Omron Full Body Sensor Scale Review

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There are only 2 full days left before January 1st, 2010 and we all know what that means. It’s new year’s resolution time, the time of year when everyone makes promises to themselves to start working out, eating better and losing weight. For the past 5 years, I haven’t needed to make that resolution because I was already doing all those things. But I slipped a little in 2009 and stopped working out and put on a few pounds that I’d like to get rid of. I’ve been looking for a few gadgets to help me with my goals and the first one I’ve tested is the Omron Full Body Sensor Body Composition Monitor and Scale (model HBF-516B). Wow, that’s a mouth full!

The Omron scale is similar in size to the generic scale that I purchased from Walmart a few years ago. The similarity ends there though as the Omron can measure more than just your body weight. It uses bioelectrical impedance to estimate these fitness indicators:

Body fat percentage
Body mass index (BMI)
Skeletal muscle
Resting metabolism
Visceral fat
Body age

Muscles, blood, bones, and body tissues with high water content conduct electricity easily, while body fat does not. The scale sends a very weak electrical current of 50 kHz and less than 500 μA through your body from your hands to your feet to determine the amount of water in each tissue. You can’t feel this current at all.

The scale is mainly constructed of plastic except for the four electrodes on the base that you stand on, and the metal handles for the display unit.

The scale has four stand off feet with a rubber pad in the center to keep the scale from sliding around on the floor. The battery compartment is located on the back of the device. Four AA batteries are included with the unit and should provide power for up to 1 year of typical use (4 uses a day).

The handheld display unit is connected to the scale by a coiled cord that stores under the display unit when it is not being used. The display unit is used to perform all the measurements except a regular body weight measurement. If all you want to use this scale for is to display your weight, then you could leave the display unit snapped into the base. What fun would that be though?

Before you start using the scale, you need to enter your profile info. This is done by using the buttons on the display unit. After the date, time, your weight, age and height have been recorded and stored as a profile (you can store up to 4 profiles), you’re ready to see the good (or bad) news about your body. Click the image above for a larger view of the display unit.

Using the Omron Full Body Sensor is very easy. You just kick off your socks, press the power button on the front edge with your toe, wait for the display to show 0.0 lbs, grab the display unit in both hands, press the number for your stored profile and step on to the base so that your heels and pads of your feet are touching the electrodes. After a few seconds, your body weight will be displayed. The weight will blink two times to let you know that the other measurements will be taken. At this point, you raise your arms straight out in front of you at a 90 degree angle to your body and wait a few seconds for the measurements to be recorded.

You can then use the buttons on the display unit to view the different measurements. Some of the buttons can be pressed twice to toggle between two measurements. The display unit has two LCD displays. The smaller one shows history, so that you can see low and high measurements as well as measurements from the previous day, 7 days, 30 days, 90 days and even 180 days ago. If you didn’t weigh yourself on those exact days, the recorded measurements for the next closest day will be shown.

Graphs in the instruction manual show where you should be for the various measurements based on your age.

I like being able to see changes in my body fat and skeletal muscle measurements as I work out. That is a motivator for me. I also like that it tells me my body age is 11yrs younger than I currently am 😉 The only feature missing on this scale is a way to download the data to a computer (or better yet, my iPhone). But as is, the Omron Full Body Sensor Scale is going to be a tool to help me keep my new year’s resolution for 2010.


Product Information

  • Can store profiles for 4 people
  • Keeps up to 180 days of data
  • Easy to use
  • No way to download data to a computer

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10 thoughts on “Omron Full Body Sensor Scale Review”

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  2. I got one of these scales for my mother as a present (recalling that she was talking about using one at a friend’s place in a previous phone conversation…)

    She wanted to regift it back to me….hmmm.

    I’m not sure I want it….I had tried one before my visit to my parents for the holidays…it gave my body age as 30. On the last day of the week visit to parents….my body age jumped to 61….

    I think its the increased altitude….ya, that’s it….

  3. I got HBF-514B. I’m 37 years old, 3+ years of extensive fittness, a bit overweighted – 22-24% fat. The device shows my body age is 62. I’m shocked

  4. Good afternoon,
    Just bought one of this Omron full body sensors.
    Its 2pm, just eat so as per the manual it wasnt the best time to measure my body fat, etc.
    Anyways, last time I measured my bodyfat using calippers it was around 8%. Now this scale shows 15%.
    I know impedance is not 100% accurate to measure body fat, but can it be such a big spread between calippers and impedance with this scale?

    Another doubt, I would appreciate if someone can help me.
    Im 36, im well trained, eat very balanced and focused on training, i have a developed lean muscular body, but the BODY AGE read over 40… Although we dont need compliments from the scale! Im curious about whats the equation the scale uses to calculate the Body Age. anyone knows? Because its healthy to know how it works so to have a better comprehension of whats the scale telling us.

    Thanks very much!

  5. Hi,

    I bought one of this to! On calippers my bodyfat is about 9%, and this omron is 17,5%. Whats happening?

    I need your feedback about it!

  6. My wife wanted this scale so we picked it up for her. It measures accurately, a couple pounds light but I question its other calculations.
    My wife is very fit, exercises 5 to 6 times a week, does a good mix of cardio, strength and flexibility training and is in great shape. Her numbers look “okay” and most of her measurements put her in the “average” category. Which I disagree with completely. She is in much better shape than pretty much anyone else I know.
    We eat very well, are very health conscious, almost NEVER eat out. We’ll have a couple drinks during the week and maybe a few more than that on the weekend. Neither of us smoke.
    I am more sedentary because of my job in IT, but I am fit, strong, was running 8 miles three times a week a decade ago. Now I run 2 to 3 miles a few times a week for the cardio and to keep my wind. I’d like to spend more time strength training, but being 46, kids, house, job, it all takes time away. I still consider myself to be in very good shape. I know I have a bit of visceral fat, just comes with the territory.
    When we take the “lifestyle” quizzes online, I easily score a “real age” of 32 and a life expectancy of over 80. My wife does as well.
    This scale gives my wife a body age of 33 (she is 41) yet it gives me a body age of 72!! ???? There has GOT to be something weird going on. Maybe something chemical in my body that the scale does not like. My body fat % is on either the high side of “normal” or the low side of “high”, my muscle mass is great, my weight and BMI are fine.??? What the heck?
    I wonder if it has something to do with muscle tone and/or hydration. I don’t hydrate as much as I should and my side of the family has ridiculous muscle tone. My legs are like rocks, always have been. We also have bone density that is literally off the charts.

    Anyway… I’ll keep an eye on it and see if we can figure out what’s up.
    All in all it’s a very interesting device to have. It appears that it does not work accurately for everyone though..

  7. Maybe it determines age pulse rate, bone density, the way the electricity runs through the water in the cells? My age was 33, I am 43. I drink a lot of water, not over weight, but need to workout!

  8. I’ve noticed that body fat % seems to be factored heavily in the body age calculation. Mine drops a year for little less than every 1% body fat I lose. For scientific curiosity I had an overweight person who is 31 use the scale and it said they are 54 in body age. As well as a 62 year old on a very strict diet for health reasons resulting in near non existent body fat showing as 47 in body age.

    My conclusions off a very tiny sample size is that body fat % is very heavily factored into body age calculation. So if you are tad bit overweight don’t be surprised if the age number is very high.

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