Background The aim of this study was to compare physical activity measured using GT1M ActiGraph and GT3X ActiGraph accelerometers in free living conditions. Findings Twenty-five adults wore GT1M and GT3X Actigraph accelerometers simultaneously during a typical weekday of activity. Data were uploaded from the monitor to a computer at the end of test (one day). Previously established thresholds were used for defining time spent at each level of physical activity, physical activity was assessed at varying intensities comparing data from the two accelerometers by ANOVA and Bland and Altman statistical analysis. The concordance correlation coefficient between accelerometers at each intensity level was 0.99. There were no significant differences between accelerometers at any of the activity levels. Differences between data obtained in minutes with the GT1M accelerometer and the GT3X monitor were to 0.56, 0.36, 0.52 and 0.44% for sedentary, light, moderate and vigorous, respectively. The Bland and Altman method showed good agreement between data obtained for the two accelerometers. Conclusions Findings suggest that the two accelerometers provided similar results and therefore the GT3X may be used in clinical and epidemiological studies without additional calibration or validation studies.