I don't think that my pedometer is counting properly. What should I do?

In most cases, perceptions of pedometers not counting accurately are the result of unrealistic expectations of the device or of incorrect placement or positioning.

Pedometers and accelerometers respond to vertical acceleration of a particular threshold.  So, when there is vertical movement (even when you don't perceive it as vertical) with enough g force to reach the particular device's threshold, the pedometer or accelerometer will "respond" to it.  Our devices' thresholds are set so that they will respond to vertical accelerations like those created at walking speeds of about 2 miles per hour.  If that threshold is not met, a step or any other movement that creates the vertical acceleration will not be counted by the device.  If that threshold is met, a step or any other movement that creates the vertical acceleration will be counted by the device.  There is no tiny gnome inside the device counting actual steps.  The way that pedometers and accelerometers work is based on physics. 

Things that will cause pedometers and accelerometers to undercount, i.e., not meet the required vertical acceleration g force threshold:

  • Moving at speeds slower than about 2 miles per hour.
  • Moving/walking up an incline whether outside or on a treadmill.   The degree of incline that causes undercounting varies per individual.
  • Moving/walking in sand or on some other soft surface, e.g., plush carpet.
  • Moving/walking with an unusual gait.
  • Moving/walking with a walker or cane.
  • Moving/walking in a way that vertical acceleration is less than the threshold of the device.
  • If your device is a pedometer, i.e. it goes click, click when you use it, it must maintain a vertical (upright) position to count properly.  If it gets tilted into a diagonal plane, chances are it will undercount.  For those with bigger waistlines (bigger tummies) we recommend an NL-series accelerometer.  NL-series accelerometers' accuracy is less like to be adversely effected by position. 

Things that will cause pedometers and accelerometers to overcount, i.e., meet the required vertical acceleration g force threshold:

  • Any shaking or jostling of the device in a vertical direction that meets the g force threshold of the device.  That includes taking the device off and putting the device on your waistband, taking your pants down to go to the bathroom, picking the device up and off of your dresser, etc. 
  • Any movement in a vertical direction while driving or riding in or on a car, tractor, lawn mower, bicycle or horse, etc.  You and whatever you are in or on become one.  Therefore, whatever your means of transportation does in terms of movement you and your device do it too.
  • A flimsy waistband.  Something firm works best--a firm waistband, a belt, an elastic waistband if it has a drawstring.

For those times when it is a placement/position problem it can be remedied by adjusting how the pedometer is worn on your body.

For spring-levered pedometers like the DIGI-WALKER™ SW-series and the AT-series, it's essential that the pedometer follow the three rules of pedometer placement:

1. It must remain upright in a vertical plane.  If your tummy is pushing the pedometer out of its upright position, you may be getting inaccurate results--usually under counting.  Wearing your spring-levered pedometer on your waistband directly in line with your armpit may solve this problem.

2. It must remain level.  If your pedometer is tilted one way or another, its internal sensor mechanism probably will not be able to work properly.

3. It must be held firmly.  Flimsy waistbands are often the problem.  Make certain that your pedometer is attached securely to a firm waistband.  To find out if your waistband is the problem, attach your pedometer to a belt and then check its accuracy by doing a 20-steps test (see the Troubleshooting/Help Guide for testing instructions), or have someone else test your pedometer for you.

If you can't resolve the placement/positioning problem, you may need to switch to an NL-series accelerometer, as the internal sensor mechanism in the NL-series was designed to work even when it gets pushed out of its upright/vertical plane. 

Refer to your pedometer or accelerometer's Product Manual for more tips on wearing your pedometer, and also review the accuracy points in our Troubleshooting/Help Guide.  This Guide provides several helpful tips on resolving accuracy problems.  In the Guide review G-1 and G-2 and if you have an SW-series pedometer, review SW-1 and SW-2.

Note:  We do not warranty accuracy, as we can not control the environment to which our devices are exposed once they leave our facility.  Our devices were tested in controlled conditions, and the NL-series counted accurately up to 4.5 million steps without any accelerometer failures out of ten, the SW-series counted accurately up to 4.5 million steps with one pedometer failure out of ten, and the AT-series counted accurately up to 250,000 to 1 million steps with all ten failing by 1 million steps--that's the nature of a hairspring levered device.  For more information regarding this testing review How To Choose The Best Step Counter.