Physical Health

A Super Honest and Detailed Review of the Oura Ring

The buzziest health tracker promises major benefits–we dove deep to find out if it's worth it
Wearing the Oura ring"
Wearing the Oura ring
Graphics by: Aryana Johnson
Graphics by: Aryana Johnson

What’s good enough for Jennifer Aniston is good enough for us. So when word broke out that she’s obsessed with the health-tracking device Oura Ring, let’s just say we were pretty much sold right then and there. But being the wellness diehards that we are, we had to put the gadget to the test ourselves (it’s practically our job to weed out the fads from the legit trends, after all). Sure, it makes a solid fashion statement, but does it deliver on all its health metric promises? Could such a small piece of jewelry disguised as wearable technology really accurately measure our sleep patterns, predict our menstrual cycles, and monitor our physical activity? Read on for our editors’ honest reviews of the Oura Ring and whether it lives up to the hype. 

What Is the Oura Ring, and How Does It Work?

From Apple Watches to Fitbits and Whoops to Oura Rings, it seems there’s a tracker for every health-related need and type of health-curious individual out there. So what makes the Oura Ring stand out? For starters, it’s not worn around your wrists like most health-monitoring devices. Rather, it’s a ring that weighs in at just 0.1 pounds and comes in sizes 6-13, two styles, and four to six colors, like silver, black, and gold, depending on the style.

Advertised as inspiring “awareness of the intimate connection between mind and body,” it tracks sleep, activity, recovery, your cycle, and your pregnancy in real-time by measuring from the palm side of your finger (where the pulse signal is strong) and provides three daily scores: sleep, readiness, and activity. According to Oura Ring’s website, “Your scores tell you how your body feels and what your body needs, every second of every day.” In other words, the Oura Ring takes the guesswork out of when it’s time to push yourself, when you need rest and recovery, and when you might be getting sick by taking into consideration 20 different body signals—think: temperature, heart rate, heart rate variability, and sleep—using infrared light, body temperature, and 3D accelerometer sensors

Oura’s Infrared Photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor sends light through LEDs into the skin and captures how much light is reflected back from your arteries to determine your heart’s activity, including resting heart rateheart rate variability (AKA the constant variation in time between your heartbeats), and respiration. Heart rate variability can indicate whether you’re in a relaxed or stressed state. When combined with body temperature, heart rate variability can be used to gather information about sleep. By monitoring your nighttime skin temperature, the Oura Ring takes note of your body temperature, which provides insights into the inner workings of the body, such as how well your body is recovering, if you’re coming down with an illness, or if hormones are hard at work. So that’s the science behind the Oura Ring, but does it actually work in practice? Before we get into our editors’ thoughts on it, let’s dive into its newest features.

Newest Features

Striving to be the ultimate body literacy tool for women at every stage of their lives, Oura unveiled new features and research to empower women to become their own experts and advocates:

  • Cycle Insights – The period tracking feature now provides members with more data about their cycles—cycle regularity, typical cycle length, and typical period length—so they can learn patterns and seek care if/when needed, especially those with irregular cycles and women in perimenopause. 
  • Cycle Aware Readiness – The algorithm behind Oura’s Readiness Score has been updated to take into account the natural physiological fluctuations that occur throughout the menstrual cycle, such as increased temperature and heart rate and decreased heart rate variability (HRV) during the luteal phase, making it a more accurate measurement of wellness.
  • Cycle Insights Share Report – The Cycle Insights Report includes cycle length, period length, temperature variation charts, cycle variability, and more that can be shared with a medical professional to equip women to drive the reproductive care they need. 

Our Editors’ Honest Reviews:

oura ring real review

I’ve been an Apple Watch apologist for as long as I can remember. Like everyone else, I got it to track my workouts. Kept it to use the “find my iPhone” function whenever I misplaced my phone five times a day. But I fell off the boat when I was tired of being shamed by my step count and calories burnt (or lack thereof). But the biggest grief I have about my Apple Watch is a pretty shallow one: That thing is tacky as hell and if it didn’t fit the vibes of my office getup, date night fit, or girl’s day uniform, it didn’t make the cut and fed directly into my lack of consistency.

Why I wanted the Oura Ring:

Last summer while on a hot girl walk with my best gal pal, I noticed a new, chunky gold ring sitting prettily on her middle finger. Naturally, because I’m nosy and easily influenced, I waited a mere 30 seconds before I asked where she got it. When I discovered it was a wellness tracker my jaw was on the floor. Before impulsively hitting add to cart, I did my research, weighed the pros and cons, and finally got one for myself almost a whole year later.

