The Definitive Guide to Body Fat Scales

April 8, 2017

You owe it to yourself to measure your weight correctly.

How accurately are you using your body fat scale? Consumer grade body fat scales have become widely popular tools among people looking to lose weight or start a new fitness plan. These body fat scales contain sensors that take a wide array of measurements using a method called Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA).

Scales employing BIA pass a harmless current through your body. This current passes more quickly through fat free tissue, like muscle, than it does through body fat or bone tissue.

The varying amount of resistance each tissue type has to the electrical current allows the scale to identify each tissue the current passes through.

Equipped with this information, the scale can give you a wide array of percentage measurements such as: body fat, muscle mass, body water, and bone mass.

It’s Body Density not Body Fat

However, as many critics point out, these measurements are not actually fat or muscle measurements. They actually measure your body density distribution. In other words, any test claiming to determine your body fat is really measuring your body density.

Each method that claims to measure your body fat actually only predicts it by using formulas that not only take into account your measured body density, but also your age, gender, fitness level, ethnicity, and body size. Small differences in any of these preset values can vastly affect the results of one of these tests.

So how should you keep track of your body fat?

It doesn’t really matter if body fat scales or any of these methods measure your true body fat percentage!

What’s important is that they monitor changes in your body composition over time.

As I mentioned in my article about tracking fitness progress, it isn’t going to do you good to take single measurements at different times throughout one day. Our bodies go through many changes as we eat, drink water, and sweat throughout the duration of one day.

The key is to measure your changes over longer periods of time and to make sure your measurements are as standardized as they possibly can be!

Recreate the same conditions each time you step on a body fat scale. Measure first thing in the morning, drink a glass of water (to make sure your water content is the same each time), and measure 2–3 times a week.

My Body Fat Scale

After doing a lot of research, I settled on the Yunmai Smart Scale on Amazon for $59.95. This was the body fat scale I found that best met my needs. The reviews on amazon are fairly high (4.5 stars out of 1,204 reviews) and there didn’t seem to be any glaring problems or mass defects that weren’t being resolved by the company’s customer service. 
One of the reasons I settled on this scale was because it connects via Bluetooth to a partner app. The partner app automatically records measurements, which is important for me because I know I’m going to be taking many measurements and I want to make it as easy as possible for myself to stay on track with my measurements. It also connects to the FitBit and the Google Fit apps as an added bonus.

I will be doing a video review of the scale in the next week and linking it here for anyone that is interested in Yunmai.
For everyone else, remember to do your fair share of research when buying body fat scales same as you would with other electronics. The more expensive the scale, the more likely it is to be accurate. However, beware of some scales that are ridiculously expensive.

Have you used a body fat scale before?

Have you had any experience with BIA? If so what did you do to make the method more accurate? If you have any questions about body fat scales, please respond below.