The 10 Best Watches With Step Counters 2024

The 10 Best Watches With Step Counters 2024

In an era where health and fitness are paramount, step counter watches have become a staple for fitness enthusiasts and casual users alike. These innovative timepieces not only keep track of time but also monitor your daily activities, making them a must-have gadget for anyone looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In this article, we explore some of the best watches with step counters available in the market.

1. Garmin Venu 3S

£449 - John Lewis

Garmin Venu 3S watch with step counter

The Garmin Venu 3 is a significant upgrade from its predecessor, the Venu 2, excelling in both style and functionality. This smartwatch is available in two sizes, 45mm (Venu 3) and 41mm (Venu 3S), and comes in various colors, including sage green and dust rose. It's designed as a versatile health and fitness smartwatch, perfect for a comprehensive overview of your wellness.

Featuring over 30 sports modes, including running, cycling, and swimming, as well as yoga and Pilates, the Venu 3 is like having a personal trainer on your wrist. It goes beyond basic step counting with advanced features like stress tracking, menstrual cycle monitoring, and Garmin’s Body Battery energy monitoring, making it stand out in the smartwatch market.

The Venu 3’s sleep tracking has also seen advancements, offering a detailed sleep score and personalized sleep coaching. For runners, its accurate GPS and compatibility with apps like Strava make it a reliable choice, although dedicated runners might prefer the Garmin Fenix 7S or Forerunner 245 for more specialized running features.

In summary, the Garmin Venu 3 is an excellent choice for those who want a smartwatch that balances health, wellness, and fitness, suitable for a variety of activities beyond just running.

2. Fitbit Charge 5

£85 - Amazon

 Fitbit Charge 5 watch with step counter

The Fitbit Charge 5, Fitbit's flagship tracker, might surprise you with its efficiency despite its compact size. The tracker features a vivid, colorful AMOLED display that is clear and easy to read, a significant improvement over the expectations set by its small band screen. When used in conjunction with the user-friendly and intuitive Fitbit app, the Charge 5 proves to be a powerful fitness tool.

Designed more like a fitness band, the Charge 5 comes with a simple silicone strap and a peg-and-loop closure, reminiscent of the Fitbit Versa 4. This design makes it comfortable for all-day wear, including overnight for sleep tracking. It monitors sleep stages effectively, using heart rate and movement data, and offers a convenient Do Not Disturb mode to mute notifications and dim the screen at bedtime.

The Charge 5 offers 21 exercise modes, such as Bootcamp, hiking, and swimming. It can display up to six activity modes at a time on the device. The tracker excels in automatically detecting and recording activities, like walking or aerobic workouts, even adjusting when it misinterprets an activity. It also includes an altimeter to record elevation changes, making it great for tracking hikes and climbs.

However, the Fitbit Charge 5 might not be the best fit for those deeply entrenched in gym routines or preparing for intense fitness challenges like a half marathon. It lacks some features like guided breathing sessions and wrist-based Spotify controls.

In summary, the Fitbit Charge 5 is ideal for those seeking a compact, efficient tracker that covers a broad range of fitness activities and offers convenience in sleep and activity tracking.

3. Apple Watch Series 8

£349 - John Lewis

Apple Watch Series 8 watch with step counter

The Apple Watch Series 8, while mirroring its predecessor, the Series 7, in many ways, offers new users, especially those entrenched in the Apple ecosystem, a delightful experience. Aesthetically, the Series 8 maintains the iconic square design of the Apple Watch, available in 41mm and 45mm sizes, and comes in various finishes like gold, silver, starlight, and midnight. Its array of strap options, from stretchable silicone to nylon weave, allows for personal customization.

The watch features an always-on display, one of the brightest and clearest in the market, eliminating the need to flick your wrist to wake the screen. A full keyboard on the watch is particularly handy for responding to emails and texts on the move.

A notable addition to the Series 8 is the dual temperature sensors. One sensor detects minute body temperature changes, and the other monitors temperature fluctuations during sleep, aiding in early illness detection and ovulation tracking. It also retains the health features of the Series 7, including an optical pulse tracker, a blood oxygen sensor, and an ECG sensor.

