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Tom’s Guide
Tom’s Guide
Dan Bracaglia

I walked 3,300 steps with the Fitbit Charge 6 and Garmin Forerunner 165 – this one was more accurate

Fitbit Charge 6 and Garmin Forerunner 165 worn on the same wrist. .

We're all about pitting the latest tech against each other here at TG. So, when we got our hands on the new Garmin Forerunner 165, announced last week, we immediately decided to test it against the Fitbit Charge 6, the best fitness tracker for most people right now.

While these devices are aimed at slightly different users — the pricier Forerunner is more geared toward marathon-loving runners, and the Charge is for casual fitness-focused users — they both boast onboard GPS, heart rate tracking and basic smart features. 

Fitbit Charge 6 vs. Garmin Forerunner 165 — step accuracy test

To get a sense of which device is more accurate, I walked 3,300 steps with each tracker strapped to a wrist. I also ran Strava on my iPhone 12 Mini as an additional data point. As a control, I manually counted every step, clicking an old-school tally counter for every hundred. 

The test took place on a rare and gorgeous cloud-free February Seattle afternoon. Clear views of the sky allowed each device to successfully make a GPS connection before I headed off into a densely wooded park (looking like a nerd with too many smartwatches on). 

Read on to see how each performed. 

Fitbit Charge 6 vs. Garmin Forerunner 165 – the results

The Fitbit Charge 6 was within ten steps of my actual 3,300-step total, which is impressive. Even more impressive is the fact that Strava nailed it exactly. Meanwhile, the Garmin Forerunner wasn't too far off.

There is a caveat to the Forerunner 165's number, though. Because Garmin does not provide step counts for individually tracked activities, only end-of-day totals — something I've complained about before — I had to get a little creative with my calculations. 

Fortunately, the Forerunner did report my average cadence for the walk, which was 93 steps per mile. I simply multiplied that by the 1.7 miles recorded by the device to get 3,255 total steps. 

Speaking of miles, the Fitbit captured a slightly shorter walk than Strava or the Garmin. The Charge doesn't provide elevation stats, but the other two devices were essentially a match in that department.

The average and maximum heart rates recorded by the two trackers were also almost identical. All in all, it's refreshing to see such similarities across the board. 

Conclusion — Fitbit Charge 6 wins

Ultimately, the Fitbit Charge 6 wins this step count showdown with the Garmin Forerunner 165, but not by a whole lot. Both devices spit out very similar — and seemingly accurate — stats, which makes a lot of sense, given these are two of the most popular and well-trusted brands in fitness tracking biz. 

That's a wrap on this head-to-head challenge. Let us know which wearables you want to see us test next in the comments below. Until then, get those steps in. 

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