T Nation

Electronic BodyFat Scales

Any members here using electronic body fat scales? If so how was your experience with them and how does it compare to using calipers to pinch the skin, were the bf values about equal or were they way off? Thank You

Cheap electronic BF systems are not reliable. They rely on too many factors, including state of hydration and the connection between your hands/feet and the conductor plates.

DEXA scans are the new gold standard in BF anaylsis, followed by hydrostatic weighing. In my opinion calipers in the hands of an trained AND experienced individual is superior to the electronics that the common man can afford.

The electronic impedence scales that you stand on are useless for bodybuilders or athletes who are above average in muscularity. I have returned two of them to the stores after ridiculous readings. I think they may work for those who are “average” in body weight and musculature, but they seem to have much trouble reading through added muscle tissue and body water. I have found the handheld devices to be more reliable and consistant. They are also off by about 2-3%, but I get a consistant reading with the one I have (the OMRON body fat analyzer).

Thanks for the replys guys. This may have changed my mind about the bf scale I was going to buy.

Prof X, do you feel that the Omron is good for an “average” person? Also you said that the scale is usually 2-3% off but have you tried it with other people and got the same similarities (i.e. a couple % off). Thank You

[quote]roc wrote:
Thanks for the replys guys. This may have changed my mind about the bf scale I was going to buy.

Prof X, do you feel that the Omron is good for an “average” person? Also you said that the scale is usually 2-3% off but have you tried it with other people and got the same similarities (i.e. a couple % off). Thank You [/quote]

Yes, it works fine for the average person and those who are carrying more size from what I have seen. Regardless of how much it may be off (whether 2-3% or not) it is consistant which is all that matters. No one cares if you are exactly 8% body fat or exactly 9.5%. In bodybuilding, it helps by showing progress by being consistant. It could read that you are 30% and that shouldn’t matter to you if you get consistant readings while you are dieting. That is all I use it for…to make sure I am not losing too much muscle mass when dieting or increasing cardio. All methods are slightly off aside from autopsy.

I have to back up the Prof. On the standing scales, I was 31% in bodyfat! On the hand-held ones, I was 12.5%, which is about right by my eye. Both measurements were taken in the same week. I stand 6 2 and weigh 230, so I’m big but no monster, but obviously big enough to throw off the reading on the standing ones.

Thanks for the reply guys, I will have to place an order for the handheld model you mentioned. Thanks again

Affirmative … a few months back I tested 23% bodfyat on one at a company “health fair”. That’s another story. Anyway, no way was I over 20 and probably closer to 16-18. They are bogus.

BFG