Are refurbished fitness trackers reliable?

are refurbished fitness trackers reliable

Many fitness trackers are available as refurbished or ‘used’ models to help increase product sales. This is often because consumers can be fickle when it comes to fitness trackers thanks to an oversaturated market. Therefore, a refurbished fitness tracker is an appealing alternative since it cuts the price down and allows consumers more variety.

But are refurbished fitness trackers accurate and reliable?

As long as a refurbished fitness tracker has been thoroughly inspected and refurbished to restore its factory quality, a used device can be just as reliable as a new model. Refurbished fitness trackers are just as dependable as new fitness trackers granted the seller states this in the description.

In this guide, we are going to take a look at refurbished fitness trackers to see if fitness tracker measurements and data sets are as good as a brand new fitness tracker. There are pros and cons to be aware of with used fitness trackers, and we will explore all of this to help you make better purchasing decisions.

What does it mean when an electronic is refurbished?

When you hear the word “refurbished,” do you think of a great opportunity to save money or do you think of mistreated junk? This is common since nearly all new fitness trackers are advertised next to a refurbished model.

When an electronic is refurbished, this essentially means that different devices are usually returned by consumers for virtually any number of individual reasons.

In the case of refurbished fitness trackers, this could be because the buyer or family members did not like some aspect of the device. For wrist worn devices such as this, anything from slower speeds, inaccuracies in readings like basal metabolic rate, calories burned, or step counting, to not enough energy expenditure data was not to the buyer’s liking.

It is important to many, that fitness trackers display accurate data since tracker accuracy of physical information, either to lose weight or to increase energy expenditure, is important to consumers.

Therefore, the seller will take these otherwise new or like-new fitness trackers and do some minor restoration or cleaning to restore the activity trackers to a new quality. For something like smart watches from virtually every leading digital publisher, this is very common.

Some refurbished electronics may have actually been damaged. Either by consumers or during the shipping process.

Also, some refurbished devices may have been demo or floor models. Even though these items may not be very popular any longer, they are still usable and fully functional.

Ultimately, when you buy refurbished, you do not exactly know where a device has been. You can pretty much be assured of functionality, but for one reason or another, the item can no longer be categorized as new or factory sealed.

Pros of buying a refurbished fitness tracker

Even if refurbished, you can still expect to be using some of the best fitness trackers on the market- just at a discount rate.

Here are some pros to buying a refurbished fitness tracker.

  • Affordability. As you may already know, buying a refurbished fitness tracker or heart rate monitors, sleep quality trackers, etc., is going to be more affordable than buying new ones. Refurbished fitness tracking devices will typically cost anywhere from 205% to 40% less than a new model. This is an attractive bargain for a practically like-new device.
  • Sustainability. Buying a refurbished heart rate monitor or wrist worn device will prevent the items from ending up in landfills. Brands like Garmin and other future brands are doing a great job in limiting electronic waste, but buying refurbished is a great way to prevent pollution and possibly the release of radiation leakage into the Earth.
  • Convenience. Fitness trackers work well when it comes to counting steps, measuring steps, how many calories burned for weight loss, how to maintain lost weight, heart rate, and measuring exercise intensity. If you just need to lose weight or have exact measurement calorie calculations, refurbished fitness trackers work well for these simple needs throughout the day.

Cons of buying a refurbished fitness tracker

There are also some cons to be aware of when it comes to refurbished heart rate and fitness tracking devices.

  • Technology evolves rapidly. Although the cost-saving benefits of a refurbished device are great in the short term, the technology is likely already dated in the device. Unless you just need a step count device for weight loss, or a device to measure heart rate based on actual steps, a newer technology that tracks energy expenditure or that even measures research-grade pedometers across multiple activities will be missing.
  • You don’t know what you are getting. While many major brands that sell refurbished will list a full refurbishment profile of a device, you still do not really know what the problem was in the first place or where the device has been. Even if you are just using the device for losing weight, to count calories, counting steps, or to measure heart rate, there is still that level of mystery attached to the used device.

How long do fitness trackers last?

There is no magic number when it comes to the lifespan of an activity tracking device.

Measuring heart rate, consistently tracking sleep duration, sleep stages, deep sleep, heart rate data, blood pressure, heart rate zones, heart rate patterns, ways to count steps, and much more throughout the day and in a given moment wear down the life of the device.

Advanced settings like measuring heart rate, recording hand movements, arm movements, detecting steps, monitoring the performance of blood vessels through a chest strap, and more can also heavily wear down the battery.

