Consumer Reports Rates Best Pedometers for 2012
The 2012 Consumer Reports’ best pedometers for fitness enthusiasts who like to measure their progress one step at a time takes a look at three types of pedometer devices: conventional, GPS and phone apps. Read on to discover what Consumer Reports has to say about pedometers and their recommended best buys for fitness-minded consumers.
If there is one exercise that trumps all with respect to being the most accessible, the most practical, costs the least and provides more health benefits than any other exercise type, it would have to be walking. According to Consumer Reports, 10,000 steps a day is equivalent to walking roughly 4 miles and meets a recommended ideal fitness goal. Furthermore, using a pedometer to count your steps results in significant increases in physical activity and weight loss, and improvements in blood pressure says a Stanford University School of Medicine study.
Pedometers come in just a few styles, but with a wide range in pricing of $1 for a phone app to a few hundred dollars for a multi-function GPS watch. However, as Consumer Reports shows, when it comes to fitness, price isn’t everything when it comes to monitoring how many steps you took during exercise.
Pedometers come in three basic styles:
Conventional Pedometer—a conventional pedometer typically clips onto a belt or the waistline of your exercise shorts and counts the steps you take by detecting movement with each step. Conventional pedometers range in function from simple step-counters to ones that will also calculate calories burned and distance traveled.
Cell Phone App Pedometers—a cell phone app pedometer uses motion sensing to count steps via your cell phone and requires wearing a cell phone holder, clip, or carrying the cell phone in a pocket.
GPS Watch Pedometer—a GPS watch pedometer makes use of satellite signals to measure distance covered when outdoors. Typically they only measure distance—not steps taken—but can be used for biking and swimming as well as running and walking.
To test the conventional and the cell phone app pedometers, researchers at Consumer Reports attached the pedometers to their bodies and went through a variety of scenarios such as treadmill walking, stair climbing and descending, and walking outside to determine their accuracy.
The GPS watch pedometers were tested while volunteers ran 1 mile on level ground and 0.8 miles going uphill. Accuracy was determined using a distance-measuring wheel.
The Consumer Reports researchers based their final evaluations for the pedometers on accuracy, ease of use and price.
What they found was that for the conventional pedometers, all scored high, but the best for their price and usability were the Mio Trace Acc-Tek and the Omron GOSmart Pocket HJ-112 models—each at $30. At $5, Walmart’s Sportline Step and Distance got the CR Best Buy rating, but has limited features in comparison to the other two $30 models.
For the three cell phone apps tested, the $1 Max CA App Pedometer did not meet Consumer Reports criteria for recommendation. However, the Accupedo pedometer widget for Android phones and the Pedometer Pro GPA+ for iPhone both are recommended with the warning that they lack detailed instructions and may require some sensitivity adjustments in order to maximize accuracy.
For the GPS watch pedometers, the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS and the Garmin Forerunner 210 rated excellent overall at $200 each. The Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS Speed+ Distance T5K267F5 rated well too, but costs about $100 more and is bulkier to wear.
Your choice of pedometer comes to not only price, but needs as well. Consumer Reports recommends that if you are an average walker and want to know how many steps you took and calories burned, then a conventional pedometer in the $30 range is your best bet. But, if your needs require knowing distance and speed as a part of meeting your fitness goals, then a GPS watch will be a better pedometer choice for you.
Image Source: Courtesy of Wikipedia
Reference: Consumer Reports February 2012