What are the advantages of having a smart scale?

Wellbeing Tips
January 17, 2022

There are many benefits to having a smart scale over a traditional scale at home ranging from accuracy to useful metrics. Read on to learn more about how smart scales bring home the health trophy.

Having a smart this-this-or-that can be overwhelming, and yes—modern tech sometimes misses the ball when it comes to convincing people that a new product is in fact better than an old standby. However, many innovations are clear examples of where new technology far surpasses the traditional—like the compass over star navigation, the calculator over the slide rule, and the smart scale over the old weighing scales. If you’re curious as to why smart scales have more advantages, read on to see how technology has improved health tracking, accuracy, and durability.
There won’t be a test, but these are the questions you’ll be able to answer confidently after reading this article:

  • What advantages do smart scales have in improving health?
  • How are smart scales more accurate than traditional ones?
  • Why are extra features on a smart scale important?
  • How are smart scales made to last?

Smart scale advantage #1: Built-in health tracking and behavior management tools

The first benefit that smart scales have over traditional bathroom scales in terms of health is that they measure more metrics than just weight. Weight itself is really a combination of several other important health metrics, and even then, those metrics have to be seen in context with people’s lives, including age, height, pregnancy, and more.
For example, take someone who is 175 lbs. You may already have an image in your head upon reading that weight; perhaps it’s a male, 40-something, 5’8, athletic, and likes karaoke. However, you already know where this is going. That weight could also be a 6’0 35-year old woman who’s in her 2nd trimester—and she hates karaoke. This is essentially how a traditional scale operates: in a vacuum with no information.
In contrast, smart scales are able to account for all of the above (other than the karaoke) and give you information on muscle, fat, and bone mass, and then take all of that information to provide you specific notifications or findings that you might otherwise miss. Some scales even have pregnancy trackers for pregnant women and athlete mode for those who have specific lifestyles to help calculate body fat percentage. Traditional scales simply cannot account for these stages of life.

Smart scale advantage #2: Trends and the big picture

Another important health advantage smart scales have is how they collect and display your health data. Weight can vary day-to-day and even throughout the same 24 hours, so the more important way of seeing health is through trends. Smart scales’ ability to provide clear trends on everything from weight to bone and muscle density does more to inform you and your doctor of your current health status in several ways.
Trends can appear on the smart scale itself, something an old fashion scale can’t do. Maybe you are trying to lose but a big event threw you off your health game—an onscreen trend helps you not get discouraged. Then longer-term trends are collected and viewed in an app. Longer-term trends can be seen from a holistic overview through easy visual representations: to help you see if there’s a potential problem or great progress. Trends help you put results into context with other life events including sickness, life stresses, etc. Traditional scales require you to record or remember your own data and lack visualizations unless you invest in a lot of graph paper.
Oh and of course, smart scales let you easily choose your preferred unit of measurement: Kg, Lb, or even St. lb.

Smart scale advantage #3: Why connectivity and Wi-Fi matters

An additional important health benefit of certain smart scales includes the effect Wi-Fi connectivity has on measurement behavior. Unlike traditional scales that require a person to write down metrics or even Bluetooth®-only devices that need a phone nearby, with a Wi-Fi enabled smart scale anyone can step on and have all of their health metrics recorded automatically. This is an incredibly important benefit because weighing and recording data consistently is key to improving health, and any barrier to doing so, including writing down anything or accommodating for tech snafus, may reduce regular measurements.
Plus with Wi-Fi smart scales can do even more tricks—like offer a local weather report when you step on. Why is that important? Besides planning a wardrobe or your day, it’s a way to make the process enjoyable and thus, habitual.
Another way in which smart scales exceed is their ability to tie your metrics into a program with other measurements. Getting your scale numbers is fine, but what does that data mean in the context of your life? Being able to draw connections from your scale to other aspects of your health is important for identifying progress or problems. Some smart scales can display your previous day’s activity when you step on, by pulling data from your tracker or your phone’s in-app tracking to give more context and motivation.
In short, smart scales are able to personalize and contextualize health metrics, something traditional scales just can not do.

Smart scale advantage #4: Technology that’s more accurate

Firstly, smart scales have been shown to be more accurate than traditional scales. But why is accuracy important in the first place? So what if the scale is off by a couple pounds? It’s not about vanity. In a real sense, this question comes to the forefront when discussing medicine as certain medications are distributed by weight, and having an inaccurate weight listed can lead to inappropriate medication. Another less high-stakes but valid reason for accuracy entails people’s health journeys where specific weight numbers for fat and muscle are evidence of hard work and dedication, and they deserve to have the truth around those data points. Finally, individuals may be incorrectly diagnosed as overweight with inaccurate scales, and beyond the individual psychological effects of this faulty classification, inappropriate treatment may be prescribed for a condition that does not exist.

No traditional scale accounts for gravity

Putting the “smart” in smart scale can include gravity compensation. Depending where you are in the world, you could weigh more or less, so certain Wi-Fi-enabled smart scales solve this problem by calibrating your scale where you are versus a one-time calibration inside the factory where it was made. Traditional scales, and many smart scales, cannot compensate for gravity, and that makes a world of difference.

Positioning control technology helps you lean into better results

Standing correctly on a scale sounds intuitive but doing so correctly is not guaranteed. In fact, you’ve probably played with the scale numbers before, shifting your stance to move the readings up and down. And although you might think your posture is correct, it might not be, and traditional scales have no way of telling you. This is where smart scales come in with features that specifically indicate where you should distribute your weight for a more accurate reading could be the difference between a pound or more. If you want to hear more about both of these unique features that aid accuracy plus “presence technology,” this YouTube video from a smart scale product manager is worth a watch.

Inner workings that go the distance

Finally, due to the internal structure of traditional scales, springs built to gauge weight may get dirty or lose their structural integrity, and this ultimately provides inaccurate results even if it appears that the device still works by showing a number.

Smart scale advantage #5: Smart scales can learn new tricks

Planned obsolescence, or the intentional act of making technology obsolete so that consumers buy products more often, is not only wasteful, it’s a massive bummer to anyone who buys it.

Free updates school your scale

What’s one smart way a reputable smart scale manufacturer keeps your scale going? They provide free firmware updates, which are instructions sent to your device to optimize the existing physical technology the scale already has. This means you don’t need to hire a technician to come and replace a part in order for the scale to be upgraded to new technology, and that saves you time and money while preventing a pause in your health journey. And how do you get a firmware update? Smart scales generally come with phone apps that allow you to not only track your health metrics but also download firmware updates for your device.

The final say

There are numerous benefits to having a smart scale over a traditional scale ranging from health insights to behavior and longevity. However, just because smart scales have these advantages doesn’t mean that every device is made with quality hardware or software that can provide highly accurate measurements. In fact, if you search “good smart scale,” the result will be a flood of popular and unknown providers, glowing and glaring reviews, and the potential that you might be too confused to begin picking the smartest smart scale to begin your health journey.
So, why not try one of Withings smart scales? Founded more than 10 years ago with a mission to help people take control of their health, Withings invented and brought the world’s first smart scale to market in 2009. Beyond benefiting from more than a decade of research and development, and being listed as a top smart scale in America, Withings also is known for an ecosystem of devices that have a rock solid track record for data privacy, excel at ease of use, durability, and putting your health metrics into context, simply.