Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Welcome to our big body fat scale test 2021. Here we present all the body fat scales we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best body fat scale for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a body fat scale.




Summary

  • Body fat scales give you a more accurate insight into the composition of your body than other scales.
  • Most body fat scales use Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA). A very weak current is sent through your body, and based on the different conductivities of different types of tissue in your body, your body fat percentage can be calculated.
  • Body fat scales are not suitable for everyone (for example, people with pacemakers). Therefore, always read the operating instructions for your scale carefully and, if in doubt, contact the manufacturer or your doctor.

The Best Body Fat Scales: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a body fat scale

What is the advantage of a body fat scale over a normal bathroom scale?

A body fat scale gives you a more accurate insight into the composition of your body that a mere weight reading cannot. If your weight stagnates on the scale, it can be very helpful and motivating to know if your body composition is actually staying exactly the same or if it might be built-up muscle mass that is affecting your weight.

Füße auf Waage

Body fat scales can be a useful tool when it comes to monitoring your diet. However, the problem with body fat scales is that they are often inaccurate because they operate on electrical impulses. Since electricity always takes the shortest route, a scale only measures from one leg to the other without going through the whole body. So the result is easily falsified. (Photo: i-yunmai / unsplash.com)

How much does a body fat scale cost?

The price range for body fat scales is quite wide. You can choose from a variety of models, from a simple device for just 11 euros to a multifunctional professional device costing over 300 euros.

Depending on your requirements for the device and the frequency of use, you can choose between the different price classes.

The cheapest models start at just under 11 euros. If you only want to use your scale occasionally to keep a rough overview of your body weight, then it is perfectly sufficient for you to choose a cheaper model.

If you want to determine not only your body fat percentage but also other values such as water or muscle percentage, then it might be worthwhile for you to spend a little more. These models start at about 20 euros.

If you also want to be able to transfer your values via WLAN or Bluetooth to an online portal or app, smart scales that can also measure your body fat percentage could be an alternative for you. These models start at around 25 euros. The price can go up to several hundred euros for the absolute high-end devices.

Make sure your feet are dry and not covered in cream. The humidity in the bathroom should also not be extremely high, for example directly after showering. (Source: 123rf.com / 37661968)

How does a body fat scale work?

Most body fat scales are based on what is called bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). This involves sending a very weak current through the body. Based on the different conductivities of the different types of tissue in the body, the scale then calculates your body fat percentage.

This weak current is harmless for most people. Please be sure to read our section on which groups of people body fat scales are unsuitable for! You will also not feel this weak current.

In order to measure your body fat, there are metal electrodes on the surface of the scale. The current is sent through the body through these electrodes. The resistance of this current flow can be used to draw conclusions about your body composition.

To put it simply: fat is a poor conductor of electricity, whereas water and muscles are good conductors.

The measured resistance is the first parameter for body fat measurement. In addition, the scale now calculates values such as the height and age of the user. This is then used to calculate the final value shown on the display.

What do I have to bear in mind when using a body fat scale?

Since the most accurate measurement result depends on a number of factors, you should follow a few rules. First of all, you should always stand on the scale at the same time. It is best to do this in the morning after you have been to the toilet, as a full bladder can affect the result.

Activities that affect your water balance, such as all-nighters or strenuous exercise, will also affect your results.

Even a heavy callus on the feet can affect the body fat measurement. As you can see, with this large number of factors it is particularly important to always ensure the same basic conditions for the measurement. Women should also bear in mind that their bodies are subject to fluctuations in water and fat balance during the course of their menstrual cycle.

How reliable is a body fat scale?

Be aware that home body fat scales will not give you completely accurate results. These can only be achieved, if at all, with very expensive medical equipment.

There are several reasons for the inaccuracies that occur in body fat readings:

Firstly, as mentioned above, the displayed body fat value is calculated using a certain formula. However, these are approximate values rather than a one hundred per cent representation of reality.

Furthermore, the current seeks the shortest path through your body. So if the electrodes of your scale are only under your feet, the device will measure your leg fat rather than the fat of your whole body. Although this value can still be used to calculate an approximation of your total body fat percentage, you can imagine that it can be rather inaccurate.

In addition, other factors such as water balance or creamed feet can influence the measurement result.

For which groups of people are body fat scales not suitable?

Body fat scales are not suitable for pregnant women, people with a pacemaker, bodybuilders and high-performance athletes

The current emitted by the body fat scale could make pacemakers unreliable, so these people with a pacemaker should not use body fat scales.

To measure body fat you need to make skin contact with the sensors. (Source: 123rf.com / 124533920)

The devices are also unsuitable for high-performance athletes and bodybuilders, as the values are often very inaccurate despite the sometimes available athlete mode, as the body composition deviates too much from the "norm".

Pregnant women should also not use the devices. Some manufacturers also point out that women using IUDs should not use body fat scales.

If you are unsure, please read the operating instructions of your scale, ask the manufacturer directly or consult your doctor.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate body fat scales

Now we would like to show you which different factors you can use to keep track of the multitude of different body fat scales on offer and to compare and evaluate different models.

