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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've lost a fair bit of weight this season and am interested in monitoring my body fat through the winter and optimizing my W/kg next season. I just picked up the "Racing Weight" book, and the author says that the scales are not as accurate as a DEXA scan (which I may be able to have done), but they're consistent enough for weekly monitoring of an individual. He does say use one with an Athlete mode.

Any recommendations, maybe around $50 or less? Any particular features you like?

It looks like the Tanita BF-680W is a good candidate, with both Adult and Athlete modes.
 

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fallzboater said:
I've lost a fair bit of weight this season and am interested in monitoring my body fat through the winter and optimizing my W/kg next season. I just picked up the "Racing Weight" book, and the author says that the scales are not as accurate as a DEXA scan (which I may be able to have done), but they're consistent enough for weekly monitoring of an individual. He does say use one with an Athlete mode.

Any recommendations, especially in the < $50 range? Any particular features you like?
Scales are terribly imprecise. If you're wet (out of the shower) or dry, hydrated or dehydrated, etc, they give very different responses. If they were inaccurate but precise (i.e. always being wrong, but being wrong by the same margin), it'd be fine. But they aren't, they're both inaccurate and imprecise. Especially for the <$50 range.

Get calipers, they're not accurate, but they are more precise than a scale.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
estone2 said:
Scales are terribly imprecise. If you're wet (out of the shower) or dry, hydrated or dehydrated, etc, they give very different responses. If they were inaccurate but precise (i.e. always being wrong, but being wrong by the same margin), it'd be fine. But they aren't, they're both inaccurate and imprecise. Especially for the <$50 range.

Get calipers, they're not accurate, but they are more precise than a scale.
Thanks for the reply. Mr. Fitzgerald says that the scales are consistent (precise) enough, but not particularly accurate, and recommends comparing the reading to a DEXA scan result (which he says is usually higher), to give yourself a scaling factor. I would probably buy the scale, and take it to the doctor's office to compare at the same time. He also says that skinfold measurements are inconvenient and often inaccurate without training. He also gives a few tips for using the scales, such as moistening the feet by stepping on a damp towel, first.

I suppose it'd be real easy to compare the precision of a scale vs. calipers by taking ten readings with each within an hour, and looking at the statistics. How does the resolution compare between the two methods? I'd think that +/- 0.5% would be more than good enough, and probably better than the precision.
 

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I use the cheap plastic calipers and find them almost as accurate as when I have it done with the expensive calipers measuring 6 or 7 different places. I find all of the scales I have tried as garbage.
 

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fallzboater said:
Thanks for the reply. Mr. Fitzgerald says that the scales are consistent (precise) enough, but not particularly accurate, and recommends comparing the reading to a DEXA scan result (which he says is usually higher), to give yourself a scaling factor. I would probably buy the scale, and take it to the doctor's office to compare at the same time. He also says that skinfold measurements are inconvenient and often inaccurate without training. He also gives a few tips for using the scales, such as moistening the feet by stepping on a damp towel, first.

I suppose it'd be real easy to compare the precision of a scale vs. calipers by taking ten readings with each within an hour, and looking at the statistics. How does the resolution compare between the two methods? I'd think that +/- 0.5% would be more than good enough, and probably better than the precision.
This is not meant to be harsh, but in practice all you will get from calipers, body fat scales, underwater weighing, or DEXA measurements is a number. That number will not really be any more informative than an honest assessment of what you see when you stand (naked) in front of the mirror. If you are at the top level of a sport, then BF measurements may provide useful information. For the rest of us, it's "mirror, mirror, on the wall."
 
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