Bluetooth body analysis scales are becoming popular for people to measure and monitor their body composition at home, but are they any good? Some of these scales are essentially a supercharged bathroom scale, with the ability to remember measurements and then save them to your mobile device using bluetooth. Some of these scales also come with the additional ability to measure body fat using biological impedance.
Do you really need one? If you just want to monitor your weight, you could save a bit of money and just use a regular bathroom scale. The bluetooth function of recording multiple measurements over time can easily be replicated by writing down your results. If you are not that organized, then these smart scales may be useful. It is the ability to measure multiple people and the measurement of bioelectrical impedance that makes these worthwhile, though using this method to calculate body fat is not the most accurate.
FEATURES of Smart Scales
These are the features to look out for when in the market for a smart scale. Not all devices will have all of these features, but this list will help you narrow down the unit which best fits your needs.
- Measurements and Calculations - Devices will measure body weight and sometimes bioelectrical impedance, and will calculate other things such as body fat percentage, body hydration, body muscle mass, bone density, BMI.
- Modes - If you are an athlete with low body fat/high muscle mass see if it has an athlete setting to get a more accurate measurement. Some also have a pregnancy mode and child mode to best track body composition in specific population groups.
- Bluetooth and WiFi - some units are also coming with WiFi functionality for an additional way to connect from the scale to your device.
- Syncing Data -These devices use bluetooth to sync with a mobile app. Do you need to pay to download the app, and check reviews to see if others have had problems syncing the data.
- Batteries - Does it have a built-in rechargeable battery? How long do the batteries last?
- Memory Feature - ability to record measures of multiple users. If it can store the details of more than one person, that may be handy if you share the device with others in your household.
- Range and Sensitivity - check maximum weight range and sensitivity (you want it to measure to the nearest 0.1 kg)
- Price - these scales can range in price from $20 up to several hundred dollars (and quality will vary with the price too)
How to Use
Take the measurements in bare feet (essential for bioelectrical impedance measures). To get an accurate reading with these monitors you should also be well hydrated. This means you should not do the test first thing in the morning or immediately after a workout or after consuming alcohol. It is best to use it three hours after a meal and after voiding your bladder. It is also recommended to always weigh yourself without clothes.
What is bioelectrical impedance and is it safe?
Bioelectrical impedance devices send a tiny electrical charge through your feet, and the measurement of how well this charge is conducted through the body is used to determine what percentage of you is fat. The charge that is sent through your body is very small, and is not harmful, though they do recommend that anybody with a pacemaker not to use them. To do the body fat calculation, the unit also requires details of your gender, age and weight.
- Stadiometer — for height measurement.
- Tape Measures — such as the MyoTape and Digital Tape Measure
- Listing of body weight scales in the online store.
- Tape Measure Store
- Description for measuring body weight
- About Bioelectric Impedance
- About body size tests
- Other Anthropometric Tests
- List of Body Size Tests