Oura Ring Review, Plus An Athlete's Perspective
Oura Ring Review After 3 Years Of Use
I've been wearing my Oura ring for about 3 years or so now - I figured it was about time I did a review on it. Truthfully, I have had periods of time where I really relied on my Oura ring, and other times where it would die and I didn't notice for days at a time. (Just being honest!)
Either way, I have mostly really great things to say about my experience with Oura ring and there's some Oura ring fitness and health features I definitely want to share. Taking care of our bodies is so important for overall wellness, and the Oura ring really helps you utilize fancy technology and scientific measurements in an I'm-just-an-average-guy way.
Plus, that's huge for athletes in my opinion. We have so many metrics and skills and performance standards being thrown at us every single day.
What does it all mean?
How can I actually use complicated physio metrics to inform simple things - like when to sleep?
The Oura ring helps with all of that.
So read on for my Oura ring review and details on what the Oura ring does so you can decide whether you think getting an Oura ring is worth it!
What Does An Oura Ring Do?
First, here's a rundown of what the heck an Oura ring even does. The answer is pretty much everything, especially with the Oura Ring 3 generation. The second generation is still great, but Oura made some fantastic additions with the latest version.
The 3 Big Oura Ring Feature Categories
The Oura Ring has three features that I consider primary:
Sleep: Gives you a daily sleep score based on how well you slept that night, including details of each phase of sleep, heart rate variability, efficiency, etc. It also detects naps automatically and tells you if it helped, and a newer feature detects your blood oxygen levels.
Readiness: This is a bit more of an abstract measurement. It's meant to give you an overall snapshot of how you're doing, whether your body is giving off signals that it needs rest or if you're recovered for the day, and more.
Activity: The activity tab breaks down your level of activity: how inactive you were, your step count, recovery time, dynamic activity goals, calories burnt, etc.
Some additional things to know about the sleep feature:
You can click each metric (example "sleep latency") for a quick explanation of what it's measuring and why.
The Oura ring app sends a personalized notification to you suggesting that you wind down for your optimal bedtime.
The breakdown of REM, light, and deep sleep is really interesting to see - and can be helpful depending on your goals.
It divides time asleep and time in bed - it knows when you're awake!
The top of the Sleep tab shows a color-coded chart so you can see your trends in total sleep, REM sleep, time spent awake, etc. over time. Personally, I love this.
Most people know this now, but I still have to emphasize that sleep is the #1 recovery tool out there. You should look into tips for improving your sleep. Or give the ring a try if you want to learn more about your personal sleep patterns.
Overall, the Readiness tab helps you tune into your body by looking at a variety of metrics. Some of those are:
heart rate variability
Some other things the Oura ring will now notify you about:
If you're exhibiting symptoms of getting sick so you can take precautions.
Period and period symptoms.
When to take a break, even letting you activate a rest mode.
It just helps you prioritize rest and recovery - when you truly need it. For us busy-bodies with dreams to achieve, it can be hard to recognize these symptoms on your own and the Oura ring is really helpful in that way.
This was initially what I was most excited about with getting an Oura ring...which then turned into my biggest problem with it. HOWEVER, the newer generation (Oura ring 3) is just so great, and I can totally see it getting even better as time goes on.
The Oura fitness ring tracks:
types of workouts
duration and intensity of workouts
calorie burned and how many more to get to your goal
how much more walking can get you to your daily goal
records your workout heart rate
The Gen 2 Oura ring (which is what I have but they don't sell anymore), was pretty basic. You could add a workout afterwards on the day of, and it would even guess workouts you've done based on your moment. You just filled in the remaining details.
But now you can start a workout on the app when you actually start one (a timer begins.) Again, it tracks workouts on its own too, just much more detailed than in the past. It automatically detects over 30 activities.
Plus, you can see routes that you walk/run and get your pace!! Amazing.
The heart rate during workouts is a great metric to see how much your exercise is impacting you.
While the other categories are being tracked at all times while you're wearing the ring, the wellness tools are a bit more interactive on your end. They're super cool.
Click the Explore tab on your ring and you can find:
guided audio sessions such as meditation activities and breathing exercises
tips for improving your wellness.
Additionally, you can add tags to your days to record different activities so you'll see how they play a role in your overall wellness.
The Oura ring 3 tracks your period too, which is a really awesome feature to have.
