(National) Oct. 22, 2004 - As part of their Weight Watchers' program, four women walk several miles a day. Michelle Seymour say what helps motivate them is the pedometer clipped to their clothes, "What I try to do is 10,000 steps. 10,000 steps is about five miles, give or take."
Consumer Reports just tested a dozen pedometers, with prices ranged from $12 to more than $50. Every time the walkers took a step, it interrupted a light beam so testers could keep track of how many steps were actually taken. It turns out most of the pedometers weren't very accurate. A few were off by so much that if you had walked five miles, it could read as little as three miles or as much as seven miles.
Testers then used an odd-looking machine to check durability. After going up and down half a million times, the equivalent of 250 miles, all the pedometers were still going strong.
Consumer Reports also tested much more expensive devices. They strap on your wrist or clip onto your shoe. Rather than counting steps, they measure how fast and how far you've gone.
The shoelace device from Nike got the distance right, but at $100, it's expensive. Just as accurate and for far less is the Premium Pedometer from Omron that costs $35. It's easy to use and an added plus is that it measures calories as well as miles and steps.
Consumer Reports also named a $20 pedometer a best buy. It's called the Freestyle Tracer. It's not quite as accurate as the Omron, but it comes close.