Background: It is evident that a growing number of studies advocate a wrist-worn accelerometer for the assessment of patterns of physical activity a priori, yet the veracity of this site rather than any other body-mounted location for its accuracy in classifying activity is hitherto unexplored. Objective: The objective of this review was to identify the relative accuracy with which physical activities can be classified according to accelerometer site and analytical technique. Methods: A search of electronic databases was conducted using Web of Science, PubMed and Google Scholar. This review included studies written in the English language, published between database inception and December 2017, which characterized physical activities using a single accelerometer and reported the accuracy of the technique. Results: A total of 118 articles were initially retrieved. After duplicates were removed and the remaining articles screened, 32 full-text articles were reviewed, resulting in the inclusion of 19 articles that met the eligibility criteria. Conclusion: There is no ‘one site fits all’ approach to the selection of accelerometer site location or analytical technique. Research design and focus should always inform the most suitable location of attachment, and should be driven by the type of activity being characterized.