What is the Best Body Fat Scale in 2023?

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Whether you love them or loathe them, for many people weighing scales are a useful tool to keep an eye on progress towards your personal goals. Weighing yourself regularly provides objective data that we can’t argue with—no matter how hard we try!

Increasingly, regular scales don’t quite measure up. In learning more about health and fitness statistics and research, many of us are becoming more and more aware, but it’s not just about how much we weigh, it’s also about how soft tissues are made up.

Many people are now aware that they need to consider not just the overall weight but also their body composition—which includes factors like percentage of body fat, muscle, and water.

Once upon a time anyone who wanted this information would have had to head to the nearest university campus or biomechanics research lab to spend the afternoon being analysed. This would have hardly been worthwhile for anyone but the most technical and dedicated of athletes—a science more or less reserved for elite sports people.

One of the fantastic things about technology however, is that we could all potentially have access to home equipment which now provides some of this detailed information.

What Is a Body Fat Scale?

Most of us know what weighing scales are, and if you’re anything like me you’ll need to suppress the occasional urge to hurl them out of the window—only when they tell great big lies about my weight!

Many of us will have used some kind of weighing scales over the years to monitor our progress towards personal goals. However, traditional weighing scales are now running into problems because people are recognising that they need to know more about what’s going on with their body than just how much they weigh.

In response to this, manufacturers have been working for many years to develop scales which can accurately assess many other parameters, that can be much more useful than body mass alone. Body fat scales, as their name suggests, are able to measure our body fat.

More than this though—there’s a whole range of information that can possibly be provided by body fat scales depending on the model. Some common information that they can provide includes:

  • Weight.
  • Body fat.
  • BMI.
  • Bone mass.
  • Skeletal muscle mass.
  • Water content.
  • Basal metabolism.
  • Fat-free body weight.
  • Muscle mass.
  • Protein.
  • Body age.

Not all scales measure all of these factors—some of the more basic models of body fat scales focus on body weight, body fat and water content, for example.

How Does a Body Fat Scale Work?

The science behind how body fat scales work is actually quite clever, and it all relies on electricity being measured by what’s known as bioelectrical impedance analysis. If we break this down, this means the amount of electricity which is prevented from passing through soft tissues and bone.

It may seem strange, but we have electrical signals travelling through our bodies all the time. They’re particularly important in the nervous system to transmit messages, and research tells us that electricity passes through different types of body tissue to a greater or lesser extent. Fat cells, for example, aren’t good at conducting electricity, whereas other cells with a higher water content—including muscle fibres—are very efficient in conducting electricity. Manufacturers of electrical devices have used this information to develop scales which are able to measure body fat and other parameters.

Basically what happens is the user stands on the footplate of the body fat scales, which either have four sensors built into the surface of the footplate, or they can alternatively be covered in a very thin film that does the same job as the sensors.

This video gives a nice, straightforward explanation of how body fat scales work:

Who Needs a Body Fat Scale?

Good health is not simply determined by how we look or how much we weigh—it’s actually much more complicated than that. While excess weight is a health concern, it’s not the full story.

When considering fat in terms of good health rather than aesthetics, the subcutaneous fat isn’t that much of a problem. Studies have shown that the fat most dangerous to health is stored deep within the torso. So you can have the most heavenly shaped legs and still be at risk of health problems.

Research now tells us that some people who’ve been traditionally classed as obese should actually be classed as healthy. This is on account of some obese people having lower levels of visceral fat—the fat stored around many of our organs—than people with a lower body mass.

Maintaining good health and avoiding health risks then, is about how much of your weight is fat, and where those fat cells are stored. This tells us that we all need to be paying more attention to measurements of body fat, water and muscle mass.

Precautions for Use

Due to the electrical signals used, many body fat scales are not appropriate to be used by people with internally fitted electrical devices, such as pacemakers. The electrical signals from the scale can interfere with the electrical operation of the device.

Some scales are not recommended for use during pregnancy, and some aren’t recommended for children, although some body fat scales are safe for children and have a specific baby mode for monitoring the weight of your newborn.

The best advice is to read the manufacturer’s instructions thoroughly before use.

What Is the Best Body Fat Scale?

We’ve searched high and low through many different products and chosen five different models to compare. Have a look through all our pros and cons for each one to find your best body fat scale.

Our Choice

When it comes to body fat scales, there’s such a wide range of different models available from numerous manufacturers. You can choose to spend a little and get a decent quality set of scales for your money. You could also choose to spend quite a lot of money and end up with a set of scales with lots of bells and whistles. When it comes down to it, it’s a case of personal preference.

Of the five products we reviewed, the general consensus was that the best body fat scale in terms of good quality, reliable consistent function as well as price was the 1byone Bluetooth Body Fat Scale. Overall people thought these scales well designed and looked good in the bathroom, and did a great job of consistently monitoring body statistics and providing feedback.

Aside from a few niggles and technical problems connecting to apps, and considering that people were able to achieve consistent results following correct calibration, there really weren’t that many negative comments about this device. It’s well liked by many people who thought it did an efficient job and at excellent value for money. It also comes with a generous 2-year warranty which just enhances it as the best body fat scale.

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