The following criteria can help you to find out whether a certain scale is suitable for your requirements and goals.

You can pay attention to the following criteria when making your choice:

  • Possibility to export your measurement data (Wlan/Bluetooth/ USB)
  • Memory function
  • Number and type of sensors/electrodes
  • Further measurement functions

Possibility to export your measurement data (via Wlan/Bluetooth/ USB)

If it is important to you to be able to further analyse and track the measurement results of your scale in an online tool or app, then you should make sure that your body fat scale offers you the possibility to export this data.

Some manufacturers already offer you the option of transferring your measurement results to an external online tool or app. There you can analyse your graphically prepared data and read out important trends and, if necessary, adjust your exercise or eating behaviour.

Be aware that not all body fat scales on the market are "smart" and offer you this option. Furthermore, not every model allows transmission via WLAN.

Memory function

If your scale is used by several people, several memory locations can be very practical so that you don't have to enter your measurements every time.

As we already described in our guide, the calculation of your body fat percentage is based on a formula that takes into account the results of the bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and other individual inputs such as height or gender.

To avoid having to re-enter this data every time you use your body scale, many manufacturers offer the option of allocating up to 10 memory locations with individual body data. This means that other family members or flatmates can also use the scale together without any problems.

Waage mit blauem Maßband

The body fat percentage in the human body is important if you are aiming for a defined six-pack. Men need a body fat percentage of > 10 % and women > 14 %. However, caution is advised, especially for women, because if the body fat percentage is too low, ovulation and menses stop, which can lead to permanent infertility. (Photo: mojzagrebinfo / pixabay.com)

Number and type of sensors / electrodes

The number and type of electrodes differ from model to model. In principle, it can be stated that a higher number of electrodes leads to a more accurate result. The combination of foot and hand sensors is also more accurate than a measurement that is only taken via the feet.

Most body fat scales work with four electrodes on which you stand with your feet. As we have already described in more detail in the guide, the scale measures the fat value on your legs and then extrapolates this to the whole body.

To achieve a more accurate result, some manufacturers integrate a handpiece into the body scale that allows the upper body to be included in the measurement.

Other measurement functions

Many body fat scales can also show you other parameters of your body composition, such as water percentage or muscle mass. If you are interested in this, make sure to check which additional analysis options your scale offers.

Some of the body fat scales are true multi-talents and can provide you with a very precise overview of your body composition. Here, too, we would recommend that you do not put the measured values on the gold scale, as the display of the body water percentage in particular can be subject to considerable fluctuations throughout the day.

Women should also bear in mind that their menstrual cycle has an influence on the body water percentage.

As with body fat, we would also advise you to look at muscle mass readings as a trend indicator. They can give you an important overview of your development, but should not be understood as an exact representation of reality.

Facts worth knowing about body fat scales

What alternatives are there to body fat scales?

If you don't want to determine your body fat percentage with a scale, you can use a number of alternatives, ranging from the simple and inexpensive skin fold measurement to the expensive and complex professional calculation method.

A simple, proven method is the so-called caliper measurement. You take a skin fold between your fingers and measure the thickness of this skin fold with caliper pliers.

You can buy these for around 5 euros. To get a reliable value, you measure several places on your body. For most people, measuring at three different points on the body, the so-called 3-point caliper measurement, is sufficient. Make sure that you always measure at the same place!

The following two professional methods are much more complex and expensive: the Dexa Scan and hydrostatic weighing. The Dexa scan uses X-rays to determine a very precise value for your bone, muscle and fat tissue.

Although the X-rays are very low dosed, this method is not suitable for children, teenagers and pregnant women. You can have the scan done in a doctor's surgery or in hospital. The costs for a one-time body fat determination start at over 40 euros.

The most expensive method is hydrostatic weighing, which is usually done in university hospitals. On land, your lung volume is first determined. Then you get into a water tank in your bathing suit. Now they measure exactly how much water your body has displaced.

Finally, your weight in the water is measured. Of course, the whole thing is very time-consuming and will cost you around 150 euros. You have to decide for yourself whether you want to invest the time and money for a very accurate body fat measurement.

What body fat values are normal?

First of all, it should be said that opinions differ widely here. So there is no one value that you absolutely have to reach. Furthermore, the body fat percentage depends on various factors such as age and gender. Men have a lower body fat percentage than women due to a different body composition.

Even science is not yet in agreement about what body fat percentage is "normal". A study by Columbia University, New York, from 2000, for example, gives the following values:

For women:

Age Normal body fat percentage (in per cent)
20-39 22-28
40-59 26-34
60-79 34-38

For men:

Age Normal body fat percentage (in per cent)
20-39 21-31.9
40-59 23-33.9
60-79 24-35.9

Another study by Purdue University in the USA, which dates from 1996, gives a healthy body fat percentage for men in the range between 12 and 20 percent. For women, this value is 20-30 per cent. But even the scientists admit that these are only statistical values that cannot be strictly applied to every individual.

So you see, "the one normal body fat value" does not exist.

Image source: 123rf.com / 37684480

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