These elegant bathroom appliances make it a pleasure to step on the scales
The dreaded weighing scales. That must-have piece of bathroom equipment that no-one truly wants to buy. While there are many reasons to invest in a decent set of bathroom scales, for most of us, the main reason is that we want to shed a few pounds.
However, some people might need to check they’re putting on enough weight – perhaps after an illness – while others are attracted by the whizzy features of modern scales such as measuring bone density and body water percentage.
Whether you want your scales to be basic or cutting-edge, traditional, or contemporary, here’s our pick of the best available, along with a guide on how to make sure you’re investing in the right scales that will last you for years to come.
How to choose the best bathroom scales for you
What are the different types of scales available?
There are three main types: traditional mechanical scales, digital scales, and – the newest kid on the block – body-fat analyser scales.
What are the advantages of mechanical scales?
Mechanical scales can set you back as little as a fiver, and there’s no battery to replace. More expensive models are made of stronger materials, with snazzier designs. Most of these scales give you a reading of your weight in both imperial (stones and pounds) and metric (kilograms) units. It can be hard to get a precise reading on some scales, however, and you may have to regularly reset the scales to zero to ensure accurate results.
What are the advantages of digital scales?
With prices starting around a tenner, digital scales are also inexpensive – although, again, you can spend more on design-led and/or sturdier sets. The reading is displayed on an electronic screen, generally to a high degree of accuracy, with some models showing fractions or decimal points of pounds or kilograms. Digital scales may also have a memory function, so everyone in the household can track their weight over time. But you’ll need to replace the battery when it runs out.
What are the advantages of body-fat analyser scales?
Costing anywhere from £15 up to more than £200, this most advanced type of scale provides extra information about your body composition, including body fat percentage, to help you distinguish between fat loss and general weight loss.
These scales work by sending a tiny, imperceptible electric current through your bare feet; since fat is a poor conductor, the overall impedance of your body gives an indication of what proportion of your weight is made up of fat. While there have been no reports of problems, it’s recommended that you don’t use such scales if you’re pregnant, or if you’ve been fitted with a pacemaker.
Some of the pricier machines measure a lot more besides body fat, such as bone density, body-water percentage, muscle mass and body-mass index (BMI). Some even have built-in Wi-Fi, so they can send your measurements directly to an app or website, where you can track changes over time. But these can be complicated and time-consuming to set up.
What’s the best way to use bathroom scales?
Always weigh yourself naked and barefoot and at the same time of the day, such as just before bed. With body analyser scales, there are lots of no-nos. Don’t use them first thing in the morning, for example, or after a workout, within three hours of eating a meal or if you’re dehydrated. Always put your scales on a hard, flat, level surface before weighing yourself.
Best bathroom scales to buy
1. Argos Simple Value Compact Mechanical Bathroom Scales: Best budget bathroom scales
Price: £7 | Buy now from Argos
These no-frills mechanical scales come with a bargain-basement price tag. They’re a great buy if you want something simple to use and easy to read that won’t break the bank – and because of their compact size, they suit small bathrooms.
It must be said that they don’t work well on carpet, and even on a tiled floor, we found they needed adjusting to zero almost every time we used them. But if those limitations aren’t deal-breakers for you, and if you don’t want fancy battery-operated scales, this is a very wallet-friendly way to watch your weight. Just be warned that the maximum user weight is the lowest here – they won’t do for anyone over 21 stone.
Key specs – Type: mechanical; Dimensions: 24.3 x 26.8 x 4.2cm; Batteries: not required; Maximum user weight: 130kg; Warranty: 5 years
2. Fitbit Aria Air: Best bathroom scales for pairing with an activity tracker
Price: £50 | Buy now from Amazon
Fitbit’s newest bathroom scales are a little bit less advanced than their predecessors, since the Aira Air doesn’t measure advanced stats like body fat percentage or muscle mass. However, you save a good amount of money as a result, with the Aria Air being half the price of the Aria, while still calculating your BMI as well as telling you your weight.
Naturally the Aria Air scales also link seamlessly with the Fitbit app, beaming over your results every time you step on. This means you can easily spot trends in your weight and BMI, and if you have a Fitbit activity tracker you’ll be able to match those trends against your activity, while also seeing how your sleep can affect your weight over time.
