Pedometers and fitness tracking technology has come a long way in just the last decade.
Today’s pedometers are much more technologically advanced, much more accurate and consistent, and are capable of tracking a whole lot more than just your steps – especially when paired with our smartphones.
At the same time, because there are so many great pedometers on the market right now, finding the perfect one for your goals and your budget is more challenging than ever before, too.
But that’s why we have put together this detailed guide.
By the time you finish our in-depth reviews below you’ll have a pretty good idea of which pedometer is the one you’ll want to tracking your progress through 2021 and beyond.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Our Favorite Pedometers for 2021
Our Top Overall Pedometer Pick for 2021 – FitBit Versa 2
Simplest Pedometer to Use – 3DFitBud 3D Pedometer
Best Pedometer for Cyclists – CAT EYE Velo 7
Best App Supported Pedometer – Fitbit Charge 3
Best for Runners – Garmin Vivofit 3
Best Value Pedometer – Letscom Fitness Tracker HR
Best Precision Pedometer – Omron HJ-112 Digital Pocket Pedometer
Best Standalone Pedometer – Realalt 3DTriSport Walking 3D Pedometer
Most Comfortable and Stylish – Xiaomi Mi Band 5
Our Picks for Best Pedometers of 2021
1. Best overall: FitBit Versa 2
A hybrid smart watch and advanced pedometer, the FitBit Versa 2 is designed to offer something for everyone looking for a smarter fitness tracker.
The smart watch features are better than what you’ll find with any other pedometer on this list, even if they aren’t exactly up to Apple or Samsung smartwatch quality.
This smart watch connects to your phone on the go, let’s you make calls and send texts as well as emails, and can interface with (most) of your favorite apps. At the same time, the overall experience compared to dedicated smart watches is a little lackluster.
Performance in smart watch mode is pretty slow and unresponsive at times, and the user interface is clunkier than anything Apple or the major Android manufacturers have put out for sure.
If you buy this as a fitness tracker and pedometer first and foremost, though, you’ll be very impressed by everything it offers.
The design is very well thought out with a gorgeous screen that is bright and easy to see, even outdoors when the sun is shining bright. A weeklong battery life guarantees that you have plenty of juice to track multiple training sessions before you have to throw this on the charger, too.
All of the built-in fitness tracking components are of the quality you’d expect from the folks at Fitbit – responsive, accurate, consistent and easy to use.
This fitness tracker really shines when you pair it to your smartphone, though.
Whether you’re using the Fitbit mobile applications for Android and iOS devices or a third party one, combining this device and your smartphone over Bluetooth helps you make the most of this device.
You’ll get real-time information about steps taken, distances covered, average speed, and time spent working out. You’ll also be able to map your route with GPS after you connect your phone and tracker.
Internal sensors to track your heart rate and the quality of your sleep are available to leverage with this fitness tracker as soon as you pair it with your phone, too.
The inclusion of Amazon Alexa voice control tech is kind of gimmicky for the most part, but it might appeal to some people that want to leverage the smart watch options on-board.
All in all, it’s our top pick for fitness minded folks that also want an solid smart watch without a ton of bells and whistles.
2. Simplest Pedometer to Use – 3DFitBud 3D Pedometer
A simple and straightforward pedometer to be sure, this particular option doesn’t include all the bells and whistles other premium options often include.
But the tracking accuracy, build quality, and ease of use of this tracker are still right up there with the best of the best.
Where this unit really shines, though, is in the design department.
A large LCD display is easy to read at a glance in all lighting conditions. The user interface is well implemented, too. Throw in IP4 waterproofing protection and you won’t ever have to worry about sweat, rain, or snow with this pedometer on.
The build quality of this unit is solid, too. Strong, durable, and wear resistant materials (mostly high-quality synthetics, with some aluminum and stainless materials used as well) throughout.
You’ll be able to track an (almost) infinite amount of steps with this pedometer, at least until you manually hit the reset button. Not having to worry about an automatic reset puts you in control over the data collection of this pedometer.
