How to Measure Body Fat: 4 Methods to Try (2023)

While the most accurate body fat measurements are generally only used in medical and research settings, there are some 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 predictor of health, as having too much or too little body fat is linked to a number of health problems (1,2,3).

If you want to know your body fat percentage, you might 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 handheld devices 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, which involves skinfold measurements in 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:

  • Triple
  • under the shoulder blade
  • Breasts
  • middle axillary (near the armpit)
  • above the hip
  • Abdomen
  • perna

Here is an instruction videoDemonstrating methods of measuring skinfolds at 7 and 3 sites.

Remember that you need help with skinfold measurements.

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

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

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

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


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

A note from Healthline

You will find that the language used to share statistics and other data points is quite binary, fluctuating between using "male" and "female" or "men" and "women".

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

Unfortunately, the studies and surveys referenced in this article did not report or include data on participants who weretransgender,non binary,gender alien,specific sex, orothers.

We recommend that you speak with a healthcare professional if you need help determining how the information in this article might apply to you.

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

This method uses a tape measure to take measurements on specific parts of the body. These measurements are then entered into 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 soldiers' body fat percentage (10).

Using a non-stretch tape measure, measure the circumference three times at each anatomical site and record to the nearest half inch.

Measuring points vary by gender (10).


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


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

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

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

While this method may seem simple, it requires accurate and precise measurements.

It is important to measure correctly and leave enough tension to allow for an accurate measurement, being careful not to pinch the skin.

Furthermore, this method requires some anatomical knowledge; B. to know the voicemail location.

A 2019 study involving 76 active-duty military personnel found no significant differences when comparing the accuracy of the CM method to DEXA—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 body fat distribution.

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


Circumference (CM) measurement involves taking circumference measurements at specific locations on the body and plugging the average values ​​into an equation to estimate body fat percentage. It's relatively easy to make and inexpensive.


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

Eating disorders and eating disorders 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 speak with a qualified healthcare professional, e.g. B. a registered dietitian if you are having problems.

You can also chat, call or text anonymously with volunteers trained inNational Eating Disorders AssociationHelpline for free or explore the organization's free and inexpensive resources.

body fat scalesmart scaleare popular with those who want 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 meter (FFI) (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.

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

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

The researchers found that although body weight was accurately measured by the scale, body fat was underestimated (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 they are 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 purchasing 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 meter (FFI) to measure body composition. They can be used as a method to measure body fat at home, but their accuracy varies significantly.

Measuring your waist size 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).

Carrying large amounts of fat around your midsectioncan 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 size is easy, and unlike many other home body fat measurement methods, you don't need any help measuring your waist size.

All you need to do is place a non-stretch tape measure around your abdomen just above your hip bones and make sure the tape measure is horizontal around your waist. Keep the measuring tape comfortable, but be careful not to pinch the skin (14).

Exhale and then measure your waist.

The bigger your waist, the more belly fat you're likely to 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 set waist circumference limits of ≥ 40.2 inches (102 cm) for men and ≥ 34.25 inches (88 cm) 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 waist measurement cutsvary according to ethnicity. For example, people of Asian descent have lower waist circumference thresholds compared to people of European descent (16).

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


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

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

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

While knowing your body fat percentage can be helpful for some people, e.g. for competitive athletes, this is usually not necessary to determine an individual's overall 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 healthcare professional for guidance.

just one thing

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

If you're concerned about your body composition, consider seeing a doctor.

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