Cronometer App Review: It Goes Way Beyond Tracking Calories

Cronometer is a macro and calorie tracking app that I have heard mentioned many times by fellow nutrition coaches.  A lot of them say that it’s even better than my long-time favorite, MyFitnessPal.

So I had to check it out for myself, both from the point of view of a coach AND as a client, since I track my own macros, as well. I also made sure to try both the free version and the “Gold” membership for the app, to see if the additional cost was worth it.

After 6 weeks of testing, here’s my quick take: 

Cronometer is an excellent user-friendly calorie & macro-tracking app, with more focus on micronutrients and better recipe creation & sharing functionality than MyFitnessPal. It has great community support and has more realistic & customizable options for calorie intake, even in the free version.

Cronometer goes way beyond just tracking calories and macros, and I’m excited to share all the details about how it works and what it does with you, as well as the pros and cons and who I think should (and shouldn’t) use it.

Overall Rating: 4.4/5

Cronometer app

Overview

  • A macro and calorie tracking app
  • Can easily set custom targets
  • Accurate and verified food database
  • Facebook group is extremely helpful and active

Features

  • Customizable targets
  • Different templates for different days
  • Verified database
  • Multi-add foods
  • Recipe weights & instructions
  • Micronutrient tracking
  • Biometric tracking
  • Reports & charts
  • Community support

Best For

  • Experienced macro trackers
  • Competitive bodybuilders
  • Advanced athletes
  • Individuals who need to track one or more micronutrients to manage a health condition

Quick Overview & My Experiences

I’ve been using Cronometer for over six weeks, with two weeks on the free version and four weeks on the paid premium version (Gold).  I also did three weeks where I was using both Cronometer and MyFitnessPal at the same time (and I tried both the free and premium versions of MyFitnessPal, too) so that I could compare them side by side.

I like that Cronometer has only verified entries in its database. To me, the biggest draw for Cronometer is how it tracks micronutrients & biometrics (measurements and even your bathroom habits) and creates reports, as well as the ability to put notes in recipes, like details about how to prepare & cook the recipe.

Even though Cronometer mentions that it only has verified entries in its database, there can still be multiple entries for one food because companies will update their ingredients over time, which changes the nutrition info for certain products.  

So you still have to pay attention to make sure that you are getting the entry that matches what you are actually eating.  

For instance, here is an example of the same omega-3 supplement but with two different entries with different calorie info.  In both cases, the supplement has 4.5g of fat, which should provide 40 calories, but in the screenshot on the left, it has a total of zero calories.

Cronometer Nutrasea 0 kcal

There are also fewer products in the database overall compared to MyFitnessPal, especially if you live outside of North America.  But, the process of adding a new food is quick and easy.  You just take a picture of the nutrition label and it automatically populates the nutrition info. 

Key Takeaways

  • Overall, the free version is great. 
  • My only complaint is that in the free version, all of the foods for the day get included in just one big list compared to the ability to record separate meals.  
  • In the paid version, you can create up to 8 separate meals, and name those meals whatever you want (i.e. “pre-workout snack”, “second breakfast”, etc.). 
Cronometer app

Cronometer App

Cronometer has proven itself to be an excellent calorie and macro tracking app whether you’re a beginner or advanced. The basic (free) version will suit most people.

How Does Cronometer Work?

You can use Cronometer just for tracking your intake and setting your own targets, or you can complete a detailed profile and let the app calculate suggested targets for you.

Beyond just calories and macronutrients, you can also track subsets of macronutrients (like whether your carbohydrates come from starch or different types of sugar like fructose or glucose or whether fats are saturated or unsaturated types) and micronutrients including all vitamins and minerals.

To use the app, you just scan the barcode or search for the name of the food.  Then you select the serving size, which is usually based on the weight in grams.  Thankfully, many foods also describe a size such as 154g = medium apple, in case you’re not in the habit of weighing each and every food.

You record all your food (and supplements) for the day and you also have the option to record bowel movements, water intake, and exercise.  You can decide whether the app should adjust your intake when you burn more calories from activity or stick to the original target.  

You can even get the app to estimate how many calories you burn based on the foods you eat.  This is the thermic effect of food – the fact that it takes energy for your body to digest foods, which is part of your total energy expenditure for the day.

When you input all of these things, you will get detailed reports each day and for each week, letting you know how you’re doing with hitting your targets.  You can adjust based on whether you are achieving your goals, whether that is weight gain, weight loss, or weight maintenance.

What I Liked About Cronometer

Pros vs Cons of using Cronometer App

There were a LOT of things I liked about Cronometer.  

