How Accurate Are Fitbit Calories Burned?

How Accurate Are Fitbit Calories Burned

When tracking fitness, many people consider wearable devices like Fitbit. Fitbit is one of the well-known fitness trackers that provide different features to provide you with the most accurate information like tracking your heart rate, sleep, step counts and burn calories etc. Is all the information correct or not? How does Fitbit calculate your calories burned throughout the day?

Wearable devices estimate the calories using calories you have at rest and during a workout. All the users of fitness trackers need to understand the accuracy of trusty fitness trackers. There are so many metrics that need to be considered while tracking data. In this article, we will focus on the reliability and accuracy of the Fitbit Calories Counter. So, we will explore how trustworthy the Fitbit Calories counter is to tell us the results of burned calories after our activities.

How Can Fitbit Devices Calculate Burned Calories?

How Can Fitbit Devices Calculate Burned Calories

Fitbit devices use different sensors and algorithms to estimate calories burned, but heart rate is crucial in its calculation. It also analyzes various other factors like age, gender, weight, and height to provide a better estimate of burned calories during physical activities.

Here are two main factors used to determine the calories burned on your Fitbit device:

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Let’s First talk about Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which refers to the number of calories burned while you are at rest and involved in any physical activity. Fitbit devices ask for your height, weight, and gender to calculate BMR while setting up the fitness tracker.

Heart Rate

Fitbit uses sensors to track the heart rate during physical activities. By monitoring the heart rate, Fitbit devices estimate the calories you burn during the workout or physical activity and compare it with the heart rate while resting.

Fitbit always introduces new advancements to get more accurate results in tracking heart rate, sleep or burned calories. That’s why Fitbit is known as one of the most precise fitness trackers available.

Factors that Affect the Accuracy of Counter of Fitbit’s Calorie Burn

Factors that Affect the Accuracy of Counter of Fitbit's Calorie Burn  

Here are some factors that can affect the accuracy of Fitbit’s Burn Counter:

1. Personal Information

While setting up the app, Fitbit records the user’s data, like age, gender, height, and weight, to estimate the burned calories. Wrong or outdated data may lead to inaccurate results. So, make sure to update your Fitbit profile with the correct data.

2. Heart Rate Accuracy

Everyone’s heart rate varies to some extent, and Fitbit does not always capture accurate heart rates for everyone. It eventually results in wrong calorie burn estimates and other fitness tracking.

3. Weight

Weight is a critical factor in estimating calories burned on fitness trackers, as Fitbit relies on it. It may estimate less accurate calories burn for individuals whose weight falls outside the specific range.

4. Fitbit Placement on Wrist

Fitbit is designed to be worn on non-dominant wrists. If the device is loose and correctly positioned on the wrist, it may be able to obtain an accurate heart rate, which leads to incorrect calorie burn estimation. Fitbit suggests wearing the tracker about two to three fingers away from the wrist bone to get good heart rate readings.

5. Type of Physical Activity

Different activities demand different metabolic rates, and Fitbit uses algorithms to estimate burn calories based on activity type. Algorithms may be unable to estimate burned calories accurately every time. Fitbit database includes several activities, but if you are involved in any uncommon workout, you may need help calculating burn calories.

6. Intensity

Low-intensity and high-intensity activities can affect the accuracy of burn calories estimation. Sometimes Fitbit devices overestimate the energy consumption during high-intensity workouts depending on where you wear the tracker.

7. User Behavior

User behavior can affect the accuracy of the Fitbit calorie burn counter. If you manually log activities or need to remember to wear consistently, that leads to the wrong estimation of the calorie-burned counter.

Some Fitbit models are more accurate than others

Regarding tracking calories burn, different Fitbit models vary in accuracy. The Fitbit Versa 2,3, and 4 models are more accurate because they use advanced technology and functions tracking exact calories burned.

Versa Models of Fitbit devices tend to overestimate the calories burn rather than underestimate them.

