It can be disheartening to not see a change in weight even after putting in hard work and maintaining a balanced diet. However, weight is not the ultimate indicator of health. In fact, someone may appear overweight but be healthier than a slim person. The key factor is your body fat percentage, which can be accurately estimated using a reliable body fat caliper at home.

How to Measure Body Fat with a Home Caliper

A fat caliper is an easy-to-use tool that allows you to take skinfold measurements right in the comfort of your home. These measurements are then plugged into a specific formula that gives an estimated body fat percentage. The formula can also be used to figure out your lean mass and fat mass.

Understanding How Body Fat Calipers Function

Calipers are not a direct fat measurement tool; they perform what’s commonly known as the “pinch test.” This involves taking skinfold measurements from various points on your body—typically ranging from three to ten. This data is then entered into a formula to estimate your body fat percentage. The accuracy of this depends on the mathematical model used and the skill level of the person conducting the test.

Before starting any fitness program, it’s wise to know your body fat percentage. Record this in your fitness journal to monitor your progress. Recommended body fat levels vary based on age, gender, and fitness level. Generally, a woman with a body fat percentage over 32% and a man over 26% are considered obese.

Types of Calipers Available

There’s a wide range of calipers available for purchase, ranging from affordable to premium models. Keep in mind that cheaper calipers might not provide reliable results due to inadequate tension control.

Some popular brands include Lafayette Skinfold Calipers, Harpenden Skinfold Calipers, Lange Calipers, Accu-Measure Body Fat Calipers, and Slim Guide Skinfold Calipers.

Best Areas for Measurements

Once you have a suitable caliper, you’ll need to identify where to take skinfold measurements. Ideal body locations include:

Triceps: While your arm is naturally at your side, bend your elbow to 90 degrees and take a vertical skinfold measurement. Bicep: With your arm fully extended, take a vertical skinfold measurement halfway between the shoulder and the elbow. Subscapular: Measure diagonally, holding the caliper at a 45-degree angle, typically beneath the shoulder blade. Assistance may be needed for this area. Thigh: Take a vertical skinfold midway between your hip joint and your kneecap while standing. Iliac Crest: Fold your right arm across your body and measure horizontally just above your hip bone. Abdomen: Measure a vertical fold about one inch to the right of your belly button. Calf: With your foot at a 90-degree angle on a platform, measure a vertical fold at the largest circumference of the inner calf. Chest: Measure a diagonal fold between your armpit and the nipple across the pectoral muscle. Axilla: Under your armpit, measure a vertical skinfold, aligned perpendicularly with your nipple. These are just some tips for measuring body fat at home using a caliper.