body fat analyzer

body fat analyzer

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Nothing more than a gadget -- an expensive gadget

May 1, 2005 (Updated May 1, 2005)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Easy to use, lightweight, stores several people's info

Cons:Varies widely from use to use, doesn't seem accurate

The Bottom Line: Technology changes quickly and you can now buy much more accurate body fat analyzers than this one. It varies far too much to be considered reliable.


Before I bought my latest Tanita Scale with a body fat analyzer included (This link opens up to my review on the scale), I was looking for an easy to use piece of equipment that would acutely measure my body fat so I could tell if my latest exercise jag was working.

I stumbled across the Body Fat Analyzer online and bought it. At the time (a few years ago) body fat analyzers weren’t that common and certainly not as prevalent or popular. This seemed like an easy, accurate way to measure my body fat and was compact as well.

Well, it was easy…

About the Body Fat Analyzer

This particular model allows a user to input his or her height (3’ 4” - 6’ 6”), weight (23 lbs - 440 lbs), age (10-80 years), and gender to more accurately give data on body fat percentages. The set up is quite simple. A push of the button cycles you through the data input process. You can store up to nine different people’s information, I believe, on this one. I only had four people in the house so I only input their info and never tried to input any one else’s. Working on 4 AA batteries, The Body Fat Analyzer lasts a long time before a battery change is needed.

Using the Product

Once you turn on the monitor, you use a large, easy to push button to cycle through to your specific data. If you measure your body fat on someone else’s profile, you will get wacky results. But then, I found I got wacky results even when I did everything completely right.

Once you have your information, which is stored in the memory, on the screen, a push of another button starts the analyzing. You hold onto the handles much like you would a steering wheel, grasping fairly tightly, arms extended. The manual claims that the pads of the hands give an accurate accounting of how much body fat you have overall.

There is no sensation while you are holding onto the steel handles. No vibrating or tingling. The manual says that an electrical current too weak to be felt is coursing through our bodies and measuring how fast it gets through the fatty areas to come up with the percentage of body fat we have. As you hold on, the digital screen will change and, in about seven seconds, your body fat will be displayed in both pounds and percentage.

This model displays fat percentages from 4% to 50% and body fat mass from 1/2 lb to 220 1/2 lbs.

The instruction manual tells you acceptable percentages of body fat and there is a little arrow indicting whether your results are high, low, or average.

That’s it. That’s all there is to it.

My Experience

I found the measurements to vary greatly each time I measured my body fat. One time I was 27%, another 23%, and a day later, 29%. I didn’t get the feeling that I was truly getting an accurate reading with this analyzer. I had my body fat analyzed with calipers and, knowing what my baseline was, this analyzer was plus or minus about 5% on any given day or even on one day.

The process is very fast and easy. There isn’t anything complicated about turning on the analyzer, clutching the steel handles for seven seconds, then reading the results. But, because they varied so widely, I lost confidence in the machine and, frankly, knowing what my body fat percentage is, is nice, but really not all that necessary. I think athletes and obese people may want to watch their body fat closely but the general population doesn’t need to measure it every day or even every week.

Still, for the terminally curious, the new body weight scales with body fat indicators built in do the trick and are seemingly much more accurate. My Tanita scale has been spot on since I got it. No big fluctuations in percentages of body fat. Tanita and Omron have been the leaders in this sort of electronic for quite a while and, if you’re going to invest in a body fat analyzer or a scale that measures pounds and body fat, you can’t go wrong with either of those two brands.

This analyzer felt like a gadget, worked like a gadget, and gave results like a gadget. For the price I paid ($99.99), I expected much more.

Buying Info

Red Envelope has an official website at www.redenvelope.com. You can also pick up a very similar model (in looks and data input) by Omron and Body Logic.

Conclusion

This is a gadget. While it was expensive and made a lot of claims, it seems to vary too widely to be trusted. I don’t mind a variation of a few percentage points when analyzing body fat twice in a row but when the results vary by 6% in the span of 10 minutes, I tend to lose my faith in the accuracy of the analyzer.

There are many much more reliable body fat analyzers on the market today as well as scales that measure both weight and body fat using the latest technology. I would skip this and look into a dual scale or an Omron or Tanita brand body fat analyzer. At almost $100, this is just an expensive toy as far as I am concerned.


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