If you’re considering picking up an Oura ring to hit your health goals this year, this in-depth review will help you make the right choice.
I’ve personally tested the Oura ring for over a year and used it for tracking regular daily health monitoring while working, walking, sleeping, and recovery optimization.
Overall, the Oura Ring Gen 3 offers some of the best and most accurate consumer-grade health tracking available.
The simplicity of design through the ring and the user-friendly software makes it one of my favorite options for health optimization, but it isn’t suitable for martial artists or even weightlifters.
If you want to know if it’s right for you, keep reading as this Oura Ring Gen 3 review breaks down the features and what I think about it.
Table of Contents
- The Oura ring itself is simple to use 24/7, stylish, and doesn’t get in the way most of the time.
- It’s the most frictionless health tracker I’ve tried for regular use, particularly for sleep.
- The health tracking data provided each day, particularly for the Sleep and Recovery Index, is insightful for understanding your body’s signals to restoration.
- Understanding links or disconnection between how you feel and what your health data is saying can be confusing. Even with the extra information, understanding what you need most takes trial and error.
- I found it a bit annoying at first to get used to washing my hands while wearing the ring, you need to wipe dry underneath your ring every time, or you can get peeling skin. But you get used to it.
- Although the ring could be worn underneath a boxing glove, the Oura ring will not cut it for martial artists. They’re better off getting a WHOOP 4.0.
- Oura rings are also pretty impractical for weightlifters and likely unsafe. But runners, soccer players, and other feet-dominant sportspeople will probably love this.
Is Oura ring worth it?
The Oura ring is worth it if you are looking for a convenient daily health, readiness, and sleep tracker with the least friction for daily living.
But the Oura ring isn’t the most suitable fitness tracker for some weightlifting athletes or martial artists because it’s not always practical.
I’ve personally found the Oura gen 3 to be an excellent method of tracking health data.
Its sensors are very accurate at giving specific measurements across heart rate, sleep, and activity.
It also gives a daily Readiness Score. The Readiness Score gives you a good idea about how you’re recovering and whether you can expect more or less from your body on any given day.
I have really enjoyed using it and learning more about Heart Rate Variability, the lowest heart rate (bpm) during sleep, and my overall health.
But unfortunately, it doesn’t give me the full package as a martial artist.
You can wear the Oura ring underneath your boxing glove fairly easily, but it can sometimes be really uncomfortable, and your sparring partners would be pretty mad if you were punching them while wearing rings.
It’s standard fighters’ etiquette to remove all jewelry before sparring.
In other martial arts, where a lot of gripping with your hands is necessary, like wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu, or even Judo, it’s impossible to wear the Oura ring while training.
So if you practice any of these grappling martial arts frequently, you’ll need to pick out a better option.
I’ve already compiled a list of the best fitness trackers for BJJ, which is also relevant for any kind of grappling arts.
It’s also not ideal for weightlifters. Oura themselves don’t recommend people to wear the ring when lifting weights because it might get scratched up.
But I think there is more to it than that, as I’m not sure it’s safe for your finger, hands, or the ring, to apply massive pressure through your grip when lifting a heavy weight.
It won’t be natural and could be at least very uncomfortable.
You should have a great idea of whether the Oura ring Gen 3 is right for you already…
But if you want to learn more about the Oura ring experience in my full review, keep scrolling.
Oura Ring Gen 3 full review
Let’s crack on with reviewing the great, the good, and not-so-good, parts of using Oura for your health and fitness tracking.
Finding your ideal Oura ring size
Before you’ll get your hands on your Oura ring, you’ll need to pick out your ideal ring size.
If you’re ordering directly from OuraRing.com, then upon purchase, you’ll be sent a ring sizing kit in the mail first.
You’re given a selection of plastic models of ring sizes to try on that match the size and shape of an Oura ring.
The absolute key here is to choose wisely. For many people, there will be two possible sizes to wear – like there were for me.
But the Oura ring sizes don’t entirely represent standard ring sizing, depending on your country.
And to add to that, the sizing kit rings are not exact to the actual Oura ring.
When trying out your sizing kit, it’s imperative that you select that almost-too-snug size.
I bought my first Oura ring off eBay, thinking I had a good idea of the right size to pick. And the Size 10 seemed to be the right one at first.
It felt right because it slipped over my first/index finger the easiest while still feeling in good contact around the finger.
How wrong I was.
The better option is the ring that feels almost slightly too tight, which is a mild struggle to remove it.
