We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Step trackers, which some people call pedometers, monitor the number of steps a person takes during the day. These devices may help individuals keep an eye on their activity levels.

Quick links

This article explores step trackers in more detail and provides a list of the devices, watches, and apps that people may find useful in their fitness journey.

In their most basic form, step trackers count the number of steps a person takes. However, step tracking can come as an extra feature of fitness tracker devices, which may also monitor calorie intake, heart rate, workouts, and more.

A person can purchase a step tracker as a standalone device. Alternatively, they may download it as an app on their mobile device or smartwatch.

A 2017 review highlights several benefits of step counting and step trackers, including:

  • measuring a person’s physical activity
  • potentially increasing activity in previously inactive people
  • improving a person’s motivation
  • being easy to use

A 2020 study suggests that adults who walk 8,000 or more steps a day have a lower risk of death from several diseases compared with those walking 4,000 steps a day.

Additionally, a 2019 study notes that short-term pedometer walking interventions may be useful to reduce incidences of heart problems and fractures in older adults.

There is little scientific research exploring the risks of step trackers. However, anecdotal evidence suggests some people stopped using them due to obsessive checking and goalsetting.

Some evidence also shows that pedometers may not be accurate. In a 2017 study examining the accuracy of four brands, researchers concluded that three of the four pedometers underestimated the number of steps a participant took.

Additionally, if a person is new to exercise or has underlying health conditions that may affect their breathing, they should ease themselves into longer periods of physical activity.

An individual can use a step-tracking app or pedometer app on their smartphone or smartwatch.

Once a person downloads the app, their smartphone or watch will track the number of steps they take. The app may also generate graphs and statistics relating to their physical activity. This allows an individual to monitor their level of activity in greater detail.

Alternatively, separate gadgets designed specifically for step and fitness tracking are also available. A person may wear them on their wrist, waist, or other body parts according to the product’s design to get an estimate of how many steps they took and other potential health information.

Many devices and apps can help a person track their steps. The following products may interest those looking for step counting devices and apps.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

3DTriSport Pedometer

Best for smaller budgets

This device comes in a range of colors. It is easy to set up, making it suitable for anyone.

A person can clip this small device to their pocket, wear it around their neck, or place it in their bag.

In addition to tracking steps, it offers information about distance covered and calories burned. It also allows people to set daily step goals.

Fitbit Ace Activity Tracker

Best for children

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise that children aged 6–17 years should engage in at least 1 hour of exercise each day.

This Fitbit Ace Activity Tracker is suitable for children aged 6 years and above. As well as tracking steps, it tracks sleep, includes a 1-hour daily active goal, and sends reminders to encourage the child to be active.

It also features parental controls and a parent view, allowing parents and caregivers to monitor their child’s activity.

OZO Fitness C3D Pedometer

Best for older adults

This step tracker is likely to suit older adults, as it features a large display digital screen with easy-to-read numbers and symbols.

A person can clip this pedometer onto their clothes using the removable belt clip. Each purchase also comes with a lanyard, so they can wear the device around their neck.

This pedometer also tracks steps, tracks distance in miles and kilometers, and the calories an individual has burned during the day.

The device has a 7-day memory and automatically resets all information at midnight. Additionally, the screen automatically dims, and the device sends visual and audible target reminders.

Unlike other devices in this list, this step tracker does not have any other features, making it simple to use and understand.


Best app for tracking health and fitness goals

The Pacer app is available for Apple and Android users. This free app counts steps and also tracks calories burned, distance traveled, and the amount of time a person has been active.

An individual can also connect the Pacer app with other apps, such as MyFitnessPal and the Apple Health App. Other features include:

  • the ability to link and share with friends and family
  • GPS to track outdoor activities
  • it works while in the hand, in a pocket, in a bag, or on the arm
  • can track weight and body mass index over time

Though the app is free, a person can choose to purchase premium features, for which plans start from $9.99 a month or $49.99 a year. The subscription includes access to:

  • guided workouts
  • advanced data reports and insights
  • weight loss coaching programs

Map My Walk

Best app for personal training

This free app provides statistics and feedback to help people improve their performance. It also provides ideas for new routes.

Instead of tracking steps, this app tracks distance, duration, and pace. This can help individuals who wish to become regular walkers or runners to increase their distance over time.

People can choose to pay either $5.99 per month or $29.99 per year for a premium subscription to access additional content, such as personal training plans and an ad-free experience when using the app.

Garmin Vívoactive® 4

Best for marathon training

In addition to tracking steps, this smartwatch can track:

  • respiration
  • menstrual cycles
  • stress
  • sleep
  • estimated heart rate
  • hydration

The Garmin Vívoactive 4 also includes free 5K, 10K, and half-marathon training.

The Vívoactive also offers a variety of features that people can use during workouts. The watch can track fitness metrics for over 20 different exercises, including yoga, running, and swimming. Additionally, the watch can map workouts using GPS and store and play music.

This smartwatch also has a safety and tracking feature. If the watch detects an incident, it can send an alert to a person’s emergency contact. However, a person will need to pair their watch to their smartphone to use this capability.

An individual can also use this watch to view phone calls, text messages, and calendar alerts if they pair it with their smartphones.

A person can review and purchase Garmin’s watch from Amazon.

Fitbit Versa 3

Best for Android users

The Fitbit Versa 3 is a fitness watch that tracks steps, distance traveled, and other health and fitness metrics.

A person can connect the smartwatch to their smartphone using Fitbit’s free app. Additionally, people can purchase a subscription to unlock premium features, such as more detailed fitness dashboards and fitness programs.

Additional features of this watch include:

  • built-in GPS to track workouts
  • sleep monitoring
  • tracks swimming, running, walking, and more

The Fitbit Versa 3 can display text and call notifications if a person pairs it with their smartphone. Additionally, Android users can send quick reply messages to their contacts through the smartwatch.

A person may consider purchasing a step tracker to monitor and increase their physical activity.

Depending on what individuals are looking for, they may consider a step-tracking app or device. Alternatively, they may consider devices that monitor general fitness, such as a smartwatch.