Best Step Counter Watch 2017 – Review and Comparison
The ’10,000 steps a day’ advice is often recommended for people who want to start turning their health and fitness around. Fitness trackers set this target for their users. While 10,000 steps is not a magic number, it is a great way to get healthier and improve your fitness.
Wearing a fitness watch that counts your steps is one of the best ways to ensure that you reach your goal every day. Most watches will show you your progress throughout the day and maybe even provide nudges and motivation to encourage you to keep going. They use sensors to detect your steps and then tally them up.
If you want to start your 10,000-steps-a-day journey, here are some of the best step counter watches in the market.
1. Fitbit Charge 2
Fitbit is king when it comes to daily activity tracking. Their mid-priced watches and bands offer easy and convenient metrics to keep you in the know about your fitness. The Fitbit Charge 2 is one of their latest releases along with Fitbit Flex 2.
The Charge 2 comes with a sleek but simple design. A large black and white OLED screen takes center stage and a polished silver metal forms the main body. At the back you will find a PurePulse heart rate monitor, which tracks your heart rate during workouts and continuously during the day.
The all-day tracking feature is where you will find the step counter. As long as you have the watch on your wrist, it will keep track of your steps throughout the day. It also claims to be able to include your stair climbs though don’t expect full accuracy there. You can check your progress through a quick tap on your screen. To help you achieve your daily target, it will send constant reminders encouraging you to take at least 250 steps per hour.
This is not a full featured fitness monitoring watch. It lacks in-built GPS and does not have the comprehensive metrics of other tracking watches. But if what you are looking for is a fitness watch good at step counting (and other daily tracking features like calories and heart rate), then the Charge 2 is perfect.
2. Withings Go
The Withings Go is one of the cheapest fitness trackers you can buy. Starting at $80, it is perfect for those who only want the bare necessities of fitness tracking. With a name that is apt for what it does, the Withing Go is designed to keep you moving, whether you are working out or adding to your step count.
The E-ink screen tells you how active you have been for the day and how much is left to do to get to your goal. Before you get to your goal, the screen features an incomplete circle with a walking man icon in the middle. When you complete the required steps the icon changes to a star.
Your steps progress is the only data you will be able to see on the screen. If you want to see other metrics, head over to the Health Mate app. On the app, you can see data from your sleep, other activities tracked by the watch and amount of calories burned.
The app even allows you to add your own weight, blood pressure and food log details. This gives you a complete picture of your health and fitness.
Design wise, the Withing Go is simple but emphasizes on versatility. Though the default is wearing it on your wrist using the wrist band provided, you can also remove the tracker component and wear it somewhere else or put it on your keys. Just know that the tracking may not be as accurate.
With an e-ink, the battery can keep going for months.
The tracker is also waterproof up to 50 meters water depth.
3. Fitbit Flex 2
This is another fresh release from Fitbit. It is not so much a watch as a wrist band. In fact, you can remove the main tracker component and affix it to bangles or pendants. The Flex 2 is for anyone who wants a simple fitness tracker without the complexities of a smart fitness watch. Starting at around $100, don’t expect GPS or a heart rate monitor in there anywhere. But at least, it is waterproof, meaning you can enjoy a swim with no worry.
The daily activity tracking feature is good enough for those who want a simple aid to getting fit. It will track the number of steps you have taken, amount of calories burned and active minutes. Since there is no screen, the best way to see how many steps you have taken is opening the app.
If your phone is not close, the Flex 2 will use LED lights to give you an idea of how far you are in achieving your set step count. Each white light represents 25% of progress. When you get to 100%, the lights will flash and the tracker will vibrate.
Away from step counting, the Flex 2 is programmed to automatically register and monitor various exercises including running, elliptical workouts, bike rides and aerobic sessions among others. It can even track sports such as basketball, tennis and soccer.
At night, the Flex 2 will monitor your sleep, tracking how long and most importantly, how well you slept. You can use the app to set sleep goals such as bedtime reminders and silent alarms.
4. Garmin Vivosmart HR
You love sports. Every day, you wake up to some swimming followed by a bike riding session and later on, a round of golf. Maybe you also love rowing, skiing and paddle boarding. You want to be able to monitor your sports while also getting your daily dose of 10,000 steps. What do you do?
Simple, you buy a Garmin Vivosmart HR fitness watch. It is a jack of all trades but a good one at everything it does. It is perfect for those who want a fitness watch that excels at both multisport tracking and daily activity tracking.
