How to measure body fat: 4 methods to try (2023)

While the most accurate measurements of body fat are generally used only in research and medical settings, there are a few ways to measure body fat in the comfort of your own home.

Body fat percentage depends on many factors, including gender, age, and body type. Still, body fat can be an important indicator of health, as having too much or too little body fat is linked to a number of health problems (1,2,3).

If you are curious about your body fat percentage, you may be wondering if there is an accurate way to measure your body fat percentage at home.

This article covers 4 of the best ways to measure body fat at home.

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Skinfold calipers offer an inexpensive way to measure body fat. They are relatively easy to use and are particularly useful for measuring body fat levels when other methods that require expensive equipment or special training are not available.

These hand tools compress and measure the thickness of subcutaneous (under the skin) fat in various areas of the body, includingthe belly, triceps and hamstrings.

Generally, when using skin calipers, it is recommended to use a 7-point measurement method, measuring the skin folds of 7 areas of the body. However, 8-site and 3-site measurements can also be used (4,5,6).

The 7-point measurements are all taken on the same side of the body and include:

  • Trizeps
  • under the shoulder blade
  • Mama
  • medial axilla (see from axilla)
  • above the hip
  • Abdomen
  • coxa

Here is an instruction videoDemonstration of methods to measure skin folds at 7 and 3 sites.

Remember that you will need help to measure the skin folds.

After the measurements are taken, the skinfold measurements are added. The sum determines the proportion of body fat.

While there are equations that can be used to determine body fat percentage, researchers suggest that using the sum of skinfolds in millimeters is more accurate than plugging numbers into an equation (7).

Skinfold calipers are available in manual and digital versions and can vary in price depending on the type chosen. Most come with a tape measure and a body fat chart.

Studies show that skinfold calipers can be an accurate way to measure body fat, but they do require some skill and anatomical knowledge. Additionally, accuracy can vary significantly based on your body fat percentage, how you use the calipers, and other factors (7,8,9).

Buy Skinfold Calipers on Amazon

(Video) How To Measure Body Fat Percentage At Home Accurately


Skinfold calipers can be used to measure body fat at home. However, they do require some skill and knowledge of anatomy. Additionally, the accuracy of skin fold calipers can vary significantly depending on your body fat percentage, how you use the calipers, and more.

A note from Healthline

You'll find that the language used to share statistics and other data points is quite binary, oscillating between the use of "masculine" and "feminine" or "men" and "women."

While we typically avoid such formulations, specificity is key when reporting research participants and clinical outcomes.

Unfortunately, the studies and surveys mentioned in this article did not report data or include participants whotranssexual,nonbinary,gender nonconforming,weird gender, oothers.

We encourage you to talk to a doctor if you need help determining how the information in this article may apply to you.

Circumference (CM) measurement is another way to measure body fat at home.

This method uses a tape measure to take measurements at specific points on the body. These measurements are then used in an equation to determinebody fat percentage.

CM is considered a reliable method of measuring body fat percentage. Even the Department of Defense uses this metric to determine body fat percentage for military personnel (10).

Using a stiff tape measure, measure the circumference at each anatomical site three times, recording to the nearest half inch.

Measurement sites vary by gender (10).


  • The neck: measured directly below the tuning box and rounded up
  • Size: Measured at natural waist (or smallest waist size) and rounded down
  • hips: measured at the widest part of the buttocks


  • The neck: measured directly below the tuning box and rounded up
  • Size: measured at the navel and rounded

The three measurements for each location are read parallel to the ground and averaged together. These average values ​​are then put into an equation along with a person's height (11).

(Video) How To Measure Body Fat At Home (No Equipment)

The equation for women is:

  • % body fat = 163,205 x log10 (waist + hips - neck) - 97,684 x ​​log10 (height) - 78,387

The equation for men is:

  • % body fat = 86.010 x log10 (stomach - neck) - 70.041 x log10 (height) + 36.76

Although this method may seem simple, it requires exact and precise measurements.

It is important to measure correctly, leaving enough tension to allow an accurate measurement and taking care not to mark the skin.

Also, this method requires some anatomical knowledge; for example to know the location of the voice mail.

A 2019 study involving 76 active duty military found no significant differences when comparing the accuracy of the CM method to the DEXA method, which is considered one of the most reliable measurements of body fat (10).

However, the researchers found that the CM method was less accurate whenMeasuring women with larger waists. This means that the accuracy of the CM method varies depending on the distribution of body fat.

However, the CM method is one of the best ways to measure body fat at home because it is inexpensive and can be done by almost anyone.


Circumference (CM) measurements take measurements of circumferences at specific locations on the body and put the average values ​​into an equation to estimate body fat percentage. It is relatively easy to manufacture and inexpensive.


