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How Accurate Are Pedometers?

A pedometer counts your number of steps and reports the calories you burn and the distance you traveled. While this sound scientific, bear in mind that the results are an approximate measurement. You have to assume that there’s an error by at least 10 percent. Theaccuracy and longevity of the pedometer are influenced by the kind of mechanism use. Check out the different mechanisms below.

  • Spring-Levered Pedometers: Majority of the most common and economical pedometers are spring-levered pedometers. This uses tiny spring that serves as its lever arm. It swings downward to close a contact and count a step. Then the spring will return to its original position. The process continues while you make a step. With this mechanism, you will hear a click each step you make. Unfortunately, the spring becomes looser over time with a lot of use and the pedometer’s accuracy drops.

  • Coiled-Spring Pedometers: This mechanism also uses a spring, a coil spring. A coil spring is less susceptible to becoming loose, which makes it more accurate than the thin spring type.

  • GPS Pedometers – GPS uses satellites to measure distance and speed. It has no moving parts, which makes it less susceptible to damage. These devices do not give you a step count but deliver very accurate speed and distance measurement outdoors. However, changing elevation of terrain can interfere system. You can download an application and use the GPS built into your cell phone or buy a stand-alone GPS pedometer.

  • Accelerometer Chip Pedometers – this technology uses motion-sensing chips that you can find in cell phones and modern wrist fitness trackers. They sense movement, no matter how they are oriented and delivers the data to pedometer apps and power fitness bands.