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Wi-Fi scales compared: Fitbit Aria and Withings Smart Body Analyzer

Kirk McElhearn | June 17, 2015
If you want to track your weight and integrate this data into your burgeoning collection of activity and workout data, you can manually add weight readings to most apps that store such data. But if you want a quicker way to do this, you might want to check out a Wi-Fi scale. They can automatically sync your weight, along with other data--such as your body fat percentage--to an app and/or website, keeping track of this data so you don't have to.

If you want to track your weight and integrate this data into your burgeoning collection of activity and workout data, you can manually add weight readings to most apps that store such data. But if you want a quicker way to do this, you might want to check out a Wi-Fi scale. They can automatically sync your weight, along with other data--such as your body fat percentage--to an app and/or website, keeping track of this data so you don't have to.

I have been using the Fitbit Aria for a couple of years and I recently got the Withings Smart Body Analyzer. Both of these scales work well but with some important differences. Here's a look at these two scales.

How these scales work

Both of these scales check your weight, and your entire family can use them--they can record data for up to eight users. The scales record and send data to its respective company's server over your Wi-Fi network. You can then track your weight and other data on a website or using an iOS app.

The Fitbit scale is generally easy to setup, but I've had problems getting it to connect to my network, usually after changing batteries--once, the scale took more than an hour to work properly. This seems to be a common complaint amongst Aria users. The Withings scale was much easier to set up.

Each scale also measures your body fat by sending a low electrical current through one foot and reading the current with a sensor under the other foot. The current passes through fat more slowly and the scale calculates the amount of resistance to come up with a body fat percentage. But body fat measurements are notoriously inaccurate, so you should take those numbers with a grain of salt.

The Withings Smart Body Analyzer goes further, recording your heart rate, the temperature and carbon dioxide percentage in the room where the scale is stored (it takes readings every 30 minutes), and it can show the day's weather. These extra gadgets are probably overkill; most people keep a scale in the bathroom, so the temperature and carbon dioxide readings are of little use. But the weather is a nice touch; it gives you an idea of what kind of day is ahead.

The Fitbit scale is 12.3 inches square. When you step on it, you will see the weight number go up and down as it calculates your weight and as you change position. It won't tell you if you are not centered, and this scale often gives very different weight readings. For example, if I weigh myself before and after taking a shower, my weight is always less the second time, suggesting that either clean or damp feet make a difference in the way it calculates weight. If you weigh yourself several times in a row, you will get varying numbers.

 

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