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According to exercise guidelines from the NHS, adults should do some type of physical activity daily and aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes or vigorous activity every week.
If you’re struggling to make time for the gym, the good news is that there is an alternative. Walking offers one of the best ways to keep fit, tone up and reduce your risk of chronic diseases. Walking in nature also calms stress levels and boosts your energy.
If you’re keen to keep track of your steps while setting some achievable fitness goals, a pedometer could be the answer. Ideal for technophobes, fitness newbies or anyone wanting to keep their fitness regime simple, we consulted with health experts and turned to the Mumsnet forums to find the best, most reliable pedometers out there to suit your budget and lifestyle.
Here are the 10 best pedometers for 2021.
1. Best overall pedometer: Omron Walking Style IV Pedometer
Price: £29.95 | Buy now from Amazon
“I have an Omron step pedometer and find it really good. I often test it by counting my steps and comparing and it’s very accurate. I’ve had it for about four/five years and it’s still going strong. I clip it on my trousers and forget about it.” MrsT1704
If you’re looking for a reliable pedometer to record all the steps you take in a day as well as keep you on track with your fitness goals, the Omron Walking Style IV Pedometer is a good choice. This savvy device distinguishes between daily steps and aerobic steps by classifying more than 60 steps a minute as aerobic. It also records distance and calories burned while active.
3D sensor technology, which records steps in all directions, allows you to conveniently strap the pedometer onto your clothes, slip it into your pocket, wear it around your neck or pop it in your bag as you walk your way to your 10,000 daily step goal.
- Lightweight, round pebble shape
- Battery-saving mode
- Accurate 3D sensor technology which tracks both the quantity and quality of movement
- Large easy-to-read display
- Seven-day memory
- Battery included
- Doesn’t have a stop/start function or reset button
- Some find the instructional booklet difficult to follow and use the Omron website for easier set-up instructions
2. Best budget pedometer: PINGKO Walking Pedometer
Price: £10.99 | Buy now from Amazon
This budget buy may look simple, but it includes covetable fitness features and keeps track of both steps and distance covered. It’s one of the smallest pedometers we’ve seen and has a sturdy clip that can be attached to a wristband, clipped onto shoes or tucked into a pocket or bag.
Your step count is clearly displayed on a large screen, along with distance covered and calories burned. It’s a nifty little pedometer that’ll help you reach your fitness goals in next to no time.
- Large LCD display
- Additional time function
- Has both imperial and metric modes
- Auto shut-off
- Powers down to save battery life
- The pedometer doesn’t link to an app
- Not always 100% accurate if not clipped around the waist
3. Best accurate pedometer: 3DFitBud Pedometer
Price: £19.99 | Buy now from Amazon
Made with precision, the 3DFitBud Pedometer has advanced 3D Tri-Axis Sensor technology to accurately record each step regardless of its position or angle. It can be clipped to your pocket or hip, worn around your neck, or placed in a rucksack if you’re out on a hike.
This device won’t count any movement that’s less than 10 consecutive steps so is best used for continuous, consistent walking. It also records distance and calories burned, keeping a record of the steps you’ve walked in the previous 30 days. Reliable, robust and good value for money.
- Small and sleek
- Extra-large display
- No set-up - just switch on and go
- Removable clip
- Auto sleep mode
- Can be sensitive if you bend down or stop moving
- Average battery life
4. Best pocket pedometer: Haptime Multi-Function Pocket Pedometer
Price: £8.59 | Buy now from Amazon
Looking for a pedometer that’s a little more discreet? This model is the most compact of all the pedometers on our list, with an anti-slip belt clip and clear display screen. It has three simple settings including a reset mode, and tracks steps, distance and calories burned. It also has a built-in five-step error correction for better accuracy while out walking.
It's the perfect size to slip into your pocket while exercising, shopping or playing with your kids in the park.
- Includes a time/watch setting
- Automatic shutdown if it detects no movement after one minute
- Small and sleek
- Secure clip
- More accurate if attached to hip only
- Initial set-up can be tricky
- Some suggest the clip is stiff and hard to attach to a belt
5. Best pedometer watch: READ Digital Sports Watch
Price: £19.99 | Buy now from Amazon
Prefer a step counter that you can wear on your wrist? Then you’re sure to appreciate the READ Digital Sports Watch, which is primarily a top-notch pedometer. The lightweight device is made with high-transparency acrylic glass, a good quality resin dial case and strap, plus a stainless-steel buckle and back cover.
