Buyers' Guide: Body Composition Scales

Body composition scales are a key piece of equipment for any healthcare provider, gym or sports centre or just a dedicated fitness fanatic. By simply standing on these scales, you can generate a complete picture of your body’s profile.

We have four Marsden brand body composition scales in our range - and even though they all generate similar results they also have different features that set them apart from one another.

Portable or fixed?

The first thing to consider is how you will use your body composition scale. Our two most popular models, the MBF-6000 and MBF-6010, are identical - except for the fact that one is portable and the other has a column - therefore not as portable!

If you’re going to need your body composition scale in different locations - say, for example, if you’re a travelling personal trainer - we recommend the MBF-6000. This is a Class III and MDD approved body comp scale, and provides readings for basal metabolic rate (BMR), total body water (TBW, fat free mass (FFM), fat mass (FM), body fat percentage, weight and BMI.

If you need to provide those who use the scale with a record of their body composition analysis, a printer is fitted to the scale as standard.

If your body composition scale is going to be used in a fixed location, go for the MBF-6010 - because this allows a height measure to be fitted too, which aids measuring BMI.

Do you need to keep a record of results?

There are a couple of solutions if you need to record the results of weigh-ins on your body composition scale.

Both the MBF-6000 and MBF-6010 come with a printer as standard. However, if you’d like the information transferred directly to a computer/database, a USB port will soon be available with our MBF range. You can get in touch if you want to find out more about this.

What information do you need?

This bit could alternatively be titled ‘how much do you want to pay?’ Because along with our MBF scales, we also have the BFA range - body fat analysers BFA-220P and BFA-220R - which are lower cost alternatives.

The MBF scales provide all your readings for basal metabolic rate (BMR), total body water (TBW), fat free mass (FFM), fat mass (FM), body fat percentage, weight and BMI.

The BFA scales do not provide basal metabolic rate or body composition, however they do measure muscle mass and bone mass. There is no printer available with the BFA scales.

An added benefit of the BFA-220R - the portable version in this series - is that the indicator is separate, making the scale ideal for obesity and weight sensitive areas.

On the other hand, the BFAs start from just £125+VAT - which is an absolute snip!

Sports club, pharmacy or GP?

All the body composition scales we’ve mentioned are Class III Approved - which means they’re suitable for use as medical scales in hospitals, GP surgeries, health centres and pharmacies.

The BFA-220P has been particularly popular with sports clubs. This is possibly due to the fact that it’s a lower cost option and because it measures muscle mass. However, the MBF-6010 is also an ideal candidate for gyms and sports clubs - as well as pharmacies - because it is available with a coin box, meaning you can earn back the money you’ve spent on your body composition scale!

Plus, in light of the recent NICE proposal, any of the above scales are ideal for a GP surgery wanting to measure patients’ BMI - the scale you choose may depend on your budget.

...And what do those readings mean?

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) - rate that the body uses energy while at rest to maintain vital functions such as breathing and keeping warm

Fat free mass (FFM) - refers to all of your body components except fat, which includes your body’s water, bone, organs and muscle content

Fat mass (FM) - the total amount of fat within the body

Fat percentage - is the total mass of fat divided by total body mass; body fat includes essential body fat and storage body fat.

Total body water (TBW) - is the total amount of fluid in the body expressed as a percentage of your total body weight

Body Mass Index (BMI) - your weight divided by height, generally used to determine whether you have a healthy body

Muscle mass - the bulk of muscle tissue in your body

If you need any help with choosing from our range of body composition scales, please get in touch.

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