What if your bathroom scale could sync to your smartphone? Once upon a time someone asked this question, and the smart scale was born.
In today’s hyper-connected world, you can find just about any product with smart functionality, from washing machines to cat litter boxes. If you’re in the market for a new bathroom scale, you’ll probably find quite a few smart scales among your search results. But do you really need smart functionality with this product? Here’s what you need to know about the value of these gadgets.
What Does a Smart Scale Do?
Once it measures your weight, a smart scale uses WiFi or Bluetooth to transmit data to your smartphone. Every time you step on the scale, your phone stores the information that’s gathered.
Most connected scales have an associated fitness app to store this data. Depending on the model, the scale may measure other fitness data, such as your body fat percentage, muscle mass, bone mass, heart rate and more.
Are Smart Scales Accurate?
Smart scales accurately measure your weight, but experts say other data is generally less than perfect. Leslie Heinberg, Ph.D., Director of Enterprise Weight Management at Cleveland Clinic, explains at-home scales often overestimate body fat percentage.
“Body fat percentage data can be helpful at the beginning of a weight loss journey,” says Dr. Heinberg. “But it’s best not to get caught up in trying to measure every day fluctuations.”
Who Needs a Smart Scale?
In general, smart scales benefit people working toward health goals, whether it be weight loss, muscle gain or something else. The associated apps often create graphs with the data collected, showing you trends in your weight and other health measurements. Some apps even offer nutrition guidance, fitness coaching, and other resources.
However, if you weigh yourself infrequently, you probably won’t find much value in an app keeping track of your weight and other health data. In this case, it may be better to save a little money and purchase a non-connected scale.
How Much Do Smart Scales Cost?
As with most smart products, connected scales are typically more expensive than their standard counterparts, but they’re certainly not cost-prohibitive. You can find a generic smart scale for as low as $30. High-end models of popular fitness tracker brands like Fitbit or Garmin often retail for more than $100.