Pedometers are simple devices that track your daily steps, but the truth is technology has come far enough that few pedometer today are only pedometers. While your smart phone may track your steps and similar metrics, these devices are made to be your activity tracking companion by counting steps, speed and distance with an internal accelerometer, and some even track your sleep biometrics, something your smart phone can’t.
Active Junky took eight of the best pedometers and tested accuracy in steps tracking, as well as in distance, active minutes and calories burned, and we evaluated setting up the device and using its app, all to help you find the best pedometer for your favorite activities and fitness goals. And don’t forget to sign up for Active Junky for exclusive deals and cashback on your gear purchases.
Pedometer Brands Reviewed
How To Choose the Best Pedometer
The best pedometers are easy to use and set up, have solid and stylish designs, and most importantly, accurately track steps, distance, and other metrics. Before deciding on a pedometer, read through these basics and have a look below at our top choices.
The most important function of a pedometer and any device tracking metrics is accuracy. Nearly every device we tested had an error rate, but some were definitely more noticeable than others. And some tracked steps well but fell short when tracking other metrics. In our tests, we found the Fitbit Flex 2 to be the most accurate across all tests, while the Fitbit Zip was the most accurate with steps.
Pedometers come is a large variety of designs. Many are versatile and can be either worn on the wrist or clipped to clothing. The Misfit Shine 2 is a stylish pedometer that has optional accessories, including a necklace mount to wear it around your neck. Looks aside, another design consideration should be waterproofing. All devices we tested are water resistant, but some are fully waterproof to 30m or 50m, such as the Nokia Go.
Decide if you want a display screen as well. These provide real-time data of your daily progress without having to pull out your phone and use your app. Finally look at the battery life, as many have watch or coin-cell batteries that last for months. The other option you’ll find is rechargeable batteries, most likely via USB, which hold charges for a few days up to a couple of weeks max.
All pedometer fitness trackers we reviewed have a supplemental app for setting goals and keeping track of data, which are especially important for those devices lacking display screens. Hands down, our favorite app is the Fitbit app. It’s the most intuitive of any we’ve tested in the wearable fitness device category. You’ll catch on to and get used to the other apps, though they may be less customizable.
Each pedometer was tested against universal attributes that all devices exemplify to one extent or another. Each set stood out in one attribute, noted as its key attribute in its review below.
Accuracy: Focused primarily on steps, but also considered other metrics such as distance, active minutes and calories burned
Design: Considers elements such as waterproofing and water resistance in addition to style and versatility
App: All pedometers in our reviews have an accompanying smart phone app, but some are more intuitive and customizable
Ease of Use: The best devices are simple and quick to set up and sync to your phone without requiring a lot of instruction
Battery & Memory: Watch and coin-cell batteries will always last longer than rechargeable batteries; the larger the memory, the less often you’ll have to sync your device to avoid losing data
The Fitbit Zip is the best pedometer Active Junky tested, first and foremost because of its step tracking accuracy—the whole point of a pedometer. It’s also extremely easy to set up and use, and the Fitbit app is one of the best on the market. The user-friendly app allows you to customize goals, sync data via Bluetooth and monitor your progress. It’s lightweight, compact, and clips anywhere on your body.
Pros: In our tests, the Fitbit Zip counted step more accurately than any other device: for every 5,000 steps taken, it was only off by two steps, which is extremely impressive. It also tracks distance and calories, and while not perfect, was on-par with its competitors in those metrics. It was also one of the easiest pedometers to set up and use, which is typical of Fitbit devices. The LCD display shows steps, distance, and calories so you won’t need the app for basic information. But the accompanying app is one of the best and easiest to use, and you can personalize your goals and settings. The Fitbit Zip takes a watch battery so you won’t have to charge it every day or so.
Cons: While the Zip is water-resistant, it isn’t waterproof like some other pedometers we tested. As mentioned above, the distance tracking was off, averaging about a 20% error rate, which is actually fairly common in our pedometer tests. Bottom Line: The Fitbit Zip was our editor’s pick for best pedometer for its step tracking accuracy, range of features and intuitive interface and app.
Best for: Accurately tracking steps all day with a device and app that are simple to use
Key Attribute: Accuracy
Fitbit Flex 2
Most Accurate Pedometer
While the Fitbit Zip tracked steps most accurately and was our tester’s favorite, for highly accurate tracking across all metrics, the Fitbit Flex 2 is your best choice. You can adjust your stride length for even more accurate tracking, and use the app to set personalized goals. This Fitbit pedometer is waterproof up to 50m, lightweight and provides reminders to get up and move as well as call and text notifications from your smart phone.
Pros: Across all metrics tested, the Fitbit Flex 2 was consistently most accurate: for steps it was only 25 off for every 2,500 we took, and for every mile walked, it was off by about 0.1 miles, which was more accurate than the Zip, but less accurate than the Nokia Go. The Flex 2 is waterproof up to 50m, so you can shower and swim without taking it off. Like all Fitbits in our testers’ experience, the device is intuitive to use and the Fitbit app is the best on the market.
Cons: This pedometer doesn’t have a screen, so you’ll have to check the app for metric specifics, but it does have LED lights that indicate how close you are to your daily step goal. The battery only lasts 5 days, which is less than many others we tested, but it recharged very quickly, in about the time it takes to shower and get ready in the morning.
Bottom Line: The Fitbit Flex 2 is one of the best pedometers because it’s accurate, easy to use, and backed by a powerful and useful app.
