The regular wrist-worn fitness tracker can be a little annoying. The battery life is very rarely more than five days, and you’re slowly draining your battery every time you check the time or your heart rate. When it gets too hot out or you’re in the middle of a workout, your wrist begins to swell and you have to loosen the band.
Even worse is the fact that you might be spending hundreds of dollars on a device that seems to always let you down. But, even though fitness watches are still the go-to when it comes to personal fitness, there are a few other options out there.
One of them is old school clip-on fitness trackers.
Let’s review everything you could possibly want to know about these devices.
Old School Pedometers
Clip-on fitness trackers are more like old-school pedometers than regular fitness watches. Yes, pedometers. Those tiny little devices that you would clip on your waistband and hear a subtle rattle every time you took a step.
Though clip-on trackers aren’t exactly the same as old-school pedometers, basing a fitness tracker off of this technology isn’t the worst idea. In fact, a pedometer might be about 96% accurate at normal walking speeds. Not too shabby. Now, the accuracy does begin to decrease as you speed up, but this accuracy level is equally difficult to find in regular fitness trackers.
So, the fact that clip-on trackers are based on these concepts is actually pretty good!
And, even regular pedometers have advanced technologically in recent years.
The regular fitness tracker that you wear around your wrist is super convenient. You have constant access to the current time, how many calories you’ve burned, how many steps you’ve taken, and what your heart rate is.
It doesn’t get more convenient than that, right?
Well, regular fitness trackers can also be a real pain. The battery life is usually less than 7 days, meaning it’s a good idea to always have your charger on hand and ready. Plus, the battery slowly drains every time you flick on the screen.
Having such constant access to all of this data might lead you to compulsively check your fitness tracker all day, every day.
That’s exactly why clip-on trackers are different.
Since they’re clipped onto your clothing in some way, you don’t have immediate access to the data that you’re interested in. Better yet, most clip-on trackers don’t have a display screen at all, so no more compulsive checking of your step count or heart rate.
Plus the accuracy is definitely more valuable.
These devices are somewhat like pedometers and very much unlike regular trackers. So, that means you don’t have to worry about pumping your arms or hands when you walk to make sure that every step is counted. Every time your clip-on tracker senses your hips moving, it’ll add on a step.
What’s even better is how convenient it is.
Regular fitness trackers can irritate your wrist and might need to be tightened or loosened during the day as your wrists swell from heat. With a clip-on tracker, just attach it in the morning and you won’t have to worry about it until the day’s end.
And, you still get to see all of your fitness data when you sync your clip-on tracker with your smartphone device.
Where to Clip Your Fitness Tracker
The clip-on fitness tracker can be clipped anywhere on your clothing, so long as it’s secure. That means you can choose your waistband, belt loop, pocket, shirt, or even your bra.
But, you’ll want to be strategic about where you place your tracker.
It might be a good idea to keep it somewhere that you can see it. Otherwise, you might not even realize that it’s fallen off until bedtime when you go to unclip it and put it on your nightstand. Also, make sure it’s on clothing that you’ll be wearing for the entire day (i.e. Not on a jacket that you’ll take off).
What They Can Do
A clip-on fitness tracker is a little more limited in what it can do because it’s not around your wrist 24/7. That means it wouldn’t be a good choice if you’re looking to learn about your heart rate or your sleep quality.
However, there are plenty of things that it can measure.
You’ll be able to keep track of your step count, distance traveled, and the number of calories that you’ve burned during the day. Plus, you can even set fitness goals via the Fitbit app (if you choose a Fitbit) and earn badges along the way.
It’s basically a regular fitness tracker, without all of the bells and whistles.
Though clip-on fitness trackers are definitely much easier to use and more convenient than regular fitness trackers, there are obviously quite a few downsides.
Here’s a look at why they might not be the best choice.
- Easy to lose. You might not even realize that your fitness tracker has fallen off until hours later when you go to remove it. If it were on your wrist, it would be visible to you at all times of the day and you’d surely notice when it was gone.
- Lack of data. Clip-on trackers are great if you only really value calories burned, steps taken, and distance traveled. But, it’s a little bit of a bummer that you won’t get any insight into your heart rate trends or sleep quality.
- It requires more focus. If you have a wearable fitness tracker, you can literally wear it 24/7 (sometimes even in the pool and the shower). Clip-on trackers force you to take it off every night and put it on every morning. Unless you’re used to the routine, you might not realize that you left it at home until you’re at work.
- Battery life. Though you won’t have to worry about recharging your clip-on fitness tracker, you will have to keep up-to-date on the current battery life. You will have to replace the battery or buy a new device once or twice a year, which is more money out of pocket in the long run.
- Data visibility. Some clip-on fitness trackers have a tiny display where you can see the number of steps you’ve taken, but others have zero display. That means the only way you’ll be able to see your data is by actively syncing your device with your smartphone. That’s just extra steps you shouldn’t have to take.
At the end of the day, a clip-on fitness tracker does make sense in a few situations. It doesn’t make too much sense to spend hundreds of dollars on a fitness tracker when you don’t really care for the extra bells and whistles like heart rate and sleep quality.
What to Look For
Every single clip-on fitness tracker that you can find online is different in some way. So, it wouldn’t be the best idea to just purchase the first one you can find and hope it works the way you want it to. That’s why we’re going to be going over some things to look out for on your search.
Take a look.