In a general sense, these devices tend to last roughly 5 years, but this can scale lower with constant use.

What affects fitness trackers battery?

The largest drain of an activity tracking devices battery comes from the usage of sensors. This can be the heart rate sensing, the step counter, the green light feature, and more.

Sensors drain the battery because these features are the most taxing on the energy needs of the battery. Since these features compose some of the main reasons to use these devices in the first place, it is easier to just accept that activity trackers go through batteries quite quickly.

Which fitness tracker lasts the longest?

Let’s take a look at a range of trackers to see which lasts the longest.

Fitbit Charge

The Fitbit Charge has a stellar battery life. If you use GPS on the device on a consistent but not heavy basis, the battery of the Fitbit Charge can generally last for roughly 4 days.

With heavy GPS use, or when using the heart rate sensing constantly, or not wearing the device on your non dominant wrist, the battery life reduces to about 4 to 5 hours on one charge.

The device itself lasts between 4-6 years.

If you are unsure if refurbished is for you and you want to buy new, check out the Fitbit Charge.

Garmin Vivosmart 4

The Vivosmart 4 by Garmin is another standout activity tracker. You can generally get about 5 days of usage out of this device on one single battery charge. This is also the same for using virtually any of its advanced features as well.

The device itself lasts anywhere from 5-10 years.

If you are unsure if refurbished is for you and you want to buy new, check out the Garmin Vivosmart 4.

Garmin Forerunner 245

The Forerunner 245 can last up to 6 hours when you run the watch in GPS mode and utilize the music storage continuously. This is more than enough time to take you through multiple fitness sessions without having to worry about the watch running out of battery.

The charge can last much longer if you only utilize a few of the main features at one time. Again, you can expect between 5-10 years of total device life.

If you are unsure if refurbished is for you and you want to buy new, check out the Garmin Forerunner 245.

Garmin Epix 2

The Garmin Epix 2 is another long-lasting, machine learning device thanks to its innovative smart features. The device generally lasts for up to 42 hours as stated by Garmin in the device’s product description.

In using the Garmin Epix 2, I have found this stated battery life to be minimal since I regularly get about 50 hours out of the device on a single charge. But this is not the case when I use the device in GPS mode. I find that when in GPS mode, the battery hovers around the 30-hour mark.

This device generally lasts between 4 and 6 years in total device life.

If you are unsure if refurbished is for you and you want to buy new, check out the Garmin Epix 2.


Are dedicated fitness trackers a waste of money?

Future studies show that activity trackers are starting to lose a bit of their popularity. Much of this likely has to do with consumer fatigue since, after all, activity trackers have been with us since the early 2000s, roughly 20 years now.

But another important reason has to do with trackers becoming somewhat obsolete when more and more smartwatches and smartphones are tracking heart rate in addition to an array of innovative activity and health profiles.

Like trackers, smartphones and smartwatches can also fit conveniently in your pants pocket, and typically do not need to be charged as often as an activity tracker, especially a refurbished one.

Will a fitness tracker motivate me?

Yes, an activity tracker will motivate you as long as you are dedicated to fulfilling your physical fitness goals. These devices are primarily tools of information that provide useful data analytics to allow you to receive a profile of what is going on in your body throughout the day, and even while you sleep.

It can be said that being able to see how your fitness is improving is a great tool of motivation, but it is important to maintain your own level of commitment and just allow the tracker to be a tool to allow you to see in accurate detail how well you are doing.

Are fitness watches accurate when tracking calories burned?

This entirely depends upon the individual tracker and how this accuracy is gauged against other similar devices from different brands.

Some brands of trackers may show readings that are one or two calories off, whereas another device may display readings that are far off from the readings that you are getting on another device.

With this in mind, Garmin, Apple, and Fitbit have consistently received standout reviews over the years in terms of their activity tracker accuracy when it comes to calories and other fitness metrics.


In summary, refurbished trackers are usually reliable and much of this comes from the brand putting all the refurbishment details in a product description.

But not all brands follow this model, and this means that you can never be 100% certain about the kind of quality you are getting with a device that has been refurbished.

Always make sure you thoroughly test the device when you bring it home, and if there are deficiencies, return it.

If you’re considering purchasing a fitness tracker be it brand new or refurbished, research about them here first:

Best GPS Tech

At Best GPS Tech we found it frustrating that there were limited websites available, willing to provide an honest opinion on the latest GPS technology to aid our interests. We enjoy creating content around GPS products from the industry leaders such as Garmin, FitBit and more. We hope you find the site informative in helping you make the right buying decisions.

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