Energy targets are very customizable

You don’t have to accept the default calorie calculations for active individuals and those with higher-than-average muscle mass (like me).  Many calorie calculators underestimate total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) and give calorie target suggestions that are too low.

With Cronometer, you can easily adjust the TDEE and/or set a custom target.  This is great news for experienced individuals like me, or for people who are working with a nutrition coach or Registered Dietician and already know what calorie and macronutrient targets they want to use.

On the other hand, for people who are new to tracking, the app also calculates energy targets based on rate of weight loss (to a maximum of 2lbs per week), weight maintenance, or rate of weight gain (to a maximum of 2lbs per week).  You can just accept the default targets, and tweak them as needed based on your actual results.

You can set different calorie/macro targets for different days

In Cronometer, you can create many “templates” for your targets, where you can choose to adjust either the calorie target or the macro split, or both.  Each day, you can pick which template you want to track against.  

In the paid version (Gold), you can schedule which templates to use on which days of the week, ahead of time. 

The barcode scanner is free

Cronomter’s barcode scanner is free and works for both diary and recipe options.  MyFitnessPal recently (October 2022) made the barcode scanner available only in its premium option.  

All foods have entries based on the weight in grams 

Every single entry for food has an option based on grams, so I don’t have to explicitly search for “strawberries, 100g.”  I can easily enter the exact number of grams I have.

Recipes have a weight per serving, room for instructions, and sharing with friends

Cronometer takes the guesswork out of logging homemade “mixed foods” like casseroles or chili.  One of the challenges with these homemade foods is not knowing how much one serving size is and just “guesstimating” a portion size.  

Cronometer logs the weight of each ingredient in a recipe to come up with a total recipe weight so that when you enter the number of servings, it also calculates the weight per serving.

You can also add the “cooked weight” in case your recipe weighs less after it has been cooked (this is common when liquids evaporate during the cooking process).  Then you will know how much a cooked serving should weigh.

There is even a space for Notes in each recipe to include instructions about how to prepare the recipe and how to cook it so that you don’t have to look at a cookbook or a website as well.

Cronometer recipe notes
Cronometer recipe total weight

Micronutrient tracking is very detailed 

All of the vitamins and minerals are tracked in Cronometer.  This is great news for people who need to keep an eye on a certain nutrient, like sodium.

Cronometer micronutrients targets

Tracking biometrics is very detailed

Beyond weight, body fat and circumference measurements (Cronometer has all of those and more), you can also track markers of cardiovascular health like blood pressure, heart rate, and VO2 max in the app, along with blood test results, sleep, and mood.

You can even track your daily bowel habits, and see what impact certain dietary changes have.  Finally, if a metric isn’t there, you even have the option to create and track a custom biometric.

You can create custom charts (Gold version)

If you want to track something that isn’t in a standard chart, you can make your own.  Given all the detailed information in Cronometer, the suite of standard charts couldn’t possibly cover every scenario someone might want to track.  For example, I created a custom chart to track bowel habits versus fiber intake.

Community support is excellent 

I got fast, helpful support from both the email team and Facebook group.  Both times I got in touch with Cronometer support via email, they responded within 1-2 business days with an answer.  I found the Facebook group to be even better, because I could get help from other live users almost immediately.

All of Cronometer’s many support options are available directly from the app:

Cronometer community options mobile app

What I Didn’t Like

Even with everything I liked about Cronometer, there were still some opportunities for improvement in both the free and paid versions of the app.

Calorie counts don’t display when you search for foods

No calorie or macro information displays in the search results for Cronometer, just the food name and serving size.  You have to click on the food to see the detailed entry to see calorie and macronutrients information:

Cronometer no calorie display in search

No division/grouping of foods into meals in the free version

When you log foods in the free version of Cronometer, they all just appear on the screen in the order you log them, with no clear indication of what you ate, and when.

This makes it hard to know whether your meals are balanced, and provide the right mix of energy and macronutrients for you, based on your schedule.  

As a coach, this information is really important to me for making sure that my clients are eating the right foods, in the right combinations, at the right time to optimize their results.

For example, I like to know that pre- and post-workout snacks or meals are low in fat and fiber so that they can be digested quickly, and that they contain enough protein and carbs to optimize energy for working out and recovering after. 

