Amazon is an excellent source of cheap alternatives to expensive branded smart technology. I particularly love the fitness trackers that use the Very Smart Pro app. Amazon is also a safe way to get cheap Chinese Android phones where you have the backing of Amazon customer service.
I thought I would broaden my horizons and try out one of their cheap body fat scales. As someone that lost over 100lbs I found a smart scale to be an important tool for monitoring my progress. It is easy enough to just manually update apps like MyFitnessPal but why waste them valuable seconds?
I initially started off with the Fitbit scales which retail for over £120 on Amazon, after they died I got the Withings now Nokia Scales. The body composition scales they currently sell are £89.99, but you can pick up a standard scale that just does weight for £47.99.
The Etekscale scale I bought was just £35.99 and measures body weight, body fat, body water, muscle mass, BMI(Body mass index), BMR(KCAL), Bone mass and Visceral fat.
Unlike the more expensive scales, this uses Bluetooth to connect.
The scales themselves are nice and well designed, with a glass top. Smaller than the Nokia and Fitbit scales but a similar design.
App & ease of use
Setting them up is much simpler than the Wi-Fi alternatives, I just needed to download the app, fill out my details and stand on the scales. It will detect the scales, automatically pair and connect and then sync. With Wi-Fi models, it can be a bit of a pain getting them connected to the correct Wi-Fi, and the Fitbit ones were notoriously bad for having to reconnect when the battery died.
The cheap nature of these scales starts to become apparent when you download the app, it isn’t terrible, but it looks very dated compared to the modern, sleek apps from Nokia and Fitbit.
When the app connects and syncs up, you need to tell it to save your data. It is easy enough to do, but I did realise that taking my phone to the bathroom then clicking save, wasn’t saving much time compared to manually typing in my weight. The app also won't sync to other services, so if you do like to use MyFitnessPal, you still have to update that manually.
I found the weight to be accurate, matching both my Nokia and Fitbit scales. However, the first day's body fat analysis was way off for me showing 26.8%. Electrical impedance scales are notoriously inaccurate, but you are talking +/- a few percent normally. Fitbit has me at 12.5%, and Nokia has me at 15.5% a visual guess would put me at around the 15 to 16% mark. 12.5-15.5% readings are visually very different in real life, with 12% being have a decent set of abs and 15% not. 26%+ is literally obese, so it is quite a significant error.
Unfortunately, this also means the other results can’t be accurate as it thinks I am carrying more fat than I am. The bone mass was marked at 6.6lbs while Nokia shows 7.8lbs. Muscle mass is 129lbs vs 157lbs, over 25lbs of muscle difference!
The second day my body fat dropped down to 19.5%, and it actually said I was chubby. Rude.
It is possible that these scales will calibrate themselves over a period of time, and I may use them for a week and see how it goes. Looking at the Nokia scales, they can be a considerable variation in fat mass, when I have a significant fluctuation in weight due to a holiday. I think it gets confused how someone can gain 10lbs in under a week.
For the price, these are not terrible scales, and your mileage may vary. I have always ignored the specific fat percentage on scales but instead, focus on the trend of it going down.
If you are only bothered about your weight, the Nokia Body scales would be worth spending a little extra on.
There are also marginally cheaper Bluetooth options out there, offering similar looking apps and having good reviews on Amazon. I have included some links below