The Vivosmart HR is one of the best daily activity trackers you can buy. It is accurate, easy to use and keeps you updated with a wide variety of important metrics. The watch comes with a preset daily step count goal, which you must strive to achieve every day. You can also set your own goal using the accompanying app.
It also keeps track of your active minutes, ensuring you do not slip into a sedentary lifestyle. Through the Garmin Connect app, the watch will give you occasional nudges to get you to your goal. Another great feature is the 24/7 heart rate monitoring.
The watch keeps track of your resting heart rate throughout the day, providing an important insight into your overall health. By tapping your screen, you can see your resting heart rate levels plotted over the last seven days. In the app, you can see heart rate data from the last month.
The Garmin Vivosmart HR is not exactly cheap but it is worth your money. It does better and goes further than almost all other fitness watches in helping you live a fit and healthy lifestyle.
5. Polar Loop Crystal
If all other fitness watches are too boring and unstylish for you, perhaps the Polar Loop Crystal is what you are looking for. The fitness tracker is aimed at women and comes bejeweled with Swarovski crystals. Despite the luxurious style, it only starts at $159.
Inside the bling design, the Loop Crystal is designed specifically for daily activity tracking. In addition to counting your steps, it will also tell you how active you have been during a specific period. Every day, you set a goal and then monitor how well you are doing towards achieving it. Through the app, you can see your activity levels for the day, week and month. Activity levels are classified as resting, sitting, low, medium and high.
If you want more from the Polar Loop Crystal, you can connect it to a Polar H7 heart tracker and see how your heart rate varies during workouts. On its own, the Loop Crystal is a great fitness partner. It will help you set achievable daily activity goals and guide you towards achieving them.
If you are looking for a good step counting tracker with a few more metrics and a lot of style, the Loop Crystal is perfect.
How to Buy the Right Step Counter Watch
The first step is to determine what your needs are. Do you want a simple activity tracker that does step counting or are you looking for a more full featured tracker that will track your steps as well as your workout sessions? Do you also want to track your heart rate alongside your steps?
Once you know what you want from your fitness watch, it becomes much easier to find the right one. Here are a few other things to keep in mind.
1. Check the accuracy
Heart rate trackers in fitness watches have often been castigated as inaccurate and a less than 100% reliable indicator of heart rate variations. Things get better for fitness watches when it comes to counting steps. Most perform well in terms of accuracy. GPS-equipped step counters are usually highly accurate while those that use motion sensors may miss some steps or over count them.
When shopping around for a wearable step counter, check to see what experts and users say about its accuracy. There is no point in getting a tracker that does not give you a true picture of your activity level. If you can, buy one that uses a combination of GPS and motion sensors to track your steps, distance and active time.
2. Check the app
You are unlikely to come across a fitness watch that does not have its own app. Having an accompanying app is absolutely essential when it comes to daily activity tracking. It allows you to see your activity history and get an idea of how well you have been doing over the past week or month. Some apps will even draw a graph for you, showing you the times you were most and least active.
A good app should also include a goal-setting feature. Most step counter watches come with a default goal of 10,000 steps. Using the app, you can change this goal; lower it if you are just starting out or increase it if you want a bigger challenge.
Some apps go further, allowing you integrate other details such as food, weight and blood pressure. You can either enter the details manually or connect to third party services. This allows users to see a more general picture of their health and fitness and set more comprehensive goals.
3. Bonus features
Check if the watch comes with any additional features other than basic activity tracking. For example, many step counter watches also include a reminder feature. Whenever you are inactive for too long, they vibrate or use another method to remind you to get active.
Most watches with activity tracking also offer sleep tracking. They will tell you how long you slept and how well you slept. Added to sleep tracking is the ability to set silent alarms to wake you up in the morning.
Other watches like the Garmin Vivosmart HR also include a heart rate monitor. This provides an even deeper level of fitness tracking than a simple step counter. Being an important indicator of health, you can see how your resting heart rate corresponds with your daily activities.
It is great if a step counter watch comes with additional features but be sure they are worth the extra cost or if they are just bells and whistles.
4. Consider the cost
It is a good idea to have a budget range in mind before you start shopping for the best step counter watch. Fortunately, step counter watches are low cost and you can snag one even for less than $100. But if you are looking for something with a few more features, try one between $100 and $200. If you want one that has GPS and heart rate monitoring, you might have to spend over $200.
If buying a step counter watch sounds like too much work or too much money, remember that you can also use a phone app. But for accuracy, a watch is much better. Which step counter watch of the five we have reviewed above is perfect for you?