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If you’re a serious athlete with room to spend or a fitness-gadget aficionado who enjoys trending social media communities, you might love a WHOOP 4.0.
These days, there’s no shortage of fitness trackers that can help you keep tabs on your daily activity. But for folks who want to take a granular look at their exercise performance, sleep quality, and heart rate data, the WHOOP 4.0 provides a ton of data.
The WHOOP 4.0 is the brand’s latest iteration of its wearable tracker. Unlike many other trackers and smartwatches, this one doesn’t have a screen — you can access the data your WHOOP collects only via an app.
While folks of all activity levels can benefit from WHOOP’s insights, it’s definitely geared toward those who are already active. In this review, we’ll dig into the details of the WHOOP 4.0 and share our take on the pros and cons, pricing details, and how it compares with other trackers.
How it works
The WHOOP 4.0 is a small device that uses sensors to measure your heart rate, temperature, and much more. It’s designed to be worn all day and night and collects data 100 times per second.
Users typically wear the WHOOP on their wrist with a comfy knit band, but the brand also offers several other wearable options, such as shorts and sports bras, that are compatible with the sensor.
The data WHOOP collects from your activity in a given day — including both exercise and basic human existence — is calculated into a Strain Score. This number will change as you go about your day.
When you wake up in the morning, you’ll have a Recovery Score that’s based on your:
- previous day’s resting heart rate (RHR)
- heart rate variability (HRV)
- respiratory rate
The Recovery Score is set in stone and is used to determine WHOOP’s guidance (which it refers to as your Strain Coach) for how you should exert yourself based on your recovery.
During exercise and daily activity, WHOOP measures:
And when you’re asleep, WHOOP measures your sleep performance based on:
- duration (how long you’re asleep)
- efficiency (the ratio of time you were asleep to time you were in bed)
- consistency (how similar your bedtime and wake time are to those of previous nights)
- latency (how long it takes you to fall asleep)
- sleep debt (how much extra sleep you need due to missed sleep from previous nights)
- how long you spent in light, REM, and deep sleep and awake
When it comes to exercise tracking, the WHOOP 4.0 guides you to your Strain Coach’s suggested level of exertion for the day. You can choose from among a huge variety of workout types, including swimming, yoga, fencing, and parkour. There’s even a category for high stress work and gaming.
WHOOP will automatically register that you’re engaged with an activity when your heart rate is elevated for 15 minutes, and you can retroactively label that activity.
Beyond day-to-day tracking, WHOOP provides a weekly and monthly performance assessment. This report is a deep dive into your activity and recovery trends. It might provide more information than the average person needs, but for data nerds and serious athletes, it may prove beneficial.
As for battery life, the 4.0 does pretty well: You should be able to wear your WHOOP for 4–5 days on a single charge. WHOOP provides a battery pack that you slide onto the device, so you don’t need to take it off your body to charge it.
It’s also water-resistant up to 1 meter, so you can even keep it on while showering.
One important feature of WHOOP is the community aspect. You can join WHOOP teams around the globe or create one of your own with friends and family. Each team has a chat feature that allows you to share data and compete for highest Strain Score or best recovery and sleep scores.
- small footprint
- extensive data, including weekly and monthly performance assessments
- lots of colorful band options
- requires a membership, which can add up
- must use phone app to view data
- no internal GPS
- requires continuous use to get the most accurate data
We researched WHOOP using the company’s website, third-party review sites such as Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and firsthand experience.
Our tester, who is also the author of this article, has used WHOOP on and off for the last 4 years and has experience with several other fitness tracker brands.
I previously had the WHOOP 3.0 and upgraded to the 4.0, which has several improvements.
The most notable changes I enjoyed were the slimmer footprint compared with the 3.0 (I have dinky little wrists!), the fact that it now vibrates to wake you up when your alarm goes off in the morning (delightful!), and the fact that the battery can be used in the shower (a simple luxury!).
While I do think the WHOOP 4.0 is very cool, it’s ultimately not for me for one very simple reason: I don’t like to wear a tracker 24/7. I’m a runner, so when I exercise, I prefer to use my Garmin to keep an eye on my performance (and with WHOOP, that requires your phone).
