A good smartphone pedometer tracks how close you’re coming your fitness goal, but finding the right one is the first step. Read on for our recommendation on the best of the best.

There i slew of studies suggesting that taking 10,000 steps a day is the easiest way to maintain a healthy weight while avoiding glucose spikes and serious disease. Yet most Americans take fewer than 5,000 steps.

The American Heart Association’s 10,000-steps recommendation is daunting for sedentary people -- it means finding time to walk about five miles per day. Fortunately, a pedometer can make it easier (or serve as a wake up call if you are consistently falling well below 10,000).

iTreadmill crashed too often in our tests. The app seems to be striving to do too much and most of the problems came when we tried to listen to music while using the app on our morning walk. We liked the fun interface on iSteps but had some concerns about the accuracy of the count. We (and, according to reviews, several others) noticed it would occasionally stop counting our steps. iWalk was easy and worked well enough, but it had no history function, and it frequently reset itself, particularly when we took a call.

A word of warning: All of these apps we reviewed taxed our smartphone’s battery. Also, many will not differentiate between walking and, say, riding in a car. Get yourself in the habit of pausing the step count when you sit down.

Our Recommendation: Pedometer FREE

Like the name suggests, this app has the added bonus of being free (all of the others we tested were $1.99 and up), but in our tests, Pedometer FREE broke the “you get what you pay for” rule. It was far and away the most accurate app, and gave us all of the features we wanted (maps, history, legible displays and social networking).

You will see the occasional advertisement, including pitches to try some of the other apps offered by Arawella, maker of Pedometer FREE. But that did not deter from our experience (we’re closing in on 500,000 steps for the summer). More advanced features include easy access to our music library without leaving the app and advanced weight- and body-change tracking.