Body Fat Calipers
Find the best body fat caliper for you
When you're trying to get in shape, there are many ways to measure your progress, but some are more reliable than others. If you're serious about your overall health, it's important to figure out your body composition. Using a ratio of body fat to lean tissue and bone, body composition is a much better representation of your health than the body mass index (BMI) or your weight alone.
The best way to determine your composition is by using body fat calipers, which are considered the most reliable tool for determining fat levels—usually within 4 percent of your actual body fat percentage.
What Are Body Fat Calipers?
A pair of body fat calipers is a handheld device that measures subcutaneous fat. It consists of two points or pads, between which a fold of skin is pinched. The calipers measure the width of this fold, which gives a good idea of how much fat you carry under your skin in that particular area.
Measurements from several different places on your body can be put into an equation called the body fat calculator (developed by the U.S. Navy) to figure out exactly how many pounds of fat you're carrying overall.
What to Look for in Body Fat Calipers
If you're serious about your health, or if you're working toward a specific weight or body composition goal, you will want to purchase a pair of calipers to take periodic measurements. Think about your needs—some models require a second person to take the measurements, but others can be operated solo. Whichever you choose, make sure the readout is large and clear and that the calipers are easy to use.
Manual vs. Digital Body Fat Calipers
Digital body fat calipers are usually more user-friendly than the old manual style, as they can not only read the data but interpret and store it, as well.
FatTrack II digital body fat calipers have been reviewed very highly by a variety of users, from professional bodybuilders to personal trainers to nurses. Unique features include an audible beep when the correct pressure and measurement levels have been reached (ensuring consistency) and the ability to track three different users' profiles.
However, if you don't need all the bells and whistles of digital calipers, try Accu Measure body fat calipers. Incredibly affordable (around $10) because it lacks a lot of fancy extras, the Accu Measure is nonetheless consistent and accurate, and notoriously easy to use. It's been rated very highly on consumer websites.