The Withings Body Scan offers an exhaustive array of, well, scans for your body. It’ll check your weight, body composition, cardiovascular health, and even nervous system – but that comes at a literal price, and if you don’t need it all then you might be better off with a cheaper alternative.
Price When Reviewed
There are smart scales, and then there are smart scales. The Withings Body Scan is a smart scale.
Plenty of scales these days connect to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to share your results with an app. Some will also measure your body composition, maybe check your heart rate.
The Body Scan does all that, and then some: it measures visceral fat, not just subcutaneous; it provides a segmental analysis of where your fat and muscle sit on your body; it can take an ECG reading and record your ‘vascular age’; it will even measure how healthy your nerves are.
This a one-stop check-in for your body, about as close as any of us will ever get to a private doctor giving us a look-over every morning.
It’s also expensive, especially if you include the (refreshingly optional) Withings Health+ app subscription, and probably overkill for most of us. If you just want to know how much you weigh, or whether you’re gaining muscle, cheaper scales will do the job just as well. But if you’re serious about health monitoring, the Body Scan has you covered.
Design & build
Sturdy, heavy design
Unique pull-string handle
At first glance, the Body Scan looks very similar to other Withings scales like the Body Comp or Body Cardio, with a simple square designed topped by striped glass and a small display. It launched in black only, but as of 25 October, it’s now available in the UK in a white colourway as well. However, US buyers don’t yet have that option.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
Like previous Withings scales it has a reassuring weight and heft – you won’t knock it around the floor easily by mistake – and both looks and feels premium.
While Withings recommends using it on hard floor, I actually find that it works fine and weighs accurately on my bedroom carpet – though note that this is a pretty short pile, so thicker carpets or rugs may pose a problem.
The display is positioned at the top of the scale, and is big, bright, and easy to read – even through bleary pre-coffee eyes – with colourful animations and clear graphics.
The most unusual aspect of the Scan’s physical design is the handle. Yes, handle: there’s a thin plastic grip that’s attached to the base by a cord, which you pull up to waist height to take measurements.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
This is strictly optional, but Withings says it improves accuracy of the body composition readings, and is what enables both the segment analysis and ECG, so you are missing out if you don’t use it.
My one concern is that with only a thin cord connecting the handle to the base, this does feel like a possible point of failure, especially if the scale is in reach of inquisitive pets or kids.
Battery is easy too – the scale is topped up over USB-C, just like most phones, and should last a full year on one charge.
Setting up the Withings Body Scan is easy enough. If you don’t already have a Withings account you’ll have to create one, and otherwise it’s basically just a matter of turning the scale on, opening the app, and going from there.
It takes a few minutes to work through the simple steps, and I only hit one hurdle: it’s a bit fussy about Wi-Fi during setup, and while it suggested I could skip this and set up over Bluetooth, that simply didn’t work.
I resolved the problem by moving the scale right next to my router during the setup process, and then moving it back where I wanted it long-term – like many smart home products, it simply needs a stronger Wi-Fi signal first time round, but fortunately isn’t so particular day-to-day.
This is worth fighting through, because Wi-Fi support is a key (and easily missed) feature here. Bluetooth scales require you to keep your phone nearby and often with the app open in order to sync data, but this will upload your measurements to the cloud automatically, ready for you to download onto your phone the next time you open the app – whenever that is.
The app in question is Withings Health Mate, which is free and available on both iOS and Android. This is one of my favourite fitness or health tracking apps, and supports every Withings product – such as its wearables and sleep trackers – consolidating all your data in one place if you own more than one bit of Withings kit.
Dominic Preston / Foundry
Considering how much data is available, the app is clearly laid out and simple to use. Today’s metrics appear first on the dashboard, and diving into each one allows you to see in-depth and historical data too. It does sometimes take a few seconds to load the latest readings, but tapping into one and back out usually refreshes things.
The app also allows you to track battery levels and individual settings for specific devices, plus customise your profile, any family profiles, and connect to the likes of Google Fit, Apple Health, Strava, MyFitnessPal, and more.
Relatively new to Withings is the Health+ subscription. Subscriptions are all the rage in fitness tracking these days, whether it’s offerings like Fitbit Premium that gatekeep specific metrics to paid subscribers, or the likes of Whoop or Oura that pretty much lock everything behind a paywall.
Health+ had me concerned – especially given the relatively steep $9.95/£9.95/€9.95 monthly fee (or $99.50/£99.50/€99.50 for a year) – but in fact Withings has taken a different tack to its rivals.
For the time being, absolutely none of your health and fitness data is tied to a Health+ subscription – every single metric the Body Scan offers is included just for buying the scale.
What Health+ offers instead is a series of ‘habit-building’ health and fitness programs. Most last six weeks, and target specific elements of fitness, nutrition, and sleep health, giving you daily missions and targeted advice based on your goals. Depending on the Withings tech you own and the program you’re on, your output may be recorded automatically or you can manually log sleep data, workouts, or meals.
It’s refreshing to see a subscription that genuinely is optional – everything the Body Scan advertises is included in the purchase price, and Health+ is only there as an extra for those who want a daily nudge to help them build healthier habits.
