10 Things I Hate About My Pedometer

Pedometers are great tools to count walking steps, but you may find problems with the belt clips, sticky cases, and accuracy.

Breaking Belt Clips

Accusplit Eagle AE170 Pedometer
Accusplit Eagle AE170 Pedometer. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

This is usually a problem of plastic clips. Look for a pedometer that has a replaceable belt clip rather than one molded from the case. You may look for a pedometer with a metal belt clip that attaches with screws and can be replaced.

Belt Clips that Don't Hold Securely

Pedometer Safety Leash with Fitbit
Pedometer Safety Leash with Fitbit. Wendy Bumgardner © 2012

I've had many pedometer belt clips that just don't hold securely to my waistband. In the worst instances, they pop off while walking or sitting. But most pedometers hop off when you make a restroom stop, so I always use a pedometer safety leash for extra security. You can buy a leash that has an alligator clip at one end, or you can cobble together one of your own with string and a safety pin. To add insult to injury - I've had the alligator clip on the safety leash break, too! If you own an expensive fitness band, you may have the problem of it coming unclasped and having it fall off your wrist. Solutions for that include buying an o-ring at a hardware store or a cute silicone Bitbelt to add to keep it secure.

Too Tight Belt Clips

Walk4Life Elite Pedometer
Walk4Life Elite Pedometer. © Walk4Life

The opposite problem is a belt clip that has such tension that you can't easily get it open enough to fit it over your waistband. I've encountered a few of these and quickly lose patience with it. This is especially a problem if you have impaired dexterity due to arthritis or other conditions.

Sticky Cases that Won't Open

RYP Sports Pedometer 4100
RYP Sports Step Counting Pedometer 4100. Wendy Bumgardner ©

For pedometers that have a case cover, I've given up on reviewing some pedometers because I couldn't get the case open without a struggle. You should be able to open up the case while it is still attached to your waistband. Often this is a flaw in a single unit and you should return it for one that opens easier.

Accidental Resetting

Pedometer Reset Button
Pedometer Reset Button. Wendy Bumgardner © 2009

For pedometers that don't have a case to cover the buttons, a big problem is in buttons that can be accidentally pushed to reset the step count. Usually, you have to push it for a couple of seconds, but even that can happen if you lean on something. If you find this happening often, get a pedometer that has a closed case. I also prefer pedometers that have a 7-day memory function so they don't lose my steps completely if I accidentally reset it.

My Pants are Talking Again

I used to wear a discontinued version of the Sportbrain pedometer that had a talking button that told you your step count. The problem is that I could activate it by bumping it against something, so I found my pants talking to me at inappropriate times, such as during business meetings or church services. Even non-talking pedometers may have beeps, etc. when the buttons get pushed.

Click, Click, Click

Noisy, clicking pedometers are annoying. This is a function of the type of pedometer, usually seen in old-style pedometers and cheap freebie pedometers. The more expensive/modern ones use a piezoelectric design that is silent -- no more clicking. If the clicking bothers you, trade up.
What makes your pedometer click?

Overcounting and Undercounting Steps

Plain old inaccuracy is the biggest problem. Those freebie pedometers are often inaccurate. You need to trade up to a more accurate design. The piezo-electric accelerometers are the most accurate and are quiet.  How Accurate are Pocket Pedometers?

The Darn Thing Says I'm a Slug

Once you have an accurate pedometer, the darn thing won't let you lie to yourself about how many steps you have logged. How fair is that? You can't fudge it, you have to MOVE IT! But, that's the whole point of wearing one, so get moving!
How many steps per day are enough?

It Won't Log My Biking, Swimming, Yadda Yadda

Pedometers count steps. They don't count exercise in general, so you may be burning lots of calories with other activities, but they won't register on a pedometer. You can keep track minutes spent in other exercise and use my step conversion charts to translate those activities into steps. For pool walkers, the only waterproof pedometer I've seen is from Oregon Scientific and it is not cheap.
Pedometer step equivalents for other exercise activities