T Nation

Home use body fat analysers (electical impedence)

Further to my posting a response/interest to an earlier thread, I thought to ask if anyone is interested offering advice from personal experience, recommending a sound accurate brand/model of electrical impedence analyser? I see a variety ranging from stand-ons to hand-helds.


For more than 2 years (newer models are out now) I’ve used the “Tanita-612” and The “Omron Body Logic Pro” handheld. As I’ve said on MANY post over the years, ALL measuring modalities will have problems, so bio-impedence is not alone.

Also…I am looking for REALTIVE progress, not some “magic number” for me to brag about…(“bragging” is reserved for what I see in the mirror!)

So…that’s my take! Good luck!

I did some internet research into body fat measuring devices several weeks ago, when I got serious about losing body fat instead of weight. I found all the methods have some inherent inaccuracy, even underwater weighing. I wound up buying a Futrex-1100, which measures the amount of infrared light reflected from the tissue mid-biceps. The device is about the size of a pack of cigarettes and comes with lousy printed instructions but a good video. Cost is around $100. The device takes two readings and averages the two before it shows results. When I take measurements twice in a row, the readings vary by up to 2%, but are usually within 0.5 to 0.7% of each other. I record the lower reading. Day to day the measurements vary by about the same amounts, sometimes higher, sometimes lower. Since I’m interested in the trend, I only pay attention to a weighted average of the past 7 day’s readings (This is all on a spreadsheet - I don’t do all this calculation by hand).
The impedance models sounded like too much of a hassle to use consistently (affected by temperature, body hydration, amound of piss in the bladder, sweat or water on the skin…) The only requirement of the Futrex is that you measure at the same mid bicep spot (they provide a plastic “biceps locator” measuring stick) and that the muscle be relaxed.
After successfully (fat loss 12 lbs, muscle gain 2 lbs) finishing a newbie workout I found at the library (The Testosterone Advantage Plan) I switched to the beginner routine from Arnold’s book. Two weeks into that program an overtraining effect started to kick in, and, even though I was losing weight, I started losing muscle as well. The Futrex measurements alerted me to this, so I switched from Arnold’s recommended 6 on 1 off schedule to a more reasonable 1 on 1 off schedule, and, three weeks later, have regained the lost muscle, while still continuing to lose fat.
I think I got my money’s worth.

I use the omron, as far as I can tell its pretty accurate.

I’ve used a higher end Tanita scale (%bf variations by 0.1%) for over a year now with excellent results. The one in my article is the one I currently use, but I’m not sure that model is still available, so if you do buy one, make sure it measure %bf to the nearest 0.1% rather than 0.5 or 1.0%.