From my brief sample of the programs I’m not sure I’d personally pay the asking price for them, but I love the fact that you’re free to ignore it and carry on using the scale as-is if you prefer.
Tracking & features
Usual weight and body composition
Advanced segmental body composition too
Heart rate, ECG, and ‘pulse wave velocity’
Nerve health measurements
So let’s get to the heart of what the Body Scan does – the clue’s in the name.
For starters, it obviously takes your weight. This bit’s quick, easy, and based on your weight it will also smartly identify who’s standing on the scale, with support for up to eight profiles. Impressively, it’s capable of reading weight to a precision of 50g (0.1lb) – more precise than most.
Dominic Preston / Foundry
Next up is body composition. It can measure how much of your body is made up of fat, muscle, and bone, and give you indications of healthy ranges to aim for.
It can also go one step further and measure your visceral fat – this is the fat that sits around your organs, rather than the visible subcutaneous fat that makes us all jiggly. Visceral fat is more dangerous, associated with graver health risks (including heart problems and diabetes), so it’s an important one to watch. The Body Scan gives you a score out of 20, where readings from 1 to 5 are ‘normal’, and anything above that is potentially dangerous.
As mentioned earlier, if you grab the Body Scan’s handle then the company says your body composition readings will be more accurate.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
This also unlocks ‘segmental body composition’, which shows you a simple illustration of your body, indicating your fat and muscle levels across your torso, and each leg and arm, and telling you how your figures compare to other Withings users of the same age and height.
You can choose between a female, male, or gender-neutral body type for the image (a nice touch), though oddly one thing you can’t do is see historical data here – meaning there’s no way to chart whether you’re building muscle in your arms, for example. Perhaps Withings is trying to discourage the erroneous view that you can ‘spot remove’ fat from specific body parts, but for muscle development the data over time could be helpful if added in.
So that’s your body as a whole. Next up, your Body Scan can look at your heart. The most basic reading here is just heart rate, which can be a good guide to shifts in your resting heart rate, especially if you weigh first thing in the morning.
Then it can take an ECG reading, which indicates whether you have a healthy sinus rhythm, and can serve as an early warning system for AFib and some other heart conditions.
Finally, pulse wave velocity (PWV) is a reading that’s specific to Withings, assessing arterial stiffness – apparently a key indicator of cardiac health, including blood pressure problems.
In countries like the UK where Withings has been given the appropriate medical certification, this comes in the form of a specific speed. Even countries without the certification can get a vaguer ‘vascular age’ score, which tells you if your cardiovascular system is in line where it should be for your age.
Finally, there’s one more reading the Body Scan can deliver, and it’s a new one to me: nerve health. Measured by stimulating the sweat glands in your feet (a lovely thought if ever there was one), this nets you a score out of 100, with a simple binary: above 50 is good, below 50 is bad, and a sign that you may suffer from peripheral neuropathy, which can be caused by diabetes, some infections, and a few other things.
Withings warns that it will take a full month’s worth of readings to get a definite score, though I’ve found it remarkably consistent in the week or two I’ve used the Body Scan. I’ll admit that it’s given me a whole new anxiety I didn’t have before, but my predicted score of 93 seems rather good, so I can probably rest easy.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
With that exhaustive list of measurements you may well worry that you’ll be standing on this scale for an age everyday. In total it takes a little less than a minute to get a full set of scores, 30 seconds of which is taken up by the ECG.
It’s customisable for each user though, so if there’s anything you don’t care about you can simply drop it off and save some time – or hide certain elements so that you don’t have to, say, see your fat percentage if you’d rather not.
Price & availability
The Body Scan is expensive.
It launched with a UK price of £399.95, but has now dropped to a slightly less painful £349.95. You can buy it from Withings. Its European price, however, has held steady at €399.95. It’s available from Withings France and Spain.
It’s now on sale in the US as well, for $399.95, again direct from Withings.
That price does at least include an optional three-month free trial of the Health+ subscription, which as mentioned before is $9.95/£9.95/€9.95 monthly, or $99.50/£99.50/€99.50 for a year.
In a sense its price is hard to compare to rivals – nothing else on the market does what this does.
The question to ask is if you really need everything this offers. Withings’ own Body Comp scale is much cheaper at $/£/€199.95, and pretty much only misses out on the segmental body composition and ECG readings. Most people will be better off with this cheaper option. The Withings Body Smart is around half the price of the Comp, but it doesn’t offer much more than a budget scale, so although it’s the cheapest model of the new Withings line, it’s not necessarily the best value.
Rivals including Eufy or Fitbit offer cheaper alternatives too, though their offerings lack many of the high-end tracking features found here. Check out our ranking of the best smart scales to find out more.
No other consumer smart scale does it quite like the Withings Body Scan.
If you can afford it this is an all-singing, all-dancing medical check-up from your bedroom every morning. It’s reliable, quick, and easy-to-use, with an optional extra subscription that won’t try to rip you off.
The vast majority of people simply don’t need this much medical tech at home, and Withings has a range of cheaper options with different features and price points – so if you mostly care about body composition readings or vascular age, you can get those for less.
The Body Scan nails what it sets out to do though, and if you can justify the cost it’s hard to imagine coming away disappointed.