What gadget do you need - IMAGE - Women's Health and Fitness magazine

Thinking of investing in a fitness gadget to track your steps, calories burned or distance travelled? Find out which one will work for you.

Fitness Tracker:


Steps taken

Calories burned (BMR estimate)

Distance travelled (accelerometer)

Active minutes

Elevation gain (altimeter)

Heart rate (PPG)

Use it... 

When counting steps

For estimating daily energy expenditure

To find out how active your days are using active minutes

To find out how restless your sleep is using an accelerometer

For estimating how far you travel using your steps

Obtaining an average heart rate


Tend to be less expensive than sports watches

Great for motivating those starting out with exercise

Great for everyday use with no specific goals in mind 


Less accurate measurements than sports watches

Sports Watch: 


Heart rate (ECG or, less commonly, PPG)

Calories burned during workouts

Distance travelled (GPS and/or accelerometer)

Elevation gain (GPS or altimeter)

Steps taken

Use for...

Accurately tracking calories burned during workouts

Using heart rate to determine intensity or workout or to improve fitness

Accurately tracking speed and distance

Accurately tracking exercise intensity levels using active time/MET (metabolic equivalent) measurements


More accurate measurements

Calorie readings post workout

Great for tracking your fitness towards a goal


Tend to be more expensive

Often requires a heart rate strap to detect accurate heart rate


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