The Renpho smart scale is a small, sleek product that won’t look out of place in most bathrooms and that performs as well as more expensive options. Its limitations include displaying just weight on the scale itself and the need to open the app while weighing in, but it’s reliable, consistent and – most of all – affordable.
- Plenty of metrics
- Easy to set up
- Simple, intuitive app
- Scale only displays weight – app needed for other metrics
- App needs to be open at weigh-in
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A step up from a simple bathroom scale that shows your weight, the best smart scales are the most convenient way to measure body fat and other body composition metrics, and track changes over time. While top-end models can go for as much as £130, there are plenty of more affordable versions available, like the Renpho’s sleek Smart Body Fat Scale which costs just £29.99. But can something that much cheaper still do the job? We stepped up to the plate to find out.
What Do Smart Scales Do?
Smart scales use a tiny electrical current to measure the water content in your body. This reading allows the scale to estimate things, from body fat percentage to bone mass and muscle mass, and it can even estimate your basal metabolic rate, ie how many calories you use a day. Don’t expect readings on any of these home-use devices to be 100% accurate, but there is value in being able to track changes over time and see the direction of travel.
What Measurements Do You Get?
Although the LED display on the scale shows only your weight, when connected with the smartphone app you’ll get an impressive number of metrics: 13 of them: body weight, BMI, body fat percentage, water percentage, skeletal muscle, fat-free body weight, muscle mass, bone mass, protein, basal metabolic rate, subcutaneous fat, visceral fat and metabolic age. Some of these are eye-opening: visceral fat is the fat that sits around your organs – too much of it can indicate hidden health issues. Other metrics, however, seemed less useful to me: have you ever wondered what your body’s protein content is? Neither had I.
The readings seemed in the right ball park. At least my weight was pretty accurate against other scales and all the readings were consistent – a pattern emerged that fit with my health and activity levels over the few weeks I tested the scale.
Setting Up and Connecting
The scale comes with batteries and set up was straightforward. Once I’d downloaded the free app (iOS and Android versions are available), it found the scale and connected via Bluetooth. You’ll need to have your phone close and the app open in order to record your weigh-in. Renpho also sells a WiFi connected version of the scale for £36.99, if it sounds like too much trouble to have your phone to hand each time. The scale allows you to record data for an unlimited number of users, which is a useful addition for families or shared houses.
Using The App
The app is well thought out with a simple, uncluttered design. A tap on each metric gives context to your score, with a colour-coded line showing what’s in the normal range for your age category. You can set a weight goal or a body fat percentage goal to work towards. The app has a trends tab that shows graphs for each metric by the week, month or year – a useful overview that may well motivate users to keep a closer eye on their health.
Your data can be shared with Apple Health, Fitbit App, Google Health, Samsung Health, and there’s an app for the Apple watch. It was easy to link the Renpho app to Apple Health and the Fitbit App on my phone, and data appeared in those apps. Frustratingly it was not compatible with Garmin Connect, although in theory it should be possible to connect via a third-party app.
Buy from Renpho | £29.99
Camilla Artault is a writer and keen runner. She has covered women’s running gear – testing leggings, jackets, running bras, tops and shorts – for Coach since 2018, as well as interviewing experts and writing about a range of health and lifestyle topics.