Which Is More Accurate Fitbit Or Simple Pedometer?




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Are you looking to count your steps and debating whether you should buy a Fitbit or a simple pedometer? This article will help you with it.

Ozo pedometer

The pedometer is a device that helps you accurately measure your steps by detecting the motion. The experts recommend the daily 10,000 steps because doing it will help you burn some calories and lose some weight.

Here is an article on my website that you must read, its about Best 8 Clip-on Fitness Trackers and Pedometers In 2023.

If you are someone who wants to maintain your fitness or lose some pounds then you would want to use the pedometer or Fitbit to keep track of your activity.

However, when you will go into the market, you will be presented with the two options: Fitbit (or other fitness bands) or simple pedometers.

Fitbit VS Pedometer: Which Is More Accurate?

In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss the different aspects of Fitbit and simple pedometer. By the end of this guide, you will have a definite answer. Let’s get into it.

Brief History of Pedometer

The history of Pedometer dates back to 1780. The first-ever pedometer was created by the Abraham-Louis Perrelet. This device was capable of calculating the steps and the distance while walking.

In the US, Thomas Jefferson introduced the Pedometer and some historians also attribute that Thomas did modify the design but there is no proof of it as he didn’t apply for patents for his inventions.

In 1965, Y. Hatano from Japan introduced the “Manpo-Kei” which roughly translates to the 10,000 steps meter.

Fast forward to 2020, pedometers have become one of the most important components and we find it in our smartphones, fitness trackers, smartwatches and other fitness-related products.

How Accurate is Pedometer?

The “Accuracy of Pedometer” is a very hot debate these days and many people question the accuracy of the pedometer. Just like any other device, Pedometer is not perfect and there is a lot of room for improvement.

The good pedometers have the step-count errors of around 10%. For example, if you walk 100 steps then your pedometer will count 110 steps or 90 steps.

The Pedometer has improved a lot over the years but still, it can be inaccurate in some scenarios.

For example, if you have worn the pedometer on your arm(like most Fitbits do) and you are just walking but you are moving your arm very fast. In this scenario, the pedometer will likely count some false steps as according to the pedometer, you are moving at the rate of the speed as your arm is moving.

A very interesting test conducted in the exercise physiology laboratory at Nebraska Wesleyan University including Fitbit and other pedometers has clearly shown that a pedometer that was worn on the hip is more accurate than the ones on the wrist.

The tests which were done over 400 meters walk on a treadmill showed that cheap pedometers were more accurate than the Fitbit Charge.

It is important to note that the tests were inducted back in 2017 and since then Fitbit has come with new and improved versions.

How Accurate is Fitbit?

Fitbit tracker uses the 3-axis accelerometer sensor which is capable of detecting movement in any direction and translate it into a step count. Just like Pedometer, Fitbit is also not 100 percent accurate.

Fitbit Zip

Fitbit also uses its advanced algorithm which analyzes the patterns of your movement and then uses the other available data to eliminate the false steps.

According to one research, the devices by Fitbit were “Acceptably accurate” for step counting about 50% of the time. This 50% number is certainly lower but the research also notes that the other factors such as how you wear the device can increase the accuracy of your Fitbit device.

Fitbit has also a very popular pedometer, Fitbit Zip, It is a bit more expensive than the average simple pedometers, however, it is a cheap device for a Fitbit product.

Here is an article that I have written about Best Fitbit Compatible Apps For Running And Sleep Tracking.

How To Increase The Accuracy Of Pedometer?

The pedometer is a great device and you can increase the accuracy by using the following tips.

  • A modern pedometer that uses the 3D Tri-Axis Sensor Technology will count steps more accurately while being worn on the hip than on the wrist since hand movements might confuse it to think that it’s a step.

How To Increase The Accuracy Of Fitbit?

When it comes to Fitbit devices, you can do tons of things to improve their accuracy.

  • The first thing you do is to wear them properly. If you have the wrist-based band then you should wear it correctly, not too tight or loose. It is to ensure that the device measures your heart rate accurately. If you are using a clip-based Fitbit device then wear them on your torso with their screen facing outward. You can also try other locations on your body but make sure that it is close to your body.
  • The wrist orientation for your Fitbit device is your left hand by default. If you wear your Fitbit on the right hand then make sure to change the orientation from the settings.
  • When you set up your Fitbit device then the app will ask you about different details such as your height so make sure that you enter the right details as the device will use it to estimate your running stride length.
  • Similarly, you can enable the GPS to make sure that your step counts are accurate.

Which Is More Accurate Fitbit Or Simple Pedometer?

When it comes to a pedometer, you get a simple device that only calculates your steps and distance. The accuracy of pedometers varies from pedometer to pedometer and some of them are using a 3-axis accelerometer sensor just like Fitbit and can be very accurate. However, it can still count some false steps.

When it comes to Fitbit, Fitbit are using the 3-axis accelerometer in its fitness trackers. Moreover, Fitbit also uses the advanced algorithm and data from other sources to eliminate the false steps.

The downsize of a Fitbit as a pedometer is that a 3-axis accelerometer works better on the hip since hand movements might confuse it and Fitbits(except for the Zip) are being worn on the wrist.

If you are looking for a simple device that can give you a quite accurate steps count without many fancy features than a simple pedometer is my recommendation.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

Why You Should Get A Pedometer?

The pedometer is not as a features-rich as of the Fitbit or any other tracker but still, it is accurate enough and you can get it if you are looking for a simple device to calculate your steps without breaking your bank. You can get the simple pedometer in the range of $20 to $30.

Why You Should Get Fitbit?

When it comes to Fitbit or other fitness trackers, you not only get a discant accurate step counts but also other features such as your calorie tracking, sleep tracking, a great dedicated app, and other features. However, Fitbit or fitness trackers are also relatively more expensive than a pedometer. If you are someone who wants the accurate device to track your step counts and many more additional features then Fitbit is for you.

Bottom Line

That’s all folks. We hope that you will find this guide useful and we tried our best to include as much information as possible to help you make an informed decision. If you have any questions, please let us know in the comment section below.

Also, if you want to know whether using the GPS feature compromises your privacy or not then you can check our “Can a GPS Watch be Tracked? Is your Privacy Compromised!” guide where we have discussed this topic in detail.

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