Nobody likes to face the number on the bathroom scale. But it’s necessary when it comes to keeping an eye on your general health. The QardioBase 2 takes some of the pain out of the process. Not only can it track your weight, BMI, and full body composition, it wirelessly records your data on your phone. It also includes a number of smart modes, including ones for pregnancy and users with implanted medical devices. And if you really can’t face the numbers, you can view your progress (or lack thereof) via emoji. Beautiful in design and flexible in use, the QardioBase 2 ($149.99) follows in the footsteps of its predecessor and earns our Editors’ Choice for the best smart scale.
The round QardioBase 2 stands out from the squarish design of most digital scales. The QardioBase 2 measures 13.4 inches in diameter and stands 0.9 inch tall. That’s about an inch wider than the original QardioBase Smart Scale. It’s also a smart improvement as it adds greater stability. While we experienced some wobbling when stepping on the first QardioBase, it’s no longer an issue.
There are also more color options with the second iteration. Arctic White is still an option, but you can also now buy a Volcanic Black version. Otherwise, Qardio is merely refining what was already a sleek and chic design. You still get green LED readouts from the center of the scale, though Qardio says the LED is brighter and crisper. Also new is haptic feedback, so the scale will vibrate once you’re done with each measurement.
Unlike much of the competition, the QardioBase 2 now features a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 12 months. The scale comes with a microUSB cable for charging, but you don’t have to wait to start using the scale. It’s charged straight out of the box. Most smart scales, including the Nokia Body Smart Scale and the Fitbit Aria, are still reliant on between four and eight AA or AAA batteries.
As far as metrics go, the QardioBase 2 is comprehensive. The scale measures the basics like weight and body mass index (BMI), but also gives you a full body composition breakdown of body fat, muscle, and water percentages. It has a measurement range of 9-396 pounds, and is accurate to 0.2-pound.
Easy Setup, Capable App
Setup is a breeze. Once you’ve freed the scale from its packaging, all you have to do is download the free Qardio app for either iOS or Android. You do need to register with Qardio, but that’s par for the course with most smart home devices. You’ll also have to fill out a profile with your weight, height, and birth date. From there, the app will step-by-step guide you through pairing and Wi-Fi setup. It’ll also ask you to select from four smart modes: Normal, Weight Only, Smart Feedback, and Pregnancy.
Normal mode is exactly what it sounds like. You’ll get readouts for all possible metrics. Weight Only is designed for users with implantable medical devices, such as pacemakers, and disables body composition tracking as these metrics are measured via an electrical signal. Smart Feedback will prompt you to set a weight goal target, and instead of getting numerical readouts on the device, you’ll see a smiley indicating your progress. You can still see detailed metrics in the app, but you don’t have to face it on the scale. Pregnancy mode is sort of a mish-mash between Weight Only and Smart Feedback. It disables body composition readouts, but also displays your weight as a smile. You can also enter your pregnancy start date, due date, and pre-pregnancy weight for more detailed tracking purposes.
The Qardio app is pretty straightforward. The main screen shows your most current weight measurement in a box in the upper left. You can tap for full body composition breakdown. Next to it, you’ll see another gray box with a smiley (or in my case, a not-so-smiley) indicating your progress toward your weight goal. Underneath both boxes is your overall BMI. The History tab keeps a tally of all your recorded measurements, which you can view in various graphs. There’s also a Reminders tab, which you can use to set notifications.
Another nifty feature is the QardioBase 2 integrates not only with Apple Health, but also the Apple Watch and Android Wear. The smartwatch apps are relatively simple, but a handy way to keep an eye on your data when you don’t have your phone.
Performance and Multiple Users
I tested the QardioBase 2 over the course of a week. Overall, I found it to make smart tracking easy and automatic. I had no trouble receiving notifications, and the haptic vibrations on the scale are a nice touch. Smart scales, particularly Bluetooth-only varieties, can sometimes take a while when it comes to analyzing full body composition. I also conducted back-to-back measurements with my traditional digital bathroom scale and found I got readings within a half pound of one another.
Like other smart scales, the QardioBase 2 is also able to automatically detect up to five different users in one home. New users will have to download the app, create an account, and complete the pairing process on their own. While the scale doesn’t support as many users (the Garmin Index Smart Scale supports up to 16), other measurements can be saved under Guest profiles.
When you have multiple users, the scale will typically still automatically recognize and save your data to the correct profile. I had my roommate download the Qardio app, and the scale was able to tell us apart with relative ease. When the scale is unsure, the display will show a roster of registered users. You can toggle through by tapping your foot on the scale to assign the reading to the correct profile. I found this mechanism to be a bit finicky, and I accidentally saved my weight to my roommate’s profile more than once.
If you make a mistake, you can reassign measurements via the Claim menu under the History tab in the app. The problem is that this also enables you to see the weight of each person who’s used the scale. You won’t be able to see full-body breakdowns, but if you’d rather keep all your information private, this is something to keep in mind.
Comparisons and Conclusions
The QardioBase 2 is one of the most comprehensive smart scales we’ve tested, but it’s also one of the most expensive. That’s not unheard of for premium scales—the Garmin Index Smart Scale tracks the same metrics, though it lacks a Pregnancy mode. But for about $20 less, you can get the Fitbit Aria. You won’t get water percentage readings, but it supports more users and integrates with Fitbit’s myriad fitness trackers.
On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the Nokia Body Smart Scale. It doesn’t have nearly as many bells and whistles—you’ll only get weight and BMI, but it’s one of the most affordable Wi-Fi scales and works with hundreds of third-party apps.
But if you can afford it, the QardioBase 2 has the competition beat when it comes to versatility. Its combination of sleek design, customizable modes, painless setup, and detailed metrics make it an easy Editors’ Choice pick.