The Series 8's safety features are particularly impressive, with fall detection and the new ability to detect vehicle crashes, automatically contacting emergency services if needed.

However, the battery life remains a point of contention. Despite faster charging capabilities, the need for daily charging can be a drawback for some users. While the Series 8 might not be the top choice for dedicated runners or cyclists, for iPhone users who value seamless integration across devices, it's an excellent choice. For those seeking a more rugged option for extreme sports, the new Apple Watch Ultra is worth considering.

In essence, the Apple Watch Series 8 is a solid choice for those new to Apple watches or deeply integrated into the Apple ecosystem, offering a blend of style, functionality, and impressive health and safety features.

4. Fitbit Versa 4

£149 - Boots UK

Fitbit Versa 4 watch with step counter

The Fitbit Versa 4 continues Fitbit's legacy of popularizing fitness trackers with its sleek design and advanced features. This smartwatch, available in four colors – black, blue, pink, and 'beet' – boasts a practical strap design that tucks in neatly, eliminating any excess flap. The AMOLED display is clear and bright, though the touchscreen responsiveness could be improved.

Initial setup, including app download, charging, and phone connection, may take a little time, but the effort pays off with the user-friendly and feature-rich Fitbit app. It stands out for its simplicity and range of features, including guided breathing exercises, women's health tracking, daily stress management scores, and blood oxygen monitoring.

While similar to its predecessor, the Versa 3, in terms of heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring, the Versa 4 distinguishes itself with an expanded array of over 40 exercise modes compared to the Versa 3's 20. Its battery life is commendable, especially when compared to an Apple Watch.

In terms of accuracy, it slightly lags behind specialized Garmin running watches. A downside is the ease with which tracked activities can be accidentally deleted, and its limitation to only sync GPS-based activities with third-party apps, which might disappoint those who track non-GPS exercises like yoga.

The Versa 4 is a solid choice for general fitness tracking and insights, but it might not be the go-to option for marathon runners or triathletes. For those seeking the pinnacle of Fitbit's health and wellness features, the Fitbit Sense 2 would be a more suitable choice.

In summary, the Fitbit Versa 4 is a stylish and versatile smartwatch ideal for everyday fitness enthusiasts, offering a comprehensive range of workout modes and health features.

5. Wahoo Elemnt Rival Multisport GPS Watch

£99 - Wahoo

Wahoo Elemnt Rival Multisport GPS Watch watch with step counter

The Wahoo Elemnt Rival Multisport GPS Watch is an ideal companion for those gearing up for a triathlon. Its design is comparable in size to the Garmin Fēnix and Polar X, yet it stands out for being noticeably lighter. While the screen may not be the brightest and the navigation initially less intuitive, users can quickly become accustomed to its interface.

Setting up the watch involves downloading the corresponding app, charging the watch, and pairing it through a QR code scan. After entering some personal data, the watch is ready to go.

The Elemnt Rival comes preloaded with various programs suitable for triathletes, including race and track running, treadmill workouts, pool and open water swimming, cycling, and even yoga and strength training. However, its standout feature is the 'Touchless Transition'. This unique function automatically detects when you transition from swimming to cycling, recording your transition time and starting the next leg of your triathlon without manual input.

Compared to the more feature-rich Apple Watch or Fitbit Versa 4, the Wahoo Elemnt Rival may seem basic — lacking advanced metrics like blood-oxygen level monitoring. Yet, its simplicity, clear display, and triathlon-specific features make it a strong contender for those focused on triathlon racing.

In conclusion, for triathletes seeking a straightforward, efficient watch that excels in tracking multisport activities, the Wahoo Elemnt Rival Multisport GPS Watch is definitely worth considering.

6. Huawei Watch GT 4

£199.99 - Huawei

Huawei Watch GT4 watch with step counter

The HUAWEI Watch GT 4 stands out as a smartwatch that seamlessly blends style with functionality, making it suitable for both formal and casual wear. The watch features a stainless steel case, giving it a sophisticated look that doesn't immediately suggest a fitness tracker.

