Whether you’re looking to lose weight, gain it, or maintain it, an accurate bathroom scale is a useful tool for measuring and tracking your progress. A basic digital scale provides your weight in pounds, kilograms, or even stones, while a “smart” model offers a measure of your body composition—that is, the percent of fat versus lean mass on your body as well as a companion smartphone app that keeps a log of your weigh-ins.
After stepping on scales more times in one month than I have in my lifetime, I’m confident that the budget-friendly Renpho Bluetooth Body Fat Scale(available at Amazon), which gave us sufficiently accurate readings, is the one that will satisfy anyone’s weighing-in and body-composition-taking needs. It's the best smart scale we tested as well as the least expensive, but if you prefer to spend even less and just want a basic scale, I have a recommendation for you there, too.
These are the best bathroom scales—both “smart” and “basic”—that we tested ranked, in order:
The least expensive of the smart scales we tested (and on par with the pricier basic ones), the Renpho delivered consistent weight and body composition measurements throughout my week of weigh-ins, and quickly. Many basic scales took longer to register weight, with a slot-machine-esque flickering of the numbers, and all other smart scales required more idle standing to take their body composition numbers than Renpho did. Partly, this is because Renpho only shows your weight on the display—it doesn’t scroll through the “smart” readings like others do. Instead, you have to open the app to view those numbers—which, as a personal trainer, I think is better: It means the Renpho can be used as a basic scale for daily use with ease, while providing that next-level data if and when it’s desired (see “What You Should Know About Using a Bathroom Scale,” below). What’s more, this scale was one of only three that never gave me a funky first weight reading when I stood on it—a common calibration problem that can lead you to doubt a scale’s accuracy entirely.
The moment I opened the app on my Android phone, the Renpho connected via Bluetooth with lightning speed to upload the data (at least a few days’ worth can store in the scale’s memory), even “knowing” enough to differentiate users in the app based on the readings it collects. For example, the app asked if I was a different user when I performed tests holding dumbbells to make myself heavier. The body composition data it records goes beyond the usual fat and lean mass percentages—it includes an estimate of basal metabolic rate (or the minimum number of calories your body requires to exist at rest) and the percentages of subcutaneous (beneath skin) fat versus visceral (around the organs) fat. (Still, there’s no way of knowing if those metrics are accurate—and most likely they aren’t—see our “How We Tested” section.) Still, the basic body fat readings I got were consistent from day to day over the course of my testing, so they should be fine for tracking how a body may change over time.
My only real complaint about the Renpho is its size: It has the smallest platform of any scale we tested, which felt noticeable to me—a small-framed, size 7.5-footed woman—especially in contrast to the rest. That said, I asked an over-6-foot-tall, size 12-footed friend to try it and he didn’t think the size was a major issue. The Renpho maxes out at 396 pounds, on the lower side of the spectrum (some scales we tested go up to 440). It’s also not the prettiest piece of bathroom decor, and the black surface will show dust and dirt if you don’t wipe it off regularly.
All told, if you want a smart scale or a basic one, the Renpho does it all and quite well—and is an exceptional value for its price.
Our overall pick from Renpho is arguably the best value, if you want a full-featured smart scale. But if you want a model that only—but reliably—takes a weight measurement, and you want to spend even less, the Ozeri Precision Digital Bath Scale is a great budget-friendly choice. It was the only basic scale we tested to never give me a wonky weight reading—though it does a number-flickering shuffle before landing on its final value.
Other benefits of the Ozeri, which is made of tempered glass: It has a higher max capacity than most, up to 440 pounds, and in addition to the usual pounds and kilograms, the scale measures in stones (in case you want to know what you would weigh in England). It also has a unique tare function that lets you weigh things held in your arms—such as a suitcase, a pet, or a baby—without having to do math.
On the meh side: its plain-Jane looks won’t win any beauty contests, though the white glass won’t show dust or smears as readily as a darker color would. Also, you have to have the lights on to read its passive LED display, but without its own backlight, the batteries will probably last longer than others.
