Buying a new smart scale from the likes of Fitbit or Garmin is one of the best ways to keep track of your health goals. A whitepaper by Withings has shown that those who track their weight regularly are more likely to succeed in hitting their weight goal, and there's a plethora of devices on the market to help.
A top body analyser will track your weight, body fat and even heart rate, plotting your progress on your smartphone, so you can get a feel-good buzz about shedding the pounds.
Read our round-up: Best fitness trackers
However, buying a smart scale isn't just about the bit of plastic or glass you stand on. It's also about the ecosystem that tracks your weight and how useful the information can be. Read on for our round-up of the best out there.
Garmin Index Smart Scale
The new Garmin Index scale is one of the most complete scales out there, with both Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity built in, which means it can pair with your smartphone and fitness watches such as the Fenix 3. It measures weight, body mass index, body fat and muscle mass and have them added to the Garmin Connect platform, which is superb for runners and users of Garmin's sports watches. The Index scale will also support up to 16 different profiles.
Polar's smart scale supports up to 10 individual profiles, and will keep a log of weight and body mass index (BMI) within the Polar Flow app. It works using Bluetooth Smart to link to a paired smartphone or Polar Loop band, which will show you progress against your weight goal. It's lacking some of the metrics you get with the Garmin and Withings and won't display body fat percentage or muscle mass data.
Available primarily as part of the Under Armour Health Box, which comes with a fitness tracking band and heart rate monitor, the scale is a standard affair which isn't as comprehensive as its rivals. It tracks weight and body fat percentage and can recognise up to 8 different users. The data syncs into Under Armour's impressive app ecosystem and it can be tracked with MapMyFitness and MyFitnessPal as well as UA Record.
Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyser
What sets the Withings apart – aside from its classy looks and price – is the variety of health data it records. As well as standard weight, BMI and fat percentage figures, the WS-50 tracks your heart rate every time you step on and continually monitors your home's air quality and temperature.
Assuming you weigh yourself at the same time of day and at rest, the heart rate monitor can show changes in your resting BPM and indicate improvements in your cardio performance.
We're not sure on the need for air quality monitoring – sensors track CO2 and temperature levels – but high concentrations of CO2 can be a sign of a stuffy house in need of ventilation. Combined with an activity tracker such as the Pulse O2 and the Withings Health Mate app it would be easy to see a correlation between room temperature and sleep patterns.
Need more? The WS-50 can be synched with IFTTT (If This Then That) so, for instance, if you have Philips Hue light bulbs you could programme them to flash green when you hit your goals, or red when you've been caught scoffing cronuts.
The Aria was launched back in 2012 and remains one of the most reliable and informative health gadgets, offering accurate stats about weight, BMI and fat percentages for up to eight registered users.
The scale is a good-looking wedge of glass available in black or white. The backlit display flashes a range of data including identification, weight, body fat percentage and lets you know when uploading over Wi-Fi is successful.
As a standalone set of scales the Withings WS-50 offers more, but combined with one of Fitbit's budget fitness trackers – the Zip costs just £49.99 - you can create a complete health monitoring system for not much more money. In theory the more you exercise the better your BMI, fat and weight stats should read. It's basic cause and effect and the Fitbit app realises this beautifully.
The app (or dashboard software if you prefer) is easy to navigate and after a few weeks the weight/BMI graphs will start to make useful, rather than daunting reading. For a complete assessment of your eating and exercising habits there's also a food diary log, and to keep you motivated you can sign up to compete with friends and boast about triumphs (or not) via social media.
Another Bluetooth 4.0 device, this time for iOS users only (iPhone 4s and above), but the Balance looks good and syncs quickly with the Wahoo Wellness app. It tracks weight and BMI, and has the option for 16 different profiles and weight goals and handily it stores up to 130 weights so you don't have to have your phone with every time you weigh in.
The Wellness app offers the usual collection of graphs and goal alerts, but handily it can also sync your weight data with the superb calorie counting, exercise logging MyFitnessPal range of apps. Wahoo isn't unique with this – Fitbit and Withings both offer the same data sharing – but for the price it is a great extra to have.