The Garmin Index S2 is a superb smart scale, particularly for athletes with long-terms fitness goals in mind. If you already own a Garmin device then the ability to see your activity stats alongside your weight and body composition is a real benefit. It's expensive though, and if you're not going to use all of the Garmin Connect app's extra features then you might be better off with a cheaper smart scale from the likes of FitTrack or Withings.
Tough, stylish build
Integrates with Garmin ecosystem
App gives limited context
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The Garmin Index S2 is a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled smart scale that makes it easy to track changes to your weight and body composition over time. It’s a stylish, well designed piece of equipment, and gives reliable and consistent results, making it a great tool if you’re aiming to reach or maintain a specific weight.
It’s a particularly good choice if you already own a Garmin watch or other device, as it links to the Garmin Connect app and allows you to see all your health, sleep and activity stats in one place. Garmin Connect also has a social element, letting you network with friends and family to share stats and encouragement.
While it’s possible to drill down for more information on each metric, it’s a shame that the Garmin Connect app doesn’t give you an indication of whether your body fat, muscle and other composition scores are within the healthy range for your age, sex and height, and how close you are to the boundaries.
The Garmin Index S2 is also expensive, so if you’re not already invested in the Garmin ecosystem, it’s worth checking out cheaper alternatives like the Eufy Smart Scale C1 and FitTrack Dara before making the investment.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that Garmin Connect gives you a huge range of extra tools and resources that you would have to pay for in many fitness apps. These include workout plans, menstrual cycle tracking, safety tools to let family members track your location, and even an option for tracking the lifespan of equipment like running shoes and bikes so you know when it’s time to service or replace them. This all adds a lot to the scale’s value, and does a lot to help justify its price tag.
Garmin Index S2 price and availability
The Garmin Index S2 was released in October 2020, and costs $149.99 / £129.99 / $249 direct from Garmin. That’s a pretty high price for a smart scale, and is roughly the same as the Withings Body Cardio.
The scale proved very popular at launch, and at the time of writing (April 2021), there’s a wait of between five and eight weeks for delivery.
As we’ve come to expect from Garmin devices, the Index S2 smart scale is high quality and robust. The color display is particularly impressive, and the best of any smart scale we’ve tested to date – bright and crisp, with an unusually high resolution that makes icons and text sharp and easy to read when standing up. At each weigh-in you’ll be able to see your current weight, body composition stats including fat and muscle mass, and a graph of changes to your weight over time.
The scale is available in black and white, and the platform (as with all smart scales) is made from toughened glass. A discreet pattern of lines helps you position your feet correctly, and buttons underneath allow you to switch between imperial and metric units, and reset the scale. It’s supplied with four AAA batteries, which Garmin says will last up to nine months.
If you already have the Garmin Connect app installed, setting up the Index S2 will only take a minute or two. Activate it by pressing the platform, go to ‘Garmin devices’ in the app, and you’ll see it listed, ready to connect to your phone via Bluetooth. Enter the PIN displayed on the scale’s screen for verification, then select your Wi-Fi network and enter your password. If you wish, you can also use this opportunity to add extra users, including guests.
Unlike most smart scales, which support between four and eight users, the Garmin Index S2 can handle data from up to 16 people, which could make it a great choice for members of a sports team who all want to keep track of the impact of their training.
If you’re not already a Garmin user, you’ll need to spend a few moments setting up an account first. This is a very similar process to Withings or Fitbit – enter your name, age, gender, height, and set a target weight to get started.
The scale is fast; your weight is displayed on the crisp, bright screen almost immediately. By default you’ll also be shown your body composition stats and the weather, but if you prefer there’s also an option to show your weight only.
The Garmin Index 2 uses bioelectrical impedance to measure tissue types. Essentially, it runs a small current through your body (hence the need for bare feet), and different types of tissue cause different degrees of resistance. The scale measures weight and BMI, body fat percentage, skeletal muscle mass, bone mass, and body water. Skeletal muscle doesn't include the muscle in your heart, or the muscles that apply pressure to your organs and blood vessels.
Within the app, all this data is displayed on a chart so you can track changes over the last week, four weeks, or year, and see how close you are to your target weight. You can also choose to see your BMI, muscle, fat, bone mass and water weight as line graphs, which helps you track how your body composition has changed over time.
If you prefer to see your stats on a bigger screen though Garmin’s web app, the Garmin Index 2 is ANT compatible, allowing you to transfer data directly to a PC using Garmin’s USB ANT stick. It might seem like a bit of a niche case, but if you use your watch or cycle computer for navigation, you’re likely to find yourself using the online dashboard quite often, and having stats from the scales handy when planning your weekly workouts could be a real bonus.
In our tests, the measurements were very consistent across multiple weigh-ins, and (as expected), the muscle mass value was significantly lower than on other scales due to the difference between total and skeletal muscle. Most scales don't differentiate between the two, which is worth bearing in mind if you're switching from a different brand.
The scale connects to the Garmin Connect app, which you’ll already have installed if you have a Garmin watch, heart rate monitor, cycle computer or other device. Data syncs automatically (which isn’t always the case with smart scales) and is accessed through the ‘Health and Performance’ menu. If you want, you can also add it to the dashboard that appears each time you load the app, so you can track it at a glance.
You can tap the ‘Help’ button for a simple, clear explanation of what each metric means in terms of your health, but it’s a shame that there’s no chart showing where your measurements are compared to other people your sex and age. It would be useful to see whether you fit within healthy limits, and how close you are to the boundaries.
It would also be useful to have guides to optimal values for athletes, so users don't have to look up a chart online.
That aside, the Garmin Connect app is excellent. Not only does it pool together stats from all your devices, it also offers extra tools such as menstrual cycle tracking, workout plans and social features – many of which are locked behind paywalls in other fitness apps. All of Garmin Connect’s tools are free, and available as soon as you’ve registered.
First reviewed April 2021
Buy it if
You have another Garmin device
Having all your health and wellbeing data in one place is extremely convenient, and Garmin Connect is one of the best fitness apps around.
You’re part of a sports team
The Garmin Connect Index supports up to 16 users, which means it’s not only a good choice for families, but could also be useful for sports clubs.
You have a long-term fitness goal
There’s a lot more to health than just weight, and the Index 2 and Garmin Connect app put a massive amount of data at your fingertips.
Don't buy it if
Garmin advises turning off advanced body metrics during pregnancy, to prevent inaccurate results. If you want to track your pregnancy, the Withings Body+ is a better choice thanks to its a dedicated pregnancy mode.
- Check out our complete guide to the best running watches
Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)