Only basic scale we tested that never gave a wonky weight reading
Weight readings go as high as 440 pounds
Passive LED display requires turning lights on to read numbers
I'm Amy Roberts, a managing editor here at Reviewed, where I oversee our health and fitness coverage. I’m also a certified personal trainer and have coached many clients as they work toward their fitness goals, which often include the desire to lose weight. As a part of that, a good scale—one that reliably measures the body’s mass in pounds or kilograms, and even that provides a percent of body fat versus lean mass—can be a valuable tool for tracking progress.
For health purposes, having absolute accuracy in measuring the gravitational pull on someone’s mass, e.g., weight, isn’t really all that important. What is important, though, is how consistent a scale is in taking those measurements day to day, week to week—if it’s way off on any one reading, that could throw off a weight log as well as cast doubt on the reliability of the scale as a tool at all.
I had a friend who was losing weight mention to me that when he weighed himself everyday, he’d hop on and off the scale several times and record the lowest number he saw. I wanted to find scales that didn’t require that level of dedication (or waste of precious morning time). So I did that for you: Every morning for a week, I weighed myself on each scale at least twice—more, if the two numbers didn’t match—and recorded the values. I did the same for the smart scales’ body-composition readings.
What I learned: If you must move the scale at all before recording your weight, you should tap the surface and see a “zero” in order to calibrate it. (While only two scales required that calibration, the instructions on all the scales I tested recommend this method.)
Because we deemed absolute accuracy less important, we didn’t compare these scales’ readings to those of a calibrated scientific scale. Still, I wanted to see if there was some semblance of accuracy in the numbers these scales recorded, both as raw data and to simulate how it would record the weights of different-sized people. As such, I took measurements on each scale for:
a 25-pound dumbbell
a 50-pound dumbbell
me + a 5-pound dumbbell
me + 50 pounds of dumbbells
me + 100 pounds of dumbbells
The findings: While only one scale was dead-on—the EatSmart—for all of these tests, none were so far off as to be statically problematic, let alone an issue for the needs of a typical user.
Ultimately, the factors that set these scales apart are in their user-friendliness. For this, I considered:
The frequency of errors in measuring weight
How easy to read the displays were
How comfortably my feet fit on the platforms (I also “borrowed” the larger feet of an over-6-foot-tall friend)
How easy the scales were to clean—or, really, how little dirt or dust they showed—and store when not in use (spoiler: there was very little difference)
The variety of measurement units (pounds, kilograms, and even stones) and max weight capacity (typically equivalent to 400 pounds; some went up to 440 pounds)
The usability of the smartphone app (if applicable)
The perceived quality of the scale’s materials
The overall experience of using the scale
What You Should Know About Using a Basic Scale Versus a Smart Scale
The most recent scale-related studies on weight loss show that folks who weigh themselves daily are more likely to lose weight (if that’s their goal) and/or maintain their weight over the long term. Ostensibly, this is because if they notice a change they don’t like, they make modifications to diet or exercise habits to affect the number displayed.
Weight on its own isn’t the most useful measure of your body size, as it only tells part of the story—namely, it provides a value for the total of you, without differentiating how much of you is fat versus muscle versus other lean mass (bone, skin, organs, and so on). That’s where a “smart” scale might come in handy. These use bioelectrical impedance, which passes a low-level charge of electricity through your tissues, using the speed at which the charge returns to the device as a way to determine the amount of each type of tissue it passed through. Some smart scales differentiate your body composition percentages to account for your relative bone mass, muscle mass, and body water content, while some give less detail (principally, fat mass and "lean" mass, which encompasses all of those latter three). But this, too, is rife with its own accuracy and validity problems. For one, in a foot-based scale, the charge only passes through the lower body (meaning if you carry more fat below the waist, you’ll come back with a higher body-fat percentage than is likely true), and for another, your hydration level can alter the results. For these reasons, you can’t take these “smart” numbers as the gospel.
All of that said, taking regular recordings of weight and/or body composition—at the same time of day (to better control for your food intake and hydration variables)—can be valuable. And any scale that has an app offers a means for tracking your weight electronically, though pen and paper is just as useful. With regard to the total weight, if your goal is to lose (or gain) a significant amount, the daily or weekly number on a basic scale will show if you’re going in the direction you want, and at what rate. Additionally, by recording biweekly or monthly or even bi-monthly body composition percentages with a “smart” scale, you should be able to see a shift in the percent of muscle versus fat. Those body composition numbers may be especially useful when gauging the efficacy of a strength- or muscle-building plan and may also help account for a plateau in weight—in my personal training experience when someone’s aim is to “tone up,” they may not see a dramatic change in their total weight yet be building muscle while losing fat. A log of readings from a bioelectrical impedance device could capture that trend.
