The best smart bathroom scales help you (and your family members) stay on top of your health, measuring and recording weight and other body analytics for a number of people, all wirelessly and automatically. The $69.99 Philips Body Analysis Scale is a perfectly fine option that meets basic needs, but it isn’t as advanced or convenient to use as some other models we’ve tested. You’ll pay more for those other scales, but you’ll also get more for your money.
Smart bathroom scales are priced loosely in three tiers. The high end is $179, and the low end is about $49. The mid tier is $99 to $129, which puts the Philips Body Analysis Scale, at $69.99, closest to the low end of the spectrum.
Price really is one of the most important considerations in deciding which scale to buy, and you tend to get what you pay for. The higher-end devices often work better than the cheapest ones, syncing your data reliably and quickly, and reading a whole lot more than just weight, fat, and BMI, which is all the Philips Body Analysis captures. But many scales in the mid price range are more than adequate.
To give you examples of what else is on the market, two mid-priced scales are the Fitbit Aria and iHealth Core, both at $129. They sync via Wi-Fi rather than Bluetooth, which means you don’t have to bring your phone into the bathroom with you, a nice perk.
At the low end of the price spectrum at $49 and $39, respectively, are the Nuyu and Pivotal Living scales. Neither of them have Wi-Fi syncing, so you need to have your phone in range to record your weigh-ins, just as you do with the Philips scale. The Pivotal Living and Nuyu scales only integrate with a limited number of devices, and their apps aren’t great.
My two favorite scales are the QardioBase and Withings WS-50. The signature feature of the WS-50 is that it reads heart rate through your feet. The QardioBase has vibration feedback, which is ideal for people with poor eyesight or hearing. I also love the option to turn off bioelectrical impedance for pregnant women and people with pacemakers. The QardioBase also has some stellar options for tracking weight through a pregnancy, which I have yet to see in another scale.
Nearly all the smart bathroom scales I’ve tested have a shockingly similar design, and the Philips Body Analysis is no exception. It comes in white or black, although the black model looks more like a deep navy to my eye. Square in shape (12.6 by 12.6 inches) with rounded edges and a glass top, it’s fairly understated, with just a few accent lines and a Philips logo in silver at the top. It’s less than an inch tall.
A large LCD at the top shows weight, unit of measure, and a Bluetooth icon when the scale is transmitting your weigh-in data. It beeps when it locks in your weight, and again after it captures other body metrics. You can switch between pounds, kilograms, and stones with a button on the underside. The scale runs on four AAA batteries, which come included with purchase.
Setup, Syncing, and Usage
Setup took minutes at most. I unpacked the scale from its box, snapped the batteries into place, toggled to the imperial unit of measure, and launched the companion Philips HealthSuite app. The app, available for Android and iOS devices, is necessary because without it you can’t see all your data. The scale only displays weight, whereas body fat and BMI calculations show up in the app. That’s a bit of pain. When I step on a scale, I want to see all the numbers being recorded.
In the app, I tapped to add a new device and followed the instructions to complete the setup. It involved little more than pressing a button and stepping on the scale. It also indicated that I would be known as P1, which I’d see on the display during weigh-ins. If multiple people use the scale, it automatically figures out who’s who based on your prior readings. Being called “P1” is a bit impersonal, as most other smart scales let you enter your initials. The Philips scale can differentiate between as many as eight people.
Because the scale uses Bluetooth and not Wi-Fi, you need to have your phone within range during weigh-ins, and in my experience, syncing was often slow. In general, the Philips HealthSuite app chugs along at a vexingly sluggish pace.
Exploring the app, I liked seeing my body metrics plotted on a graph where the healthy range for my age, height, and sex was shaded. Recording weight, fat, and BMI is one thing, but understanding what those numbers mean for your health is another. You can use it to track much more than just your weight. For example, there’s a calorie logging section, as well as areas to store blood pressure and heart rate information. If you buy other Philips products, like the Philips Health Watch or one of its blood pressure monitors, the applicable fields will be populated automatically from the devices.
I like the concept of having a whole health suite, and other companies with smart scales have similar packages. Withings has a very similar option, with the ability to add data from a connected blood pressure cuff and fitness tracker. More sports-focused companies, such as Garmin and Polar, likewise present weight and body analysis data alongside other metrics that their devices collect.
Earlier I alluded to the fact that the QardioBase scale lets you turn off the bioelectrical impedance function for people with pacemakers or who are pregnant. The Philips scale doesn’t have this ability. Bioelectrical impedance is the technology that allows the scale to estimate body fat and BMI. Being able to shut off the bioelectrical impedance function may not be a consideration for your household, but if it is, it’s an important one.
Also, I mentioned that the QardioBase has a pregnancy mode. It lets you track weight throughout a pregnancy, when gaining weight at a particular pace is important. The Philips Body Analysis scale and its app don’t have any special features for pregnant or nursing women to track their unique health needs. I commend Qardio for including the feature, but really I should be wagging my finger in disapproval at all the other device makers that skip it.
If you’re building a suite of home health devices, the Philips Body Analysis isn’t a bad starting point. It’s a good scale at a relatively low price, and it works fine if you don’t mind a few inconveniences, like slow syncing and having to keep your phone within range during weigh-ins. It’s by no means my favorite smart scale, but it gets the job done. If you’re interested in having the best, go for the more expensive QardioBase or Withings WS-50. The Withings Body Cardio isn’t an Editors’ Choice, but it’s another strong option.
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