Gone are the days of chunky, traditional scales that only gave you a reading of your weight. By itself, that measurement is only a part of your overall health management. Merely knowing your weight doesn’t reveal the overall health of your body. For that, it’s helpful to know several other metrics that can be provided by a Wi-Fi smart scale.
What’s true for every other facet of life is also true for health. Regularly measuring your body weight help you get a deeper understanding of body mass index (BMI), muscle mass, and body composition. And, unless you can measure it, you can’t manage it. But where a traditional scale gives only limited data, a Wi-Fi smart scale uses advanced technology to deliver additional data points about your body!
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Buying one could be a smart decision for you and your family’s health. Before you do that, you need to know what to look for in a Wi-Fi smart scale.
What Is a Smart Scale?
A smart scale doesn’t look different from a traditional bathroom scale. But unlike a conventional scale, it can measure several metrics crucial to your health, store them, and share them with other connected devices like fitness trackers. While doing so, the scale delivers a broader, easy-to-use health management system.
If your objective is to either lose or gain weight, chances are, you’re following a fitness regimen to achieve that. It would include exercise and changes in your diet. With a Wi-Fi smart scale, you’d not only know your current weight but how it has progressed over time.
When you measure your weight on a traditional scale, you have to note it down somewhere. This doesn’t help, as what you need is not your weight at any given point but your progress or lack of it. A smart scale (often in conjunction with other tech) makes that information more accessible, as it’s automatically calculated, and fitness apps with which smart scales integrate often provide trend graphs, and body composition trends over time. nWith this information, you can continue with your fitness regimen or make adequate adjustments.
Today’s smart scales go beyond just measuring weight. They can also track other metrics, including, BMI, bone density, heart rate, muscle mass, and body fat. Your weight alone won’t reveal the whole picture. This is a big misconception that often discourages people from sticking with their fitness goals long enough to start seeing results. Bottom line—we’ve been conditioned to believe that scale determines whether or not you’re dropping fat. Smart scales help to address this problem.
Muscle mass, for example, is the percentage of muscle in the body as compared to total body weight. To set goals for yourself, keep an eye on the muscle mass reading on your sacl. If you are trying to gain muscle and tone up, for example, exercise regularly and your smart scale will show your progress. These measurements will give a composite and highly personalized assessment of how healthy you are, and the kind of progress you’ve been making or ought to be making.
How Does a Smart Scale Work?
Almost all smart scales use the same technology to measure these metrics. It’s called a bioelectrical impedance analysis or BIA, which uses electrical current. An electrical impulse is sent into one leg and received from the other leg.
Advanced algorithms use the data to figure out your body’s metrics, including basal metabolic rate, BMI, and the percentage of bone, fat, and water. Then the scale shares those measurements via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to other devices. That’s where the magic happens. You receive all that data in an easily understandable format through an app.
Different smart scales have different apps that are compatible with their functions. Once you get the data, you can share it with your doctor in case something’s wrong, or with your gym trainer, family, or friends.
Most scales are powered by batteries. While some need AAA batteries, others need the lithium-ion ore kind. How long a set of batteries will last depend on how frequently you or others will use the scale.
What Can a Smart Scale Measure?
Technology is making healthcare measurement and management accessible to everyone. In the past, you had to either go to a healthcare facility or a laboratory to find out your vital measurements. But with a smart scale, everything can be measured in a matter of seconds and instantly delivered to your digital device.
These metrics will tell you whether you are on the right course or if you have to make necessary lifestyle and training adjustments.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
One of the finest indicators of your overall health is your BMI. It measures your height and weight to give you a ratio of what your weight is, according to your body’s structure. A BMI of around 25 or more would signal that you need to lose weight.
Managing your BMI and keeping it within the desired range are some of the most effective things you can do to prevent obesity and its associated problems. With a Wi-Fi smart scale at home, you’ll get this much-needed measurement without the hassle of having to calculate it yourself.
Note that there is some disagreement in the medical community over the accuracy and use of BMI. For instance, some individuals who have a large bone structure/high bone density and/or a high muscle mass will often have a BMI that indicates they are overweight or obese, when in fact they are not. Although it is a traditional and widely-used method, there has been some adjustments in its use (particularly for older individuals who tend to lose muscle mass as they age).
Body Fat Percentage
While BMI gives a broad measurement, body fat percentage will give a more detailed reading of the fat in your body. If you are on a diet or working out to either lose weight or gain muscle mass, you will benefit from a focused measurement that tells you if you’re losing fat.
With that, you can either consult trainers or healthcare professionals to change your training or your diet for better results. Without those adjustments, you could be continuing down the wrong path for months and not know it.
Losing weight or gaining muscle mass is more complicated than we normally think. Without an understanding of how additional factors interact, it could get confusing and even disappointing.
For those training to improve strength and endurance, losing weight will also be an objective. Yet, that same strength training may lead to an increase in weight. Instead of losing hope, a muscle mass measurement will tell them that they are in fact gaining muscle instead of fat.
Fat-Free Body Weight (Lean Body Mass)
Fat-free body weight is another metric that will help you in case your objective is to build muscle or lean body mass. Armed with this knowledge, you can make your workouts and diet more effective by following a more realistic and proven strategy to increase your overall strength.
Vital metrics aren’t the only things you should be looking at if you’re planning to buy a smart scale. Since you receive the measurements through an app, you should ensure that user experience and overall cost are satisfactory, too.
Scales often have proprietary apps to share metrics with users, although some are compatible with multiple apps. If you already have a health app, see if the scale you want to buy will synchronize with that app. Like any other app, the one you choose should be fast, easy to use, and responsive.
In other words, you should be able to quickly see your metrics and progress. And the app shouldn’t crash often.
Wi-Fi Scale Cost
Wi-Fi smart scales start at around $150 and can go up to $400 or more. The price depends on the number of measurements the scale can provide, and the number of users it can support.
While most scales can read BMI and body fat percentage, muscle mass, lean body mass, and basal metabolic rate are advanced measurements that will cost extra. Those that work with Wi-Fi tend to be more expensive than scales that support only Bluetooth.
Integration with Other Services
If you already have a fitness app, it should integrate with the scale you’re planning to buy. There’s no point if your existing app can’t receive those crucial metrics to suggest training or dietary changes.
If you have an app and are comfortable with it, it makes sense to go for a scale made by the same brand, if there is one available.
Are Smart Scales Worth Buying?
While other facets of our lives are becoming tech-oriented, health and fitness still have some way to go. With smart scales, however, you finally have access to that crucial missing piece that can accelerate your health objectives; information.
Whether you believe you’re too young, healthy, or genetically blessed, a smart scale shouldn’t be seen as a luxury tech product but a necessary investment in your health.
Conclusion and Recommendation
A smart scale won’t make dramatic changes to your life in a matter of days or weeks. But it’ll give you the necessary information — and incentive — to correct course and make changes. The earlier you get one, the better it’ll be for your overall fitness objectives.
From our analysis at WirelessWizard, Withings Body and Garmin Smart Scale are two of the most effective Wi-Fi smart scales. Available for around $150, they both give BMI and body fat percentage measurements.
Garmin also measures bone and muscle mass. While Withings supports eight people’s measurements, Garmin can integrate the metrics of 16 people.