With so many fitness trackers to choose from, it can be hard to figure out which one is right for you. Features like sleep measuring and activity tracking — not to mention what the tracker looks like itself — all can influence whether or not you think it's worth it to drop hundreds of dollars on your quantified self. If you're worried about calorie count accuracy, you're in luck; researchers have found which trackers are the most accurate when estimating calories burned.
To test accuracy, researchers had 60 men and women wear eight different trackers while they exercised for 69 minutes. The participants also wore a metabolic analyzer in order to establish an accurate count of their calorie burn. Afterward, data from the trackers were compared with the accurate calorie burn count.
The results, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, were encouraging: most trackers were within what the researchers called "reasonably accurate" estimates, within 10 to 15 percent of the accurate number. The winner? The BodyMedia Fit, which earned a 9.3 percent error rating.
You may recognize the BodyMedia Fit as the large upper-arm device that Biggest Loser contestants wear, and while it's not as sleek as other available trackers, it features several measurements to get an accurate rating. It uses an accelerometer, a measurement called galvanic skin response — which measures how active you are based on your sweat — as well as a measurement of the heat your muscles and skin produce when you move. Taken together, these sensors produce a calorie count that is just as accurate, the study says, as research models.
Check out how the other eight trackers fared below, and don't forget to read more about the pros and cons of the most popular fitness trackers here.
|1.||BodyMedia FIT ($119)||9.3 percent|
|2.||Fitbit Zip ($60)||10.1 percent|
|3.||Fitbit One ($100)||10.4 percent|
|4.||Jawbone UP24 ($150)||12.2 percent|
|5.||Actigraph wGT3X-BT Monitor ($225)||12.6 percent|
|6.||Directlife ($199)||12.8 percent|
|7.||Nike FuelBand SE ($149)||13.0 percent|
|8.||Basis B1 Band ($199)||23.5 percent|