What is the Oura Ring? Here is everything you need to know
There are few options for those who don’t want a fitness tracker or smart watch to keep track of their health. Screenless trackers have bitten the dust, while health-tracking earbuds are only useful during activity. Smart rings are apparently the only viable and practical option. The most recognizable brand in this segment is the Finnish company Oura, mainly thanks to the Oura ring.
Now a third-generation product, The Ring initially focused on sleep tracking, but has grown to chart more health metrics than ever before. If you fancy the idea of a smart ring that monitors your body without the fuss, read on to learn all about the Oura Ring.
What is the Oura ring and how does it work?
The Oura ring is a well-being tracker in the truest sense of the word, even if it doesn’t fit around the wrist. As you can probably guess from the name, it is designed to fit a finger. It looks like a piece of jewelry from the outside, but along the inner edge you’ll find all the sensor hardware that powers the health tracking experience. There’s no display, just a clean finish that fashionable users will undoubtedly like.
The current model offered is the Oura Ring 3, which offers significant improvements over the Oura Ring 2. The device is now available in two body shapes and offers blood oxygen saturation monitoring, more accurate body temperature tracking and smart menstrual cycles. While the Oura Ring 2 is still supported by the company, it is no longer available for purchase from Oura’s official store.
There is a lot to say about training rings. They are more eye-catching than fitness trackers and free up a valuable part of your wrist for flashy watches and fashion statements. They can also be easier to keep away, at least when worn in bed. Those who enjoy cooking or gardening may want to look elsewhere for a health tracking solution.
Our verdict: Oura Ring 2 review
What does the Oura ring measure?
The Oura ring keeps track of a wide range of calculations and statistics. The main focus is on sleep health and baseline well-being tracking, so you won’t find built-in GPS for activity monitoring or a range of sports tracking profiles here. Here are the metrics, stats and indicators tracked by the Oura Ring:
- Pulse: Oura Ring 3 tracks your heart rate throughout the day and night, thanks to additional LEDs. The previous generation model only keeps track of your ticker while you sleep.
- Heart rate variability: This calculation usually informs stress calculations and goes towards Oura’s preparedness calculation.
- Respiratory rate: Oura Ring 3 calculates this number by monitoring the changes in heart rate throughout the night.
- Oxygen saturation in the blood: This is a calculation of the amount of oxygen in your blood. This feature is only available on Oura Ring 3.
- Body temperature: According to Oura, the Ring 3 has multiple temperature sensors that provide more accurate body temperature readings at night. This data is also used to detect disease.
- Sleep: This includes sleep stages, sleep efficiency, sleep latency and an indicator called rest.
- Sleep result: The Oura ring condenses the sleep data into a single number. The higher the number, the better the sleep.
- Readiness points: This is one of Oura’s three scores that indicate how ready your body is to move. This score is calculated using resting heart rate, heart rate variability, body temperature, recovery, sleep, activity from the previous day and activity balance details. Once again, the higher number indicates a good improvement.
- Activity points: Oura informs users whether they achieved an optimal balance between activity and rest through this score.
- Period tracking: Oura Ring 3 uses its temperature sensors to predict when your next period might start.
- General activity and fitness tracking: Oura introduced automatic activity detection for over 30 activities in early 2021, adding its step counters and daily distances.
How accurate is the Oura Ring?
According to the brand’s own and external research, the Oura ring is quite accurate across several metrics.
In a January 2020 study conducted with 49 subjects, the Oura ring performed almost identically to a medical ECG in measuring resting heart rate and heart rate variability. Another study published in January 2022 suggests that the Oura ring could accurately monitor heart rate and heart rate variations at night, but showed some inconsistencies in particular technical areas.
When it comes to the accuracy of sleep tracking, there is still some variation. According to a peer-reviewed study published in The nature and science of sleep, the Oura ring was 76-78% accurate when understanding the four primary sleep states compared to a full sleep test. When it comes to judging whether a user is asleep, the ring is between 92-93% accurate. This data was collected from 58 people over 157 nights.
See also: Why you might want to take your fitness tracker’s accuracy with a grain of salt
Oura suggests that users look at long-term trends rather than “zero-point-something-accuracy.” We agree. Monitoring health trends over longer periods of time is far more important to understanding your health journey than any immediate numbers can be. There will always be a degree of inaccuracy with wearables, but being aware of the changes over time will help you spot improvements over weeks, months and years.
Is the Oura ring waterproof?
According to Oura, the rings are waterproof up to 100 metres. This means that you can shower and bathe with the Oura ring on and enjoy long-distance swimming and recreational diving. Oura does not recommend wearing the ring while diving, nor should the device be submerged in water for more than 12 hours.
See also: Everything you need to know about water resistance ratings
Is the Oura ring compatible with other fitness apps?
Although the Oura Ring companion app is great for displaying the information collected from the device, you can connect your Ring with third-party apps. Find a list of supported platforms below:
Although Oura doesn’t directly support platforms like Samsung Health, you can use Google’s Health Connect to share your data with them.
Does the Oura ring require a subscription?
The Oura ring doesn’t require a subscription, but you’ll probably want one to fully unlock the experience. Several features are locked behind the premium subscription, including detailed sleep analysis, all-day heart rate monitoring, integration with third-party apps, advanced temperature monitoring, blood oxygen saturation monitoring, automatic activity detection, menstrual cycle prediction and periodic trend reports. The Oura API is also unavailable to non-paying members, but these users can download Oura data on the company’s web platform.
Without a membership, you can access the Oura app’s three scores (Sleep, Alertness and Activity), integrate your data with Google Fit and Apple Health, and access the Explore tab.
The Oura membership isn’t cheap either. On top of the actual hardware cost, Oura membership costs $5.99 per month in the US, €5.99 in the EU, and $6.99 in other regions. If you buy a new Oura Ring 3, you get a one-month free trial of the service.
Which finger is best for the Oura ring?
Oura advises users to place the ring on their index fingers. This may be a little strange to some, but the company believes this finger provides “optimal performance and accuracy.” Alternatively, the middle and ring fingers are also sufficient options.
When it comes to buying the right ring size, Oura will send you a sizing kit once you’ve completed your order. You then try on the trial rings, contact Oura regarding sizing details, and the company will send out the Oura ring in the size you want.
How much does the Oura ring cost and where can I buy it?
The Oura Ring 3 starts at $299 for the flat top Heritage style. The fully circular Horizon style will set you back $349. Several finishes are available, including silver, black, stealth (matte black), gold and rose gold. You can buy Oura Ring 3 from the company’s official store.
Remember, however, that with Oura Ring 3 you are not only paying for the ring itself. Also include the subscription cost when you buy the device.
The Oura ring does not have built-in GPS functionality. It has connected GPS which relies on a connected phone for location data.
Oura Ring 2 and 3 have similar battery life figures, lasting between four to seven days on a single charge. Your mileage may vary based on your usage.
Although you can use the Oura ring during low-intensity training sessions, it is not recommended that you use it while lifting weights. Oura doesn’t recommend it since the ring “may get scratched up,” but wearing rings of any kind on your fingers while weightlifting is not only physically uncomfortable, but extremely dangerous.