Measuring your body fat is one of the key factors in knowing your overall body health. Regardless of if you are trying to lose weight or bulking up to gain muscle, monitoring your body fat on a pretty consistent basis (at least every 6 months — more if you are a serious athlete) is just as important as stepping on a weight scale.
As a professional, I believe it is impossible — at least with the technology we have now — to pinpoint exactly what your body fat is to a small increment like 0.1%. There will always be inaccuracies between even the most professional devices. However, we do not really need this precise of a measurement if all we are doing is monitoring.
With that being said, keep in mind the importance of measuring your fat percentage (as mentioned earlier; at least once every 6 months). It is crucial so you are not mislead by something unfortunate such as “losing weight” but in reality you are losing a lot of muscle as well.
How To Accurately Measure Body Fat Percentage:
Use body fat percentage monitors!
Without another word, the only real and practical way to measure body fat at home is by using proven monitors. You can always go to a doctor, but that can be unnecessarily costly and time-consuming.
Likewise, you can compare your body composition with images of other people with varying body fats. This is a quick way to get a general idea of where you stand. But, it is not the most ideal and precise way, as you could be several percentage points off.
Check out some of my doctor-recommended (by myself and my colleagues) measuring devices below.
1. HBF-510W Full Body Composition Monitor with Scale By Omron
If I had to recommend just one item, not just from this list, but virtually all of the body composition measurement industry, I would boldly select the HBF-510W. For the price, the amount of information about your body you get is incredible.
Using the ultra-reliable bioelectrical impedance method, the Omron monitor can track your body fat accurately within a few seconds. It calculates your BMI, an important metric to find out if you are technically obese or underweight. Measurements for skeletal muscle, visceral fat, and lastly, weight round out the product.
One feature I noticed was the 4 user profiles it memorizes. It remembers up to four people’s data, including body fat, weight, and BMI. This is important for people like me, who have health-conscious families. I have one both at work (though I do not use the 4 user profile feature because I have several clients coming in on a week-to-week basis) and at home where my husband and I share it along with less frequent readings for our child.
Note: This Omron series has varying prices based on how much memory and which features you’d like.
The available options are:
- Omron HBF-510W: the simplest option, with 5 fitness indicators (weight, body fat percentage, BMI, skeletal muscle, and visceral fat)
- Omron HBF-514C: an upgraded model from the 510W in the same series, with 7 total fitness indicators (all of the above, plus a resting metabolism and body age measurement). In addition, the memory holds information for up to 90 days.
- Omron HBF-516B: the most expensive model, with the same features and 7 fitness indicators as the HBF-514C above. The memory holds for 180 days (6 months of data tracking).
- The data-collecting set makes this a great all-around purchase
- Accurate body fat percentage readings, using bioelectrical impedance (in its simplest explanation: hold the bar firmly with two hands for a few seconds and it senses, by using a micro electric signal through your entire body, and monitors your fat composition)
- Cancels out your one-function weighing scale at home
- Excellent 4-user profile feature
2. Body Fat Loss Monitor model HBF-306C By Omron
If the previous model was too costly for you, or you will not use the extra features, the HBF-306C, also by Omron, is a lighter and more affordable version that will do you good. Using the same technology to find body fat as the HBF-510W above, you simply hold the two bars firmly and let the device do its work. Within seconds you will get a good reading, just as you would with the model above, but of course without the other great measurements.
To advise you: If all you really need is a fat percentage monitor for you and/or your family, this will do perfectly. With 9-user profile storing, it is more than enough for an entire family.
- Same body fat measuring technology as the HBF-510W; just as accurate
- Simpler, more affordable model
- Up to 9 total user data can be tracked; definitely more than enough
- Tracks BMI too
- Two different modes (Normal and Athletic) to more accurately capture data
3. Bluetooth Body Fat Digital Scale By Easy@Home
If the HBF-510W scale by Omron was the best all-around tool (also factoring in price) for measuring things like body fat %, body weight, bone mass, visceral fat, or BMI, this digital scale by Easy@Home should be second-place.
Though slightly more expensive, there is still an overload of value:
Bluetooth technology allows you to sync data from the scale directly to your phone. This is handy for when you want to check out your progress; it is all right there on your phone. Also, up to 10 user profiles will be stored on the scale itself (listing users as P1-P10 to make profiles easily identifiable). Like the measurement device above, this should be more than enough to cover an entire family.
Perhaps the best selling point to me is the ease-of-use. I do not have this at home, but it is something I encounter from time to time. Simply step on the scale, similar to a weight scale, with bare feet. In a couple of moments, you get all the data you need on the big LCD screen and on your phone for future reference and tracking.
The multitude of measurements is noteworthy also. Along with the standard weight, BMI, and body fat measurements, the Easy@Home bluetooth scale also offers readings for body water, body muscle (important to track how quickly you are gaining, or losing, muscle), and bone mass.
- Complete measuring tool set: body fat, body weight, body mass, body water, body muscle, body mass index (BMI), BMR (KCAL), visceral fat and bone mass
- Free app on iPhone and Android devices: allows syncing data via Bluetooth, conveniently keeps the data on your phone, and has a beautiful graph to display your progress
- Up to 10 total profiles
- The sensors used are certified accurate, and recommended by doctors like myself and other professionals
- LCD display is well-done, representing the product as a whole
4. ZB20 WeightMaster By Ozeri
Fair warning: this product does not measure body fat.
I decided to include this scale because it has great value (also well-received by customers on both online platforms like Amazon and Walmart and in the local exercise centers I visited prior to writing this piece). With weight scales already in price ranges of around $20, why not shell out the extra few to get something worthwhile? In addition with the standard weight scale, Ozeri goes deeper with the inclusion of progress-checking. Basically, you are able to check your weight from the last 3 days, last week, or the last month right there on the screen. The LCD screen goes red if you have gained weight (and it shows how much) and goes green if you have lost weight — excellent motivation for those looking to cut.
There is storage for up to 8 users and it displays your BMI as well. The pressure sensor on the scale holds good standards. Lastly, the build on this product is truly noteworthy. I have had an early model for several years before upgrading to the Omron HBF-510W (I still have my Ozeri in another room, however).
- The weight-progress checking is outstanding; motivates you to lose weight (some clients have mentioned the psychological difference of seeing green – weight loss – over seeing red – weight gain)
- Up to 8 user profiles, each with up to 30 day weight recording
- Beautiful and vibrant LCD screen
- Pressure sensors have proven to be accurate and are Tier 1 in terms of quality
- Incredible resilience to damage (firmly built device)
Using these tools:
To get the most out of your purchase, I will suggest some tips that I have shared with clients that have bought some of the same items listed above.
- First and foremost, measure as frequently as you can. Depending on your health status, this can be the hardest thing to do. But trust me as a person and as a doctor, measuring is a necessity. Try to aim for at least once a week if you are actively trying to change your body (either gaining weight or losing weight). This will do wonders to motivate you to change, rather than never monitoring your body and then going off to run 2 miles in one day then giving up the day after.
- Stick with it. You will not lose weight overnight. Likewise, it is tough to bring down your body fat. But just keep measuring, exercising, staying on a good diet, and you will see progress. Rome was not built in one day.
- Measure frequently. Losing motivation is the worst thing that can happen. If you continually see progress in what you’re doing, you will want to keep going right? Keep it up and you will get there!
I sincerely hope this has helped people. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, I am readily available to answer any questions via the comment section below!
Cheers to a healthy lifestyle!