In the free version, calorie counts are shown for each food, and a running total at the top, but there is no grouping of foods into meals so there is no clear indication of what you ate, when, or what it was combined with

Cronometer end of day summary

Key Features & Benefits

FeatureBenefit
Customizable targetsCustomizable targets mean that you are less likely to end up with suggestions that are way too low for weight loss. When a calorie deficit is too big, it is harder to stick to, so targets that are more reasonable leads to better long-term results.
Different templates for different daysOnly the gold version allows you to schedule targets in advance, but even the free version lets you pick a different template for each day. This allows you to more closely match your intake to your activity level each day.
Verified databaseA verified database means that food entries are much more accurate than user-sourced entries that can have typos or mistakes where macro values are missing, or dramatically under- or over-stated.
Multi-add foodsThe ability to select many foods at once instead of having to select them one by one to add to the daily food diary or to a recipe makes it easier and faster to track your foods, which makes you more likely to do it.
Recipe weights & instructionsKnowing how much a given serving of a total recipe should weigh (especially after it’s cooked) makes it easier to be accurate with portions for homemade mixed-ingredient dishes.
Micronutrient trackingOnce you have a handle on macronutrient tracking, you can look at micronutrients to see if your food choices are also giving you the vitamins and minerals you need for optimal health. This can lead you to making more choices that are minimally-processed.
Biometric trackingWith so many detailed biometrics available, you can track your outward physical progress (through weight, body fat %, and circumference measurements) as well as inward physical progress with markers of health that cannot be seen but are very important, such as blood pressure, sleep quality, and mood.
Reports & chartsThe reports and charts allow you to look for patterns and trends to see what various nutrition and fitness programs are having on your health. You can share these reports and charts with your health care providers to get even better overall support for your health.
Community supportThe community support for Cronometer contributes to greater success. Individuals who participate in communities experience greater success in meeting their fitness goals because they can inspire and support each other, and reinforce commitment to shared values.

What Other Customers Think

Cronometer has a ranking of 4.6 stars on Google Play, based on nearly twenty-three thousand reviews with over a million downloads of the app, and 4.7 stars in the Apple App Store, based on thirty-seven thousand ratings.

Most users rave about how easy it is to search and add foods with accurate information, and they love all of the detailed information about micronutrients, which many say has helped them with eating more healthfully:

“Great app, it has made my eating habits much better!” – Kyle S.

“I’ve tried multiple food trackers before…and this is my favorite…I definitely recommend it!” – CR Neary

I also noticed that Cronometer representatives actively monitor and respond to these reviews, thanking users for their feedback, providing information about setting and features, and asking for input on ways to make the product better.

As an example, Cronometer responded with: 

“In your opinion, what would take us over the top?  Thanks very much and we look forward to hearing back from you soon.” – Cronometer Software Inc.

In my mind, this makes Cronometer a standout, always striving to be better for its users. 

How Much Does Cronometer Cost?

There are two tiers for individual users: Basic and Gold.

Basic Membership (Free)

Basic is free, and allows you to log your foods (no groupings into meals) – this includes all macros and up to 82 micronutrients.  

You can also set custom targets for your calories and/or macros and micros, but you can’t schedule the targets for certain days ahead of time (but you can choose them on the day of).

You can also create detailed recipes, and track your exercise and biometrics.  This version of the app will give you access to a standard, limited set of reports and charts, but you can’t create custom charts.

For most users, the Basic version of Cronometer is more than enough to achieve your health and fitness goals.

Gold Membership ($49.99 Per Year)

Gold offers all of the features of Basic, plus you can group your food into up to 8 separate meals, and you can include timestamps to record when you actually eat the food.  You can schedule targets for different days of the week, and you can even track fasting windows if you are into intermittent fasting.

In the Gold version, you can import recipes and share them with friends.  The Gold version also has a “Suggest Foods” option to help you meet your targets, or “Ask the Oracle” to list foods that are high in a given micronutrient.  

Finally, the Gold version offers even more reports and charts, and you can create your own custom charts.  You can turn these reports into PDFs to share with your health team.  

If you want or need to really get into the details of nutrition for your health and fitness goals, the Gold version of Cronometer is the way to go.

Pro Membership (Only Available To Nutrition Coaches)

There is also a Pro version for coaches/trainers ($29.99 USD/month), but this isn’t applicable for individuals looking at the app for their own use.  

If you have a nutrition coach, and they have this plan, you will automatically get the Gold version as their client for free.

Who Should Use Cronometer

I recommend Cronometer for experienced macro trackers, competitive bodybuilders and advanced athletes, and for individuals who need to track one or more micronutrients to manage a health condition. 

The high level of customization and the extensive details in the app make it perfect for people who need to be really precise about their nutrition, beyond what is required for most health and fitness goals.  

This could mean a competitive bodybuilder who needs to manage their intake down to the gram to be ready for a stage show, or a person recovering from a recent heart attack who needs to keep a close eye on blood pressure, and cholesterol and sodium intake, for example.

