Sweatcoin is a free app for iOS and Android which counts your outdoors steps, and in return, you are rewarded with “sweatcoins” which can be spent on real-life goodies! I first reviewed Sweatcoin in June 2017. The app offered a unique opportunity to be rewarded for walking, but the rewards weren’t particularly impressive. One year later, has anything changed? Let’s jump straight in:
How does it work?
Sweatcoin primarily counts your steps using the motion sensors in your smartphone, such as the accelerometer. The app determines which of these steps were outside using your GPS position and GPS accuracy. When you’re inside buildings, GPS usually has poor accuracy or isn’t available because GPS requires a line-of-sight to multiple satellites. After a little while of walking, the steps you make outside will be converted into the in-app currency called “sweatcoins”. Once you’ve accumulated enough of them, these sweatcoins can be spent on various different goodies presented within the offers page of the app. The more desirable goodies cost more sweatcoins, so there’s an incentive to walk more. Some goodies are worth money, so you are essentially being paid to get fit - what’s not to love?
It’s worth bearing in mind that only the outside steps will be converted to sweatcoins, so if you mainly walk indoors, you won’t earn many sweatcoins. Furthermore, there is a slight level of complexity in the way your steps are converted. There are several tiers which limit how many sweatcoins you can earn per day. When I first used Sweatcoin in 2017, the free tier had a daily cap of 5000 steps, equal to 4.75 sweatcoins. If you wanted to earn more sweatcoins per day, you could raise the step limit by subscribing to a higher tier. Don’t worry, you pay for higher tiers using the sweatcoins you’ve already earned, so you never need to spend a single penny in this app. If you tend to walk more than 5000 steps per day (approximately 4 km), then you’ll very quickly recoup the cost of the higher tiers from the additional sweatcoins you earn. The screenshot below shows the conversion tiers as they were in 2017.
Having come back to the app again in 2018, the tiers have changed somewhat. Instead of limiting the number of steps counted, the tiers now limit the number of sweatcoins earned per day. Instead of a 5000 step limit (= 4.75 sweatcoins), the lowest tier now has a limit of 5.00 sweatcoins earned per day, which equals 5000 steps. If you check the Sweatcoin FAQ, like I did, then you’ll find that the free tier experiences at 5% “conversion commission fee” on the sweatcoins you earn. This essentially limits the free tier to 4.75 sweatcoins per day, similar to how it worked in 2017. The new higher tiers are also very similar, if not the same as before, as shown in the screenshot below.
What can you buy with sweatcoins?
Once you’ve accumulated enough sweatcoins, you can exchange them for goodies in the offers section of the app. When I first checked out Sweatcoin in 2017, most of the goodies were related to health and keeping fit, with few exceptions. Having had another look at the offers in 2018, I’m impressed by the variety. In addition to health and fitness goodies, such as gym memberships, Sweatcoin are also offering free subscriptions to magazines, audiobooks, contact lenses by post and various others.
If you’ve got the stamina, you can save up for the “marathon offers” which currently include an iPhone 8, PayPal cash, a TV and holidays, each for 20,000 sweatcoins respectively. The marathon offers cost a lot of sweatcoins, so you’ll need to save up for many months depending on how active you are. Offers are updated daily so if you use the app it’s worth checking back frequently to see if there’s something which catches your eye.
If you’d rather not spend your sweatcoins on goodies, you can send them to your friends. I can imagine this being useful if you want to split the cost of a goodie with your friend. Inviting friends to the app with your unique URL will also earn you 5 sweatcoins, which isn’t to be dismissed. To put that into perspective, I earnt about 17 sweatcoins in 5 days of using the app, but in retrospect, I would have earnt a lot more if I had subscribed to a higher tier which raised the cap of 5,000 steps per day.
Is it worth it?
As a result of constantly monitoring your location and motion data, the Sweatcoin app needs to continuously run in the background. Last time I checked, the app had a persistent notification which showed your daily progress (which luckily didn’t appear on the lock screen). This was necessary for keeping the app running in the background. Having used the app again in 2018, there is no longer a persistent notification, which is perhaps due to the way Android 8.1 Oreo handles background processes.
You might also be wondering about the impact on battery life, but I don’t think there is cause for concern. I noticed a slight drop in my daily battery life, but I still had charge left at the end of the day so it’s not a problem for me. The app will impact on battery life differently depending on the smartphone, so in reality, the only way is to test the app and see for yourself.
In conclusion, the Sweatcoin app certainly does deliver on its promise, but it might take a while to save up enough coins to buy something worthwhile.
If you would like to give the Sweatcoin app a try, tap the relevant link below: