How does Garmin measure floors?


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Page last updated: 28/09/2022

How does Garmin measure floors?

In this guide, we will talk about how Garmin measures floor, why your Garmin may not be counting steps as it should or it may be displaying more steps than it should. Additionally, we will see the step-by-step guide on how to set your Garmin as a Preferred Activity Tracker in Garmin Connect app/web and finally, we will mention the reason why floors climbed increase when performing an activity. 

How does Garmin measure floors?

If you wonder, how Garmin measures floors, we have the answer for you. Your Garmin device uses an internal barometer to measure elevation changes as you climb floors. Moreover, the device interprets a floor climbed as 3m or 10ft. You can locate the small barometer holes on the back of the device, near the charging port, and you can clean the area around the charging contacts if your device is showing an inaccurate amount of floors climbed. 

The following Garmin Watch models contain a barometric altimeter has the ability to track flights climbed:

  • Epix
  • Fenix 3
  • Fenix 2 Special Edition
  • Fenix 2
  • Tactix
  • Quatix

Moreover, some of the requirements to receive credit for climbing stairs or floors involve climbing a floor equal to 10 feet (3 meters) in elevation gain and having consistent movements as you climb. For instance, riding an elevator will not earn you credit for floors or stopping in the middle of climbing could result in loss of credit. 

Some users consider this feature to be very important and one of the main reasons why they would decide to buy a Garmin Watch. However, let’s imagine you are climbing stairs daily to get to your apartment or office, avoiding the use of the elevator because you are really trying to improve your health but you have noticed you are not getting any credit or too much credit for the floors climbed. What could be happening? Here we will talk about some of the reasons.

Why is Garmin not measuring floors?

Some users have reported buying a Garmin device and having gone upstairs but their device is not reflecting those changes. However, let’s consider how Garmin measures floors climbed using the barometer on the back of the watch. This sensor is usually located between the two sets of charging contacts. The barometric pressure should decree enough to indicate 10+ feet of altitude change. 

If your stairs are not tall enough or if your house is sealed well enough it may mean that it is not detecting the change between stairs. Moreover, it also needs steps to be counted at the same time as the decrease in pressure. This means holding on to the railing could have an effect.

But what can I do to fix this issue? You may be wondering. Well, in this case, Garmin Support gives out some tips such as blowing out the barometer with canned air or trying to run some water through it and let it dry. This may fix the issue if the sensor is dirty or if grime got into the sensor.

How does Garmin measure floors?

My Garmin is not accurately counting steps

This is another frequent scenario users report when it comes to fitness devices. Garmin fitness trackers are designed to track and record walking motions as steps. The internal 3-axis accelerometer of the device has the ability to detect arm movement while walking and will record each swing of the arm as two steps. 

However, some activities may cause irregular arm movements resulting in recording more steps than it should. Some examples are driving a vehicle, taking a shower, a restless night of sleep or brushing your teeth. Moreover, there are instances where the lack of arm movement may result in losing steps while you are walking such as pushing a stroller or shopping cart, mowing the lawn or carrying a bag of groceries.

But the overall accuracy shouldn’t be significantly affected by the scenarios we have mentioned.

Setting My Garmin as a Preferred Activity Tracker in Garmin Connect

Many of the Garmin devices can be used to track your daily physical activities and steps. But if you have more than one device with this feature, you must choose your preferred activity tracker within the Garmin Connect app or website. Usually, the preferred activity tracker will be the device worn with more frequency. 

Both applications, Garmin Connect App or Garmin Express, will prompt you to either choose the new device you prefer to track your activity or keep the one you have previously chosen. The data will automatically be recorded and consolidated when using multiple devices. 

If you are using the Garmin Connect App, here are the steps:

  1. Open the app from your Smartphone
  2. Access the Menu
  • Android: Select from the upper left
  • iOS: Select More from the bottom right
  1. Select Garmin Devices
  2. Select the device you would like to set as the Preferred Activity Tracker
  3. Select Device Settings If this option is not present, select Activity Tracking.
  4. Select Set as Preferred Activity Tracker

However, if you are using the Garmin Connect Web instead, here are the steps:

  1. Go to Garmin Connect from a personal computer
  2. Sign in to your account
  3. Select on in the upper right corner
  4. Select Set as Preferred Activity Tracker

Why do floors climbed increase when performing an activity?

Don’t let any manufacturer tell you that they have a 100% accuracy when it comes to tracking their activities. Many of the outdoor fitness watches can track the number of floors climbed but some of them seem to have different criteria when it comes to what is considered as a floor so comparing them and the floors climbed may be a bit confusing. 

Fitness devices use a built-in barometer to measure elevation changes as you climb stairs but some of them may be more sensitive to changes in movement than others. Moreover, watches may display that you have climbed floors while recording walking or running activities, among other activities, when increasing the elevation by 10 feet and walking or running up a grade of 10% or higher. 

Why is this blog about How does Garmin measure floors important?

As we have mentioned on how Garmin measures floors, the device’s barometer or sensors will determine that a floor climbed is equal to 10 feet or 3or ers in elevation gain. However, you may experience an incorrect floor count or no count at all. Don’t worry, in most cases, it can be fixed by checking the device’s settings (i.e. preferred device) or it may be a matter of cleaning the ports for the device to start measuring floors again. 

Finally, consider that no device is 100% accurate and it may display inaccurate information from time to time depending on many factors such as your arm’s movement, weather, if the device’s sensor is obstructed or dirty, etc. 

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How does Garmin measure floors

What constitutes a floor climbed?

A floor climbed is equal to 10 feet (3 meters) in elevation gain. Consistent movement as you climb. However, if you are having issues with your device recognizing and counting floors climbed, consider locating the sensor and cleaning gently. 

How many steps equal 1 floor on Fitbit?

According to Fitbit, Your device registers 1 floor when you climb about 10 feet or 3 meters. However, consider not skipping any steps when climbing floors and checking the Fitbit has all the settings on to start tracking this activity. 

Does Garmin 245 track stairs?

Compared to the Forerunner 645. The Forerunner 645 devices have it, but the Forerunner 245 devices do not—that means the new devices cannot track stairs climbed or measure elevation as accurately while hiking. 

What do the stairs mean on Fitbit?

Fitbit devices that count floors have an altimeter sensor that can detect when you’re going up or down in elevation. Your device registers one floor when you climb about 10 feet at one time. It does not register floors when you go down. This could be one of the main reasons why your Fitbit is not tracking stairs, however, always try to do basic troubleshooting and see if it starts counting steps again (if it has stopped) or checking the settings if it has never started. 

How many floors a day is good?

How many floors a day is considered good may vary. However, some studies cite that men who climb 20 to 34 floors or stairs per week (3-5 floors a day) have a reduction in their risk of stroke. However, you could find different studies and professional opinions that may indicate what is considered ‘good’.

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