Are Fitness Trackers Accurate?

Your wearable fitness tracker is almost as good having a personal coach that tracks your every workout session. Every day, you can check your heart rate, steps counted, sleep, and even calories burned. But how accurate is that information? After all, the sensors inside of a fitness tracker isn’t the same as medical equipment. Instead of a sophisticated EEG, fitness trackers use accelerometers to track your sleep. Instead of an ECG, fitness trackers use LED lights to take your pulse. While those sensors are good, they still aren’t quite as sophisticated as the kind of equipment doctors and scientists use.

But even if your Fitbit or other tracker isn’t perfect, how close does it get?

Researchers have studied the accuracy for fitness trackers for years. And they’ve discovered that some fitness trackers are more accurate than others, and they track some aspects of your health better than others. For example, most fitness trackers are very good at counting your steps. But when it comes to keeping track of the calories burned during the day, it usually falls short.

This infographic from WearableZone summarizes some of the research. Keep it in mind the next time you use a fitness tracker to record your fitness data on a jog.

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