Other models like Fitbit Inspire 2 and 3 must accurately track calories burned. These are more affordable options in fitness trackers but don’t include built-in GPS, so they don’t provide the utmost accuracy. Despite its slightly overestimated calorie burn estimates, the Inspire 2 can still be a good option if you’re a fitness enthusiast on a budget.

How to Improve the Accuracy of the Fitbit Calorie Burn Counter?

Improve the Accuracy of the Fitbit Calorie Burn Counter

Wear The Device On Your Non-Dominant Wrist

Wear your Fitbit device according to the manufacturer’s instructions to obtain accurate heart rate readings. The app allows you to choose your dominant hand, while the default recommendation is to wear it on your non-dominant wrist.

Keep Fitbit On Snug

Make sure Fitbit is sung on your wrist but not too tight, and if it’s too loose, it may not accurately measure your heart rate, which eventually affects your calorie burn calculations.

Keep Your Weight Information Updated

Input your correct and updated weight information on the device so that it can calculate calories burned more accurately. These details are essential for the algorithm to calculate calories burned.

Be Active

Fitbit calories burned counter is more precise when doing activities requiring moderate to vigorous efforts. So, get involved in moving activities for the best results.

Consider Using Connected GPS

Some Fitbit models can be connected to your phone’s GPS during outdoor activities to provide more precise distance and pace measurements. Calorie burn estimations can become more accurate overall with linked GPS enabled.

Is Fitbit’s “Calories Burned” accurate?

What do Studies show?

Fitbit is not 100% accurate in calculating calories burned, but pretty accurate. In fact, in a meta-analysis of various research, Fitbit scored 0.64 out of 1.00 compared to a more precise calorie burn measurement.

Fitbit’s accuracy differs depending on the type of exercise you are doing.

A study found that Fitbit devices are more accurate, measuring within 8% of the calories burned for sedentary activities.

Meta-analysis of some studies shows that Fitbit scored 0.64 out of 1.00 compared to a more precise calorie burn measurement.

Fitbit devices tend to measure more accurately within 8% of actual burned calories for sedentary activities. But the accuracy decreases for the activities like walking around the house, where Fitbit’s calorie estimation can be burned by up to 74%.

Fitbit accuracy estimation for calories burned may vary for specific activities:

  • Fitbit may overstate calories burnt by 12 to 8 percent when lifting weights.
  • It can overestimate by 26 to 61% when you’re walking.
  • Fitbit frequently underestimates calories burnt while riding by 37 to 59%.
  • It can be overestimated by 25–39% while jogging.

Also Read: How Much Does a Fitbit Cost?

Bottom Line

Fitbits are quite popular fitness trackers and do an excellent job tracking calories burned. However, it is not 100% accurate, but they offer some other features that are usually built-in and make a solid choice for many people.

Although calorie counting on any device is not an exact science, Fitbit is regarded as one of the fitness trackers closest to providing accurate information. Therefore, a Fitbit can be an excellent choice if you’re searching for a dependable overall package with a few extra bells and whistles. Remember that interpreting the data with a grain of salt and using it as a general guide rather than an absolute truth is always brilliant, regardless of the tracker you select.


What Is The Difference Between Active And Resting Calories?

The body uses calories burned while at rest to carry out vital processes like breathing, blood circulation, and temperature regulation without engaging in physical activity.
Active calories are the extra calories burned during physical activity and exercise, which include walking, running, cycling, swimming, strength training, and any other activity that boosts heart rate and energy expenditure.

How many calories does Fitbit burn while sleeping?

When you wear a Fitbit device while sleeping, it estimates the number of burned calories during that time using a formula that calculates around 0.42 calories per pound per hour.
According to the formula, a person weighing 150 pounds will burn around 63 calories per hour. It’s an estimation that gives you an idea of how much energy your body uses during restful sleep.

How Do I Change My Fitbit Units From Calories To Kilojoules?

Open the Fitbit app from your smartphone or tablet.
Tab on “My Account.”
Tab on “Units,” and under energy, select “KJ” to change units to kilojoules.
Save the changes.

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