Body Fat Calipers Reviewed
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Body Fat Calipers Reviewed
Body Fat Calipers Reviewed
Body Fat Calipers Reviewed
Body Fat Calipers Reviewed
Body Fat Calipers Reviewed
Body Fat Calipers Reviewed
  Body Fat Calipers Reviewed

Body Fat Calipers

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Body Fat Calipers Reviewed



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Body Fat Calipers Reviewed

There are two categories that you can fit into if you're thinking about buying a set of body fat calipers.

1. You want to measure your own body fat percentage.

2. You need the body fat calipers to measure someone else's body fat percentage.

If you are simply interested in measuring your own body composition, the body fat calipers may not be your best option. Almost all body fat calipers require a second person to help you perform the test, and not just a friend or family member...

Obtaining any sort of accuracy, with most body fat calipers, requires a skilled professional who can help you find the, notoriously difficult to locate, skinfolds. A few millimeters off can cause a significant difference. However, there is one exception...

There is one set of calipers that will allow you to test yourself, and quite accurately too. Research has proven that Accumeasure Calipers can deliver a body fat analysis that is as accurate as other available methods of measurement. Not only that, but it is a lower cost alternative to the body fat scales. If testing yourself is what you need, then click here for a review on Accumeasure

Now, if you are in the health and/or fitness industry and need a set of calipers so that you can test other people, the body fat calipers are a better choice over the body fat scales. Here are a few reasons why...

Unlike the scales, body fat calipers are light weight and portable, making them easy to use in any environment. These reasonably accurate calipers are available for just under $30.00.

But are all calipers made equally? And are they reliable?

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Body Fat Calipers


The purpose of body fat calipers is to measure the skinfolds to calculate how much fat lays under the skin, subcutaneous fat. An examiner will put the skinfold measurement into an equation that will predeict the body's disity and body fat percentage.

However, there are over 100 equations available to choose from. Also, if the wrong equestion and body fat calipers are used, they become an unreliable combination. Why are there so many equations to choose from?

Because no two groups of people are alike. Each equation relates to a different population group, who have different characteristics. For example, young people store approximately 1/2 of their body fat under the skin, while older people have a greater portion of their body fat stored internally, so even if the skinfold measure of a young and old person are identical, their body fat percentages would not be the same.

Equations are not specifically tailored to each client, so there are never any purely accurate results, however, body fat calipers are able to accurately measure to within a 4% range. Here is a real life example...

Daniel is one of those people that is naturally lean and athletic. He had his body fat tested in a professional environment using professional body fat calipers. Daniel's skinfolds were taken at 16 different locations and each were measured 3 times by an experienced and professional examiner. What were his results?

Have a look at the following table. Four different equations were used to calculate Daniel's skinfold measurements to gauge his body fat percentage...

Body Fat Percentage Using Different Equations
Equation Equation 1 Parizkova (1978) Equation 2 Jackson et al.(1978) Equation 3 Jackson et al.(1978) Equation 4 Durnin and Wolmersley (1974)
No. of skinfolds measured 10 3 7 4
Body Fat Percent 10.1% 3.6% 3.7% 9.6%

Notice what a difference each equation can make? One of these equations is the most appropriate for Daniel because he's so athletic. Because of his athleticism, using a general population equation will not give Daniel the most accurate results.

How to know you aren't using the wrong equation?

Don't use an equation at all. Instead of converting your skinfold measurements into a body fat percentage, simply note the measurement and then monitor its changes over time. If you really need to have a body fat percentage, then use it as a benchmark for your progress.

Research also recommends that 50-100 tests are required before an examiner can be deemed competent with body fat calipers. Tests should be completed in research settings, and it doesn't matter how elaborate the diagrams and instruction manuals are, a few centimiers, or even millimeters, off can cause a significant difference in your results. How can this problem be bypassed?

Find the exact locations of each skinfold site. Like the abdomen skinfold site is 1 inch to the right of the belly button, so don't guess... measure it properly with a ruler or measuring tape. If the triceps site is in the middle, between the tip of the shoulder and the elbow, again, measure to find out exactly where halfway is.

Although inconvenient, mark each location with a felt pen. Once each location has been flagged, measure the skinfolds and then measure them again and again. Using three measurements will significantly extend your accuracy.

Choosing the right Set of Calipers

All body fat calipers are the same, aren't they?

It depends on much you are willing to invest in them. The price range of body fat calipers go from $10.00 - $500.00. Why such a large price range?

Like with any product, you pay for what you get. Accurate body fat measurements require a certain amount of continuous pressure (10gm./sq. mm). The low end calipers, $10.00) lack the continuous pressure and will not remain accurate for very long.

Here are a few suitable body fat calipers for testing others. If you work in the health and/or fitness industry, any of these calipers would be an excellend addition to your equipment bag. All of these can be found at, which is by far the best on line retailer of body fat calipers...

Harpenden Body Fat Calipers
Known as the most accurate of skinfold calipers, the Harpenden has been the standard research caliper for many years now. Nearly all of the data and equations, that are related to skinfold thickness to body fat, are based on studies completed with the Harpenden.

Lafayette Skinfold Calipers
Another of the most accurate body fat calipers, the Lafayette Skinfold Caliper is designed with the assistance of Dr. Andrew Jackson, the co-author of the widely used Jackson-Pollock skinfold formulas. The Lafayette skinfold calipers are also amongst the most durable available.

Lange Skinfold Calipers
So far the best selling of the higher priced body fat calipers, the Lange skinfold calipers have been manufactured since 1962 and are widley used in fitness centers, colleges, and schools. It is one of the lease expensive professional calipers available.

Slim Guide Body Fat Calipers
Clearly lower priced than any of the above calipers, the Slim Guide body fat calipers produce acceptable results and are the only lower priced calipers that are acceptably accurate for professional measurements. It is one of the most widely used body fat calipers in the world.

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Body Fat Calipers Reviewed