As an athlete, wellness is vital. But we don't always think about it, focusing more on training hard and things like that. Having an app that helps you wind down, focus up, etc...can be a game changer if you utilize it.
I think having access to these tools makes a huge difference for athlete mental health and teaching yourself how to handle the pressure of competitions.
Oura Ring Compatibility With Other Tools
If you want to use the ring and other stuff too, you can. Here's a list of some of the tools you can use together with your Oura ring:
Apple Watch (and iPhone)
How To Use The Oura Ring
Using the Oura ring is super easy. It doesn't take long to get used to navigating around the app and knowing where to find each metric.
The Oura Ring connects via Bluetooth right to your phone. So the whole time it's on your finger, it's collecting data that will be synced to the app on your phone.
You do need to open the app every single day in order to sync. Which can be a tad annoying if you don't remember. I think you can get away with skipping sometimes, but it always tells me to open the app for best syncing.
I personally wouldn't be opposed to checking it once a week and seeing how I'm doing, but it's meant to update daily so you know what's going on. (Understandable.) My advice would be to make it a part of your morning routine or your pre-bed routine. That way you won't forget to update and check in on yourself.
To charge, simply place the ring on the charger it comes with. It charges very fast and lasts for several days. I'd also recommend ensuring that you have a notification on so it will tell you when it's dying soon. Very helpful so you don't forget.
To set up the Oura ring, it will ask you some things about yourself (like height and weight) and it will ask you your current goals. Maybe it's "be less tired" or "improve athletic performance." Picking which one is your priority at the time (you can change it later), lets Oura customize your experience to help you.
That's the gist of what you need to know about using the ring. But since I want this Oura smart ring review to be complete, here's a few more details about actually using it:
The Home Page
You can click through each category using the bottom tab for in-depth details, but the Home tab gives you a big picture check-in for each day.
Simply scroll across the top to go from day to day. When you're on the day you want to look at, you'll see cards for Readiness, Sleep, Activity, and then a little Summary at the bottom. You can click each card to get greater insights.
I love the quick overview though just to see what your score is. For example, if I open up the app and I see Readiness score: 65 Pay Attention, I immediately know that I'm not at my top for the day. If I want to know more I can click in, otherwise I can move about my day taking into account that I should take things easier or plan to get to bed earlier.
Why do I like this as an athlete? First of all, as a professional runner I like to have details about my body, because it's important to know how I'm responding to training and what I can do better. On the other hand, it's mentally overwhelming to see the little details all the time.
Being able to get a quick overview, with the option to look into more details when I need to is amazing.
Other Notes About Using The Oura Ring
At the bottom right of the Home tab there's a "plus sign" button. Click this to add a workout, start an unguided mediation, or add a tag. There are tons of tags to pick from, from bloating and caffeine to high altitude and jet lag.
Ordering the ring:
If you don't know your ring size, Oura lets you test the ring sizes. I measured my finger with the tool that they sent so that I was able to get the perfect fit.
In doing his process, they will also tell you which fingers they recommend using. I would recommend listening to them despite what finger you might want to use. Of course, if it's going to be so uncomfortable that you don't wear it, that's not great.
But keep in mind that they know what they're talking about and if you want to actually get the most out of the ring (and have accurate results), you should follow their instructions.
Does Oura Ring Have a Monthly Fee? And Other Details About Oura Memberships
Yes, the Oura ring has a monthly fee. But hear me out.
At first thought, it's pretty annoying when fitness tools have monthly memberships. (Anyone else discover Peloton monthly payments and freak out?🙋🏽♀️)
But now that I've reeled in that surprise, I realize it's not a bad thing. It just means that the brand is committed to continuously updating the product and will be releasing additional tools for you to use. Whether it's new in-app features or more workouts uploaded, you're not paying for no reason. (See more of my thoughts on this below in Considerations, though.)
And with the Oura ring membership being just $5.99/month for US members...it's really not a crazy fee. Plus, you don't NEED to pay monthly to use your Oura Ring. Without a membership you still have access to:
Explore content - meditation, education and tips
Note* - you'll only be able to see Scores on current days, and no Insights
I can't in good-faith tell you that purchasing an Oura ring just to use those 4ish minimal features is 100% worth it, however. While some people might think it's fine, there are a ton of other membership Oura features that you're probably going to want.