Best for: Casual use up to hardcore training; water-related sports and activities
Key Attribute: Accuracy
Best Value Pedometer
Formerly the Withings Go, the Nokia Go is a simple yet accurate pedometer. It’s also versatile, being able to be worn on the wrist or clipped on, and with waterproofing up to 50m, you can confidently wear it in almost any situation from the shower to the lake. Its price tag is also very reasonable for the features and performance, making the Nokia Go our choice for best value pedometer.
Pros: While the Fitbit Zip tracked steps most accurately in our testing, the Nokia Go tracked all metrics well, including steps, active minutes and especially distance, being only 0.04 miles off our actual distance. We found it to be more accurate when worn clipped to the waist than worn on the wrist. Protected up to 50m, this waterproof pedometer can handle a variety of activities and weather conditions, and using a watch battery means you’ll get months of use before having to replace the battery.
Cons: The Nokia Go doesn’t have a display, so you’ll need the app to check metrics. Testers found the app to be less intuitive than others tested, as well. The device only stores 10 days’ worth of data, so you’ll have to sync it once a week or so.
Bottom Line: The Nokia Go is one of the most accurate pedometers we tested for both steps and distance, and fully waterproof makes it great for outdoor activities.
Best for: Tracking steps and distance, especially when water is a factor
Key Attribute: Design
Striiv Fusion Lite
The Striiv Fusion Lite is a pedometer with smartwatch features, including full touchscreen and phone notifications. While it has plenty of tracking features, its focus is on the basics, especially steps and distance where it was the most accurate. Its slim wrist design and low price tag make it a good choice for basic pedometer metrics.
Pros: The Striiv Fusion Lite did a great job of tracking steps and distance: it was only about 25 steps and 0.4 miles off the actual numbers. The full touchscreen allows you to view stats in real time without needing the app, and it syncs with your cell phone to receive call and text notifications. This pedometer is water resistant, not waterproof, so it can take some splashes and sweaty wrists.
Cons: This pedometer only stores data for four days, so you’ll need to sync it to the app often, and the five-day max battery life requires regular charging—the handy digital display drains the battery quickly. While it tracked some metrics well, active minutes and calories burned were quite a bit off.
Bottom Line: The Striiv Fusion Lite comes with solid features and a low price tag, and along with its touchscreen and highly accurate step count make it a convenient and effective pedometer.
Best for: Tracking steps and distance with the convenience of a touchscreen display
Key Attribute: Features
Misfit Shine 2
The Misfit Shine 2 has a design that catches eyes: it’s modern and sleek looking, resembling a standard watch more than a wrist pedometer. The Shine 2 can be worn on the wrist with a variety of band colors, materials and designs, clipped to your waist or pocket, or even draped around your neck with the sold-separately necklace accessory. Its accuracy with steps and active minutes could be better, but distance was fairly accurate in our tests.
Pros: This versatile pedometer can be worn several ways, and its waterproof design protects it up to 50m, which is great for swimmers, especially as it’s one of the few fitness pedometer that accurately tracks swim laps. The device monitored distance and active minutes well, but was about 15% off step count, which is less accurate than the best pedometers. The coin cell battery lasts up to six months before needing to be replaced, and with up to 30 days’ worth of data stored on the device, you won’t need to sync it to the app every day.
Cons: The LED lights provide the time and your daily steps progress, but it lacks a digital display, so for exact steps and other metrics, you’ll need to use the app. Testers also noted some of the notifications and alarm feature in the app were finicky.
Bottom Line: The Misfit Shine 2 is the most versatile pedometer we tested, and arguably the most fashionable, though its step-counting function could be more accurate.
Best for: Swimmers tracking performance; monitoring your daily metrics while looking stylish
Key Attribute: Design
The Misfit Flash is a less robust and less versatile version of the Misfit Shine 2. The main differences in this trimmed down model are less waterproofing, 30m compared to 50m, fewer customizable accessories and band choices, but a big bonus: a tiny price tag. So if you like the Shine without all the bells and whistles, the Misfit Flash is a good choice.
Pros: The price tag here is a huge pro: sub $20 for a pedometer that tracks everything the Misfit Shine 2 does and with the same accuracy, which is right around average for the category. The Flash is waterproof up to 30m, so less than the Shine, but certainly enough for most situations. It can be worn on the wrist or clipped to clothing, and its battery can last up to six months.
Cons: The Flash and the Shine are very similar, so have similar cons: the step tracking was not very accurate, reporting about 20% fewer steps than testers counted. Again, the Misfit app was not our favorite, and some of the notifications and alarms didn’t work reliably.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for simple design and basic pedometer features with an extremely affordable price tag, consider the Misfit Flash.
Best for: A wearable pedometer on a budget; activities that may involve water
Key Attribute: Design
Jawbone Up Move
The Jawbone Up Move is a small wearable pedometer that you can clip on clothing or wear around your wrist. It was one of the most accurate in our steps testing and performed well when tracking distance. It is a basic, screenless device whose low price tag rivals the Misfit Flash’s.
Pros: The Jawbone Up Move did well tracking steps in our testing, landing within 50 steps of our actual count, and distance was fairly accurate as well. Its small design is durable and water resistant to protect against splashes and sweat. This Jawbone pedometer has the largest memory of any we tested, saving data for up to 9 months, and with a 6-month battery, the device needs little maintenance. Though it does not have a display screen, lights illuminate on the face to indicate Active and Sleep modes as well a daily progress.
Cons: While the Up Move does great with tracking steps, other metrics like active minutes and calories burned were much less accurate. It also does not have a screen display, so you’ll have to use the app to retrieve data.
Bottom Line: The Jawbone Up Move pedometer tracks overall steps well but would not be the best choice if you’re looking to track other metrics closely.
Best for: Basic steps tracking with a simple and cost-effective pedometer
Key Attribute: Battery & Memory