Oura Rings as Fitness Trackers

Editor's Rating: 4 /5

The market is chock full of fitness trackers for cardio fans, but most fit on the user’s wrist. Enter the Oura Ring, which was designed to be more of a sleep and overall wellness tracker but has evolved to include all the same metrics as any other fitness tracker. Using the Oura Ring myself, I’ve come to find that for some folks, it might actually be a better all-round tool when it comes to your cardio as it focuses on heart rate and heart rate variability (HRV) while considering your overall recovery day after day.

First launched in 2015, a second-generation model was born in 2018 and the Oura Ring Gen3 is the latest. Offered in colors silver, black, dark gray, and two shades of gold, the models range from $299 to $349 and can offer data plans from $0 to $5.99 per month. It’s pricier than some Fitbits, which range from $79 to $330, but on par with an Apple Watch.

Right up front, if the only reason you’re interested in a wearable is workout tracking, the Oura Ring might be a bit much. However, if you’re interested in the relationship between your cardio workouts, HRV, sleep scores, and trends tracking over time, then it’s certainly worth a look.

The Oura Ring utilizes sensors which scan the bottom-side of your finger.

This Oura Ring Could Be For You If:

  • You’re willing to pay a little more than you would for a budget-priced tracker.
  • You want a high-quality sleep tracker.
  • You prefer a ring to a watch.
  • You want biofeedback during guided mindfulness sessions.
  • You like to track your workout stats over time.
  • Tracks sleep well
  • Great for monitoring workout recovery
  • Wears comfortably as a ring
  • Holds a charge well
  • Includes a mindfulness component
  • Pricey

What Is An Oura Ring?

Made of titanium, the four- to six-gram ring can be sized to fit the middle, index, or ring finger on your hand. Once ordered from the company, a sizing kit will be sent to your home and you’ll pick your color and style. Purchase also includes a size-specific charger and USB-C cable. The manufacturer states that the ring is water resistant up to 100 meters, but users should take care when wearing around water as they would with any other type of ring.

Three sensors inside the ring use waves of light to measure the body’s metrics and report back to an app which you can install on your phone, computer, or other device. The unit is Bluetooth-enabled and can transmit data when in use.

Data provided by the Oura Ring includes a Sleep Score scaled 0-100, which combines the total number hours you slept with the efficiency. Variables measured include restfulness, REM sleep, deep sleep, latency, and timing. Your app tracks and maintains this as part of your profile and provides helpful charts with time and date.

The ring also generates a Readiness Score which combines the lowest overnight heartrate, body temperature, prior-day physical activity, HRV, and sleep ratings. An Activity Score is also generated by way of an accelerometer which detects hand movement throughout the day.


My Experience With The Oura Ring:

I have to say my own experience with the Oura Ring has been extremely positive. I’m just not a big fan of wearing something on my wrist, whereas this ring stays on me day and night.

Other user reviews note the ring outperforms the competition in terms of HRV and overnight sleep factors even though it’s really not designed to be a fitness tracker per se. Users can log workouts by time, date, and category as they do them, but I’ve noticed in using it that the app on my phone will alert me once an activity is done and ask what I was doing based on heart rate and motion. Whether on the treadmill for six minutes of 60, the ring is sensitive enough to pick this up and document all the data back to the app. The sensors are so sensitive that it’s logged cardio workouts while I was mowing grass and picking up branches in my yard. While competing in bodybuilding contests, we typically perform high numbers of push-ups and pull-ups to get a “pump” before going on stage. The Oura Ring picks up on this without my logging it in and records the activity quite well.

HRV is the regularity or irregularity of the time between pulses. A smart program, the Oura Ring will intelligently gather this information about you over time to better gauge your recovery from workouts and integrate it into your overall readiness and sleep scores. This is of value if your planning trying to plan out your exercise schedule and dividing your long runs from sprint days.

Purchase of the ring comes with a battery charger and USB cord. Battery life is monitored via the app and one full charge will last four to five days. Charging only takes about 15 minutes. Like most fitness apps these days, the Oura Rings bring a mindfulness component with them and can be used in conjunct with guided meditation series.

The Verdict

A big benefit to having a heartrate monitor on your finger is comfort, not to mention it’s less conspicuous than a watch. I’ve used this Oura Ring while running on my NordicTrack 1750 using iFit and its Bluetooth heartrate monitor and the Oura seems quite accurate. If you’re looking for all the benefits of a sleep tracker combined with a fitness tracker, then Oura is definitely good to go. The only downside is you can certainly find a lower-priced wearable if all you want is cardio feedback. Performance-wise though, I’d rate it highly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know what size ring to order?

Upon ordering, a ring sizing kit will be shipped to you. Once you've selected the appropriate size and color you'll be sent the ring.

Can I get a replacement for the ring charger?

Yes, the company warranties the products and replacement chargers are available?

Is the Oura Ring waterproof?

Yes, up to 100 meters.