Tracking accuracy won’t ever be a problem thanks to the twin axis accelerometers built right in, either. The system is smartly optimized and lightyears beyond the old “spring and piston” style pedometers of the past.
The only thing this unit is really lacking is a Bluetooth connection. That would make using your collected pedometer data with different apps a lot easier, to be sure.
If you’re looking for something simple, inexpensive, and accurate the 3DFitBud pedometer is tough to beat.
3. Best Pedometer for Cyclists – CAT EYE Velo 7
A standout option for cyclists, this is another easy-to-use pedometer that streamlines tracking your training progress quite a bit.
Leveraging smart automatic motion detection technology, the pedometer powers itself on the second that you start to pedal and beings to capture ride data straightaway. It also powers down automatically after detecting the pedometer staying stationary for 10 full minutes.
Capable of collecting information regarding time spent cycling, average cycling speed, maximum speed, and odometer information, you’ll be able to zip through all of this data on-screen by pressing a single button on the front of the device.
That’s about as simple and uncluttered a user interface as you’ll find today.
As far as real time tracking goes, you’ll always see your current speed displayed across the top of the screen with another data point of your choosing (that you can cycle through manually) located on the bottom half of the display.
Readability is solid for the most part, though it can be a minor issue in direct sunlight circumstances. The backlight illuminates the display well in lowlight situations, though.
The lack of GPS technology, no cadence sensor, and no Bluetooth connectivity capabilities does hold this unit back a little bit compared to some of the other options out there, however.
Even still, this is a solid performer for those that want a cycling focused pedometer without having to spend a mountain of money.
4. Best App Supported Pedometer – Fitbit Charge 3
The Fitbit Charge 3 could never be described as “feature light”.
A major improvement over the previous generation, this lightweight, durable, and effortless to use fitness tracker is one of the most popular “pedometer plus” options money can buy in 2021.
Not only do you get a highly accurate pedometer that uses a triple axis accelerometer to collect step data, but you also get a tracker that charts:
- Distance traveled
- Average speed
- Time spent working out
- Calories burned
… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Pair this Fitbit with Fitbit’s mobile applications (available on Android and iOS devices) or your favorite third-party fitness app and you’ll be able to track your heart rate, track your sleep, and map your training sessions with GPS data provided by your phone.
The built-in display is also very crisp and very bright, giving you real-time feedback about your training session (as well as the time) with a quick glance at your wrist.
The long-lasting battery gives you at least 40 hours of runtime on a single charge. Power save mode (manually triggered) can almost double that battery life. On top of that, you can quick charge this fitness tracker battery up to 50% from completely dead in about 20 minutes.
Combine all of that with the legendary reputation Fitbit has for producing comfortable, durable, and essentially “bombproof” fitness trackers and it’s not hard to see why so many people love the Charge 3.
5. Best for Runners – Garmin Vivofit 3
This fitness tracker from Gamin might be the only pedometer you (almost) never have to worry about charging.
Designed around a battery that can last a year between charges, this pedometer prioritizes battery life over (almost) anything else.
Sure, there are other options out there more feature rich than this one.
But none of them can run for a year on a single battery while remaining as simple to use, as elegantly designed, or even as water/weatherproof compared to the Garmin Vivofit 3.
To be fair, there aren’t too many people out there that would describe this Garmin pedometer as stylish. It’s kind of chunky, it’s completely enclosed with a thick layer of rubberized material, and it’s nowhere near the lightest option on the market in 2021.
At the same time, all of these elements basically make this Garmin “bombproof”.
This tracker is one of the few options you can take swimming or scuba diving (down to 100 feet, anyway) without worrying about leaks. It’s rough, it’s tough, and it’s designed to take a beating without missing a step.
The strap here is secure and very comfortable (even when you start to sweat), with a proprietary locking mechanism that guarantees this tracker stays on your wrist no matter what you are doing.