I evaluated the 46mm version with a green woven strap, which may be more comfortable on larger wrists. Other strap options include brown leather, grey stainless steel, and for the smaller 41mm model, more delicate choices like a Milanese strap. The model I tried had an appealing forest green octagonal shape and boasted a bright 1.43-inch AMOLED touchscreen with a resolution of 326 PPI, comparable to an iPhone 11, and an intuitive button layout.

The GT 4, compatible with both iOS and Android, will feel familiar to Apple Watch users, especially with its activity rings feature. These rings are a daily fitness prompt, tracking calorie burn, exercise duration, and general activity, such as standing.

Beyond the activity rings, the GT 4 offers comprehensive tracking capabilities, monitoring sleep, SpO2 levels, menstrual cycles, and over 100 sports modes, including traditional activities like walking, running, and swimming, as well as sports like basketball, padel, and esports.

The battery life is particularly impressive. After tracking various activities including running, gym workouts, Pilates, and swimming, the battery remained over 50%. This makes the GT 4 not just a smartwatch, but also a fashionable accessory at an attractive price point.

The only drawback is the accompanying app. It's somewhat clunky compared to the more user-friendly interfaces of the Fitbit or Apple Watch apps, but it's still functional.

In summary, the HUAWEI Watch GT 4 is an excellent choice for those seeking a stylish smartwatch that doesn’t compromise on fitness and health tracking capabilities.

7. Coros Pace 3

£219 - Amazon

Coros pace 3 watch with step counter

The Coros Pace 3, weighing a mere 30g with a nylon band and measuring only 11.7mm in thickness, is an exceptionally lightweight smartwatch. For those who prefer something other than velcro straps, there's a slightly heavier silicone band option at 39g. Its slender design ensures comfort, even when worn to bed. The watch is user-friendly, featuring just two buttons on the right side, including a dial for easy navigation.

A key highlight of the Pace 3 is its remarkable battery life. In my testing, wearing it continuously for activities including sleep tracking, receiving notifications, running, cycling, and gym workouts, the battery level remained impressively high. This endurance gives it an edge over comparably priced Garmin and Polar models.

The Coros app is a goldmine for data enthusiasts, providing detailed insights into various fitness metrics like training status, recovery level, cadence, stride length, and elevation. It also integrates smoothly with popular third-party apps such as Strava and Apple Health.

The Pace 3 introduces a new mapping feature, allowing users to create custom routes or search for destinations in the app, and then sync them to the watch. With its accurate dual-frequency GPS, the watch supports a wide range of activities, including various running modes, hiking, biking, and swimming.

One downside I noticed was the lack of specific workout options for activities like Pilates or yoga. For my Pilates class, I had to settle for the 'gym cardio' setting, which didn't quite capture the essence of the workout.

If you're a Coros Pace 2 user, the Pace 3 represents a solid upgrade. However, for those engaged in more extreme sports or training for events like ultra marathons, consider the Coros Apex 2 or Apex 2 Pro. These models, while more expensive, are tailored for harsher conditions and rugged terrains, making them ideal for serious athletes in challenging environments.

In conclusion, the Coros Pace 3 is a versatile and efficient smartwatch, perfect for a wide range of sports and fitness activities, although it may fall short for certain specific workouts.

8. Polar X Grit Pro

£459 - Polar

Polar X Grit Pro watch with step counter

The Polar X Grit Pro is a robust and advanced smartwatch, primarily designed for extreme athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. Meeting military standards, it's built to withstand extreme temperatures ranging from -20°C to +50°C. At a price point of £459, this watch is particularly suited for ultra-marathon runners seeking a plethora of high-end features.

Key to the Grit X Pro's appeal is its emphasis on endurance and recovery. The FuelWise feature provides timely reminders for nutrition during long sessions, while Load Pro helps balance training intensity to avoid overtraining or undertraining. It also monitors sleep quality and quantity, offering a straightforward overnight recovery score. However, its size might be slightly cumbersome for wearing to bed.

The watch excels in navigation with turn-by-turn guidance for walking, cycling, or running. Routes can be planned on and synced to the watch, and the 'Track Back' feature is a standout, guiding you back to your starting point if you wander off course. This makes it a valuable tool for extreme hikers and adventurers (who might also be interested in high-tech waterproof jackets).

