How do I Choose the Best Pedometer Radio?

V. Saxena

Pedometers are digital device that measures how many steps one has walked. Pedometer radios not only measure steps but also play music. The four factors one must consider when purchasing such a device are size, accuracy, features, and radio signal quality.

Pedometers measure how many steps a person takes.
Pedometers measure how many steps a person takes.

A pedometer radio should be no larger than 4 in (10.16 cm). Most people prefer opting for a smaller 2 in (5.08 cm) or 3 in (7.62 cm) pedometer, however, because it’s easier to wear on a belt or clip to a t-shirt. A larger digital pedometer runs a higher chance of falling off by accident while jogging. Size also plays a role in accuracy, and a pedometer that is firmly attached to an individual's clothing will provide more accurate results.

Pedometer radios typically receive AM and FM signals.
Pedometer radios typically receive AM and FM signals.

Accuracy is important because if a pedometer cannot accurately measure steps, it is practically useless. The best digital pedometers generally rely on a piezo-electric accelerometer, which is far more precise than a coiled spring mechanism or hairspring mechanism. Both coiled spring and hairspring mechanisms are more common in cheap and ineffective pedometers.

The types of extra features a pedometer radio offers can be important. Some users may prefer extra features while others may find them unnecessary. Regardless, some of the features to look out for include a calorie counter for keeping a track of the average number of calories burned, a cover for preventing an accidental reset, and a reset button for resetting the step record to zero, which is uncommon in cheaper models that may automatically rest at midnight. Additional features to consider include whether the pedometer radio offers an alarm clock, memory for keeping a 7-day log of steps walked, and a pulse rate reader for monitoring one’s heart rate.

The best pedometers radios include an integrated Global Positioning System (GPS) chip. This allows the device to accurately calculate how far the user has traveled, and at what speed he or she was moving. Some lower grade pedometers can also provide these calculations based on average stride length and time passed, though the results are often much less accurate.

Another, and perhaps most important, component to a pedometer radio is its music playback functionality. A basic radio pedometer will include a standard AM/FM tuner for listening to local radio stations. More advanced pedometers also provide an auxiliary port for connecting a portable MP3 player. The best even offer a USB interface, with which users can attach an mp3 player.

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