My initial attraction to the Oura Ring was the aesthetic. I loved the idea of being able to have consistent tracking, no matter my outfit. And that it didn’t look like an unsightly tracker at all. After learning more about Oura’s insights (particularly, how it tracked your sleep), I knew that was an untapped area of data that I wanted to improve. And that definitely sold me in the end.

How it compares to other tracking I’ve tried:

I’ve had the Oura Ring for almost two months and I’ve been using both the Oura Ring and the Apple Watch simultaneously so that I could get a grasp on how they directly compared. While I prefer the Oura Ring by a decent amount, I will note that the biggest adjustment that I had when switching over was having to open my Oura Ring app instead of relying on a screen from the device itself. As far as actual analytics go, Oura Ring gives you so much more health data than the Apple Watch. I’m talking sleep insights, activity data, and temperature tracking (which is huge if you track your cycle). It pulls so much more data than just calories, steps, and heart rate. Plus, it’s easy on the eyes which makes me much more likely to use it.

My experience:

Before I picked out my Oura Ring size, I used their free ring sizing kit which I highly recommend. Since you’ll be wearing it nearly all day and it’s not adjustable. They note that it works best on your pointer finger. Though, I have seen some users wear them on their middle or ring fingers as well. I sat with the different ring sizes for about a week to be sure and landed on the size seven for my left pointer finger (a bit bigger than my usual size to account for swelling while sleeping and traveling). The app was super easy to navigate and after a few minutes of exploring the intro resources on the app and a quick 90-minute charge for the week, I had a great handle on how it worked to take it for a spin.

What I liked:

To me, the biggest selling point of the Oura Ring is the fact that your numbered goals adjust every day depending on how much your body is recovered. So many times with the Apple Watch I’d be discouraged that in order to feel the validation of closing my rings, I’d have to hit the same goals every day despite a horrible night of sleep, feeling like trash on my period, or being incredibly sore after a hard workout the day before. The Oura Ring adjusts your activity goal each day based on your other analytics. And I’ve found that this has allowed me to work with my body, rather than against it.

The sleep data that the Oura Ring pulls has also been a game-changer for me. Every morning, I click on my app to see my sleep score. If it’s low, I skip my workout for the morning. And use the extra time to snooze or I’ll schedule a nap for later. If it’s optimal, I’ll make the most of my morning and my activity plans for the day. The Oura Ring sleep score is based on your total sleep, time in bed, sleep efficiency (percentage of time spent awake vs. asleep in bed), your resting heart rate, and how long you were in different sleep stages—truly things I never thought about before using this wellness tracker.

I could talk about the pros of the Oura Ring all day: the user-friendly app, the ability to sync with the Natural Cycles app, how long the battery lasts in comparison to how long you have to charge it, the overall look and feel of it, and more. If I could go back and do it all over again, I 100 percent would. After two months of using it, I know I’ve just barely scratched the surface of all it can do like using tags to log my periods, track how I felt, note what I ate/drank, monitor symptoms I experienced on certain dates, keep a record of my emotions, track when I had sex, etc.

What I didn’t like:

The reality is that no tracking device is perfect. And while I love my Oura Ring, there are some things I wish I could change about it. The first is that, atop the lofty price, you do have to pay monthly for the app (after the free trial, it’s $5.99 per month). While you can take advantage of some functions without the app, in order to get the most out of your ring, you’ll definitely want the subscription.

This one is probably user error but I was super excited to link my Oura Ring to the Natural Cycles App. And I attempted to sign up, only to find out there was no way to track if you’re still currently on birth control (guilty as charged). So that perceived benefit is kind of out for me at this phase of my life. If you’re off birth control and in the market, you’re in luck. Just know that this (in addition to paying monthly for the Oura App) is another cost which I’m secretly glad to not have charged to my account at this given moment.

I’ve heard mixed reviews about Oura’s activity tracking and here’s my two cents on it: it’s a little clunky compared to the Apple Watch. Overall, it captures the correct amount of calories burned (compared to the numbers I’m seeing on my Apple Watch). But figuring out how to track my workouts isn’t as easy to figure out and seems to be done retroactively as opposed to in the moment. Once again, could be user error but as a pretty average person, I’d assume others may have trouble here as well.

Another note: Having my Oura Ring and Apple Watch both connected to my iPhone’s Bluetooth absolutely annihilates my phone battery. On an average day, I’m at 59 percent by 10 a.m. So I’m hoping this will get better once I part ways with my Apple Watch.

Final verdict:

Knowing I had 30 days to return what I consider to be a large investment, I was reviewing the Oura Ring super critically and it still passed all of my tests. This tracker is more intuitive than trackers I’ve used in the past and has motivated my wellness journey without making me obsess over it. I love how inconspicuous it is and how much it’s helped me to take accountability for my health beyond my activity tracking. And for those reasons and more, I’ll be an Oura Ring stan forevermore.

Wellness Editor oura ring review

I have to begin this honest review with full transparency: I am morally against activity trackers. Not to yuck anyone’s yum (because at the end of the day, I believe the most important health rule is you do you), but I have seen too many clients develop unhealthy relationships with their FitBits and Apple Watches: feeling bad about themselves if they didn’t “burn enough calories,” pushing through their body screaming at them to rest just to get the points, or feeling like a workout doesn’t “count” if you didn’t track it.

I also believe the wellness industry has taught us for so long that we are not the experts of our own bodies; we need to buy supplements, follow diets or workout programs, and track steps and calories to affirm if we are healthy or not healthy. I worry that all these devices and programs and products are deprogramming the ability to listen to our own bodies. A fact I know to be true: Our bodies are always communicating with us what they need to be healthy–no device needed. I totally get that people like numbers and measurable goals to get them motivated to move more or get to bed earlier. But my inner health coach really wants to ask, why aren’t you motivated for simply the reason that your body feels good? I digress. 

So that is why I also wanted Ashley to share her honest review, so you, dear reader, could hear multiple different angles to ultimately decide for yourself what does and does not deserve to be part of your healthiest life.

With that all being said, I am also a big believer in testing instead of guessing when it comes to your health. So I was intrigued by the Oura Ring’s claims to track a number of functions to get a more holistic view–a major upgrade from the step tracker and heart rate monitor predecessors. Since the Oura Ring has caught so much buzz (among our office and across the country), I wanted to try it out for myself to see if it is a beneficial tool for optimal health, or if it’s yet another expense that causes more stress than wellbeing. Ahead, my experience (as open-minded as possible, I swear!). 

Why I wanted the Oura Ring:

The main appeal to me was how it tracks temperature. Since going off of oral birth control a year ago, I’ve been using Natural Cycles to track my ovulation (for pregnancy prevention and cycle syncing purposes to know which phase I’m in) by taking my temperature with a thermometer under my tongue every morning and manually plug it into the app. But there was some user error (mostly since there were many mornings I forgot) so I was intrigued that the Oura Ring automatically tracked temperature–and probably with more accuracy. 

I also liked the idea of a “readiness score” since it acknowledges your body is different every day (something those other trackers don’t take into account), and I was curious about sleep tracking too. Plus, the app also has guided meditations, breathwork, and sleep sounds, which I knew I would definitely use. I’m down for anything that has a more well-rounded approach (AKA rest and stress relief is just as–if not more–important than activity) rather than the toxic productivity of fitness trackers past.

How it compares to other tracking I’ve tried:

No surprise, I have limited personal experience with other activity trackers, besides a heart rate monitor I used for OrangeTheory and spinning workouts through college and my early 20s when I mistakenly believed the calorie-burn number it gave me dictated whether or not I worked hard enough (read: whether or not I could feel good about myself that day). I have also used the SleepCycle app in the past, which I started a few years ago when I was waking up from eight hours of sleep still feeling exhausted. The app would measure sleep cycles (light, REM, or deep) via vibes your body gives off..?? (IDK the science. But now that I think about it, I’m curious…)

So the Oura Ring is way more accurate since it’s on your body and tracking via heart rate, temperature, blood oxygen levels, etc. You also get a lot more insight into your sleep, like the exact time you spend in each sleep cycle, time asleep, average oxygen saturation, heart rate, breathing regularity, sleep efficiency, etc. 

My experience:

The fit and physical ring: There’s no denying that the Oura Ring is 10 times chicer and more practical than its competitors. I couldn’t keep on a watch or tracking bracelet every day even if I wanted to (and ruin a good outfit!?) but a chic ring that could easily pass for a piece of jewelry? Sold. I’m used to wearing rings, so I barely even noticed it was there after a couple of days. It is definitely worth using their free sizing kit because you want the ring to fit perfectly if it’s going to be on your finger 24/7. I went with a size 8 for my middle finger (my regular size).

Also, charging is NBD (I was worried about this part because I forget to charge things often). There’s a little stand (no plugging the device in, just place it over the holder) that I set the ring on while I brush my teeth every night. It says it takes about 20 minutes to fully charge and the battery lasts for about a week, so you could also just do one charging session per week. But I find it super easy to do a couple-minute spurts of charging daily. 

The app: I do not want to spend more time on my phone than I need to. But the app was pretty easy to figure out. I also loved how you could click on anything and it would explain in-depth (but in layman’s terms) what it means. I think this is super important since it’s teaching you to understand your body, rather than depending on a score to give you a thumbs up or thumbs down. Another factor I liked: When clicking on what different numbers mean, it often says “It is recommended that you follow your long-term regularity, rather than just one day’s data” which probably no one else reads beside me but I liked because it’s reminding you not to panic about one day’s “poor” score–the body is a holistic being and should be viewed as such. No fear-mongering here! 

What I liked:

The temperature tracking is certainly a game-changer. The Oura Ring connects to the Natural Cycles app. So I don’t need to remember to track my temperature–my temperature shows up every morning (and is probably more accurate than a thermometer). The Oura Ring app does have its own “Period Predictions Section” to predict when you get your period, and tells you which day of your cycle you’re on (I’m on day 22 right now–you’re welcome), but the Natural Cycles app itself is slightly more accurate when it comes to period predictions (but that may be because it has a year’s worth of data for my cycle, rather than a few months like Oura). So the Oura Ring wouldn’t replace other ovulation/period tracking apps for me, but it helps with the tracking and providing basic insights.

The sleep insight was also interesting. It could be very beneficial for people who think they’re getting enough sleep but still don’t feel well-rested because it may give you insight into why (i.e. is it taking a long time to fall asleep? Are you not spending enough time in deep sleep? Is your sleep time optimal, but your sleep efficiency is low?). Of course, it doesn’t actually fix the problem. But it does give you more insight to bring to your doctor to find a solution. Part of me still thinks, you already know if you get optimal sleep or not–your body tells you if you’re well rested or need more/better sleep, but I understand that having the specific insight into what exactly is off may be helpful when trying to identify next steps to solve a problem.

The “readiness” was also an interesting feature–it gives you insight into whether you can do a tough HIIT workout and tackle a difficult project, or if your body needs to take it slow and rest (again, something I think we can figure out on our own if we just listen to our bodies, but I get it–sometimes we don’t listen). Also if you consistently get low readiness days, it can serve as a good wakeup call to take better care of yourself, which is helpful too in a world where people regularly reach burnout like it’s NBD. 

What I didn’t like:

You knew this was coming: the activity tracking was not my fav. But let me tell you why. I walk a lot most days. I like to think I’m pretty good at getting in movement. Even on days when I would walk on my desk treadmill for 45 minutes, do a 60-minute workout class, take my dog out a few times, and get up and move around the apartment consistently to take work breaks (not to brag), it would still say I was at 7,000ish steps. Maybe it’s just me being overly confident, but I think it had to be way more than that, so I’m guessing the step count isn’t the most accurate. But also, let’s say it is accurate–I moved as much as I possibly could to feel good without feeling depleted. I don’t need an objective number telling me I needed to do more.

Also, the notification to get up and move around when I’ve been sitting for “too long?” I don’t need that kind of negativity. The truth is that yes, it’s important to live a less sedentary life and the reminder can be helpful here and there. But there are a lot of times when I know relaxing is actually the option that’s better for my body. Like when I’m on day one of my period, or am feeling depleted and rewatching Vanderpump Rules for the fifth time would make me feel better than getting up and moving my body.

Final verdict:

I’ll probably still wear the Oura Ring when I sleep (to keep an eye on my patterns to identify any issues as they come up in the future and to track my cycle). But I don’t know if I feel the need to wear it during the day to track fitness levels. I admit, I felt satisfaction when I hit the “activity goal” but I also had to check in with myself–if I didn’t have a score or an app telling me “good job!” would my body feel good about the amount of movement I did that day? Would it tell me it wanted more or less? To me, that gives me a better chance of reaching my optimal wellness than a number or score.

I know I sound like a broken record, but listening to my body will always come before listening to a device. If you can take the helpful parts (sleep insights, temperature tracking, etc.) and leave behind the negative parts (movement alerts when you don’t want to) then I believe the Oura Ring could be a useful tool in understanding your body more. However, be super honest with yourself, and make sure you’re not becoming so obsessed with getting “good scores” that you stop listening to your body, or worse, go against what your body is telling you. 

Shop Oura Rings

Oura Ring: Heritage

Classic, plateau design. Available in four colors.

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Oura Ring: Horizon

Sleek, uninterrupted design. Available in six colors.

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