For a more complete look at your health, get a set of the best scales that can measure your body fat
Stepping onto the scales is a regular ritual for many people, whether they’re hoping to see that they’ve lost weight, maintained it, or even put some on if looking to bulk up. Whatever your goal is, a set of body fat scales can provide a far more useful insight into your body composition than you get from simply measuring your weight.
In this guide, we’ll explain the benefits of body fat scales and the advanced features they can offer, and provide you with our top picks to suit all budgets.
How to choose the best body fat scales for you
What’s the difference between body fat scales and regular bathroom scales?
Standard bathroom scales just give you your weight, which is great, but is far from a complete picture of your body composition. Since muscle is denser than fat, it’s common for people with a lot of muscle and who look in great shape to be “overweight” when looking just at their weight and body mass index (BMI). And, when you start an exercise kick, you might find that your overall weight doesn’t go down even as you get fitter because you’re gaining muscle while losing fat.
Body fat scales will measure your body fat percentage, which can reveal far more about your overall health and fitness than simply measuring your weight. They also measure your overall weight, of course, plus several other body composition stats.
What else do body fat scales measure?
Along with your weight and body fat percentage, smart scales can also measure your muscle mass, visceral fat (the fat that collects around your internal organs), bone mass and water mass, and also give your BMI if you provide details such as your height. Some scales, such as the Withings Body Cardio, provide even more advanced metrics, and can check your cardiovascular health by measuring your pulse wave velocity.
How do body fat scales work?
Body fat scales use sensors that make contact with the bottom of your feet when you stand on them. These sensors perform bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), in which they send an undetectable electric current through your body and measure the resistance it faces. This will differ depending on the type of body tissue it passes through. Companies then use their own algorithms to analyse the results and work out your body composition.
Are body fat scales accurate?
Body fat scales offer a great balance of ease of use, cost and accuracy. They aren’t as accurate as something like dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), which is expensive and not always easy to find, but if you always measure yourself under similar conditions you will be able to use the results to spot trends in your body composition, which can help you identify whether or not you’re getting fitter. One thing to avoid in particular is taking a measurement while dehydrated, as this will result in your body fat being overestimated. It’s also worth noting that BIA is not suitable for those who have a pacemaker.
What other features should I look out for?
Many body fat scales let you set up multiple user accounts, which is useful if you want to track your own trends and link measurements with your saved profile to get accurate BMI scores.
Some will also link to fitness trackers via a partner app, which can give you a more complete picture of your health, as your body composition data will be stored alongside things like the activity and sleep data your tracker has collected.
How much do I need to spend?
Most body fat scales come in at between £50 and £100, but there are some solid budget sets for less than that, and more advanced options that cost more. If you’re just looking for a reliable body fat measurement you can certainly get that for under £50, but there are some impressive features that come with costlier scales that might make them worth considering.
The best body fat scales you can buy in 2023
1. Withings Body Cardio: Best premium body fat scales
Price: £150 | Buy now from AmazonIf you have no concerns about cost, you can skip the rest of this list and pick up the Withings Body Cardio right now. It’s the most advanced set of smart scales available, and measures your body fat, plus a host of other metrics including muscle mass, water percentage and bone density. The Body Cardio goes above and beyond what you get from other scales by also measuring your heart rate and pulse wave velocity to give an indication of your cardiovascular health.
The scales have a rechargeable battery that lasts up to a year, and link with the excellent Withings app for more information on all the stats you record, showing your measurements over time to get a clear look at any trends in your body composition. You can also link the Withings Health Mate to Apple Health, Google Fit and the Fitbit app, so you can add the data it measures to info from a fitness tracker, even if you don’t use a Withings device.
Key specs – Dimensions: 32.7 x 32.7 x 1.8cm; Wi-Fi/Bluetooth: Both; Batteries: Rechargeable li-ion battery (mini-USB); Maximum user weight: 180kg; Number of users: 8; Warranty: 2 years
2. Huawei Mirror Smart Scale: Best budget body fat scales
Price: £35 | Buy now from AmazonIf you’re familiar with Huawei’s fitness trackers and sports watches, you’ll know that they do a great job of delivering a lot of features for less than many rivals, and the same is true of these smart scales. The Huawei Mirror scales, also known as the AH100, will measure all the key metrics you expect from smart scales, including body fat, muscle mass, visceral fat and bone mass, for a recommended retail price of less than £30 – which is frequently reduced even further.
They can recognise up to 10 different users and display your measurements when you step onto them. You can set an alarm so the scales remind you to take a measurement at the same time, and your stats are sent to the partner Huawei Smart Scale app, which provides suggestions on making your lifestyle healthier.
Key specs – Dimensions: 30 x 30 x 1.8cm; Wi-Fi/Bluetooth: Bluetooth; Batteries: 4 x AAA batteries; Maximum user weight: 150kg; Number of users: 10; Warranty: 2 years
3. Garmin Index S2: Best for Garmin owners
Price: £110 | Buy now from John Lewis The Garmin Index S2 is an impressively advanced set of scales with one notable trick up its sleeve: it syncs its data to the Garmin Connect app. This makes it perfect for the army of loyal Garmin fans who use the company’s sports watches, and means the S2 will probably appeal more to serious athletes keeping close tabs on the effects of their training.
You can create up to 16 unique user accounts, and the scales show a snapshot of your recent trend on the screen, while more in-depth stats and graphs are available in the Garmin Connect app. The S2 will measure your muscle mass, bone mass and body water percentage alongside body fat, and although it’s pricier than many options, the link with Garmin Connect will be an appealing feature for anyone with a lot of data invested in that system.
Key specs – Dimensions: 32 x 31 x 2.8mm; Wi-Fi/Bluetooth: Both; Batteries: 4 x AAA; Maximum user weight: 181kg; Number of users: 16; Warranty: 2 years
4. RENPHO Body Fat Scale: Best body fat scales under £50
Price: £26 | Buy now from AmazonThe RENPHO scales are not only cheaper than many options, they also offer excellent connectivity, giving you the option of beaming data to Apple Health, the Fitbit app and Google Fit.
They take 13 different measurements, including body fat, visceral fat and muscle mass, although the actual scales themselves will only show weight – you have to dive into the app to see the rest. That’s no great hardship, though, and another bonus is that you can create unlimited user profiles.
Key specs – Dimensions: 27.94 x 27.94 x 2.54 cm; Wi-Fi/Bluetooth: Bluetooth; Batteries: 3 x AAA batteries (included); Maximum user weight: 180kg; Number of users: Unlimited; Warranty: 1 year
5. Withings Body+: Best body fat scales under £100
Price: £90 | Buy now from AmazonThe Withings Body Cardio’s cardiovascular health-tracing features are impressive, but they’re a bit of luxury and, if you have little interest in your pulse wave velocity, you’re probably better off going for this cheaper Withings Body+.
It’s still an excellent set of scales that measure all your key metrics, including body fat percentage, and pings them to the Withings Health Mate app. The display shows recent trends when you take a measurement, and the scales have pregnancy and athlete modes, the latter of which can provide more accurate measurements for those who exercise a lot and have a low resting heart rate.
The only other difference to note between this set and the Body Cardio is that the Body+ runs on four AAA batteries, whereas the Cardio has a handy rechargeable battery.
Key specs – Dimensions: 32.7 x 32.7 x 2.3cm; Wi-Fi/Bluetooth: Both; Batteries: 4 x AAA (included); Maximum user weight: 180kg; Number of users: 8; Warranty: 2 years