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Buying a pedometer

Most pedometer manufacturers sell a range of products to choose from, some are more expensive than others and have more features. When choosing a pedometer, you naturally want to know what is on offer - we have put together a practical guide to help you choose.

Generally speaking, there are three levels of pedometer currently available:

  1. Those that only count steps are often referred to as Step Counters, these are the simplest and cheapest models
  2. Those that count steps and attempt to calculate the distance you've walked, by asking you to input your average stride length into the pedometer
  3. Those that count steps, calculate distances and estimate the amount of calories you have used. This works by asking you to input your weight (usually in kilograms), and sets this against the amount of distance you have covered

Scientific research has shown that pedometers are generally highly accurate at counting steps, but less good at estimating distance - after all people vary their stride length in everyday life depending upon the speed they are walking at. Calorie estimation is even less accurate, as most pedometers don't take age into account and therefore cannot correctly estimate metabolic rate - for this reason, calorie estimates will be inaccurate for children.

More advanced pedometers are becoming available, some have a built-in diary which records your steps over a number of days, others calculate your total walking time in minutes and seconds, some even have a pulse-rate reader.

In the light of the current scientific evidence for pedometers, we have decided to judge them on the qualities that are likely to make the most difference to your daily lifestyle, namely: accuracy in counting steps, robustness, size, design, user-friendliness, and price. We also thought it was important to inform you of the scientific findings for some of these pedometers.

We tested the accuracy over four different free-living conditions, all of which are likely to occur in daily life:

  • 500 steps of brisk walking (pavement)
  • 500 steps of jogging (pavement)
  • 250 steps of slow walking (pavement)
  • 100 steps walking up and down stairs


As an approximate guide, 1, 000 steps is roughly equivalent to 10 minutes of brisk walking. Read this article to learn more about the 10, 000 steps challenge:


These 3 pedometers are available to purchase:

This pedometer is available for £24 and has a range of different functions:


This pedometer is less than £12 and uses a sophisticated technology:


This pedometer is less than £4 and is a good choice for a basic overview of your step count:

If your company would like us to include your pedometer for our review, please email Thanks to all the companies who supplied pedometers for us to test.


What is a pedometer?

Why is a pedometer useful?

Pedometer FAQ

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