I also don’t like to sleep with anything on my wrist, which is essential for WHOOP to calculate your recovery.
I do think WHOOP is useful for monitoring your overall health, and I can see why many pro athletes rely on its data for training and tracking trends.
Maybe I’ll give it another go while I train for a marathon this year, in addition to my running tracker. But for my day-to-day life, it’s more data than I desire — and the data I do want is just a little too far out of reach without a watch face.
However, as we’ll cover below, buying WHOOP actually means purchasing a membership that includes the device, so you won’t find a price difference between third-party stores and WHOOP’s website.
WHOOP also doesn’t honor its lifetime warranty if you purchase through a third party. That’s a big reason to buy directly from the company.
How much does WHOOP cost?
The standard price of a WHOOP membership is $30 per month, which includes the 4.0 device and a standard black knit wristband. There are also a variety of colorful bands to choose from, but they come at an additional cost.
Because it’s a membership program, the brand offers a free month of membership for every person you refer to WHOOP.
Does WHOOP offer payment plans?
In addition to the standard $30-per-month payment plan, WHOOP offers two one-time payment options. These require a larger financial commitment up front but considerably reduce the overall cost of your WHOOP.
The first option is a 24-month membership, which requires an up-front payment of $399. That’s equivalent to $16.63 per month.
The second is a 12-month membership, which requires an up-front payment of $239. That’s equivalent to $19.20 per month.
Both of these up-front payment options renew as yearly ($239) memberships.
Is there a setup fee?
There is no setup fee for WHOOP. As soon as your 4.0 arrives, you’ll be able to pair it with the WHOOP app, which will walk you through the setup process.
Does WHOOP accept insurance?
WHOOP does not accept insurance.
Can you change or cancel your WHOOP subscription?
If you choose the monthly payment plan when subscribing to WHOOP, you can switch to an annual membership at any time.
You can try your WHOOP 4.0 commitment-free for 30 days. Beyond that 30-day period, the monthly membership has a minimum commitment of 12 months. You can cancel after the 12-month commitment period.
You can also pause your membership as long as you’re not in a subscription commitment and haven’t paused in the past 12 months.
You’ll wear the WHOOP 4.0 on your body, typically on your wrist with a knit band. It should be touching your skin — tight enough that you can’t see the lights from the sensors — to ensure a solid read of your body’s metrics.
- your daily Strain Score
- your Recovery Score
- the previous night’s sleep
- helpful health info such as your:
- blood oxygen
- respiratory rate
WHOOP is a Boston-based company, founded by a Harvard graduate and squash player. It has become an increasingly popular tool among weekend warriors and pro athletes alike. In fact, LeBron James and Michael Phelps were two of the first WHOOP members.
The company has also partnered with the NFL and MLB, and several Olympic athletes have worn WHOOP devices.
Most frustrations on these two review sites come from people who have had a hard time getting in touch with customer service. Several people complain about the subscription being inflexible, and a few warn that the free trials they were offered had a non-refundable shipping fee.
WHOOP offers returns only within a 30-day period, which starts once you receive your device. You can fill out a return request form in your account, and if you need to send your device back, you’ll receive a shipping label in the mail within 1–3 business days.
Once WHOOP has received your device, the company will refund the original price minus shipping costs (both original and return shipping).
The company offers a lifetime warranty and will replace your WHOOP if it has any issues. To be eligible for the warranty, you must have an active membership and must have purchased your 4.0 directly through WHOOP rather than through a third party.
The WHOOP 4.0 device is a small, rectangular sensor. You can choose to keep it on your wrist or branch out with WHOOP’s other compatible products.
Price range: $0–$99
While your WHOOP 4.0 comes with a black knit wristband, you can choose to purchase additional wristbands in a variety of colors and patterns. From solids to tie-dye, there’s a durable, sweat-wicking band to fit any style.
Some bands even swap the standard steel clasp for a more elevated platinum or rose gold clasp.
