is only
£29.99 but if you have a little more to spend, we’d recommend opting for the USB rechargeable option, which
You can buy the scale from
Amazon in the US and
in the UK, as well as
the Renpho site.
If you’re an athlete, this may not be the right product for you but if you’re just looking for an affordable smart scale to help you keep track as you improve your fitness, this is a good option.
The Renpho basic smart scale is attractive, reliable and has more than enough measurements for the average person. There’s a couple of features you’ll miss out on if you buy it, such as carpet support and an on-scale display of multiple measurements but unless you’re an avid FitBit or Withings user and want a scale designed to work within that ecosystem, there’s no reason to pay more.
For more smart scale options, have a look at our round-up of the
best smart scales we’ve tested.