02/18/2015 01:45 EST | Updated 02/18/2015 01:59 EST

The Best Fitness Tracker Isn't Your Fitbit

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Vector fitness app on the screen of mobile phone and tracker on the wrist - illustration in flat style

A new study from the Journal of the American Medical Association says your smartphone is more accurate than those costly wearable fitness trackers.

For the study, 14 participants were outfitted with eight different top-selling fitness trackers, including smartphones. Researchers observed the participants' actual steps, then took a look at step counts on the devices. They found the smartphones differed only slightly from the observed counts, while the wearables differed more greatly. As Live Science reports, the wearable device counts ranged from 22.7 per cent lower to 1.5 per cent higher than the observed results.

The study's results could mean more bad news for wearables giant Fitbit who, according to Global News, pulled the Fitbit Force from shelves in February 2014 after users complained the device was causing blistering, skin irritation and chemical burns.

CNET predicts that sales for wearable fitness bands will shrink by 3 million units this year. Despite tracking sleep patterns, heart rates and calorie expenditure, the popular wristbands and clips can't seem to compete with smartphones and smartwatches that can do the same things and in some cases, more.

Neil Kane, contributor for Forbes and founder of Illinios Partners, says Fitbit should be running scared. The businessman, who gave up his Fitbit in favour of his smartphone back in June of 2014 says, "if you are making wearables, you better make something that can’t be Hoovered into a smartphone, because sooner or later if it can be, it will be."

Of course, there is still one reason to hang on to your wearable fitness tracker: it's right where you want it to be when you're working out. If carrying around your smartphone means the difference between exercising and not exercising, hang onto that gadget. Because the truth is, it doesn't matter which device you use if you aren't actually using it.

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