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What Is A Good Pedometer? 5 Reviews Of Serious Step Counters

Updated on November 26, 2014
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Step Counters For Running Or Walking: Good Reviews To Help You Get Moving

What is a pedometer? It’s no secret that the more we move, the healthier we are. But sometimes it can be a challenge to get motivated and to keep track of how active we really are. A pedometer, sometimes called a step counter, is a great way to track physical activity throughout the day and to inspire a healthier lifestyle. And these days, the best pedometers can do a lot more than simply count your steps. But with so many options on the market, which one is right for you? In this article, I’ll discuss the key features to look for in a pedometer - and review some of the most best running and walking options on the market today.

So Why Do I Need A Pedometer Anyway?

A pedometer is a simple tool with a big payoff:

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It keeps track of your movement throughout the day, offering accurate information on your true fitness level. And this can sometimes be surprising; I thought I was quite an active person until I wore a step counter for a few days and discovered that I was coming in approximately 5,000 steps short of the doctor-recommended 10,000 per day. This was a real eye-opener for me and motivated me to aim for more activity each day - activity I wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for the step counter.

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Good modern pedometers have come a long way from simply counting your steps; now they offer sleek wristbands that monitor your every move, distinguish types of movement, track your progress and trends, and even monitor your sleeping habits. Whatever your needs or your budget, there’s a pedometer that’s right for you. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular.

What’s A Good Pedometer For Beginners: Fitbit Zip Wireless Review

The Fitbit Zip is the cutest pedometer on the block. Not much bigger than a quarter, it comes in blue, lime, charcoal, or magenta; clip it securely onto your clothes or slip it into a pocket.

The Fitbit Zip will track your steps, the distance you’ve travelled, and the calories you’ve burned; then, it automatically syncs the info to your PC, Mac, and Bluetooth 4.0-compatible mobile devices. A ‘dashboard’ app helps you keep track of your fitness and health goals and makes sense of your data. It is resistant to sweat and rain, and runs on a watch battery lasting up to six months at a time.

The Fitbit website offers great features along with your account - track your meals, your weight, and interact with fellow Fitbit users. The downsides of this device are that it doesn’t track your sleep, if that’s important to you, and it can’t be worn as a wristband. Overall, it’s one of the best introductions to using a step counter and really helps you to set and meet your health goals.

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What’s A Good Step Counter For Making Fitness Fun: Review Of The Striiv Play Wireless Smart

The Striiv is probably the best compact pedometer designed to attach to your clothing.

It features a sleek and light design, complete with a stainless steel clip (which is integrated into the design, so your device will never slip out and get lost). The display is lit using OLED - Organic Light Emitting Diodes - which means it has great contrast and is easily readable, even on the brightest days. The Striiv Play step counter is designed to filter out ‘random’ movement that might interfere with your true activity statistics.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the Striiv Play is the fun factor; the Play features addictive games powered by your activity levels; the more steps you take, the more points you get, and you use them in an interactive virtual land. This strategy increases motivation and helps users reach goals faster. You can also interact with friends using the Striiv app, which is available free of charge regardless of wether you’re using the Striive product.

The Play links via Bluetooth 4.0 to the IPhone 4S, the IPhone 5, the new iPad, the iPad Mini, or the iPod Touch (5th generation). All in all, whether for running or walking, the Striiv pedometer reviews very well and is a sleek device that gets the job done while motivating you with some fun. What’s not to like?

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Best Pedometer For Aesthetic Appeal: Review of The Misfit Shine

If you’re looking for the ultimate wearable pedometer - the one that accurately tracks your movement and sleep, allows you to easily monitor your progress, survives any treatment, and looks great with whatever you’re wearing, then your search is done.

Misfit Shine: Sleep & Activity Monitor

The Misfit Shine Activity and Sleep Monitor offers all the functions you could want in a step counter, plus so much more - and looks sleek and gorgeous the whole time. Made of diamond-cut aluminum, the Shine is only 4 mm thick, making it the most unobtrusive pedometer around. It comes with a comfortable wristband but offers different upgrades if you like - from necklaces to clips - so you can have it your way.

The Shine has fully wireless syncing capability, and uses a watch battery that lasts for up to six months straight - so you never have to take it off for charging. This is a really nice feature because that way you won’t ever lose data by forgetting to put it back on after charging!