A low resolution, monochromatic screen is a far cry from the LED/LCD touchscreen options on other fitness trackers – but again, it just sort of works for this device. It would almost be odd to see a polished, high res screen attached to a rugged, straightforward tracker like this.
The screen is clear in bright light, has a good backlight for night time walks or runs, and is engineered to prolong battery life at every opportunity.
On the plus side, you’ll still be able to connect this tracker to all your favorite Garmin fitness apps, pulling information from the tracker regarding your workouts, sleep patterns, and heart rate info with ease, too.
6. Best Value Pedometer – Letscom Fitness Tracker HR
This fitness tracker doesn’t have the kind of name brand appeal something like a Fitbit or Garmin unit might, but it delivers (almost) the same capabilities and performance at a fraction of the price tag.
With a really innovative design that allows for a slimmer profile (most of the sensors are built into both the body and straps of the unit, rather than just the body like most units), this tracker is often reviewed as one of the most comfortable pedometers money can buy.
A nearly one inch OLED display is front and center with this fitness tracker, giving you instant access to your fitness data. We’re talking about the individual steps you’re taking, the distances you have covered, the calories you burn, your heart rate information, and more.
The triple axis accelerometer technology lets the unit quickly differentiate between you walking, running, jumping into the pool for some laps, or going for a bike ride, too.
You can manually control these tracking options as well. Just hold your finger down on the bottom of the screen and select the tracking mode you’re interested in.
Talk about a simplified user interface, right?
The waterproofing here is rated at an IP5 level, which isn’t quite on par with modern waterproof smartphones, but not far off by much.
You might not want to take this out into the ocean, but you should never feel nervous about going for run in the rain or wearing this in the shower. Sweating while working out won’t ruin this pedometer.
7. Best Precision Pedometer – Omron HJ-112 Digital Pocket Pedometer
This Omron unit doesn’t just track your steps and distance covered, but also differentiates between regular steps and steps taken during what it calls “aerobic minutes” where you are actively working out.
This allows you to see how many steps you’ve taken total throughout the day like every other tracker, but also let’s you zoom in to see how you performed when you were intentionally training as well.
The ability to automatically differentiate between “normal” steps and when you were jogging or running with purpose is pretty wild. It’s something that Omron has really perfected here.
Built-in exercise timers, calorie counters, and heart rate monitors give you a more complete picture of your health and wellness, too.
A replaceable battery guarantees six-months of continuous operation before it needs to be swapped out, without you ever having to worry about plugging a charging cable into this fitness tracker/pedometer.
You can track and record activity data on a seven day rolling schedule before data starts to be overwritten. That’s pretty helpful, though some argue that better integration with fitness applications would have made the fitness data collected more useful.
It’s tough to argue with that point, though this is still a solid everyday kind of pedometer all the same.
8. Best Standalone Pedometer – Realalt 3DTriSport Walking 3D Pedometer
Those looking for more of a “throwback” pedometer that doesn’t require pairing with smartphones, while still taking advantage of modern accelerometer technology, have found a winner with this unit.
Insanely affordable, this standalone pedometer is plenty capable of recording all of your fitness data without having to run it through extra smartphone applications to be useful.
You’ll still get real-time feedback regarding your total steps walked, the minutes each day that you spent active, the total distances traveled during tracking sessions, and information about how many calories you are burning on a rolling daily basis.
The battery life on this unit is fantastic, with a fully charged battery providing up to 12 months of life before it needs to be replaced.
The LCD screen is clear and bright enough to read even in full sunlight, with a backlight that helps visibility in lowlight situations.
On the flipside, the fact that your data (aside from steps taken) is “flushed” on a 24 hour rolling basis is a bit of a bummer. The total lack of smartphone compatibility makes this unit feel limited in areas for sure.
9. Most Comfortable and Stylish – Xiaomi Mi Band 3
These pedometer and fitness trackers are three years old now (having been released in the middle of 2018) but are still one of the most popular budget focused options in 2021 because of all they bring to the table.