Trying to "get it right" with your diet may seem tempting, but it can backfire. If you are concerned about eating or your weight, feel guilty about your eating habits, or regularly worry about your body size, consider seeking help. These behaviors may indicate a dysfunctional relationship with food or an eating disorder.

Eating disorders and disordered eating can affect anyone, regardless of gender, race, age, socioeconomic status, or other identities.

They can be caused by any combination of biological, social, cultural, and environmental factors, not just exposure to food crops.

Feel empowered to work with a qualified health professional, such as B. a registered dietitian, if you are having difficulties.

You can also chat, call or text anonymously with trained volunteersNational Eating Disorders AssociationToll-free helpline or explore the organization's free and affordable resources.

(Video) How to Measure Body Fat (IN HOME METHOD!)

body fat scalesmart scaleThey are popular with anyone who wants an easy way to monitor their body composition regularly at home.

Unlike traditional scales that only measure body weight, body fat scales combine weight scales with a so-called foot-to-foot impedance (FFI) meter (12).

The FFI estimates body fat and muscle mass by sending electrical currents through the body and measuring the response. Muscle and fat respond differently to electrical currents, and the scale uses these differences to determine body fat.

Although this method is one of the easiest ways to estimate body fat at home, there are some drawbacks to using smart scales.

A 2021 study compared the accuracy of three smart scales in measuring weight and body composition in underweight, normal weight, and overweight adults using DEXA.

The researchers found that although the scale accurately measured body weight, it underestimated body fat (12).

One of the problems with smart scales is that their accuracy depends on the body composition of the population used to train the smart scale during production. Also, accuracy can vary greatly between smart scale models (12).

While not the most accurate way to assess body composition, they are an easy way to get a general idea of ​​your body fat percentage at home.

If you are interested in buying a smart scale, make sure you buy a quality product. Check out Healthline's top recommendations for body fat scalesHere.


Smart scales use a foot-to-foot impedance (FFI) meter to measure body composition. They can be used at home as a method to measure body fat, but their accuracy varies significantly.

Measuring your waist can give you an idea of ​​your body fat percentage and whether or not you have a lot of body fat stored around your abdomen (13).

Wear large amounts of fat around your abdomenit can significantly increase your risk of developing a number of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and more (13).

Knowing your waist measurement can help you determine if you have too much fat stored around your abdomen.

Measuring your waist circumference is easy, and unlike many other methods of measuring body fat at home, you don't need help measuring your waist circumference.

(Video) Measure Your Body Fat NOW ➟ AT HOME 🔥 Easy Cheap Effective way to estimate & calculate percentage

All you have to do is place a non-elastic tape measure around your stomach over your hip bones and make sure the tape measure is horizontal around your waist. Hold the tape measure comfortably, but be careful not to pinch the skin (14).

Exhale and measure your waist.

The larger your waist, the more abdominal fat you will have. To reduce the risk of many health problems, health organizations recommend keeping your waist size below a certain level (15).

Currently, the National Institutes of Health and the National Cholesterol Education Program have established waist circumference limits of ≥ 102 cm (40.2 inches) for men and ≥ 88 cm (34.25 inches) for women (15).

The World Health Organization recommends a waist measurement of ≤ 37 inches (94 cm) for men and ≤ 31.5 inches (80 cm) for women (15).

It is important to note that the cutoffs are given for waist measurements.vary by ethnicity. For example, people of Asian descent have lower cut-off values ​​for waist circumference compared to people of European descent (sixteen).

Keep in mind that while measuring your waist can be a good indicator of whether or not you have excess body fat in the abdominal area, it cannot tell you your total body fat percentage.


Waist measurement is an easy way to determine the percentage of body fat in the abdomen. However, it cannot indicate the total percentage of body fat.

If you want to get a general idea of ​​your body fat percentage, there are a few methods you can use at home, including skin fold calipers, body circumference measurements, body fat scales, and waist measurements.

However, these methods are generally much less reliable compared to methods used in clinical settings.know DEXA.

While knowing your body fat percentage can be helpful for some people, e.g. for competitive athletes, this is generally not necessary to determine an individual's general health and disease risk.

If you have questions about your body composition, including healthy levels of body fat for your age, gender, and ethnicity, consult a trusted health professional for advice.

just one thing

try today: Percentage of body fat varies significantly depending on factors such as age, gender, and ethnicity. If you are interested in finding out your body fat percentage for health reasons, it is important to understand that your body fat percentage is only one indicator of health. It cannot be used alone to assess general health or disease risk.

(Video) How to Use Body Fat Calipers - 6 Pack University

If you are concerned about your body composition, you should consider working with a doctor.


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