Misfit Shine Reviews:

In addition to counting steps, calories, and distance, the Shine pedometer will distinguish and monitor walking, running, cycling, swimming, playing tennis, and so forth, so you get the most accurate readings. And, crucially, it is waterproof up to 50m. This is a huge difference from most top rated pedometers that are ‘water resistant’; this step counter will survive a trip through the washing machine or a swim in the lake, no problem. It will also automatically detect when you have fallen asleep, a big advantage over other devices which must be manually clued in.

All in all, the Misfit Shine pedometer reviews so well, is sophisticated, attractive, and the best option for an active lifestyle where aesthetics are still a priority.

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Top Step Counter For Serious Athletes: Review Of The Withings Pulse O2

Any serious athlete can tell you that the best way to monitor your fitness level is to look at your heart rate. Keeping your heart rate in a particular zone makes sure your body is achieving optimal performance levels.

What makes The Withings Pulse O2 such a great pedometer is that allows you to measure your vital signs at any time, giving you an instant reading of your heart rate and blood oxygen levels, simply by placing a finger on the back of the device.

The Pulse O2 also features the whole spectrum of step counter performance - tracking steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burned. This pedometer comes with both a wristband and a clip, so you can wear it however it works best for you. It syncs automatically with your smartphone and gives you access to real-time coaching in the free Health Mate app; you can even catalogue your meals if you choose to. The Pulse O2 also measures altitude climbed, a really beneficial feature if you hike or climb.

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Top Overall Pedometer: Fitbit One Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker

If you’re unsure what you’ll need, just buy a Fitbit One; it’s the top-rated pedometer in its class. The Fitbit One offers the whole package in a sleek, unobtrusive device.

Fitbit One Wireless Sleep & Activity Tracker

Fitbit One Review

Keep track of your steps, distance traveled, stairs climbed, and calories burned; all your data syncs wirelessly to your Bluetooth-compatible devices. Fitbit.com offers an interactive community that encourages you to achieve your goals. The Fitbit app also provides you with easily-digestible data on your progress - graphs, charts, and more, to see where you’re at and where you want to be.

The Fitbit step counter comes with a charging cable that plugs into any USB port - charge it for an hour and it’s good to go for two full weeks. At night, the Fitbit monitors your sleep quality, and you can use the Fitbit app to log your meals if you want to. A unique feature of the Fitbit One is that you can use it as an unobtrusive alarm clock; using a gentle vibration to wake you, this device will wake you without disrupting your partner.

Overall, it’s the best pedometer on the market today.

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Choose The Best Step Counter For Your Needs

I hope this has been a helpful introduction into wading through all the good pedometer options. Whichever device you choose, these are all designed to help you meet your goals, and daily use of a pedometer is a well-proven way to lose weight and improve your health. You’ll be inspired to move more every day, and you’ll likely inspire those around you as well. Just one word of warning - you might become addicted to your pedometer! That’s an addiction most of us can afford, however.

I’d love to hear from you! Have you ever used a step counter? Are you seeking ways to get inspired to move more throughout the day? What features are essential to you in a pedometer? If you try one of these, or if you can recommend another great one, please share your experiences in the comments. Until then, happy step-counting!

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    • outdoorpursuits profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly Taylor 

      3 years ago from Vancouver Island, West Coast Canada

      Thanks Dreamweaver. Maybe its best sometimes not to ask question we don't really want to know the answer too!

    • Dreamworker profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 

      3 years ago from USA

      Pedometers are truth tellers, and sometimes I'm not real crazy about what they say...but I know they are necessary. Nice hub.

    • outdoorpursuits profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly Taylor 

      3 years ago from Vancouver Island, West Coast Canada

      You are most welcome! I'm glad you found my research to be of benefit to you, thanks for letting me know.

      I agree, the Fitbit is nice and small, yet feature loaded, its very popular.

    • profile image

      christinemariezzz 

      3 years ago

      Richard,

      Informative. Summer 2013 I did a lot of walking, and thought about keeping track...but did not take the time to research, you have. The Fitbit seems to be my choice to start, it's small, non-interfering.

      Thanks for composing this hub,

      -christinemarie

    • outdoorpursuits profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly Taylor 

      3 years ago from Vancouver Island, West Coast Canada

      Thanks for the comment. Pedometers really are amazing these days, if one wishes to track one's health improvement, and compare against peers, they can be a true benefit.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for this useful and interesting review of pedometers. I didn't realize that they had become so capable! They sound like they could be very helpful for someone who wants to improve their health.

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