T Nation

Body fat scales

I’m already going to buy some regular scales, but should I invest some extra money to get one that tells you your body fat. Obviously I’m no fool and I realize that this isn’t a very accurate way to find your b, but just how good are these? I really don’t care about the actual number. I’m more interested in fluctuations so I can chart progress. Probably a better way to word it is that given ever how much it will be off, will it be at least precise… in other words consistently off by the same amount (since all I care about is monitoring the change in BF). So, in short, considering my purpose, will I be wasting money if I get one? Thanks.

When will they learn? Do a search at T-mag. it’s been covered in one of their “stuff we like” review articles.

Browncy: I use both a Tanita 612 and an Omron “Body Logic” Fat Analyser. I use them both as sort of a “double check”. As John and Chris have said in a previous article 1)ABSOLUTE numbers are not really important (unless you are one of those “biceps/weight/bodyfat%” blowhards that use absolute numbers to brag with) and 2) They “spit the difference” nicely between accuracy, convienence and cost.

I HAVE FOUND THEM TO BE CONSISTENT IN THEIR MEASUREMENTS, and therfore I use them the way they SHOULD be used: 1) To monitor RELATIVE progress of my program and 2) coordination with WHAT I SEE IN THE MIRROR!

For me, they have been worth the really not-too-expensive cost. (P.S. I think they become MORE accurate the lower you bodyfat percentages become. They also begin to correlate better with each other).

Hope this helps!

I calibrate measuring instruments for a living.
Not all things and especially mechanical and electronic testing equipment work in the way you might assume. Thinking that it may have an 3% BF offset throughout the range is possible, but not always the case. In could be a linear offset: progressive or degressive deviation (Higher error at the top end of the range or hi at the bottom end of range).
It could read correct in most areas, but be out of tolerance in one area. It would likely measure differently if your feet are sweaty than if your feet are covered in coco puff crumbs.
I tried one just a couple of days ago. The salesman told me it was supposed to be accurate to 0.5% BF (That’s half a percent Body Fat, not half a percent of indicated value)Not too shabby if it is correct. I recommend having it recalibrated once a year at the very most and not storing it in a humid bathroom. Most electronics are their most accurate at about 23°C ± 2°C and between 25% and 60% Relative Humidity. I did not have a look at the documentation so not sure if the manufacturer has a recommended verification test. If anyone is that interested, just drop me a line and I might be able to come up with a Calibration Procedure. It could be possible to make adjustments for optimum accuracy.
Oh! and my BF results from the the store model?
23%BF, I think that’s pretty high (6’ 195LBS)Hmmm…maybe it was the crumbs. Low batteries could be causing that error too!
“Note to self” check to see if it’s battery operated.

I use a Tanita model with Athlete mode (can’t remember the model) and have noticed it is always on the high side. According to calipers I’m about 5% (no way), according to the Tanita I average about 11.5% (hydration really throws it off). My personal guess is between 8-10%. The Tanita has trouble determining fat % on true athletes (even in athlete mode). Has anybody tried the Tanita Body Composition scale? It’s expensive as hell ($500) but looks promising.

I use the Tanita Family model. It has Adult, Athlete and Child mode. I am not real sure why there is a difference between Athlete and Adult but you get about 10% difference in bodyfat. I question the accuracy but I was at 14% (Athlete mode) and went on a Powerlifitng kick for awhile. I put on about 20lbs and it raised it to 17%. I am currently on my way back down, I would like to get around 12% for the summer. However it does say on the box “Not to be used by bodybuilders” or something like that and I have no idea why. In closing if you have $100 to burn buy it but you can get your feedback from the mirror alot cheaper.