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How accurate are Fitbit trackers?

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Fitbit is dedicated to developing the most accurate activity trackers on the market. Our team has performed multiple internal studies to rigorously test the accuracy of Fitbit trackers. Through our testing, we have confirmed that our trackers are some of the most accurate wireless tracking devices. Choose a question to see the answer below.

Why is my step count different on my wrist-based tracker than my clip-based tracker?

Fitbit wrist-based trackers have been tested extensively against our clip-based devices like the Fitbit One™ and Fitbit Zip™. That said, because wrist-based trackers are specifically designed for your wrist, if you move your body a lot and not your arms (or vice versa), you may get a slight difference in activity than you would see on your clip-based trackers. Additionally, since you’re more likely to wear your wrist-based tracker 24/7, you may count a few more steps.​ 

Why do I get extra steps sometimes?

Fitbit trackers have a finely tuned algorithm for step counting. The algorithm is designed to look for intensity and motion patterns that are most indicative of people walking and running.  When working at a desk, cooking, or doing other arm movements, a tracker on your wrist can pick up some extra steps if it thinks you're walking. Many of these situations—such as working or cooking—do include a few steps in-between stationary periods so the tracker tries to give you credit for those steps. For the vast majority of customers, the amount of stray steps accumulated is negligible when compared to the entire day.

Why do I get some steps when I'm riding a bike?

On bumpy trails it's possible that your tracker will register steps but these should be negligible in your overall stats.

Why do I get extra floors sometimes?

If your tracker measures floors, it detects floors using an altimeter, which is a sensor that calculates altitude based on atmospheric pressure. Though your tracker is designed to look for pressure changes based on elevation gains, pressure changes due to other causes—such as a gust of wind, a weather change, or opening a door—can occasionally cause your tracker to register an extra floor or two. Another factor is floor height. Your tracker registers one floor when you’ve gone up about ten feet, which is the average between residential and commercial floor heights. If you climb long staircases you may find that the tracker’s floor count doesn’t match how many floors you’ve gone up since the staircase was taller than ten feet.

Will my tracker count steps when I’m pushing a stroller or a shopping cart?

Your tracker counts your steps when you are pushing a stroller or a shopping cart, but because your hands are not moving your step count may be lower than usual during this activity if you're wearing your tracker on your wrist.

Will my tracker pick up steps when I’m in the car or riding a vehicle somewhere?

Your tracker is a smart device that has been designed not to pick up your steps in these activities. It has been tested against driving, buses, trains, and other public transportation and should not give you extra steps when you’re traveling. On bumpy roads you may get extra steps but these should not make a big difference in your overall stats.

Does the wrist I wear it on affect accuracy?

For wrist-based trackers, its important to specify whether you wear the tracker on your dominant or non-dominant wrist:
  • The dominant wrist setting decreases the sensitivity of step counting and should reduce any over counting of steps when your body is not moving.
  • The non-dominant wrist setting increases the sensitivity of step counting and should reduce any under counting of steps. Non-dominant is the default.
In addition to dominance (right or left), Fitbit Alta™ also needs to know which wrist you prefer to wear the tracker on. Tracker location helps orient the screen correctly in addition to adjusting the sensitivity of step detection.

To change your settings, in the Fitbit app go to Account tab and choose your tracker at the top of the screen.

What can I do if my step count seems inaccurate?

If you feel that your step count and distance are inaccurate, first make sure the wrist placement settings are correct. You may also want to manually adjust the stride length that we calculated automatically based on your height and gender. For more information, see How do I measure and adjust my stride length?

​To help with the accuracy of your Fitbit Zip™ or Fitbit One™ tracker, ensure that you’re wearing the clip-based tracker in the correct location. For more information, see How do I wear my tracker?

How accurate is my heart rate measurement?

See What should I know about my heart rate data?

How accurate is GPS?

See How accurate is GPS?
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Last updated: July 6, 2016
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