There are weight scales that additionally claim to measure body fat by electrical resistance. According to this article, body-fat scales are "absolutely" superior to just-weight scales, although the article ads the reasonable caveat that one should simply expect consistency, not a number that's precisely what one would get from an immersion test.

On the other hand, the article then goes on to list so many steps to get consistent results (clean the pads with alcohol) that I wonder if it's just making excuses for a technique that just has too many variables for a consumer to control.

Is there good evidence that consumer-grade body-fat scales can produce consistent results that highly correlate with body-fat percentage?

  • Anecdote alert! Mine is pretty consistent, and I don't clean it with alcohol.
    – Sam I Am
    Jan 17, 2013 at 13:59

1 Answer 1


A 2007 study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition compared measurements obtained from a Tanita body-fat scale and DEXA scanning (which has replaced hydrostatic weighing as the most accurate way of measuring body-fat percentage). It reported a better than 96 percent level of agreement between the two methods (Thomson et al. 2007).

Source: "Racing Weight", by Matt Fitzgerald, 2009

  • 1
    Hi, Repeats, welcome to Skeptics! I don't think this answer really answers the question being asked though. It was asked about the consistency of body fat scales (i.e. giving the same result from the same input over time) not the accuracy of them.
    – Sam I Am
    Jan 21, 2013 at 14:46
  • @SamIAm: mmm. I don't agree with your observation. If this sentence is true: "the body fat is changing very slowly in person" and this sentence is also true: "DEXA scanning is very affordable in measuring weight", the observation he made: "a study proved measurement by tanita to be accurate as Dexa" would immediately result in: "the body fat scales are consistent". But, since I've got a Tanita and I've seen that the results in the measurement changes more that daily of 2%, I would say that they gives just an indication.."
    – Revious
    May 25, 2014 at 18:12

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