Does Fitbit Count My Steps On A Treadmill? [Final Answer]

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Are you confused about your treadmill’s step count? Fitbit is an excellent tool for tracking your fitness or vitals. However, there are occasions when Fitbit technology is challenged. 

Does Fitbit count steps on a treadmill? If you have a better quality Fitbit, you should not have a problem. However, the emphasis is very much on the word “should.”

What you need to appreciate about any fitness tracker is that the technology is not perfect. You may find that you have a problem when using Nordic walkers and rowing machines as well. 

Let’s delve further into why Fitbit finds treadmills such a challenge. 

Do You Have A Treadmill Mode On Your Fitbit? 

If you are using your Fitbit on a treadmill, it is essential that you set up treadmill mode before you start your exercise. When you don’t have treadmill mode, you can disengage the GPS function for a more accurate treadmill reading. 

On this page, we will look at some of the tips and tricks that you can use. Also, we will find out why Fitbit finds treadmills and other stationary exercise equipment challenging. 

Most importantly, it would help ensure that your Fitbit has the suitable tracker mode for your exercise choice. 

What if My Fitbit Does Not Have A Tracker Mode For Treadmills?

When you can’t see the treadmill mode on your device, you can set it up yourself. Doing so is pretty straightforward. 

The easiest way to set up treadmill tracker mode on your device is to go to your Fitbit app’s set-up section. You will find a range of different modes that you can add. 

In the set-up section, choose the treadmill shortcut. Your GPS should now be switched off, and your Fitbit should track your treadmill exercise. 

How Does Fitbit Calculate Treadmill Exercises? 

If you have been using your Fitbit for a while, you will know that your Fitbit comes with an advanced accelerometer. It also has a sensor that records your hand movements. 

On top of that, the more advanced Fitbits also have a pedometer which allows for advanced tracking. 

Does that mean my Fitbit records my workout correctly? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is yes and no. You should buy a Fitbit Sense or Versa series for more accurate results. 

What you should do for a more accurate step detection

Improving the detection of steps by your tracker or smartwatch is relatively simple. Just follow these two steps.

Walk With Your Hands

All fitness trackers work in the same way. It will sound mad, but fitness trackers, including Fitbit, presume that we “walk” with our hands. 

What does this mean? It means you need to examine your walking style on the treadmill. 

If you are in the habit of holding your hands on the side of the treadmill or the front bar, your Fitbit can’t track your exercise accurately. 

Instead of holding on to any part of the treadmill, you need to walk or run with your arms down by your side. It will feel strange at first, but this is the best way to track the activity on a treadmill. 

Bend your arms at the elbow? 

For some reason, Fitbit seems to get confused when you do this. 

Try doing this exercise. For five minutes, run with your arms down by your side. Make a note of the step count. 

Now, bend your arms at the elbow, and run or walk for five minutes in that position. You will find that there is a difference in step count. 

You are probably wondering if the calorie count is going to differ? Yes, it will. The main reason is that your body burns more calories when you run with your arms down by your side. So it has to work harder. 

Another tip from a long-distance runner is to change your stride length. The longer your stride is, the more accurately your Fitbit will track your steps. 

Does Fitbit Count Steps On Fitbit Accurately?

That is the 10 million dollar question. 

On occasion, you will find that the counter on your Fitbit does not agree with the counter on the treadmill. 

The truth is that no matter what, Fitbit finds tracking steps on a treadmill a challenge. 

Most of the time, the step count on the treadmill is more accurate than the step count on your Fitbit. 

That being said, it will not differ by a lot, but it will differ. When you are a fitness fanatic and want to be super accurate, you may want to record the step count on the treadmill instead. 

The truth is that the step count accuracy appears to vary from tracker to tracker. 

Can I Wear My Fitbit On My Ankle? 

You can do it, but that does not mean it will give you accurate information. 

Fitbit is not meant to be worn on your ankle. However, if you want to make the most out of the information you get from your Fitbit, you should wear it on your hand that is not dominant. 

The information you get from wearing your Fitbit on your ankle on a treadmill workout can be widely misleading. This also applies to wearing your Fitbit when doing a stepper or Nordic ski workout. 

Getting To Know Your Dominant Hand

Most professional runners have their running techniques analyzed. When you have your running or walking technique analyzed, you discover exciting things about yourself. 

For instance, did you know that you have a dominant hand when exercising? 

You would have thought that this is your right hand when you are right-handed and your left hand when left-handed. 

However, life is never as easy as that when it comes to exercise. Just because you are right-handed, it does not mean your right hand is the dominant one. It could be your left-hand one. 

How Do You Find Your Dominant Hand?

This is not something you can do on your own. Ask a friend to watch you closely when running on the treadmill or outside. It will not become apparent immediately, but your friend will notice a difference after a while. 

The hand you bring the furthest forward is your dominant hand. If you place your Fitbit on your dominant hand, it can over-calculate the number of steps you take when running on a treadmill. 

Your dominant hand may also move faster. That means wearing your Fitbit on the dominant can record too many steps. 

Does this principle apply to walking as well? The answer to that is yes. This is because you also have a dominant hand when you walk. 

Don’t try to assess your dominant hand on your own. Looking in the mirror in the gym when on the treadmill can cause you to lose your balance and fall over. 

On What Hand Should I Wear My Fitbit to Get a More Accurate Step Count on Treadmill? 

To get a more accurate step count on a treadmill, you should wear your Fitbit or any other tracking device that is not dominant. 

You often bring your dominant hand too far forwards to get an accurate reading. 

What Fitbit Is the Best For When Running or Walking on a Treadmill? 

Choosing the right kind of Fitbit is essential to get a more accurate reading on your Fitbit. But, of course, it depends on your budget. 

But, in general, the higher-end Fitbits and other trackers are the best ones. 

Fitbit is the best fitness tracker for most of us. When you want to invest in a high-end Fitbit, you should consider buying one of the following Fitbits: 

  • Fitbit Versa 2
  • Fitbit Luxe
  • Fitbit Charge 4
  • Fitbit Sense
  • Fitbit Versa 3
  • Fitbit Charge 5

These are also the best Fitbits to use when you are running outside. 

What Information Does My Fitbit Record When I Run On a Treadmill? 

Now that we have dealt with the burning issue “Does Fitbit count steps on a treadmill?“, we will look at the other information you can gain from your Fitbit. 

This is the other information your Fitbit provides you with which you may find helpful: 

  • Calories burned
  • Distance
  • Heart Rate
  • Duration of your workout

Is this information accurate when comparing the results to what the treadmill tells you? Unless you are physically connected to the treadmill with cables, the data may not be 100% spot on. 

However, to be fair to Fitbit, it is pretty accurate. So unless you are going in for a significant competition or the Olympics, there is no need to worry about the slight difference in data. 


As long as you know your running technique, Fitbit is reasonably accurate at recording step count on the treadmill. As a matter of fact, your Fitbit can help turn you into a better runner or walker. 

This is all about observing your technique. Needless to say, you also need to set up your Fitbit in the right way. Remember that your Fitbit is a tool that you can use to monitor and enhance your performance. 

Make sure you wear your Fitbit on your non-dominant hand and take longer strides for the best results.