We put the Oura Ring Gen3 to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.
Health trackers and fitness monitors have grown in popularity over the last decade or so, and this growth has inspired new cutting-edge advances in wellness tech, with everything from accurate heart rate monitoring to temperature change detection and even potentially life-saving notification of heartbeat irregularities that could signal serious health issues.
Plenty of research on fitness and health trackers has shown that people who wear them tend to move more and enjoy better health, including reduced risks of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The Oura Ring Gen3 is an advanced tracking option that considers over 20 body signals, including temperature, heart rate, heart rate variability, and sleep, to tell you how ready you are for the day ahead. Its metrics and capabilities are particularly impressive and accurate, plus it’s one of the sleekest wellness trackers yet, as you simply slip it onto your finger like any other ring.
I tried out the Oura smart ring to see if it lives up to the acclaim. Keep reading for my full experience and to decide whether the investment is right for you.
BEST FOR: Those looking for detailed, accurate health metrics in a sleek, easy-to-wear device.
PRICE: $300 to $550
WHAT’S INCLUDED: Ring, size-specific charger, and USB-C cable.
ABOUT THE BRAND: Oura is a Finland-based health-tracking tech company whose mission is to help people improve their wellness through detailed and accurate tracking of sleep, stress, recovery, menstrual cycles, temperature, heart rate, and more. The ring and membership work in tandem to help you stay on top of your health metrics and feel your best.
What Is the Oura Ring?
The Oura Ring is a health and wellness tracker that works alongside an app to help inform your lifestyle habits and provide insight into how your current daily practices affect your wellbeing. As you may have guessed, you wear the ring on your finger to allow it to provide continuous health monitoring, as well as personal guidance that adapts and improves with consistent use as Oura gets to know your body.
Like many health trackers, Oura monitors your sleep but stands out among competitors by providing particularly detailed information about your sleep habits, stages, changes in temperature, heart rate variability, and blood oxygen sensing. It’s so accurate that it’s been deemed comparable to sleep lab testing based on scientific research. I was most excited about this aspect of the ring, as I have some trouble falling and staying asleep and end up feeling drained during work. Lately, this has resulted in less-than-stellar workouts and even skipped training sessions.
Setup: Pick the right size and follow the instructions
Before purchasing your Oura Ring, you’ll be prompted to order a sizing kit to ensure the device will fit comfortably. Even if you know your ring size, I recommend ordering the sizing kit because fluid retention and weight fluctuations can change how the ring fits depending on the day or week. Although Oura is relatively sleek and comfortable, the wrong size could feel constricting if too tight, and if loose, it will have trouble sensing your biometrics.
Once your Oura Ring has arrived, setup is easy: Simply follow the instructions you get in the box that comes with it. The app is intuitive and instructive, guiding you through setup and use.
How to Use It: Set it and forget it
Using the Oura Ring is as simple as slipping it on your finger and forgetting it’s there. The powerful sensors go to work while you walk, exercise, do chores, work, and sleep. You can set goals and follow suggestions using the app, which will work with you to develop programs to help you achieve what you want and feel your best.
The ring will automatically detect over 30 different activities, from cycling to basketball to housework. You can also add in your workouts after the fact if you removed your ring during certain activities or forgot to put it on. For instance, I couldn’t wear my ring while lifting weights, as it was too uncomfortable to have metal pressing against my fingers during heavy barbell lifts.
The Results: Helpful, honest information
It took a couple weeks to understand how the Oura Ring compares and contrasts to other fitness trackers. I learned that Oura is not a replacement for a fitness watch, but it provides unique health benefits that inform my training and daily habits. Namely, I now understand that my 2 p.m. caffeine hit is doing me more harm than good. My heart rate stays elevated, and I take longer to fall asleep when I reach for a double shot of espresso to get me through the afternoon slog. I’m also acutely aware of my late-night workouts leading to a more difficult time settling down at night.
Another invaluable bit of information I gathered about myself is that I need more recovery days. Prioritizing sleep and rest has helped me see better Readiness Scores in the Oura app, and following the advice to take it a bit easy during some workout days has helped me learn that the higher-intensity training bouts should be saved for when I’m able to commit to full recovery without using pre-workout stimulants (hello again, caffeine).
I’ve found that rather than burning the candle at both ends, I can create a buffer against fatigue and overtraining. This leads to better performance, better moods, and feeling more energized and productive in all aspects of my life.
I have only two complaints about the Oura Ring. The first is that I can’t wear it while lifting weights, which is my primary form of exercise. The ring presses against my fingers and is too uncomfortable to use. I also carefully tested the Oura Ring against my Fitbit and my walking pad, which precisely tracks my footfalls. Oura fared worst when it came to accurately tracking steps, but it provided detailed heart rate measurements, which are arguably more valuable than actual step counts. For what it’s worth, the Fitbit was also inaccurate, although it was closer to the actual step count value than the Oura Ring.
The Value: Worth it for the precise metrics
Although the Oura Ring is more expensive than some other types of health trackers, it’s for a reason. Its advanced, more accurate tracking creates a wealth of information you can use to improve your daily life. Personally, the insight I gained into my sleep and workout habits has changed how I function each day. I can’t put a value on improving my sleep, recovery, and training performance, so if you’re ready to learn how to optimize your habits, too, it’s definitely worth the investment.
Similar Products: You’ve got options
Motiv Ring: One of few other ring options in the fitness tracking space, this smart ring from Motiv ($200) tracks most health metrics (such as sleep, heart rate, body temperature, and activity), though it doesn’t provide insights into recovery or readiness. It also has a shorter battery life (up to three days, as opposed to Oura’s seven), but if budget is your priority, this ring will still track some helpful information to support you in your fitness journey.
Fitbit Luxe: New to fitness tracking or simply looking for any affordable option that doubles as jewelry? This stylish offering from Fitbit ($130) will help you to learn more about your mind, body, and health over time, all in a slim design that’s easy to interchange with various fashion-forward band options. While you won’t get the level of detail that Oura provides, this device is actually better when it comes to steps, plus you’ll be able to keep an eye on heart rate, sleep data, stress management, and more.
Apple Watch Series 8: Looking for a health tracker that works seamlessly in tandem with your other devices? The latest Apple Watch ($400) is ready to upgrade your experience. While it’s more expensive than the Oura Ring, it’s similarly able to provide detailed insights on heart rate trends, sleep tracking, and more, plus it comes with advanced emergency features and full compatibility with your iPhone, so you can be fully connected on workouts or outings with minimal tech bulk.
If you want more out of your wellness wearable than simple step and exercise tracking, the Oura Ring is an excellent choice. For anyone who wants as many personalized details as they can get to inform their lifestyle habits, Oura fits the bill with high-quality, accurate sensors and detailed, personalized programming and goal-setting. While it can’t replace my standard fitness watch, it helps me see a broader picture of my habits and how my choices impact my training, mood, and health.