Key specs – Type: Digital; Dimensions: 29.97 x 29.97 x 2.54cm; Batteries: 3 x AAA batteries (included); Maximum user weight: 180kg; Warranty: 1 year
3. Salter Digital Glass Bathroom Scales: Best all-round bathroom scales
Price: £15 | Buy now from Argos
If you want an affordable pair of digital scales that do the basics well, this set from Salter fits the bill admirably. Their sleek design made from toughened glass means they look good in any space, and you can set the display to show your weight in kilos, stones or pounds.
When you step on the scales they come to life in an instant and produce accurate results; there’s no need to wait for them to tare first. The included carpet feet can be a little fiddly to set up – you need to peel back a rubber layer on the hard floor feet first – but aside from that, we couldn’t find fault with the scales considering their low price. As with most of the pricier options on our list, you’re protected by a warranty for up to 15 years.
Key specs – Type: digital; Dimensions: 30 x 28 x 2.5cm; Batteries: 1 x CR2032 (included); Maximum user weight: 180kg; Warranty: 15 years
4. Tanita InnerScan Body Composition Scales: Best-value body-fat analyser scales
Price: £39 | Buy now from Amazon
If you want a scale that can do more than just show your weight – but you don’t want to part with silly money for the privilege – then this set is a good buy. The InnerScan analyses your weight, body fat, body water, muscle mass, physique rating, basal metabolic rate, bone mass and visceral fat, and the large display shows two metrics at the same time. The unit can also work out your metabolic age; if this is higher than your actual age, it’s time to get exercising.
The scale can recognise up to four users, automatically sensing who you are when you step on, and it’s nice and small, as well as being lightweight. It’s not quite as whizzy as the higher-priced body-fat analyser scales, though, and it takes longer to set up. We also found it occasionally gave inconsistent readings.
Key specs – Type: body-fat analyser; Dimensions: 25 x 20 x 2.5cm; Batteries: 4 x AA batteries (included); Maximum user weight: 150kg; Warranty: 3 years
5. Salter Curve Bluetooth Smart Analyser Bathroom Scales: Best super-slim design bathroom scales
Price: £37 | Buy now from Amazon
These super-sleek digital scales come from one of the best-known brands in the industry. They measure weight, body fat, body water, muscle mass, bone mass, BMI and BMR and we found that connecting it to a smartphone via Bluetooth to monitor progress with the ‘Mibody’ app was quick and easy – although it did freeze up occasionally once up and running.
Stand-out points for us include the ability to store memory for up to eight users, as well as the child and athlete modes. Made from toughened glass, they also have a big backlit reading window that means you can see your weight even with blurry morning eyes. You get an almost instant reading and the store away easily, but although we like the idea of the carpet feet, we found marginally (only tiny, but still) different readings on different surfaces.
Key specs – Type: Body-fat analyser; Dimensions: 30.6 x 33.6 x 3cm; Batteries: 3 x AAA batteries (required); Maximum user weight: 200kg; Warranty: 15 years
6. Withings Body Cardio: The best smart bathroom scales
Price: £126 | Buy now from Amazon
As well as measuring your weight, fat, muscle and bone mass, the Withings Body Cardio can keep tabs on the health of your heart by also logging your Pulse Wave Velocity (PWV). Naturally, the numbers it shows might not mean much to begin with, unless you’re a GP, but when beamed to the partner Health Mate app, Withings colour codes your measurement to show if it’s good or bad – a lower PWV indicates more flexible arteries, which is what you want since stiffer arteries increase the risk of hypertension.
All your other stats are also sent to the Health Mate app so you can track any changes over time, whether you’re looking to pack on muscles, reduce your body fat percentage, or just cut down your overall weight. The Body Cardio can recognise up to 12 different users, and it has some particularly useful features for those looking to start a family. The Pregnancy Tracker mode removes body composition stats that will no longer be useful or accurate for expectant mothers and can help you check if your weight gain is in line with guidelines. You can also use the Body Cardio to weigh newborns and track their weight gain via its Baby Mode, which zeroes out your own weight while you hold your child.
