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Smart Scales
Credit: Courtesy

Raise your hand if you've ever been personally victimized by your bathroom scale. Okay, so everybody. For whatever reason, the number we read off of that contraption can make or break our day and for all the wrong reasons. Despite what we've heard, weight is more than just a number. It's a complex combination of water, fat, and muscle that tells us a lot about our health. And, I can say with confidence, that once we start looking at it as a tool for health, instead of a marker of sexiness, it actually becomes less daunting.

Hear me out. Smart scales, with full body composition measurement and easy to understand accompanying apps, take the scary number scales display and demystify it to give it a bit more meaning. The same way a personal trainer or doctor might measure your body fat and muscle composition to create customized wellness plans for you, a smart scale takes your numbers and breaks them down so you can better understand and even adjust your lifestyle to improve them. And the Withings Body Cardio Scale, with all the usual bells and whistles plus heart rate monitoring and stylish look, is our pick for best smart scale.

BUY: Withings Body Cardio, $180; amazon.com

For starters, the Body Cardio scale is subtle. Available black or white and only about 3/4" thick, it’s not an eyesore or a constant guilt trip staring you in the face. It also comes footless so it’s stable. Most smart scales on the market measure your percentage of fat, muscle, and water, as well as bone mass. The Body Cardio does all that plus provides an accurate picture of your heart health via pulse wave velocity. In the most basic terms, that means the scale will read your pulse and, taking age and weight into account, let you know if it’s optimal or not.

Body Cardio condenses all of this info into easily digestible numbers and bits of info in its app so you can directly apply it and live your best, healthiest life. The app will also take note of your numbers and offer helpful advice for improvement. For example, it will tell you when you might be drifting from your weight goal offer that an extra 3000 or so steps a day will get you back on track. Competitors, like the Qardio Base ($150, store.getqardio.com), are super informative and equally sleek, but no other scale in the market covers as much ground as the Body Cardio, which can even share the outside temperature and weather. And, it’s one of few that doesn’t take batteries. Instead, it charges via USB once every 12 months. Once I was able to better understand the number on the scale, it wasn't as scary anymore and I actually found myself excited to weigh in...for once.

Wins for: Appearance and Functionality

Noteworthy Features:

  • Automatic user recognition (up to 8 users)
  • Partners with 100+ applications, including Apple Health and MyFitnessPal
  • Built in Bluetooth technology
  • 12-month battery life
  • Heart rate and pulse rate velocity monitoring

See the rest of InStyle's 2017 Best of Tech picks here.