T Nation


My searches on the forum for the best at home BF% devices were not that successful. Has anyone had any success with any certain BF% device. What’s it called, where’d you get, it how much did it cost? I appreciate the responses. I don’t trust some of the idiots at my gym that are taking it. There’s only one person that’s been taking it lately and she seems to have something against me. It’ probably cause T-mag’s has me looking better than her silly-ass boyfriend.

im looking for this too. I see tanita scales for 79.99$ and calipers for 100$. But the Tanita scale looks nothing like the tanita scale here at school, that usually matches up exactly with calipers.

Make sure to read my article on this topic in issues 208 and 209. I’d recommend going with the Fat Track digital skinfold calipers and using the 3 site equation (chest, thigh, ab) as this will be a fairly inexpensive, but very reliable method of measuring body composition.

In regards to bioimpedance, both the Tanita scales and Omron handheld analyzers can work. The advantage of the Tanita is that it measures your weight also. But the Tanita will also have more variability based on forum reports. With the Omron, you'll need to know your weight each time you measure. If you go with either, make sure you get a model that measures your %bf to the nearest 0.1%.

Jason, thanks for posting man.I’m interested in the fat-track digital skinfold calipers. I want to get some of these as soon as I can. Where do they sell these? Can I get them at a place like Wal-Mart or Walgreens or does it have to be a fitness store because there aren’t that many close to me? Much appreciated, p_nub

Jason, I’ve got a Tanita Ultimate. Don’t let the name fool you, it’s the cheapest one they have and I’m not happy with it. It isn’t accurate at all and only tracks 1% changes. I was thinking of getting a better model (the TBF-612).

The TBF-612 ahs Athele Mode and tracks 0.1% changes are a little more expensive but still below $100. I would like your opinion.

The professional models cost from $700 to over $1000. Is it that much better? How much different could it be from the higher end personal models?


Jason, I’ve been wanting to thank you for the article you wrote way back when(ever) on the different ways to measure BF. The information you provided in that article has been instrumental in my measuring my progress.
As simple as some of the concepts are, it was a key piece of the puzzle. I will always be grateful to you, John Berardi and Joel Marion. Each of you contributed something extremely valuable to my achieving my goals.

I have a Tanita 0.1% precision scale. It’s not too sweet, because it depends on

  1. your muscle glycogen levels as
  2. your hydration levels
  3. your heart rate
  4. muscle/weight ratio.

    I take the measurement every morening after a shower.

    However, I’m slowly losing faith in this little device. In fact, I ordered a FatTrack, which I should receive in 3-4 days, and then we’ll see. Supposedly for bodybuilding purposes, the FatTrack is much better (and cheaper) than a Tanita.

    Ron Haris said that a Tanita showed his body fat % being 13% (!!!)

p_nub - I believe you can easily pick up the Fat Track II digital calipers cheaply through netrition or through many other fitness websites. I’m not sure where you could buy them off the shelf, but you could try your local sporting goods and supplement retailers.

Azzure - Yes, the TBF-612 is a much better model and will provide you better results. There is really NO need to invest in the professional models as they use the same technology, just have some advanced software features.

Tampa-Terry - Thank you immensely for your kind words. They truly mean a lot to me. I'm very thankful that the article was published. If you think I tackle this topic frequently on the forum now, I used to deal with this almost every day before the article was published.

I appreciate your advice and your posts. Today I got a Fat Trak II digital skinfold caliper and I’m taking it back tomorrow. I measured probably 20 times and each time it came back with different results. I’m not blaming it totally on the caliper because even though i pinched from the pec, ab, and thigh in the same spot every time I’m sure the way I was holding my skin had something to do with it. This procuct so far has been totally worthless. I’m glad the store is going to take it back. I think I’m going to go with the TBF-612. I like the idea of electrical impedence thing more because I don’t have to mess with any calipers. I think Calipers can read different every time just depending on who’s doing it, how much skin you pinched, how much resistance is on the skin, etc. No wonder every time I had it taken at the gym there were incredibly different results according to what person took it. When the girl took it one week it was 17. When the guy took it the week before it was 15 and so on. I don’t like calipers! Especially the fat trak II! Is it so hard just to find out accurately what your body fat is and keep track of it? That’s all I want. Thanks for posting.

You got a book with your calipers, if I’m not mistaken. Read that book. There is also an article here on T-mag, I believe, that teaches you how to use the calipers. Read that also. If you can’t get good readings even then, then hmm. Sounds to me like you think that you should just know right off how to use calipers. I suggest you learn, because I’m not satisfied with my scale either so I ordered the product that you are returning. hmm.

I have had the Fat Track II calipers for over a year now and totally rely on them. It does take awhile to learn how to use it properly but overall for home use it sure is simple and reliable. You just have to give yourself some time to get used to pinching your skin folds the same way each time .

p_nub - Using calipers just takes a lot of practice, but you may also really like bioimpedance and may find that it works better for you. Don’t really know what to tell you?