Price range: $12–$79
In the spirit of continuous wear, WHOOP developed a clothing line that allows users to integrate their 4.0 into clothing. Through the brand’s Any-Wear Technology, these technical garments use WHOOP pods to house the 4.0 and track your data while you get your sweat on.
The WHOOP Body line includes:
WHOOP Arm Sleeves
These compressive sleeves are made from a blend of nylon and spandex jersey and are available in three colors and in sizes ranging from XS to XXL.
To determine whether WHOOP is right for you, make sure you can answer “yes” to the following questions:
- Do you want to wear a device 24/7?
- Are you comfortable with a monthly or annual membership fee?
- Are you OK with not having a screen on your fitness tracker?
- Are you OK without GPS?
Who should use WHOOP?
If you’re interested in tracking your health trends on a granular level every day, WHOOP may be for you. It’s a good fit for folks who want a full picture of how their overall health is affected by:
Athletes of all levels who want to share their data with a coach may appreciate the weekly and monthly performance assessments.
Who shouldn’t use WHOOP?
If you like having a screen on your fitness tracker, the WHOOP 4.0 may not work for you. It might not be the best fit for people who prefer to view the time, notifications, or real-time workout data on their wrist.
Also, people who don’t like to wear a tracker when they’re working, sleeping, or relaxing may not get the best use out of a WHOOP.
|WHOOP 4.0||Oura||Apple Watch Series 8||Fitbit Versa 4|
|Device cost||free||from $299||from $399||from $199|
|App||iOS & Android||iOS & Android||iOS & Android||iOS & Android|
• WHOOP-brand clothing
|Battery life||4–5 days||up to 7 days||18 hours||up to 3 days|
|Warranty||lifetime||1 year||1 year||1 year|
Getting started with WHOOP takes 3 easy steps.
1. Select a membership type & band
First, you’ll choose between the standard black knit band and one of the more colorful band add-ons. Then, you’ll choose the basic $30-per-month membership or one of the cost-saving up-front 12- or 24-month memberships.
2. Sync your WHOOP with the app
Your WHOOP 4.0 will come with:
- your selected band
- a battery pack
- a charging cable
When it arrives, you’ll be able to connect it via Bluetooth to your phone’s WHOOP app, which is free with your membership.
3. Wear your WHOOP continuously
You’ll first receive personalized information after 4 days of continuous wear, but WHOOP says the device requires 30 days to fully calibrate your baseline metrics.
Is WHOOP worth the money?
WHOOP’s monthly membership fee is relatively pricey. If you know you want continuous data about your activity and recovery, you may want to consider one of the up-front payment plans, which reduce the price to the same tier as competing trackers.
Just note that unlike a Garmin or an Apple Watch, which requires only an up-front cost, WHOOP requires a membership that renews each year.
Is WHOOP better than Apple Watch?
WHOOP and the Apple Watch are very different devices. They have comparable data features (such as in-depth sleep tracking, exercise tracking, and heart rate monitoring), but that’s about it.
An Apple Watch is a better fit for folks who want to integrate their phone into their fitness tracker and don’t need granular performance assessments each month. WHOOP is better for anyone who wants to keep a low profile on their wrist but a high awareness of their health data.
Is WHOOP private and secure?
WHOOP says it prioritizes user privacy and doesn’t sell your information. It will delete your data whenever you ask and will allow WHOOP employees to access user data only when they need to provide services or support.
Is there anything better than WHOOP?
The right fitness tracker for you depends on many preferences. WHOOP is certainly a leader in the wearable device space, thanks to its integrative health data and smart branding. But several other brands offer high quality trackers that provide much of the same health information.
Before making your choice, you may want to consider your preferences, such as whether you like a screen on your tracker and how much you’ll use the provided data.
The WHOOP 4.0 is an innovative piece of fitness tech that aims to give you a big-picture view of your health through granular data. While it’s certainly accessible enough for folks who are just getting started on their fitness journey, it may be a little more intimidating than competitors such as Fitbit and Apple Watch.
But people who want one fewer screen in their life may appreciate the small, noninvasive footprint of the WHOOP 4.0.
If you’re interested in trying WHOOP, you can get started here.