Should You Buy a Whoop or an Oura Ring Subscription?
Two of the most famous recovery trackers, Whoop and Oura, recently introduced new hardware. There is now a Whoop 4.0 strap and an Oura gen3 ring. But along with the hardware changes comes a new pricing calculation: both will require a subscription. So which is better?
Until recently, both companies had opposite business models. Oura will sell you a ring for $ 299 that you can use for free, while Whoop gave you the hardware for free if you signed up for at least a six-month subscription ($ 30 a month if you pay monthly). Oura’s new ring costs the same as the old one, but now comes with a $ 5.99 / month subscription.
How much does Whoop and Oura actually cost?
Let’s take a look at the one-year timeframe first. (Both companies have a one-year warranty on their new equipment.)
For Oura, the ring costs $ 299 and the membership is $ 5.99 per month. In theory, after the first year, you will pay $ 370.88. However, right now the company is offering a six-month “free trial” subscription, so you’ll actually pay only $ 334.94 in the first year.
If you keep the ring for two years, that’s a total of $ 406.82 with a free trial, or $ 442.76 if they stop offering a free trial.
For Whoop, you only pay for a subscription. You can pay on a monthly basis, provided that you have committed yourself at least six months in advance; that’s $ 360 per year or $ 720 over two years.
If you know you’ll be using the strap for a year, you can pay $ 288 for a yearly membership ($ 576 for two years). The best monthly rate actually comes from paying 18 months in one installment of $ 324, bringing the price down to $ 18 per month. Two years of Whoop costs $ 504 if you buy the 18-month package and then pay monthly for the remaining six months; or if you just keep buying the 18 month membership forever, that’s $ 216 per year (or $ 432 for two years).
What do you get for your money?
First, none of the gadgets are fully functional smartwatches, and none of them have a screen. Oura is a ring available in gold, silver, shiny black or matte black and you wear it on your index or middle finger. The Whoop looks like a watch strap with a small hardware rectangle positioned under the strap . You can buy additional bracelets in different colors if you like, or you can wear them on an arm band or in one of the newer garments (sports bras, shorts, etc.) that have a dedicated pocket to store your gadget.
Both trackers are surprisingly similar, especially considering the latest updates. Whoop has a rise in skin temperature that Oura has had for awhile, and now Oura has one of Whoop’s most important tasks: tracking his heart rate during the day.
If you need a device that can track your heart rate during your workout, Whoop already does, and Oura plans to add this feature soon.
Both gadgets report sleep duration and assess sleep quality. Both track the frequency of heart rate in a state of rest, and heart rate variability , and also calculates a measure of “recovery” or “readiness”, which, according to them, you can use to predict whether well you will have a day in the gym. (I’ve never found these predictions particularly accurate, but comparing the results to your own experience is half the fun.)
Both have battery life of more than a few days, but less than a week. You need to insert the Oura ring into the charger when it’s low, and the Whoop has a charging block that slides over the device while you wear it, so you never have to take it off. The Oura ring, Whoop strap and Whoop charger are waterproof.
So which is better, Whoop ring or Oura?
Oura users are understandably frustrated that they now have to pay for hardware and subscriptions. But if you know you will be using your gadget for over a year, Oura is still the best option. Here’s a breakdown:
- If you just want to try it with the lowest possible commitment, Whoop will set you back $ 180 (with a six-month membership) and Oura will cost you $ 299 (hardware only, plus a six-month free trial). Here is a victory.
- If you agree for a year but not more, Whoop membership is $ 288 for that first year, and Oura will set you back $ 334.94 (I include a free trial in all calculations). Scream is still cheaper.
- Oura is ahead in two years – $ 406.82, up from $ 576 in two Whoop years.
- Three years later, Oura leaves Whoop in the dust : $ 478.70 for Oura hardware and subscription, compared to $ 648 for two 18-month Whoop memberships.
There’s another factor that can improve the playing field a bit for short-term users: you can sell the Oura ring when you’re done with it. Generation 2 (older) Oura rings are currently on sale on eBay for between $ 150 and $ 180. The future price of the Gen3 ring is impossible to predict, so this aspect is a bit of a gamble, but worth considering.