Pedometers have advanced in leaps and bounds in the last few years, taking a product that was once a novelty and forming it into a serious piece of kit – responsible for a huge chunk of fitness accessory market.
If you’re not already aware (or are just a little confused where a pedometer ends a fitness tracker begins), it makes sense to dive into the definition of the tech – so you know exactly what you’re getting. In a single sentence:
“A pedometer is a wearable electronic device that uses motion detection to measure the number of steps being taken by an individual when undertaking physical activity.”
To put it simply, pedometers are great for tracking the simple stuff, with steps as the main focus, whereas activity trackers gather much more information. These more advanced trackers come into their own is with the measure of the amount of and quality of sleep, the number of calories burned as well as heart rate and other metrics – but this (unsurprisingly) comes with a larger price tag.
But with more choice than ever in the world of activity trackers, why and how do you choose a great pedometer in 2019?
Why a pedometer?
One of the most basic measures of activity comes in the form of steps and although it may sound like a lot – as humans we should aim for approximately 10,000 steps each and every day.
Putting one foot in front of the other for the magic number is enough to burn between 200 and 300 calories, a good chunk when you consider that this is just from day-to-day activities. But the real advantages are the associated health benefits of keeping active with improved cardiovascular health and the capability of maintaining a healthy weight that is the real goal.
But instead of keeping track of these steps one by one (I seriously hope that people haven’t done this before) it makes sense to use a pedometer to make sure you’re hitting the count every single day!
That’s where pedometers come in handy – but not all are created equally…
Battle of the batteries
One of the main differentiators between a mid to high-end pedometer and a low-end is the type of battery and the length of time that your tech will keep on kicking.
With some low-end pedometers still requiring disposable batteries (see: McDonald’s Step-it) it’s imperative to do your research and make sure you’re copping a rechargeable wearable. The last thing you want on an all-important hike to top-up your daily steps is a dead battery with no shops in sight to replace.
Similarly, battery life is just as important as the way that your tracker gets its juice. Most mid to high-end pedometers do come equipped with rechargeable batteries that last for days or even weeks – so it’s a great idea to check the quoted life if you’re charge-phobic.
Companion app capabilities
It’s not just about the steps in 2019, but how you’re informed of the data and how easy it is to process on the fly.
With plenty of companion apps available within a wide range of different pedometers, even the biggest data junkie can get their fix with high-quality displays and plenty of different visuals to take in information. You’ll even be able to choose a device that automatically uploads your data to your smartphone for easy storage and sharing with friends, family or fitness instructors and physicians.
Some of the best pedometers in 2019 (Omron, Fitbit and Garmin) have supplemental apps that do a lot more than just count your steps – but that’s just the very start of it! Look hard enough and you’ll even find manufacturers utilising Alexa for absolute ease of use.
Additional helpful features
The overall purpose of your pedometer is one of the most important factors to choose a great pedometer in 2019.
It no longer has to be just about the steps, and with plenty of additional features available, it makes sense to shop around and see what kind of features will be best for you. With trackers such as the Omron Heartguide can produce blood pressure readings at any time with outstanding accuracy.
Other pedometers, such as the Fitbit Charge 3 and Huawei Band 3 Pro have GPS capabilities – meaning you can keep an interactive record when burning calories in the outdoors. They may not be to the same sophistication as some of the high-end fitness trackers out there – but as far as pedometers go – the technology is impressive!
There are loads of helpful features available, from heart rate to distance and even blood pressure on the go – the future is now!
Form over function?
If you’re going to be wearing something on the wrist day-in and day-out, you’re going to want it to look the part, right?
Shopping around for a pedometer that not only functions fantastically but looks great is imperative in the eyes of most consumers. It’s this factor alone that’s bred the likes of the Misfit Shine 2 a new form of pedometer with a focus on form over function.
However, the majority of pedometers are great looking accessories, but not every option suits everybody’s taste. Shop around and keep in mind the simple question – will this look great on my wrist every single day?
It all boils down to budget
Ultimately, no matter what companion app capabilities, what additional helpful features and what styles are available – everything boils down to budget in the end.
The most basic of pedometers will set you back around $15 to $30, but from these, you’re likely to just receive very basic step tracking. From the $30+ mark, you’ll be approaching more advanced pedometers and starting to wade your way into smartwatch and fitness tracker territory.
For most relatively-sophisticated pedometers, a strong budget stands around the $50 mark, you can expect some snazzy features around this mark and would be the budget we recommend for most users. But crank that budget up towards the $100 section and you’ll find the most sopisitcated of the bunch – well designed, gorgeous to look at and jam-packed with features.
Not everything should be about the price tag surrounding the wristwear, but it’s hard to deny its importance!