Battery life is crucial for outdoor watches, and the Polar doesn't disappoint, offering 40 hours of full GPS tracking, extendable to 100 hours in power-saving mode. While it's undoubtedly a high-quality watch, it might be considered overkill for casual runners or those who don't require such extensive features and durability.

In essence, the Polar X Grit Pro is a top-tier choice for serious athletes and outdoor enthusiasts who need a watch that can keep up with their most demanding adventures.

9. Garmin Fenix 7S

£559 - Garmin

Garmin Fenix 7S watch with step counter 

The Garmin Fēnix 7S represents the pinnacle of Garmin's multi-sport watch offerings, designed for serious athletes engaged in activities like cycling, marathons, Ironman competitions, CrossFit, and ultra-marathons.

I tested the standard 7S edition, which features a 42mm case, making it more suitable for smaller wrists compared to the slightly bulkier 47mm variant. This watch follows the legacy of the Fēnix 6, retaining its advanced workout tracking and training tools, but introduces a significant enhancement with the addition of a touchscreen. This feature is especially handy for navigating maps, and the touchscreen is thoughtfully locked by default during workouts to prevent accidental inputs – a feature I appreciated.

Although the display isn’t as vivid as the AMOLED screen on the Venu, it contributes to the Fēnix 7S's extended battery life, which I found impressive during my testing, eliminating the need for frequent charging.

The Fēnix 7S is equipped with all the expected smartwatch sensors for its price range, including a heart rate monitor, altimeter, compass, blood oxygen sensor, and temperature sensor. Additionally, it offers music storage capabilities.

One feature I particularly admired in the Fēnix 7S is the race predictor tool. This tool estimates your potential finishing times for various races like 5k, 10k, half marathons, and marathons based on your training and current fitness levels. While it's just an estimate, I found it highly motivating, especially when it predicted a 10k time faster than my personal best, indicating that my training was effective.

In summary, the Garmin Fēnix 7S is an exceptional choice for athletes seeking a top-tier, feature-rich smartwatch that balances advanced fitness tracking with motivational tools and impressive battery life.

10. WHOOP 4.0

£229 / Year Membership - WHOOP

WHOOP 4.0 step counter

The Whoop 4.0 distinguishes itself in the fitness tracker market with its unique design that resembles a bracelet more than a traditional watch. Notably, it lacks both a screen and GPS functionality, focusing instead on monitoring recovery, strain (elevated heart rate), and sleep. This makes it an ideal choice for athletes who are keen on understanding their recovery and rest levels in depth.

Released in 2021, the Whoop 4.0 is available through a subscription model for the Whoop fitness app, priced at £18 a month. While this may seem steep for a product that essentially consists of an athletic-looking fabric strap with a heart rate monitor, its value lies in the depth of data it provides. The tracker can be somewhat challenging to put on, but once secured, it offers a comfortable, flush fit against the wrist.

As someone in training, I appreciate Whoop’s detailed approach to data. It offers insightful information on sleep patterns, daily recovery levels, and the amount of strain your body can handle. However, the absence of a traditional display, the minimalist design, and basic features like step counting might not appeal to everyone.

For individuals deeply invested in their sleep quality and injury prevention, the Whoop 4.0 stands out as one of the best options. Its popularity among a specific user base is understandable given its targeted approach to fitness and wellness tracking.

In conclusion, the Whoop 4.0 is well-suited for users who prioritize detailed sleep and recovery data over traditional fitness tracker features like step counting and GPS.

How Do Step Counter Watches Work?

Step counter watches operate using a blend of technology and sophisticated algorithms. At their core, these devices contain accelerometers, small sensors that detect movement. As you walk or run, the accelerometer senses your body's motion and translates this data into steps. Advanced models also factor in personal information like height and weight to provide more accurate step counts. This technology not only tracks the number of steps but can also differentiate between various types of physical activities, offering a comprehensive overview of your daily movements.

Are Step Counters Worth It?

