Is the Withings Body+ Scale Accurate?
The Withings Body+ Scale is a smart scale that tracks your weight and body composition. It provides you with a complete overview of your health and fitness levels. It is part of a line of products by Withings that are connected via wifi and able to share health information to a single place, the Withings Health Mate app.
As a scale, Withings Body+ Scale (this is an affiliate link so we may make some money from purchases, but know that we bought the same scale with our own money) tracks all the metrics you need to stay on top of your fitness goals: weight, body fat percentage, muscle mass and BMI. As a simple scale it is very accurate, the weight on it matches that of other calibrated scales and there is not much that seems off.
The real question is if the body fat percentage is accurate. To that the answer is that the Withings body+ body fat accuracy is just often off by 5%-10% of actual body fat %. An issue with any accuracy on body fat is what you are using as the ground truth. There are all sorts of terrible influencers that claim to have body fat %’s in the low single digits, which is unrealistic and unhealthy.
For my ground truth I will compare it to a body scan using the DexaFit body composition scan. You can view the complete results of comparing the accuracy of body fat readings, but the short summary is that Body+ came in ~7% below body scan techniques.
Keep in mind that the Withings body fat accuracy also depends on the settings in the app. If you tell the health mate app that you have an “athletic” body type it will immediately calculate a different body fat percentage. In our own tests just flipping this setting would change the readings by 2%-4%.
How does Withings Body+ Scale work?
The Withings Body+ is a smart scale that does more than just measure your weight. It also monitors your heart rate, body fat, and BMI. In addition to the health measurements, it tracks your weight over time and sends you a notification when you need to make adjustments.
As a scale it works the same way that any other scale does. The interesting bit though is how it gets the additional measurements since all you have to do is stand on the device. Once you place your feet on the scale it looks for them to be separated and runs an imperceptible current through the base. This creates an electrical current that goes up one leg and down the other, so your body effectively becomes a resistor in a rudimentary electrical circuit. From this it can estimate the resistance of your body and from that it calculates how much percentage of the resistance is from fat compared to everything else. this is because electricity flows different through fat and skin than it does through water (which of course makes up most of your body).
Why do I need a scale?
A weight scale is an essential tool for any fitness enthusiast. It is important to choose the right type of weight scale for your needs. A home weight scale can be used to track your weight and progress over time, but it’s not ideal for tracking body fat percentage. Smart sacles, like Fitbit Aria 2 or Withings Body+ provide details beyond just simple weight. Still, there are good reasons to track even just weight. Those reasons why you need a weight scale in your home, including:
- To track your progress over time
- To make sure you are maintaining a healthy BMI
- To make sure you are making progress towards your fitness goals
- A scale is not always enough – read our article about measuring using more than just a scale
For many people stepping on a scale can be a stress inducing scenario. However, if you have a scale and make a point to use it regularly this anxiety will subside. This is the same concept as any exposure therapy where a phobia can be subdued by moderate interaction over time. The other helpful reason to have a scale is to avoid surprises, there is no reason to wait 6 or twelve (or more) months between physician visits only to realize that the 10 pounds you thought you put on is really thirty.
Do I need a Smart Scale – Withings Body+ vs. Fitbit Aria?
The first step to getting a smarter scale is to figure out what you need it for. If you are looking for an accurate weight reading, then the answer is no. If you’re just looking for a fitness tracker, then no. Each of these can be had with dedicated devices, ideally a low cost scale or a simple wrist worn tracker. When you do need a smart scale is when you want more insights, this is especially important if you are not just looking to loose weight but also build strength. With this goal a smart scale is helpful to showcase some of the other benefits of a training plan that will be hidden if just looking at a single value of weight.
There are many benefits of having a smart scale in the home. The first benefit is that it can help people lose weight and keep track of their progress by tracking their body weight, body fat percentage, and BMI (body mass index). It can also provide other insights like your heart rate and your stress level.
Smart scales are more expensive that dumb ones, that just display a weight and need you to track or remember it. The upside of the added cost is that it is often not too much a premium given the benefit of combining metrics. If you are going to do a lab test to measure body composition, a scale will often be less overall cost than just one test and of course can provide multiple readings. The other helpful note is that smart scales like the Withings Body+ are typically reimbursable with an flexible spending account (FSA) – although you should always validate this with your FSA provider.
This is important. When looking at Withings Body+ vs. Fitbit Aria ($149) the price point favors Withings Body+ ($99). Neither of these options requires additional subscription service charges.
What are the Best Features of the Withings Body+ Scale?
For those looking for a body fat monitor, the Withings Body+ Scale is one of the best options. It is simple to setup and use.
The Withings Body+ Scale is great because it has an integrated heart rate sensor. This allows you to track your heart rate and weight in one place. It also makes it easy to see how your fitness progress is going over time.
Unique profiles are also a benefit to the Withings body+. Once setup in the Health Mate app, everyone in the household can step on the scale and have it automatically know their profile and report their trends. Directly on the scale it will confirm who the user is, and show changes since the last weigh in. On the occasions where it can not predict confidently who is taking the reading it will save the details to the Health Mate app and allow for manual categorization.
The scale also has a sleek design that will look good in any room of your house. It can fit on any floor surface and it’s made from high quality materials.
For a thorough understanding of all the benefits of the health mate app – check out our comparison of it to other popular tools like Apple’s health kit.