The reason is a big difference in the friction between the plastic model from the sizing kit and the actual titanium/metallic Oura ring itself.
The actual version has a tiny bit more natural space as the inner bumps have less friction, and the official ring can be slipped on and off much easier with just a little water.
It doesn’t work the same with the plastic model version.
So, in summary: pick the size from the sizing kit that feels almost too tight and has resistance to getting it off.
The actual Oura ring will be easier to slide on and off than the sizing kit one.
In the end, a Size 9 was the perfect fit for me.
It’s a comfortable fit that doesn’t feel tight unless my finger is swollen for some other reason.
It doesn’t spin around too much (which disrupts the sensor) but can be taken off easily enough with a bit of water.
What you get in the Oura ring box
After you’ve notified Oura of the perfect size you want for your ring, they’ll send it to you in a very neat package.
The ring comes in a sleek white box, which contains the following:
- Simple instructional manual
- Oura Ring
- Charging stand for the ring
- Charging cable (USB-A to USB-C)
Friendly and straightforward box design. It reminds you a bit of the Apple unboxing experience.
Setting up the Oura ring for the first time
As the instructions will tell you, to set up your Oura ring, you need to plug in the charging stand with the charging cable into a power source.
The USB-C end goes into the charging stand for the ring, and the USB-A (that’s the basic duck-mouth USB) end can go into just about any USB charging adapter you have.
You probably have a USB-A plug from your iPhone charger or similar. You don’t get one of these in the box with the Oura ring, but you probably don’t need it.
You could plug the USB end into your computer, too.
Once it’s plugged in and charging, you can usually connect your ring via Bluetooth immediately.
Just open the app, follow the instructions to create an account, log in, and set up a new Oura ring.
The app will use Bluetooth from your phone to connect to the ring, assign it to your Oura account, and enable you to use it shortly after.
You might need to wait a short time for the Oura ring to reach a suitable charged level before you can use it for the first time, but they charge really fast.
Oura ring style
I have personally tried the Oura Ring Gen 3 in Heritage Silver as well as the Heritage Black color options.
They are both slightly cheaper variations in the Heritage line.
One of the encouraging reasons to buy an Oura ring for health tracking is their eye for design and style.
The Oura Ring looks great! And is mostly indistinguishable from a bold premium ring you might buy at the jeweler.
The makers have gone after an ever-growing market of minimalist design-loving folk, and I’m one of them, so I was always attracted to trying out the Oura trackers.
Plus, the rings come in a few color options to meet individual tastes.
Some of those colors, and the newer styles, have slightly different shapes and finishes, which also can add to meeting your personality.
Oura Ring style and color options
There are other pricier options in the Heritage line: Stealth and Gold. But they can cost an extra $100 or more.
What I cared about the most was just getting the tracking capability of this technology.
If I had extra cash to burn, I would have picked Stealth because I love anything in a matte black version.
Heritage is simply the original variation for the Generation 3 models of the Oura Ring. More recently, they have introduced the Horizon line.
The Horizon variations and colors are exactly the same technology but with a new style, which is an entirely smooth circular ring.
This style has a pill-shaped dimple on the bottom, which helps to know which way to orient the ring.
Whereas the previous Heritage style has a plateau flat surface on top, which helps you correctly orient the ring to keep the sensors on the palm side for the best accuracy.
Oura app experience
I’ve already mentioned how I appreciate the thoughtful design of the Oura brand and its rings, but it doesn’t stop at just the ring itself.
The overall experience for the Oura product line is exceptional. And in no small part because of their app.
Since using the Oura ring and the accompanying iPhone app for over six months, I have enjoyed using the app regularly to understand what’s going on with my health.
The home section of the app shows an overview of your health metrics.
I’ve enjoyed waking up each morning to sync my ring and app and get my latest health data for sleep and readiness.
Within 20-30 seconds of waking, I can see exactly how my sleep was the night before.
It will show me my waking hours, REM sleep, light sleep, and deep sleep in one graph alongside movement signals.
Not only that, but I’ll get a percentage of my average oxygen saturation, which I have since learned is a good indication of wellness in your body.
If it’s dropping below 94%, then you could be getting sick or already unwell.
I’ll also see my breathing regularity, which highlights any variations in blood oxygen levels throughout the night, indicating disturbances.
These could be episodes of waking, snoring, or align with lots of movement.
I can also see my lowest heart rate for the night and the average.