Investing in a watch with a step counter can be a game-changer for those looking to improve their physical health. These devices serve as a constant reminder to stay active, motivating users to reach their daily step goals. Beyond counting steps, they often come packed with additional health-tracking features such as heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and calorie counting. These comprehensive insights into your daily activities and health metrics make step counter watches a valuable tool for anyone dedicated to leading a healthier lifestyle.

Can Analog Watches Count Steps?

While traditional analog watches are not equipped to count steps, the advent of hybrid smartwatches has bridged this gap. These watches combine the classic look of an analog watch with the functionality of a smartwatch. Equipped with sensors and connected to your smartphone, they discreetly track your steps, sleep, and even notify you of messages and calls. Thus, they offer the perfect blend of style and technology for those who prefer a more traditional watch aesthetic but still want the benefits of a step counter.

Analogue watch with step counter

(G-Shock Analogue Watch With Step Counter)

What Is the Best Children's Watch with Step Counter?

When it comes to children, the VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2 stands out as an excellent choice for a watch with a step counter. This watch is not only durable and kid-friendly but also comes with fun and engaging features that encourage physical activity. Its step counter is designed to motivate children to move more, while interactive games and challenges make fitness fun. Additionally, it offers parental control features, ensuring a safe and secure experience for younger users.

Is Fitbit or Garmin More Accurate for Steps?

The debate between Fitbit and Garmin's accuracy in step counting has been ongoing. Both brands are renowned for their precision and advanced technology. Fitbit is often praised for its user-friendly interface and motivational community, making it a popular choice for everyday fitness tracking. Garmin, on the other hand, is lauded for its robust build and detailed analytics, appealing to serious athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. In terms of step-counting accuracy, both are highly reliable, with minor differences that are often negligible for the average user. The choice largely depends on personal preference and the specific features one is looking for in a step counter watch.


In conclusion, watches with step counters have evolved from mere gadgets to essential tools for monitoring and improving our health. Whether you're a fitness enthusiast or someone who's just starting out, there's a step counter watch out there for you. Remember, the key to a healthier lifestyle could be just a step away!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the best watch to count steps?

The best watch for counting steps largely depends on individual needs and preferences. However, models like the Garmin Fenix 7S and Fitbit Versa 4 are highly regarded for their accuracy and range of features, making them excellent choices for step counting.

2. Do step counter watches work?

Yes, step counter watches work effectively. They use motion sensors like accelerometers to detect movement and calculate steps. Most modern step counter watches are quite accurate, making them useful tools for tracking daily activity.

3. What counts your steps on a watch?

A step counter or pedometer function within a watch counts your steps. This is typically achieved using an accelerometer, a device within the watch that senses motion and translates it into steps based on specific algorithms.

4. What is a pedometer watch?

A pedometer watch is a type of watch that includes a pedometer function to count the number of steps taken by the wearer. These watches can range from basic models that only count steps to more advanced smartwatches with additional features like heart rate monitoring and GPS.

5. Does the Apple Watch count steps?

Yes, the Apple Watch counts steps. It uses its built-in accelerometer and other sensors to track your movement and calculate the number of steps taken throughout the day.

6. Can you use the Apple Watch as a pedometer?

Yes, you can use the Apple Watch as a pedometer. It automatically tracks your steps and provides this information through its fitness and health tracking apps.

7. What is the best pedometer watch?

The best pedometer watch depends on what additional features you might want. For pure step counting, the Fitbit Charge 5 is highly recommended for its accuracy and simplicity. For a more feature-rich experience, the Apple Watch Series 8 and Garmin Venu 3 are excellent choices.

8. Can analog watches count steps?

Traditional analog watches cannot count steps. However, hybrid smartwatches, which combine analog watch designs with digital smart features, can count steps.

9. What is a hybrid smartwatch?

A hybrid smartwatch is a blend of a traditional analog watch and a smartwatch. It typically looks like a conventional watch but includes smart features like step counting, sleep tracking, and smartphone notifications.

10. Which is better, hybrid or smartwatch?

The choice between a hybrid and a smartwatch depends on personal preference. If you prefer traditional watch aesthetics with basic smart functionalities, a hybrid smartwatch is ideal. If you want a wide range of features like app support, touchscreens, and advanced health tracking, a smartwatch is the better choice.


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