Wi-Fi vs. Bluetooth
Before we proceed with the comparison of the selected wireless scales, it is useful to clarify the differences between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless technologies used in these scales:
Bluetooth technology is useful when transferring information between two or more devices that are near each other and when speed is not an issue. The maximum distance it can support is about 30 feet (about 10 meters). On the other hand Wi-Fi enables a faster connection, better security, and much longer distance. The maximum distance it can support is about 300 feet (about 100 meters). So, with Bluetooth you must keep the scale very close to the device that it will be synced to (an iPhone for example). On the other hand, with Wi-Fi, you could keep your scale in the bathroom while the device that it will be synced to (a computer or a router for example) stays in your bedroom or living room.
The Wi-Fi scales you can purchase nowadays are slightly more expensive than the strictly Bluetooth scales, but they also provide a lot more features as it will be shown below.
Comparing Withings WS-50, Withings WS-30, Fitbit Aria, and iHealth HS5
Withings, Fitbit and iHealth Scales Detailed Comparison Table:
Table Notes 1 to 11 Explained:
Body Mass Index or BMI is defined as the individual’s body weight divided by the square of his or her height.
Body Fat is the total amount of fat in the body expressed as a percentage of the total weight.
Lean Mass is everything in your body besides body fat.
Bone Mass is the level of bone mineral content found in the body.
Muscle Mass is the total weight of muscle in the body.
Body Water is the total amount of fluid in the body expressed as a percentage of the total weight.
Visceral Fat is the abdominal fat that includes organ fat (fat in the stomach, intestines, liver,etc.).
Daily Calorie Intake (DCI) is an estimate of how many calories you can consume within the next 24 hours to maintain your current weight.
Withings WS-50, Withings WS-30 and the Fitbit Aria upload automatically your weight, body mass index (BMI) and body fat readings into their associated websites under your registered identification and profile (to either the withings.com or fitbit.com websites).
With iHealth HS5, once a personal profile is set up in the iHealth app, all measurement data is uploaded automatically to the iHealth Cloud. Web/Cloud base data can be accessed anytime and from anywhere using a Web browser for tracking and evaluation.
Note that while Wi-Fi is supported by the Withings scales and the iHealth HS5 scale, Wi-Fi connectivity is not required to use these scales as long as you have a smartphone that supports Bluetooth and has wireless access to internet. These scales are also able to use Bluetooth to upload all measurement data to the smartphone.
Since Fitbit Aria does not support Bluetooth, Wi-Fi connectivity is required to upload your measurement data to your fitbit.com dashboard. But, iPhone or Android smartphone apps can be used to access this data as long as your smartphone has Internet access.
Note that all four scales are compatible both with iOS and Android smartphones.
Only the Withings WS-50 and WS-30 scales come with Position Control technology which helps correctly position your body on the scale for precision-accuracy weighing. Visual feedback is provided on the scale's screen so that your position is comparable and optimally balanced at each weighing.
All four scales provide free iOS and Android apps to visualize weight trends, set realistic goals, and easily monitor your progress, so they can all be used with either iOS or Android smartphones. But note the following small detail: To install the Withings WS-30 white version scale, you must have momentarily an iOS device. After installation, you can use it with either an iOS or Android smartphone. No such requirement exists for the WS-30 black version.
The Withings and Fitbit scales support data uploading and tracking for up to 8 people. You can create on the associated website (withings.com or fitbit.com) a user profile for each of the 8 people using one single family account and email address. As these scales get to know your weight, they automatically recognize who is using the scale, and upload the readings to the appropriate profile in the associated website.
With the iHealth HS5 scale, you can set up multiple accounts using the iHealth MyVitals app, then choose the desired user before each measurement. The scale can accommodate up to 20 users and store up to 200 measurements for each user. When each user’s memory is full, any new measurements will overwrite the oldest ones. Note that if your iOS or Android device is temporarily unavailable, you can still take the measurements. The scale determines who the user is by matching the new weight with the weight previously recorded in the scale.
This feature is offered only on the Withings WS-50 scale. The indoor air quality is checked by the scale through CO2 (carbon dioxide) and temperature measurements. Using the measured data the app constructs a chart describing the indoor CO2-levels. This can be used to detect when the air in the room needs to be cleared.
The software on both the Withings and Fitbit scales get automatically updated through the Wi-Fi connection when there are software updates. On the iHealth HS5, you will need to use the iHealth app to make any updates.
Privacy controls are set when user profiles are created using the apps provided by the scales.
With the Withings scales no PC is required for the initial installation. Your iOS or Android smartphone can be used to set the scale up. But the smartphones must support Bluetooth and must have access to internet (by Wi-Fi or 3G/4G) when you set up the scale. If desired, installation can also be done from the PC as long as you have Wi-Fi network access. .
Similarly, to install the Fitbit Aria scale you can use a PC, but if a PC is not available, the set-up process can also be done using a smartphone (iPhone or Android) as long as it has Wi-Fi or 3G/4G access to internet.
With the iHealth HS5 scale, no PC is required to install, but the iOS/Android smartphone must support Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
The initial set-up procedures are clearly detailed in the supplied user manuals for all four products and are simple to follow.
Prices are approximate as they may change from one day to another. Note that Amazon often provides a good discount on the List Price of these products.
So which of the four scales is best to buy?
You might also be interested in the following Activity Trackers comparison:
Please click below for a detailed comparison of Fitbit and Withings activity trackers ZIP, FLEX, ONE and PULSE O2:
Compare Fitbit and Withings Activity Trackers: ZIP, FLEX, ONE or PULSE O2?