In addition to measuring daily steps, distance and calories burned, it also has two alarm functions plus a snooze button, a stopwatch and date/time display, delivering lots of tech for its price.
This sports watch uses the same advanced 3D Tri-Axis Sensor Technology as the 3DFitBud which accurately records both walking and running steps - super convenient if you’re inspired to jog too.
- Shock- and scratch-resistant
- Long-lasting battery
- Seven-day memory
- EL backlight function
- Some report inaccuracies with step count
- Instruction manual not clear enough
- More sweatproof than waterproof
6. Best pedometer for hiking: Oregon Scientific PE500 Multi-Function Pedometer
Price: £14.66 | Buy now from Amazon
“I've got the Oregon Scientific. It measures steps, calories burnt and miles covered. I'm happy with it (except this week, when my number of steps is far too low).” LilRedWG
For step counting while walking through woodland or parkland, the Oregon Scientific Multi-Function Pedometer won’t disappoint. It’s practical and easy to carry thanks to its ultra-slim design which resembles a smartphone, and accurately records steps, distance and calories burned, as well as total exercise duration. We also like that it has a backlit display for low light conditions such as early morning or late evening walks.
With only three buttons: ‘mode,’ ‘set’ and ‘view,’ it’s incredibly simple to set up and it comes with a two-year warranty.
- Auto shut-off/sleep mode to optimise battery life
- Seven-day memory function
- Made with high-tech accurate technology
- Adjustable fastener and detachable clip for multi-wear use
- Some say it’s a little flimsy
- Not accurate while jogging or running
7. Best simple pedometer: Garmin Vivofit 4 Activity Tracker
Price: £44.99 | Buy now from Amazon
“I have a basic Garmin Vivofit which records the time, date and steps. There’s also the option to estimate distances and calories, but these are just estimates based on step numbers and can easily be removed in the app. Mine does exactly what I want it to do. It says the battery lasts for about 12 months, but I have had mine almost five years and changed the battery at about four years in. There is an app as well but it works perfectly fine as a pedometer and watch without needing the app.” sycamore54321
You may mistake the sleek, modern design of the Garmin Vivofit for a fully-fledged fitness tracker, yet it’s a simple activity tracker that’s not only great for adults, but older children too.
While its primary focus is to record steps, distance and calories burned, it also has a few more features than the average pedometer such as a sleep monitor and personalised daily step goal function. Plus, the device connects to your smartphone via the Garmin Collect app offering a simple way to upload and track your progress.
Not a fan of bedside alarm clocks? No sweat! The Garmin Vivofit has an alarm function you can set via the app as well as a countdown timer for daily reminders around the home such as “Switch the oven off.”
- Captures and classifies different activities such as walking, running, biking and swimming
- 100% waterproof
- Comfortable to wear 24/7
- ‘Always on’ colour display
- Accessory bands available in various colours/designs
- Screen not bright enough
- May not record all activities with the same accuracy
8. Best safety pedometer: Sportline Walking Advantage Safety Alarm Pedometer
Price: £95.30 | Buy now from Amazon
Even if you’re a regular walker, it’s worth having a pedometer with extra safety features should you ever need assistance on a trail and the Sportline Pedometer fulfils this purpose. It has a built-in, pulsing alarm (that’s activated by pulling a pin) to draw attention in times of need, as well as a real time clock with an alarm function.
It may come with a slightly heftier price tag, but this is justified by additional features such as a manual talk button that announces calories burned, number of steps taken, distance travelled and the total time you’ve spent walking or jogging, plus an intelligent count feature that ignores false step counts and vertical movements.
- Small and simple to use
- Accurate recording of steps and stride length
- Voice announcements every 500 steps
- Sturdy clip for belt attachment
- Comes with one-year warranty
- Battery doesn’t last that long
- Not waterproof
9. Best pedometer for kids: iGANK Simple Walking Pedometer
Price: £16.99 | Buy now from Amazon
If you’re looking for a family-friendly pedometer that simply tracks steps with no frills or fuss, then the iGANK Simple Walking Pedometer is worth considering. There’s no set-up required, and the large screen and single reset button makes it less fiddly for children.