There are definitely fitness trackers out there that have no display and simply read your steps and send it over to your phone’s app. If you don’t need immediate feedback on your current step count, these can be a great choice and save you a little money. But, some devices do have little convenient screens where you can see how many steps you’ve taken so far.
Turns out, there are still some regular pedometers out there in circulation. If you don’t need anything fancy and just want some immediate data, you can’t go wrong with one of these. They can help you to keep track of your steps and calories while also boasting an impressive timer feature.
How It’s Worn
Most clip-on trackers are exactly as they sound: Just clip them on to a piece of clothing and you’re good to go. But, there are a few types out there that definitely switch this whole concept up. Some can actually be hooked onto jewelry like bracelets and necklaces to be worn inconspicuously during the day.
For the most part, you’ll be spending a lot less money on a clip-on fitness tracker than a wearable version. You can get a basic pedometer-like device for around $20 in most instances. For a device that integrates with an app on your smartphone, you’ll probably be spending somewhere around $100 or more.
Our Top Choices
It’s time to go over some of the best clip-on fitness trackers that you can buy right now. We’re going to be explaining what makes each so unique and which populations would appreciate each specific device most. Take a look at our top choices for the best clip-on fitness trackers.
1. Realalt 3DTriSport Walking 3D Pedometer
- ACCURATELY TRACK YOUR ACTIVITY – The 3DTriSport Walking 3D Pedometer uses the latest 3D Tri-Axis Sensor Technology to Track your Daily Activity with Superb Accuracy. Records your Steps (Walking &...
- EASY TO SET UP & USE – Looking for a Simple Pedometer to Set Up? The 3DTriSport Pedometer is the Perfect Choice! Easy to follow User Manual or watch the helpful Setup and Operation Videos to guide...
- SMART & ACCURATE - With the latest 3D Tri-Axis Sensor Technology to Accurately Record your Activity in any position – Clip it to your Waist, wear it around your Neck with the included Lanyard or...
- ADDITIONAL FEATURES – Large clear Easy-to-Read Display, built-in Clock and Step Goal.
- EXCELLENT SUPPORT - Our Support is Friendly and Hassle Free. If you need Setup Support or have any questions we are here to Help You! Your Step Counter comes with an 18 Month Warranty. 100%...
When you’re looking for a regular old-school pedometer that does a little more than a regular pedometer might, this might be your best choice. Just clip it on the waistband of your shorts or your pants and you’re ready to get moving.
Unlike most pedometers, this device doesn’t just read your step count. It’ll also help you to keep track of your distance traveled, calories burned, and your progress toward your daily step goal. That’s all thanks to the advanced sensor technology installed in this device.
What’s even better is that it functions completely on its own. You don’t need to integrate it with a silly app on your smartphone or a website on your computer. You can see all of your data (dating back 30 days) by just clicking the buttons on the device.
And, you’ll be spending less than a quarter of the cash you’d be spending on a regular fitness tracker. Why spend more money when this product does the same things?
2. Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker
- Tracks steps, distance and calories burned
- Syncs automatically to your computer or select bluetooth 4.0 smartphones or tablets
- Set goals, view progress and earn badges; Battery type: 3 volt coin battery
- Share and compete with friends throughout the day
- Free iphone and android application
When you want to go with a reliable name in the fitness tracker community, you can’t go wrong with this option from Fitbit. It comes in at least three different color options, so you can choose a style that best fits your personality and clothing choices.
What’s great about this fitness tracker is that it actually has a display screen. That means you’ll have access to your current step count, distance traveled, and calories burned. At the end of the day, you can sync all of your data over to your Fitbit app to compete with your friends.
The best part is that you don’t have to worry about charging this device like you would with a regular Fitbit tracker. The included watch battery typically lasts around 6 months, at which point you’ll have to buy another battery to replace it.
We love this device because it’s extremely lightweight and you won’t even realize that it’s attached to your waistband. It’s like you won’t even know it’s there (so be careful to hook it in a place where you can see it so you’ll know if it fell off or not).
3. Bellabeat Leaf Urban Smart Jewelry Health Tracker
- Bella beat Leaf products DO NOT NEED CHARGING. They include a coin cell battery that lasts for approximately 6 months. This allows you to track 24 hours a day
- Package includes: Leaf Urban Gray/Rose Gold, Active Bracelet | Gray Wave, Infinity Necklace | Rose Gold, Battery Replacement Tool. Leaf works with both Android & iOS
- Bella beat Leaf products can be re-synched to a new device at any time through the App
- IPX grade 6 Water-resistant wood composite with stone-like appeal & hypoallergenic stainless steel clip/ 1 year warranty. Shower safe
- Tracks your steps, distance moved, calories burned, sleep patterns, reproductive health, menstrual cycle and stress
This fitness tracker is definitely the most unique tracker that we’ve seen online. That’s because this device is designed to look like jewelry, so you can easily attach it to a bracelet or necklace and wear it as such.
The appearance is definitely the most notable feature of this tracker. You have several different style options, from black and gold to rose gold. Just choose the color that fits your style preferences most accurately and people won’t even know that you’re tracking your steps!
But, you’ll love the fact that you don’t have to worry about recharging the battery like most fitness trackers. The battery can provide you with 24/7 power for up to 6 months before it needs to be replaced.
This device does integrate with a smartphone app that’ll provide you with feedback on your step count, sleep, activity level, and even stress levels. For the price, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.