To begin with, this unit is very comfortable to wear!
The way the strap and sensor have been constructed make it feel like this tracker disappears on your wrist after a couple of days. It doesn’t get in the way, it never feels cumbersome or bulky, and it never gets uncomfortable – even if you’ve been wearing it all day and night.
The screen is well illuminated using AMOLED technology. This gives the high-resolution screen impressive visibility, providing a clear view of real-time fitness data you’re tracking. We’re talking about total steps taken, total distances covered, as well as data breaking down your overall activity levels. The touch based interface is smooth and responsive, too.
As far the accuracy of this unit goes, it’s on par with what you can be expected from devices made by Fitbit or Garmin – all at a price point that’s nearly half of those premium brands.
The pedometer uses a triple axis accelerometer to measure each footfall accurately and consistently. You also get built-in heart rate monitoring technology, calorie burned tracking, and basic sleep data capabilities.
On the downside, the lack of onboard GPS tracking and widespread fitness app compatibility issues are definitely missed here. Both of these things hold this unit back a little bit compared to the other choices on our list.
All in all, though, if you’re after a solid pedometer that won’t break your bank account (while recognizing its shortcomings) this is still a very attractive fitness tracker in 2021.
What to Look for in a Top Pedometer
Before we go over our nine favorite pedometers for 2021, it’s a good idea to highlight a couple of key features all the best pedometers have in common.
These are the “must-have” features your new pedometer should ideally include. If the pedometer you’re thinking about lacks any more than one of these features, you might be better off looking at something else.
Comfort and Wearability
The best pedometer is always going to be one you can comfortably wear on a consistent basis.
If your new fitness tracker isn’t comfortable, if it is painful or annoying to wear, you’re probably going to start looking for excuses not to wear it at all.
Your motivation to work out will drop, the data you collect when you work out will be inconsistent, and you’ll start to feel like your pedometer purchase was a waste of money.
An uncomfortable pedometer sets up a house of cards situation that never ends well.
Find something comfortable, something lightweight and unobtrusive, and something water (or at least sweat) proof and you’ll be good to go.
Like we mentioned earlier, today’s pedometers can track a whole lot more than just your steps.
The pedometers of the past used a spring style mechanism that had to be worn in a perfectly vertical position to have any accuracy at all. Even then they’d miss steps or double count and were generally pretty unreliable.
Today, though, that’s a problem of the past.
Modern pedometers use two and three axis accelerometers to count your steps with far more precision. On top of that, top pedometers today are going to include other tracking sensors to map your route, calculate calories burned, measure your heart rate and sleep stats, and more.
The sensor tech built into modern pedometers is far more consistent and far more accurate than what you would have had access to even just a decade ago.
Pedometers still need to be able to store and (ideally) share that information accurately to be effective, though. Look for options that keep rolling counts of your steps and can export your date to other fitness apps for a more detailed breakdown.
Bluetooth connectivity is critically important when you’re looking for a modern fitness tracker and pedometer.
Modern fitness tracking apps can take the raw data from top pedometers and extrapolate it in a couple of different ways, giving you a clear picture of your time spent active and training. Without a way to connect your tracker to these apps, though, the data your pedometer records is always siloed onto that device alone.
A Bluetooth wireless connection dramatically extends the usefulness of your pedometer. You’ll be able to do so much more with your fitness data when you can combine a small, lightweight tracking sensor with the power of a flagship smartphone and cutting edge apps.
As far as waterproofing is concerned, it’s not a bad idea to get a pedometer that offers at least 3 ATM or IP4 (or above) waterproofing levels.
All modern electronics are certified to be waterproof against these industry standard scales, and both of these levels are universally considered the bare minimum for useable waterproofing.
Most smartphones that have a waterproof level offer IP67 protection. If you can get your new fitness tracker to match that you should be good to go.
Last update on 2021-01-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API