I’ve been asked this question a ton of times — here’s what I usually tell people:
Depending upon your budget, I’ve definitely found that nicer pedometers encourage people to stick with walking. A pedometer is a cheap investment already — and so I would encourage everyone to bypass the $1 – $5 pedometers and go for something that will:
1) Last you
2) Not count a bunch of steps for non-walking activities
3) Be very wearable (most of the people on Walker Tracker wear their pedometer all day, every day)
A pedometer like this is going to cost you in the neighborhood of $10 – $40. Walking really is one of the cheapest physical activities.
My favorite pedometers are the ‘pocket pedometers’ — you don’t need to clip them on, you just put them in your pocket and they’ll count fine from there. The cheapest of these is the Omron HJ-112, which is about $20 at Amazon. Its big brother is the Omron HJ-720ITC. If you are ordering in bulk, you might try onlinefitness.com for a discount.
For cheaper options – the Omron HJ-150 and HJ-151 are both decent, sturdy pedometers. It’s also worth checking out what pedometers our community likes here — it looks like other highly-rated pedometers according to our community are the Sportline 345, Sportline 350, Yamax DigiWalker CW-701, New Lifestyles NL-2000.
In order of features, I like:
- wearable in a pocket. If you don’t wear it, it’s not going to do you any good.
- memory (usually 7 days – I like to see how I’ve done over a week, and it’s useful for entering on Walker Tracker)
- resets at midnight
- can’t ‘fake’ steps (uses an accelerometer over a pendulum. Or rather, it’s much harder to fake steps)
- a continuous activity measure (on Omron pedometers this is called ‘aerobic steps’ (in the newer ones, for some reason they renamed this to ‘moderate steps’ – it measures when it feels you’ve been walking long enough to benefit your heart)
There are lots of other metrics that pedometers can calculate — miles walked, calories burned, etc, but most of these are just mathematical calculations based on the number of steps you’ve walked. They’re useful features, but not absolutely necessary.
Best of luck!