A lower heart rate indicates that your body is moving into rest and getting the restorative time it needs.
There’s also HRV (Heart Rate Variability) average and your max HRV for the night.
Having a high HRV is a good sign of overall recovery, and it dropping suddenly could indicate fatigue or your wellness dropping due to stress, overdoing it day-to-day, or sickness.
These sleep factors play a part in your daily Readiness Score, too, which is a score out of 100 generated by the Oura app every day.
The Readiness Score brings together a ton of your health signals to provide you with this score, which basically tells you how “ready” you are to use your body and mind for that day.
Oura collects all of these signals to decide on your Readiness Score each day:
- Resting heart rate
- HRV balance
- Body temperature
- Recovery index
- Sleep balance
- Previous day activity
- Activity balance
The Oura app will also track your Activity levels while wearing it.
This mostly collects your heart rate data to understand when you are in a low, medium, or high activity state.
The app will show you these by color-coding them.
Like the Readiness Score, you’re also getting a daily Activity Score, which considers these factors:
- Staying active / inactivity
- Moving every hour
- Meeting daily activity goals
- Training frequency
- Training volume
- Recovery time
Inside the app and membership, I can also access an Explore tab that gives me access to a collection of audio experiences for meditation, breathing, sleep, or learning.
Oura ring tracking accuracy
On most days, the Oura ring’s tracking accuracy seems to be excellent.
It detects those times when I wake up from sleep and head to the bathroom or even when I’m relaxing and just so happen to have an accidental nap – it knows.
The Oura ring has multiple sensors that track everything from heart rate to blood oxygen:
|Optical heart rate sensor (Green LED)||Blood oxygen sensor (Red LED)||Infrared Photoplethysmography (PPG) sensors|
|Skin temperature sensors (negative temperature coefficient sensors)||Photodiodes||3D Accelerometer|
All of its accuracies seem to be because it can track from the finger, which appears to have very timely monitoring of your heart rate.
With consistent heart rate readings, Oura does a great job of creating conclusions compared to all of the rest of your health data.
So when your heart rate goes up, it knows if it’s in equilibrium with your average pace and then can help produce your recovery and readiness reports.
When I compared it to my Fitbit Charge 5, it definitely appeared to be way more accurate for sleep recognition and reliable heart rate monitoring.
Common questions about the Oura ring
To finish up, I’ll answer some of the most common questions about the Oura ring that you might have.
Is the Oura ring gen 3 better than older versions?
Oura ring’s Generation 3 is definitely better than the older models because of the much-improved sensors and accuracy technology. It’s worth paying extra for generation 3 or higher.
How accurate is the Oura ring gen 3?
Research showed that the Gen 3 Oura rings are near-perfect for resting heart rate and extremely high for heart rate variability when compared to a gold standard ECG.
Oura’s temperature sensor is also accurate between 92% (real-world conditions) and 99% (lab conditions).
Oura’s new sleep staging algorithm provides up to 79% accuracy compared to gold-standard polysomnography.
Is the Oura ring more accurate than Apple Watch?
The Oura ring is far more accurate than an Apple Watch and many other health-tracking devices in part because of the positioning and stability of the sensors on the index finger, which allows for a much more precise, consistent reading.
Does the Oura Ring Gen 3 work without a subscription?
The Oura ring continues to work without a subscription, but only with limited functionality.
You still get to see your three scores each day for Readiness, Sleep, and Activity, but without the deeper details like resting heart rate, heart rate variability, oxygen saturation, and more.
You can still access the lessons on the Explore tab, too.
Final word on the Oura ring
Ultimately, I started using the Oura ring to track my health and try to understand my sleep and health signals better. And now, I feel like I do.
A lot of reviewers usually put aside their Oura ring after using it for the first six months of the free membership, but for some reason, I am still paying the monthly fee.
Maybe it’s because of the recent feature additions like the chronotype and body clock measurements which have added even more detail to my sleep patterns.
Maybe it’s because the whole experience is exactly how I’d want it to be.
The app is nearly flawless, and the tracking is frictionless mainly because of the ring form.
The only issue I have with this product is that it’s just not reasonable to use it for most martial arts training.
And as a martial artist, that’s a bummer.
If I want quality tracking for martial arts, I’ll pick up the WHOOP 4.0 instead.
What to read next
Now that you know all about the Oura Ring from this review (and particularly just how poor it could be for martial artists), you might be looking for other options.
These articles should help you: