The present study aimed to compare the accuracy of estimating the percentage of total body fat (%TBF) among three bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) devices: a single-frequency BIA with four tactile electrodes (SF-BIA4), a single-frequency BIA with eight tactile electrodes (SF-BIA8) and a multi-frequency BIA with eight tactile electrodes (MF-BIA8). Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and hydrostatic weighing (HW) were used as references for the measured values. Forty-five healthy college student volunteers (21 males: 172.9 +/- 5.5 cm and 65.8 +/- 9.1 kg and 24 females: 160.7 +/- 6.6 cm, 52.6 +/- 6.2 kg) were the subjects. Correlation coefficients between the BIA measurements and the references were calculated. The standard error of estimation (SEE) was calculated by regression analysis when estimating the reference measures (DXA and HW) from the predictor (SF-BIA4, SF-BIA8 and MF-BIA8). The differences in %TBF between the reference and the predictor, calculated by the reference minus the predictor, were plotted against the %TBF measured by the references. The MF-BIA 8 here showed the highest correspondence to the reference and the least estimation error compared with the other BIA methods. It is considered that there is a limit to directly estimate FFM from a regression equation using impedance, weight, height and age as independent variables, and that %TBF can be more accurately estimated by measuring segmental impedances using eight electrodes and multi-frequency electric currents and then estimating total body water from these impedances.