At just 25 grams, it fits into any pocket and can be worn around the neck, on a keychain or hooked to a belt loop (no clip or lanyard required).
And, if you’re keen to find out how many steps your furry friend takes on a walk, simply attach this lightweight pedometer to your dog’s collar for an accurate reading.
- 3D Tri-Axis sensor to accurately record steps
- Easy to reset
- Long battery life – up to 12 months
- Simple to use
- Modern design
- Automatic turn-off function
- Some claim it’s not accurate enough on uneven terrain
- Data must be updated per user for accurate readings
10. Best jogging pedometer: MEROURII 3D Pedometer
Price: £12.99 | Buy now from Amazon
If there wasn’t already incentive enough to use a pedometer, the MEROURII 3D Pedometer, which is ideal for walking, jogging, running and hiking, is sure to pique your interest.
Its large LCD screen is easy to read from any angle, which means you can clip it round your waist or on your shoes while out and about. This small, featherlight device can record a variety of stride lengths, as well as calories burned and distance covered. No need to charge it either as it comes with batteries and stores data without having to download training history onto a smartphone or laptop.
- Energy-saving mode
- Automatic wake-up function
- Easy-to-use clip
- Compatible with walking, jogging, hiking and running
- Doesn’t have backlit screen function
- No safety alarm for night runs
- Battery may not last long
Is a pedometer better than a Fitbit?
This depends on your individual needs. If you’re looking for a fitness tracker that can accurately record a variety of activities such as swimming, running, weight training and yoga, as well as keep track of your sleep, daily water intake and heart rate, then a Fitbit is your best bet.
However, if you’re keen to simplify your life and scale down on all the gadgets that take up your time, then an easy-to-use activity tracker like one of the pedometers on our list, designed to count your steps and motivate you to move more, should suffice.
What is the best place to wear a pedometer?
While a key selling point for many pedometers is that you can wear it anywhere on the body, experts at SportMedBC suggest that the best place to wear a pedometer for the most accurate reading is on the hip, specifically on the waist belt of your trousers or skirt and in line with your knee cap. Also, always ensure it’s upright.
According to SportMedBC, “A pedometer should be 85% accurate or measure between 85 to 115 steps for every 100 taken.”
How do I choose the best pedometer?
When considering which pedometer will best suit your needs, think about the following:
- Budget: Pedometers range from £6 to £200 and come with a variety of features from basic step counting to distance and calories burned, alarm features, a stopwatch etc.
- Fitness goals: Is your main aim to walk or would you like to progress to running? Some pedometers such as the MEROURII 3D Pedometer are ideal for walking, jogging and hiking on uneven terrain, while others are basic models with simple step counters only.
- Data and storage: Another consideration is where you want to store your walking data. Most pedometers have a seven-day memory, however if you’re more serious about your progress and want to keep track of each walk, then a pedometer that can sync to an app or laptop such as the Garmin Vivofit 4.
- Lifestyle: While pedometers are great at recording every step you take, some have advanced sensor technology that’s more suited for formal exercise such as vigorous walking or hiking, while others are ideal for non-exercise activities such as gardening, park walks and daily work commutes.
Regardless of the model you choose, your pedometer should be durable enough to use daily, have a long-lasting battery and accurately record your steps.
What is the best pedometer?
The best overall pedometer is the Omron Walking Style IV Pedometer. It’s suitable for all types of walking and separates daily steps from more strenuous aerobic steps for extra motivation. It’s also made with 3D sensory technology which captures all movements three dimensionally including forward, sideways and upward steps.
With its lightweight design, seven-day memory and long-lasting battery, we feel that it’s the best value for money even though it’s not the cheapest pedometer on our list.
How we chose our recommendations
Most of our pedometer suggestions came from recommendations on the Mumsnet forums. We also checked independent review sites for opinions about each product to ensure we were bringing you an honest, detailed summary of the latest pedometers on the market.
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