Key specs – Type: Body-fat analyser; Dimensions: 32.7 x 32.7 x 1.8cm; Batteries: Rechargeable lithium-ion; Maximum user weight: 180kg; Warranty: 2 years
7. QardioBase 2: Bathroom scales packed with tech
Price: £130 | Buy now from Amazon
The QardioBase body scales take weighing yourself to a whole new level. As well as telling you how many pounds or kilograms you amount to, these connected scales will check your heart rate, water percentage, body fat, bone mass and muscle mass and keep a record of all this so you can compare your vitals over time.
Working with Apple Health, Google Fit, and Samsung S Health, the scales connect to the free Qardio App for iOS, Kindle, and Android, allowing users to share data easily and set goals and reminders to achieve goals. Better yet, the smart scales can also distinguish your measurements from someone else’s, meaning everyone in your household can share them.
One word of caution, however: make sure you’re looking at the second iteration of the Qardiobase before splashing out. The round design looks great, but the first generation was not the most practical – as the four feet are positioned in a square layout, stepping off the Qardiobase was liable to make it tilt up on one edge.
Key specs – Type: Body-fat analyser; heart-rate scanner Dimensions: 34cm diameter; Batteries: 8 x AAA batteries (included); Warranty: 1 year
8. Beurer GS39 Talking Glass Bathroom Scale: The best speaking bathroom scales
Price: £50 | Buy now from Amazon
If you struggle to see digital displays all the way down by your feet, and can’t be doing with apps, then you’re going to love these speaking scales that give you your weight measurements in a choice of five languages. Those not wishing to share such sensitive information with the entire household will be grateful for the adjustable volume and you can even turn off the voice activation altogether – although remember that’s what you’re really paying for here.
That said, the digital display is extra large and the blue backlighting makes it visible even when the lights are off. The platform is nice and big, too. It’s a great choice for older folk or those with sensory difficulties (helped by the vibration sensor, which means it turns itself on as soon as you stand on it – although we found it’s sensitive to any vibration in the vicinity, so turns itself on a bit more than you might want it to).
Key specs – Type: digital; Dimensions: 35x 34 x 2.3cm; Batteries: 3 x AAA batteries (included); Maximum user weight: 150kg; Warranty: 5 years
9. Garmin Index S2: Best smart scales for fitness enthusiasts
Price: £129 | Buy now from Currys PC World
At £130, Garmin’s Index S2 are among the most expensive bathroom scales in this roundup but, if you’re serious about getting fitter, you may decide that’s a premium worth paying to keep an eye on your progress. Like the Withings Body Cardio above, the Index S2 measures a number of other metrics in addition to your weight. These include BMI, body fat percentage, body water percentage, skeletal muscle mass and bone mass.
As you’d hope for a set of bathroom scales, the Index S2 feel very well built too. They improve on their predecessor, the Index S1, by adding recognition for up to seven different Wi-Fi networks, along with the addition of a colour display. The latter shows your recent weight change trend at a glance, along with your weight change since the last weigh in, which are both handy additions for budding fitness enthusiasts.
After you’ve used the scales, they wirelessly beam the data to the Garmin Connect app, where you can see trends over the last week, four weeks and year. You can also invite other members of your family to use the scales from the mobile app, and it’ll automatically recognise who’s using them based on their weight.
Key specs – Type: Body-fat analyser; Dimensions: 32 x 31 x 2.8mm; Batteries: 4 x AAA; Maximum user weight: 181kg; Warranty: Two years
10. Salter Doctor Style Mechanical Bathroom Scale: Best looking bathroom scale
Price: £23 | Buy now from Amazon
Being reminded of trips to the doctor probably isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, but the retro look of these mechanical scales makes us nostalgic in a surprisingly happy way, and their design is more likely to be a conversation starter than you’ll find with most bathroom scales.
They’re also excellent, reliable scales, of course. They come with a 15-year guarantee and have a high maximum weight of 150kg (23st). The circular dial is clear and easy to read, even if you’re forgotten to take your glasses into the bathroom with you, and it shows your weight in both metric and imperial units.
Key specs – Type: mechanical; Dimensions: 32 x 43.3 x 6.91cm; Batteries: N/A; Maximum user weight: 150kg; Warranty: 15 years