When you are looking to measure your body fat, there are a few devices that you can use, and the 2 main ones are the body fat analyzer, of BIA scales and calipers.
We are taking a look into each device below, to see the benefits of each and ultimately which is the best device to suit your needs.
Measuring your Body Fat with a Body Fat Analyzer
Digital Body fat analyzers are great and extremely easy to use.
They use something called bio electrical impedance analysis (BIA) to read lots of different measurements within the body, some include body water, lean mass and of course the amount of fat within your body.
Rating & Price
OMRON HBF-306CN Fat Loss Monitor
Lange Skinfold Caliper Pro Kit
Cescorf Skinfold Body Fat Caliper
They basically work by sending a tiny electrical current through your body when you stand on the metal plates on the device (they are used very much like normal household weighing scales).
Mid-range body fat analyzers can be purchased for less than 100 bucks and a lot have great ways to store your data, so that you can track your progress over the coming days and months.
It has been said that body fat analyzers can give off different readings depending on the amount of food and water intake before using, therefore, they do have some flaws with them, but all in all, they are easy to use, great at logging your stats and are a really great price.
They will not give you 100% accurate readings, they can be off by a few percent. But the trick is, if you use them always at the same time, they will be constant, allowing you to track your progress, which should be your ultimate goal.
Calipers are also known as the “pinch test“, usually involves another person such as a personal trainer to measure your body’s skin thickness in different places around the body.
The results are then collected and logged into a test formula that gives a reading for your body fat percentages that is based on both you gender and age.
Although it doesn’t hurt, it does require you to show some skin, normally in the stomach or thigh areas and you cannot retrieve a precise measure if you try to do this yourself, therefore, you will need a second person to help you.
Generally, Calipers are considered one of the most accurate way to measure and track your body fat percentage, but with that being said, the results can vary depending on the skills of the person administering the test.
Another thing to bear in mind is calipers can only measure subcutaneous fat, and not visceral fat.
Overall, they are very inexpensive (click this link to pick up a good one on amazon for a few bucks), and a reliable way to measure and track your body fat percentage. But, the measurement process is tedious and requires a certain level of skills to be done correctly.
Have a look at this video, it will give you an idea of the measuring process, in comparison, using a body fat scale only requires you to step on it for a few seconds:
Which method is the best for you?
As both are relatively cheap the price shouldn’t be a factor.
Depending on your situation, we think that body fat analyzers take the measurements to the next level, and make things easier.
You can have them at home and not only measure your body independently, but you can also track your progress online via applications you can download to either your PC or Smartphone.
Check our best body fat analyzer buying guide, to compare different options on the market.
Not only this, body fat analyzers now measure other body factors such as your body water and lean mass, something Calipers cannot so.
If you are a high level athletes, such as a pro bodybuilder, you will need the most precise results and don’t mind someone pinching you body fat, then maybe a caliper is your best option.
There are other more precise ways to measure body fat though, if you really need a 100% accuracy.