Back in 2017 when Bart gave us an update on how he was dramatically changing his health, he explained that he was using the smart Withings scale to monitor his success. I loved the idea of a connected scale to track my weight and other metrics so I bought one of my own.
The Withings scale we purchased was the Body Cardio from
https://www.withings.com/us/en/body-cardio and it cost a whopping $150. I know that’s a lot for a scale but Bart’s explanation of the advanced metrics really sold me. He explained that it didn’t just record and track your weight, it also measures your percentage body fat, water, and bone mass. He explained that flipping out because you gained a pound could be avoided if you could see that it was actually a change in water percentage. The scale also calculates Body Mass Index, or BMI, which is a ratio used to determine if you’re at a healthy weight.
Recently, Wyze, the company that brought us the inexpensive Wyze Cam I’m so wild about, came out with their own smart scale. The Wyze scale is surprisingly only $20. Lindsay wanted a smart scale so I told her I’d buy her the one from Wyze but test it for the NosillaCastaways first. I wasn’t super optimistic that a $20 scale could be anywhere near as good as the $150 Withings scale but I figured it was worth $20 to find out.
In this review, I’m going to compare and contrast the capabilities of the newly released Wyze Scale to the Withings Body Cardio scale.
The Withings design allows two people to share a scale. They use an interesting method to figure out who’s weighing themselves. One person has to balance on their left foot after weighing in, the other on their right. It may not be necessary to do this balancing act if your weights are wildly different, but Steve and I are very close in weight so it’s definitely necessary. This acrobatic might be a problem for some people and I do have to admit that sometimes I have to grab the window sill to make sure I don’t fall over.
Wyze, on the other hand, allows you to add up to 10 users in the app. You add each user with a nickname while identifying them further with their gender and height. When it asked for my gender, the app said it is understood that male vs female might not fully identify someone. I liked that. They have to ask the binary question though because BMI is calculated differently for women versus men.
So far, the Wyze scale is ahead with the ability to have 10 users rather than 2 for Withings.
The downside to the Wyze scale allowing multiple users is that you have to have the Wyze app open on your phone while you weigh yourself so it knows who is weighing in. A bit of a pain but I think the flexibility of multiple users is worth it. Plus, no balancing act required.
Wyze requires you to have the app open because it uses Bluetooth to connect, while Withings uses WiFi. If you’re trying to limit the number of smart devices on your network, you might prefer the Wyze scale since it uses Bluetooth.
I compared my weight on the two scales over a few days, and surprisingly they were actually within a couple of tenths of a pound of each other. Have you ever seen two scales agree before?
Graphs & Measurement
The fun of a smart scale is collecting metrics over time so that you can look at graphs and watch for trends.
It’s so easy to lie to yourself if you don’t track your weight but if you see that line going up you know you can take corrective action quickly before things get out of control.
The Withings scale measures and graphs your weight along with percentage body fat, muscle mass, bone mass, water, and your BMI as a function of time. You can see these graphs over a period of all-time, year, quarter, month, or even just use pinch to zoom in and out to see a particular time frame.
The Withings scale definitely beats the Wyze scale on the number of metrics graphed.
Wyze actually measures even more values about you, but only graphs weight and body fat percentage.
To be honest, as compelling as Bart’s argument about the percentage water was, I do find I pretty much only look at the weight graph. For me, having just the weight and body fat percentage graphed is fine.
Why is Body Fat So Hard to Measure?
Both scales struggle with measuring body fat percentage.
The Withings scale showed me as being in the 40 percent range of body fat for the first 7 months I owned it. For some reason, I never thought to question whether that made sense. I am not the shining example of physical fitness, but I’m also not fat. It turns out 40% body fat is in the morbidly obese category!
After 7 months, my body fat metric suddenly plummeted and for the next couple of years showed me in the mid-20 percent category for body fat, which is a healthy percentage for a woman. I checked Steve’s metrics for the same time period and his also cut in half at the same time. Looks like maybe Withings changed their algorithm.
While this was great, in December of 2019, the scale simply stopped measuring it at all for me. The data on the graph stops suddenly for that metric while it continues to plot all of the rest. When I’m weighing myself, the scale briefly says “body fat” with an X next to it.
I can’t give a win to Wyze either though because that scale seems to be simply throwing a dart to guess my body fat. It has ranged in six days of testing from 40.4% to 25.1%. I’m pretty sure body fat percentage doesn’t actually swing 15 points from day to day!
Steve has also noticed it giving errant results for his body fat with the Wyze scale. It’s registering about triple the percentage of the Withings scale.
I contacted Wyze about the body fat percentages over text chat, and Jeff was super responsive and helpful. He was clearly sending me stock articles, but they were very helpful articles. There are a fair number of factors that can cause your body fat numbers to be off. One thing he pointed out was that you have to make sure that your knees aren’t touching each other. That makes sense since it’s measuring up one leg and down another. I ran a test and with nothing or just my thighs touching, it measured 25.1%, and with my knees touching it popped up to 35.3%!
I thought for sure Jeff had found the problem. The bad news is that this morning I weighed myself again and it was back up to 35.3% with no knocking knees. Steve’s body fat percentage via the Wyze scale is reporting over 30% body fat which is more than triple his body fat according to other measurement techniques (including measurements by his doctor) and by just looking at him. I’m not sure what the heck is wrong but maybe in 7 months, the Wyze scale will figure it out as the Withings scale did.
I listed off all of the metrics Withings graphs and explained that Wyze only graphs weight and fat percentage. Wyze actually records more metrics than Withings, but it just doesn’t plot them on a graph. It’s also hard to find. At the top of the screen is a box with your body fat, muscle mass, and body water percentages. If you tap on one of these metrics, it reveals the definition of that metric. But below those three numbers is a wee tiny, light grey downward chevron that’s nearly impossible to notice.
When tapped it reveals way more metrics. In addition to what Withings measures, Wyze measures lean body mass, protein, visceral fat, BMR, and metabolic age.
In the Wyze app you can tap on any of the metrics and get an explanation. I jumped right to metabolic age because it says I’m only 59 when my chronological age is 62! Wyze told me that exercise builds healthy muscle tissue and improves your metabolic age. All this exercise finally pays off!
I have to say that if I were making a decision between these two scales, the Wyze scale would win hands down. While the Withings scale graphs more metrics which is cool to see, the Wyze scale wins for measuring more things about you.
The apps for both scales will connect into Apple Health so you can use those tools to watch for trends.
The ease on the Wyze of adding up to 10 users compared to only 2 and having to balance on one foot with Withings is a big win for Wyze as well. Having to keep the app open is a little annoying but we have our phones pretty close by these days so it’s probably not that big of a deal. Neither scale can accurately and consistently measure my body fat percentage so that’s not a differentiator.
But on top of all those wins for Wyze, it’s $20 vs. $150 for the Withings. I’d have no hesitation recommending the Wyze Scale from wyze.com. And no, I don’t own stock in Wyze like my daughter-in-law claims.