Accumeasure Calipers... The Best Choice for Body Fat Monitoring?
Accumeasure body fat calipers have received some impressive reviews. Endorsed by the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation and recommended in Body For Life, the manufacturers claim their calipers are accurate to within 1.1% of underwater weighing (the gold standard)...
That's impressive considering these are the only calipers that allow you to test yourself.
A clinical study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research by the National Strength & Conditioning Association cited the following key findings:
- Self-testing of percentage body fat with these calipers was as accurate as results from multi site measurements and calculations taken by an experienced clinical investigator using a Lange caliper.
- % body fat calculations with these calipers were within 1.1 percentage points of underwater weighing results.
The study also goes onto to say that the subjects found the calipers easy to use and had no problem locating the correct skin fold. An audible and tactile "click" helps to ensure correct, consistent, and repeatable measurements.
If you want a tool for measuring your body fat over time then you really only have two choices... body fat scales or Accumeasure calipers. Don't consider any other type of calipers. You'll need someone else to take the readings and unless they are an experienced professional, results will be inconsistent to say the least. These calipers provide a lower cost alternative to body fat scales and if the study mentioned above is anything to go by they hold their own for accuracy.
Accumeasure also make Fat Track Digital calipers as seen below. They are very similar except that they are computerized allowing them to store each measurement in memory and then calculate body fat percentage instantly. Data can be stored for up to three separate people at a time. With the standard Accumeasure calipers you still have to interpret your body fat from a chart. Fat Track calipers will give you a body fat percentage there and then on the LCD display screen. Realistically though it will save you all of about 30 seconds.
The major difference between Fat Track and the standard Accumeasure calipers is the number of skin fold sites measured. With Fat Track you measure three skin folds instead of just one. If you locate all three sites correctly then results should be more consistent.
Obviously the computerized calipers are more expensive so should you spend extra for them? The greatest benefit of Fat Track calipers is that they are self-calibrating. This means that they will stay accurate for a lifetime. This won't be the case with the lower cost Accumeasure calipers. If you're a Personal Trainer for example, then the extra cost for reliability over time is well worth every penny.