Other Scales We Tested
HoMedics Carbon Fiber Glass Bathroom Scale
In several ways, the basic HoMedics Carbon Fiber Glass Bathroom Scale was my favorite to use. For one, the extra-large platform seems luxuriously large, especially compared to the petite Renpho. The brilliant blue backlit large display looks great and is a cinch to read. Best of all, this HoMedics was the only scale that beeps when it “locks in” your weight—audible feedback that provides a finality that a flashing-then-not-flashing number fails to produce. It’s also attractive, as far as scales go. But while these attributes are great, I just don’t think they, er, outweigh the features and value you get for spending less money on either of our two top picks.
Large platform feels solid and comfortable beneath the feet
The best part of the striking basic-model Escali Glass Platform Bathroom Scale is its easily readable display. The worst part: the two too-high weights it recorded during my testing (which may have been rectified by a quick tap calibration). Still, it comes in several stylish colors to coordinate with your decor—and it’ll do the job, up to 440 pounds and in stones, if that’s your jam—as long as you don’t mind stepping on and off a couple times to confirm its final answer.
If you're a Garmin watch user, I can see the allure of buying Garmin's Index S2 Smart Scale, which sends weight and body composition data to the same Connect fitness app. The scale works statistically fine, in terms of recording readings that varied by no more than 1%. However, I found it annoying to hop on and off the scale a couple of times in a row to have different weights and body fat percentages recorded, especially as the scale displays a line graph showing up or down progress. I tested the Index 2 separately from the rest of the field, more than a year later, so I can’t compare its numbers directly to the rest—when I first tested, I was training for a triathlon and was most certainly leaner. Still, it recorded my body fat percentage being a lot higher than I believe it to be in real life—disconcerting, to say the least. Unless you’re deeply entrenched in the Garmin ecosystem, and given the slight reliability issues, I can’t justify recommending you spend this much cash—approximately five times more than our top pick.
Large, easy-to-read display
Small inconsistencies in measurements affect tracking log
The experience of using the basic Etekcity Digital Body Weight Bathroom Scale is as meh as its appearance, with a small-if-brightly-lit display and a flimsier-than-you’d-expect feel. In the pros column, it comes with a tape measure, which allows you to track body circumference measurements (or shop online for clothes that fit). You can do worse, but you can also do better.
The EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale was the only basic scale model I tested that got a perfect score on the accuracy tests for displaying the exact weights of the dumbbells and the dumbbells-plus-me. Unfortunately, it also gave me two erroneously high readings during my weigh-ins, providing further proof to my assertion that precision is more important than accuracy in a bathroom scale. (And also that tapping a scale to zero it out is a thing you should do if you move it before using it.)
Only basic scale to give accurate readings for dumbbell tests
Readings fluctuated erroneously during regular weigh-ins
Another scale that suffered from some calibration issues, the basic Taylor Digital Glass Scale yielded two incorrect weight readings in my tests, though it carries the same warning as others in its instructions to zero out before stepping onto the scale if you’ve moved it. Using it was otherwise as unmemorable as its neutral gray appearance.
Gives accurate readings if you zero out before stepping onto the scale if you’ve moved it
The “smart” Withings Body+ looks pretty at first glance, but it failed to wow me with either its usability or its reliability. For starters, its feet slid on my tile, so I had to be extra-careful when I stepped up. The display is cramped and it only scrolls the data once, requiring you to review your data on the app—which confusingly isn’t called “Withings,” making it hard to find on my phone (it’s HealthMate, in case you wondered). The most disconcerting issue, though: the three bad readings I got over one week’s time. This wouldn’t be the biggest deal, except the app creates a line chart to show your weight trend, so mine was all over the place. You can delete any erroneous weights manually—if you’re confident they’re, in fact, erroneous—but it would be better if they just didn’t happen in the first place.
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