Who Should NOT Use Cronometer

I do not recommend Cronometer for people who are beginners with tracking food because I think it provides too much information and could cause overwhelm and confusion with too many metrics to focus on. I also do not recommend Cronometer for people with a history of disordered eating or compulsive behaviors around food.

The same level of detail and customization that makes Cronometer a good idea for the groups of people I describe above actually makes it a poor choice for someone who is new to tracking their intake.  A more basic food journal, or an app that provides education about healthy foods (like Lifesum) could be a better choice.

Also, for people who are more likely to get obsessed with the details, there are a lot more details to obsess over in Cronometer.  People who are likely to worry about hitting macros and calories perfectly now might worry about hitting recommended amounts for all of the amino acids, and all of the vitamins and minerals in the app, for example.

Sign Up For Cronometer

You can easily sign up for the free version of Cronometer with just a username and password. You’ll input your biological sex (currently limited to male or female with no options for individuals in transition), age, height and weight.

You don’t actually have to set any targets if you want to simply start tracking your intake, without worrying about ting specific numbers.  This is actually a great way to start, to get a better understanding of your current intake before trying to make any changes.

As I say to my clients: “It’s hard to develop an effective plan to get to where you want to go, if you don’t know where you are starting from.”

Cronometer Alternatives

Noom – Better For Weight Loss / Avoiding Detailed Tracking

Noom

For people who are solely focused on weight loss, and who don’t want to get too caught up in all of the numbers for calories and macros (perhaps because of a past experience with disordered eating), I recommend the Noom weight loss app.

This app focuses on “green”, “yellow” and “red” foods to help steer users to foods with lower calorie-density, which usually means more minimally processed whole foods, with an emphasis on vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains and lean protein sources.

The app also has a live coach to keep you on track with your goals, and provide coaching based on behavioral psychology, not just numbers.

MacroFactor- Better For Beginners 

MacroFactor

For people who are new to tracking macros and want to learn along the way, I recommend MacroFactor as an alternative to Cronometer.  

This app provides education along the way, and you can decide how much you as a user want to let the app make calculations for you, or how much you want to input data. If you want to try MacroFactor, use code FEASTGOOD for a 2-week free trial.

Apps Store
Google play

I’m less likely to recommend these apps:

Based on our testing of other nutrition apps, I do not recommend: 

  • Lose It – tracks calories only (not macronutrients) in the free version of the app
  • RP DietApp – rigid meal targets and only counts individual foods toward one macronutrient (e.g. bread counts as a carb source and the app ignores any fat or protein in the bread)

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Cronometer Good For Weight Loss?

Yes, Cronometer is good for weight loss because it helps you to track your intake very accurately. It also has several options for calculating a calorie target based on your starting information and desired rate of weight loss. Of course, the app will only work well if the user honestly & consistently logs all intake.

Is Cronometer Free?

The basic version of Cronometer is free. It gives you access to the full verified database of foods, and tracks both your macro and micronutrients against customizable targets. The premium version of Cronometer (Gold) is a monthly or annual subscription that allows you to track even more micronutrients and biometrics. 

Is Cronometer Compatible With Apple Watch?

Yes, Cronometer is compatible with Apple Watch.   You can link your Cronometer account with Apple Health, which allows you to import activity from your Apple Watch into Cronometer.  You can only link these accounts if you are using the Cronometer mobile app (not just the desktop app).

Is Cronometer Accurate?

The Cronometer food database is quite accurate because it is based on nutrition databases and published labels.  Any food information input by individual users has to be verified by the Cronometer staff before it appears in the app.  Cronometer’s estimates for calorie intake are more accurate than many competitors.

How Do I Cancel My Cronometer Subscription?

How to cancel your subscription depends on how you signed up. If you signed up on the Web, go to the Account tab and select “Do Not Auto-Renew” from the drop-down menu. If you signed up with iOS, you manage your subscription from your Apple ID Subscriptions. If you signed up with Android, you manage from Subscriptions.

How Do I Contact Cronometer?

Contacting Cronometer is easy when you email support@cronometer.com.  You can also click the Help tab on the website, which takes you to links for the user manual, community forums, video tutorials, and more; or the Help section in the Settings on the mobile app.

Other Nutrition App Reviews

Cronometer app

Cronometer App

Cronometer has proven itself to be an excellent calorie and macro tracking app whether you’re a beginner or advanced. The basic (free) version will suit most people.


About The Author

Lauren Graham
LAUREN GRAHAM

Lauren Graham is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She focuses on helping busy professionals balance healthy eating and purposeful movement.  Lauren has a background in competitive swimming and is currently competing as a CrossFit athlete.  She has a passion for training, teaching, and writing.