Ever since the theory of 10,000 steps took off, pedometer apps have been popping left, right, and center to help users track their daily steps. While plenty of research has been conducted on the topic and they do suggest that people who walk 10,000 steps a day are healthier, have lower cholesterol, and lower risk of heart attacks; one fact is omitted. Walking slowly and lazily, though counted as steps, won’t do anything for your health. A fast-paced walk that increases your heart beat considerably is required. If you are not sweating, it ain’t walking.
Unfortunately, step counter apps can’t distinguish between a slow and fast-paced walking. For them, every step counts but not for you. This is why I suggest you to go for a brisk walk and then count your steps. You can also make a note of walking briskly wherever possible. For example, while walking the dogs, in the parking lots, walking back home, and so on.
Pedometer apps count all steps whether they count or not!
How to measure the accuracy of step counter apps?
In general, smartwatches like Galaxy watch and Apple Watch or even Fitness band like Mi band are more accurate than smartphone apps. That said, you can still use your smartphone to accurately count your steps. If you have access to a treadmill, use that or simply go on an evening walk with the phone in your pocket. Once you get home, measure the distance of your path with desktop Google Map’s distance measurement tool (right click and Measure Distance). If both data sets, i.e. your phone and Google matches, it means the step counter is fairly accurate.
Now that you know which steps counts and which don’t, let’s take a look at some of the best step counter and pedometer apps for Android smartphones.
Pedometer Apps for Android
1. Google Fit
Google Fit is Google’s answer to Apple Health. Google Fit not only acts as a hub to collect all the necessary data from different health and fitness apps, but it also collects its own data. It has been designed to count steps and other activities in the background.
The step counter works whether you know or not. Just download the app and sign in using your Google account. It is completely free to use. Other metrics include calories burned and move minutes. The last one is the time for which you were active during the day. Depending on that, Google Fit will also give you heart points. Google has collaborated with the American Heart Association for this. Each minute you walk for more than 30 steps is counted as a move minute removing casual in-office or in-house steps automatically. You earn heart points when you walk briskly that increases your heart beats. Again, casual walks doesn’t count.
This makes Google Fit one of the best step counter apps for Android. Other features include keeping a journal and daily goals for both move minutes and heart points.
2. Step Counter Pedometer
Step Counter by Leap Fitness is a beautiful pedometer to look at. The UI is colorful, pleasing, and functional. You will begin by setting a daily goal which doesn’t have to be 10,000 steps. The app uses sensors instead of GPS to track steps which means less battery drain. As you begin to use the app, you will see reports like average daily steps, total steps for various periods, and badges to motivate you.
Step Counter also doubles up as a water reminder app (optional), however, I never needed an app to tell me I need to be hydrated. Anyways, based on your activity, it will calculate calories burned. The app is completely free but ad-supported which you can remove for $2.99. You can integrate it with Google Fit.
3. Zombie, Run!
Zombies have made their way to pretty much every aspect of our Internet lives like movies, books, web series, games, and now fitness apps. Zombie Run is a pedometer and running app with a difference. There is a zombie outbreak and you have to run for your life. If that doesn’t motivates you, I don’t know what will. If you slow down, you can hear their guttural breath, their screams, and rattling groans. The effect is very real until you look over your shoulder.
Zombie Run is a different take on the same old running and step counter app. It makes things interesting and urges you to walk faster, if not run. You can use this app for all three activities: walk, jog, and run. Depending on your speed, you will be chased by zombies. The pro version comes with over 300 stories with different missions that unlock over time.
4. Pacer App
Why do we walk? Different people have different objectives. Some people are walking because it is good for health. Other people walk because they want to lose weight and maintain their waistline. Some are counting steps because it is the new IT thing! Pacer app understands this which is why it also tracks calories burned and weight loss.
When you open the app for the first time, you will be asked to enter your age, sex, and weight figures. You can set your daily goals and track them. What’s more? There is an active community (follow Facebook friends) with whom you can share your data and compare steps. Other features include guide videos but there are better apps for guided workout video sessions.
Argus is not just a step counter app for Android smartphones but a complete health and fitness tracker. It comes with a roaster of features like calorie and step counter, weight tracker, sleep monitor, barcode scanner for food items, video-guided workout videos, heart rate counter, and more.
It comes with a built-in social network with millions of users on-board whom you can connect and communicate with from within the app. The step counter is free, however, advanced features like home workouts will cost you $29.99/year. Argus has a very colorful and beautiful UI.
6. WalkLogger Pedometer
WalkLogger Pedometer uses your smartphone’s sensors instead of GPS to track and log the number of steps you have taken in a day. This should save you some battery juice over time. Other features include setting goals, tracking both walking and running, and unlocking medals for consistency and meeting goals.
Based on the number of steps you have walked in a day, this pedometer Android app will calculate calories burned and distanced covered. Pretty basic but works just fine. WalkLogger Pedometer is free to use with some ads but no way to remove them.
Unlike Argus and some other step counter apps for Android smartphones, Pedometer will begin to log steps only when you launch the app and ask it to do it. This can be an advantage or a drawback depending on how you want to use the app. If you, like me, like to go walking or jogging daily, you can use this app to log steps, calories, and weight.
If you want something that also counts all the casual steps you have taken during the day in the background, there are plenty of other step counter apps for Android in the list. Note that you can set a start and stop time to launch the app automatically. Pedometer is free to use with in-app purchases but comes with ads.
8. Runtastic Steps
Runtastic offers an entire suite of apps that are designed and focused on health and fitness. There are apps for counting steps, logging your runs, bike rides, sleep cycles, and so on. If you are part of the Runtastic family of apps and a paying user, Runtastic Steps makes a lot of sense. Runtastic shares its data between all its apps and Google Fit.
Runtastic Steps will calculate active minutes, the time you were walking, steps walked, calories burned, and your daily goals. Runtastic Premium plans begin at $2.99/month which includes all apps including the step counter.
MyFitnessPal is a very popular all-in-one health and fitness app that also counts the number of steps you have taken in a day. It has an active and thriving community of users who regularly share tips and their experience with others. It has one of the largest libraries of food with a detailed breakdown of ingredients. Just use the barcode scanner before buying.
Working out or walking 10,000 steps is not enough. You need to eat right which involves knowing your micro and macronutrients, proteins, and vitamins among others. MyFitnessPal will help you achieve your fitness goals much better. MyfitnessPal also works with a number of 3rd party step counter apps for Android including many listed in this very guide.
10. Samsung Health
Finally, the last app step counter app is S-Health. If you have a Galaxy Watch, you might already be using the Samsung health app but even without the Galaxy watch or a Samsung smartphone, Samsung health is an excellent fitness app with step counter built in. Once you install the app, you need to enter your height, sex, weight, etc. just like most fitness apps. Once everything is set up, the app automatically starts recording your daily steps. You can set a daily target for steps which by default is set to 10,000 steps but you can choose different if you want.
Other features include total distance traveled in a day, how much calories you have burned, sleep counter, water intake, and more. S-Health comes pre-installed in most Samsung smartphones, however, you can also download it for free from the Play Store.
Pedometer Apps for Android
So these were some of the best pedometer apps for Android smartphones. As you can see, some of these apps are only good enough for counting steps, some have gamified the whole concept, others have added the zombie factor, and some apps offer a number of other health and fitness services for a premium. For the most part, step counter apps work the same way and their accuracy level is close to 99%. so don’t fret over a few lost steps. Staying fit is the objective here.