Guide to Selecting the Right Body Fat Analyzer
You can find a wide variety of body fat scales on the market. Besides just going with whatever's cheapest (generally not a good idea!), how can you determine which product will give you the best results?
Let's consider the following hypothetical: a 25-year-old woman standing at 165 cm and weighing 52.0 kg measures herself using three body fat scales, built by Brand A, Brand B, and Brand O.
Based on these results, which scale would most people prefer?
Many people might think Brand A's results are the most accurate, simply because it displays a comparatively lower body fat percentage. In contrast, Brand B or Brand O's results may be viewed as "less accurate", even though there is no evidence that this is actually the case.
Is the lower displayed body fat percentage actually more accurate?
Generally speaking, you need to go to a hospital or clinic to get a body composition measurement using a DXA device, or a professional BIA device. Using the result from the more accurate (and expensive) device as a baseline, you can compare it with your results using a consumer scale, and see which brand's results are closest. Obviously, standards caveats such as ensuring you follow the guidelines for getting an accurate BIA measurement apply.
Why might the body fat result be different between different brands?
Different manufacturers conduct their own research to formulate the most accurate body composition calculation algorithms, which can be affected by the data they've collected and use for analysis. For example, if Brand A's database is comprised mainly of "Young East Asian men and Women", this can result in a noticeable difference when it's used by other population groups.
So how can I determine which brand to choose?
In general, we'd recommend making sure that the brand or company has documented experience in body composition research and validation, as this demonstrates they're able to both formulate, inspect, and adjust their algorithms for increased accuracy. Oserio's parent company Charder would be an example of such a company.
When it comes to functionality, we tend to recommend products that can sync results with an app, as that makes it much easier to track results long-term and observe changing trends. A key advantage of BIA is that it's quick and non-invasive, so you can measure relatively frequently (ex: every week) without needing to worry about side effects like radiation (from X-rays).