Pedometers don't get much simpler than the Yamax Digi-Walker SW-200, which only counts steps. The device can't tell the difference between running and walking, and doesn't measure mileage or calorie burn. The SW-200 is difficult to find online, but Yamax allows other manufacturers to rebrand the pedometer. Our top-rated basic pedometer is the identical Accusplit Eagle AE120XL (Est. $20) , which is easier to find in the U.S.
Basic but accurate. If all you want is a simple device to count steps, not distance traveled or calories expended, the Yamax Digi-Walker SW-200 has proven to be very accurate in tests. In fact, it's used as the control device when testing other pedometers in clinical studies. This spring-lever pedometer is extremely easy to operate and has long battery life, but must be worn at the waist or hip to be fully accurate. Experts say readings can be affected by walking at a very slow pace or when the pedometer is tilted forward by a protruding midsection. Slow walkers or individuals with large waistlines may find the Omron GoSmart Pocket Pedometer HJ-112 (Est. $30) to be more accurate thanks to its accelerometer.
Quick and easy. The bare-bones Yamax Digi-Walker SW-200 is one of the simplest pedometers to use: Just clip it onto your waistband and you're good to go. Owners appreciate the simplicity and accuracy of the device, but a few complain that the plastic belt clip isn't very secure and they wish they could wear the pedometer elsewhere. Still, users like the protective cover that flips open and allows the display to be read while attached at the waist, and most are overwhelmingly impressed by the accuracy provided by such a simple device.
Great customer service, one-year warranty. Users and experts both praise the Yamax Digi-Walker SW-200 for its durability. Although the clip could be more secure, the protective cover ensures the pedometer is protected against falls. Even those who experience problems with durability say the year-long warranty resolves the issue, and Yamax's customer service department is incredibly helpful in repairing any broken devices.
The Digi-Walker SW-200 is hard to find online, but Yamax allows other manufacturers to rebrand the pedometer. One such example is our Best Reviewed Accusplit Eagle AE120XL.
1. NEA Today
In this article for the National Education Association, Scott Crouter, Ph.D., an associate professor of exercise and health sciences, evaluates five pedometers along with an unknown panel. He likes the Yamax Digi-Walker SW-200's low cost and recommends it for people of "normal weight." The panel calls it easy to use but says it's too sensitive; even a slight jostle registers as a step.
Review: Picking a Pedometer, Gini Kopecky Wallace, January 2008
2. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
This abstract summarizes a 2004 study in which 20 testers wore 13 pedometers during normal activity spanning a 24-hour period, and their step counts were compared to a control pedometer. Because of its accuracy, the Yamax Digi-Walker SW-200 is used as the control. The article is eight years old, but few changes have been made to the pedometer since then.
Review: Pedometer Measures of Free-Living Physical Activity: Comparison of 13 Models, Patrick L. Schneider, et al., February 2004
Bumgardner, About.com's walking guide, puts the Yamax Digi-Walker SW-200 in sixth place among 10 pedometers. However, her summary seems to be based on other reviews rather than personal experience.
Review: Top 10 Pedometers, Wendy Bumgardner, April 10, 2013
Amazon.com contains several listings for the Yamax Digi-Walker, each of which attract only a few owner reviews. Pedometers in general don't receive much user feedback here, but all of the Digi-Walker models come highly rated, earning about 4 stars out of 5. The SW-200 shouldn't be confused with the Fit Solutions Yamax Digi-Walker, which is a knockoff.
Review: Yamax Digi-Walker SW-200 Red Digi-Walker, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of August 2013
5. Prevention Magazine
Prevention magazine asks 26 people to test nearly 40 pedometers then highlights their top nine choices. Each scores 96.5 percent or higher in accuracy tests. Each review discusses the top features of each model, and includes comments and feedback from testers. The Yamax Digi-Walker SW-200 is a top pick, with editors calling it "the gold standard" of pedometers.
Review: We Test It: Pedometers, Denise Foley, Tanya Beers, November 2011