BTW, the first month of your membership (as a new member) is free. Saving those $6 isn't exactly a grand gesture, but it gives you a chance to try the membership and see if you even want it. Combined with the 30-day return or replace policy, you're pretty much getting a no-risk try of the entire Oura ring experience.
You can cancel at any time!
(Another note. If you upgraded from their Gen 2 ring to the Gen 3 ring and had a Lifetime membership, you got to keep it. Otherwise it's monthly memberships only for new Gen 3 purchases.)
Oura Ring Review
Now to talk about how I use the Oura ring and what I love about it. Just to note: Again, I currently have the Gen 2 ring currently, and they've since released the Oura ring 3.
1. Hands down the best thing about the Oura ring is simply that it's a ring. I, for one, don't understand how people wear an Apple Watch all day long (and all night?). The ring is sleek, comfortable, and you can pick a shade that blends in with your jewelry preference. I actually get compliments on my gold Oura ring all the time, and they have no idea that it's not just a fashion statement.
2. The ring's sensors are top-level. The Gen 3 ring uses Infrared LEDs, Red LEDs, Green LEDs, NTC Sensors, Advanced Calibrated Sensors, Finger Detection IR Sensors. It's small, yet high-tech and sensitive to accurately collect your data.
3. The Sleep feature is a game changer. It provides the most miniscule details about what's going on and provides recommendations to best help you. All the features do this, but I've personally found the sleep feature to be most motivational. Sleep is the time where you most have literally no idea what's going on with your body. The ring provides those insights.
4. The Oura ring holds you accountable. I always say that tracking fitness is the number one way to make progress. Outside of my fitness planner, using these data-backed metrics and results to inform my training has been instrumental.
5. You're asking "is the Oura ring worth it?"... It just does so much that it's easy for me to say that it is. If you're serious about building healthy habits or even maintaining your wellness, it's no doubt a really great tool to do that.
Oura Ring Review: Considerations
I'm calling these "considerations," because saying "negatives" isn't really fair. What one person wouldn't like about the Oura ring is mostly preferential, and nothing about the Oura ring has been terrible by any means.
1. The Oura ring is always updating, and while you can access a lot of those changes through software updates...you can't get all of them. This has been quite disappointing for me with the Gen 2 ring, as I have had to watch these insanely cool features roll out, just to be told that in order to have them I'd need to buy another ring, which isn't exactly cheap.
2. Which brings me to point two, the price. This ring is an investment, no matter which one you get. Additionally, certain aesthetics cost way more than others...even though the ring functions exactly the same.
The cheapest color and version (Oura ring Heritage) is $299, while that same exact ring in gold is $449. The cheapest color in the Oura ring Horizon version (a smoother band with no ridges) is $349, but in gold it's $499. (Rose gold jumps up to $549!)
I personally believe that the price is amazing for all of the features you get in such a small device that won't bother you at all. In that regard, $299 plus $5.99 a month is not bad at all. That being said, the price differences in color is kind of frustrating. I wear gold, and I would have upgraded by now if the gold ring was the same price as all the others.
3. Just because I or other people truly believe that the Oura ring is worth it, doesn't mean it's something you need. Please don't let your lack of an Oura ring make you feel like you can't reach wellness goals or start improving your sleep and activity patterns. You can, and the Oura ring is just a fantastic tool to make doing so more manageable.
The best thing about the Oura ring is that it provides knowledge that you otherwise simply would not have access to. And it shows you what to do with it. This is instrumental! But just consider the investment you're about to make before you get it.
Oura Ring Review Final Thoughts
From personal experience, the people who don't like the Oura ring either don't trust its metrics (partially because it tells them what they don't want to hear) or who don't use it the right way (aka aren't consistent with it).
Oura ring themselves have stated that the Oura ring needs two weeks to learn your personal baseline. That means wearing the ring day in and day out for two weeks at least before you start really listening to the metrics. They also suggest which fingers are best to use.
If you don't follow the Oura ring's instructions...it won't work its best. I know that sounds obvious, but I still want to remind you! The point of the Oura ring is to tell you some pretty important things...like whether you slept well or not. If it tells you that you didn't sleep well...that can psych you out and make it worse.
So it's really important that you wear it all the time and give it those two weeks to calibrate. And if you only want to use certain features, like period tracking, and ignore others, like hours of REM sleep, do what you need to do.
Overall, if you're looking to up your wellness game, improve athletic performance, and you're willing to actually be consistent with it - the Oura ring is a great option!