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38 Best Fitness Trackers Of 2021 For All Budgets

Zachary Walton
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These are the best fitness trackers in 2021.

I’ve always been a fitness fanatic, looking for ways to improve my performance, health, and stamina.

Whether it’s tracking a run, monitoring your sleep patterns, or stress levels, these fitness trackers will provide tremendous help.

And, after trying hundreds of devices, I’ve decided to share with you the top 38 best fitness trackers right now, in 2021.

Moreover, this article will help you save money while understanding your fitness regimen and health.

This top 38 best fitness trackers of 2021 rankings products based on:

– Unique features.
– Hardware/Specs.
– OS/Software.
– Pairing app.
– Overall look and design.
– And of course, price.

I’ve also made sure to include fitness trackers for any budget – from cheapest to most expensive, and for any activity or range.


IN THIS ARTICLE

Best Fitness Tracker 2021
Best Budget Fitness Tracker
Best Fitness Tracker for Running
Best Fitness Tracker for Cycling
Best Steps Tracker
Best Fitness Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor


Finally, I’ve selected these fitness trackers based on the wealth of workout and health data and statistics they provide, very much needed to achieve your fitness goals.




Before we start, here’s a list of most asked questions you can jump straight to, for those still unsure what is a fitness tracker, or why you need one.


MOST ASKED QUESTIONS

What Is A Fitness Tracker?
Can You Track Fitness Without a Fitness Tracker?
How Much Should You Spend on a Fitness Tracker?
How To Choose Your Fitness Tracker
Do You Need A Tracker With Heart Rate Monitoring?
Best Sleep Tracker Device
Sport-Specific Fitness Trackers
Best Fitness App Experience
Smartwatch vs. Fitness Tracker
How to Buy a Fitness Tracker


Without further ado, these are the best fitness trackers of 2021.

Best Fitness Tracker 2021

Fitbit Charge 4

SPECS
Screen; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; embedded GPS; up to 7 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Onboard GPS
+ Fitbit Pay
+ Spotify controls

CONS
– No color screen

BEST PRICE
$149.95

fitbit.com

The Fitbit Charge 4 might look almost identical to the Charge 3, but there’s one key difference: the newer device includes onboard GPS, so you can track your runs and leave your phone at home.

It also includes a new feature called Active Zone Minutes.

Fitbit Charge 4 can measure any activity faster than a brisk walk.

Moreover, the measurements follow the health organization’s recommendations.

It’s a simple type of heart rate training, encouraging you to spend time at different levels of exertion based on your age and fitness (as measured by the watch).

The Fitbit Charge 4 lacks a color screen, but its icons and menus are well laid out and easy to understand.

Whether you’re looking for sleep tracking, the weather forecast, or breathing exercises, it’s only a couple of swipes away.

Slim, neat, and packed with features, the Charge 4 bridges the gap between activity bands and complicated running watches and is truly a fitness tracker for everyone.

Listen up: the Fitbit Charge 4 isn’t just the most powerful Fitbit tracker we’ve seen to date, but one of the most powerful fitness trackers, full stop.

It’s a weakened field now that smartwatches are getting all the attention – but if you look at the sensors, data, and features of the Charge 4 – it’s way more advanced than the likes of Samsung and Xiaomi have managed.

Fitbit Charge 4 fitness tracker

GPS is the big new addition, offering accurate tracking of runs and cycles from the wrist, and the Charge 4 also has a SpO2 sensor for blood oxygen, will monitor VO2 Max and resting heart rate.

One of its best features is Fitbit’s brilliant sleep tracking data which is some of the most accurate we’ve tested.

It’s not infallible on the Charge 4, but insights are seriously good and you get sleep apnea data at night from the SpO2 sensor too.

You can also get extra metrics – with seven days of heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and breathing rate all shown in the Health Metrics section. If you’re a Fitbit Premium user, you get a month’s worth of data, and your personal range is shown within the app.

The Charge 4 is swim-proof with 5ATM water resistance and will track and tag data from 20 sports, from HIIT and yoga to general workouts (although just basic calorie, HR, and duration data).

It’s a device for HIIT class go-ers, park runners, and those who want to keep a real eye on the details of their health.

If you’re just a 10,000 steps a day person, you’ll probably get annoyed with the Charge 4 giving you poor scores for Active Zone Minutes, which is its new metric that rewards users for getting heart rate into higher zones.

Likewise, committed runners and sweaters will find the Charge 4 undercooks in terms of analysis of workouts.

But if you keep a close eye on your health, and you’re absolutely certain a smartwatch isn’t for you, this is the best fitness tracker available today.

There’s also Fitbit Pay for contactless payments, and if you decide to take your phone along, you can control your Spotify playlist from your wrist


Fitbit inspire 2 fitness tracker
Fitbit Inspire 2

SPECS
Screen; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; up to 10 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Sleek design
+ Simple to use
+ Great battery life

CONS
– No GPS

BEST PRICE
$99.95

fitbit.com

It’s controlled entirely through its responsive touchscreen and single side button, and will monitor your activity and heart rate all day (with alerts when you hit your goals).

If you’re aiming to develop healthier habits, and want a fitness tracker that will give you a gentle nudge to get there, the Fitbit Inspire 2 could be the one for you.

It’s not overly complex, but has all the essential features to keep you moving and motivated, and is extremely simple to use.

Fitbit Inspire 2 fitness tracker

There are over 20 workout modes, and several will start tracking automatically when the fitness tracker detects that you’ve begun exercising.

All of your data is collected together in the extremely user-friendly Fitbit app, where you can see patterns over time, set new targets, and (if you subscribe to Fitbit Premium) find a whole library of video workouts to follow at home.

There’s no color screen or onboard GPS for mapping out runs, but the Inspire 2 is a pleasure to use, and ideal for beginners.


Whoop Strap 3.0 Fitness tracker
Whoop Strap 3.0

SPECS
Heart rate tracker; activity tracking; sleep track; up to 5 days battery life; waterproof; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Measures HRV & ambient temperature
+ Advanced biometrics tracker
+ Accurate sleep tracker

CONS
– No screen
No GPS

BEST PRICE
$30/month subscription

whoop.com

But it’s more than just a gym tracker. It focuses on recovery by keeping tabs on advanced biometrics such as heart rate, heart rate variability, and sleep.

The best fitness tracker for hardcore gym-goers and trainers, the Whoop Strap 3.0 is more than just an activity band.

When you’re in the gym it can be placed anywhere on the arm – from bicep to wrist – to accurately track heart rate during sessions.

Between workouts, Whoop tracks heart rate variability – the variation in time between each heartbeat – and your 24/7 heart rate.




These two heart rate metrics are used alongside Whoop’s excellent sleep tracking, as this is the period when your body recovers from the intensities of exercise.

You’re assigned a sleep quality score based on the duration of your sleep measured against your prescribed ‘sleep need’, as well as your time spent in the various sleep stages such as REM and Slow Wave Sleep (often referred to as ‘Deep’ sleep).

Whoop Strap 3.0 fitness tracker

It will also factor in data on sleep conditions, such as whether you had any caffeinated or alcoholic drinks, worked on a screened device, or shared your bed.

This is all used to advise you when to train, and when to take a day off. This is presented with a single number – Strain Score.

Of course, this isn’t a band for those looking to take a few more daily steps (it doesn’t actually track steps at all) – but for seasoned gym-goers, it’s the best option on offer.

But it costs. There’s a $25 per month subscription, with a minimum term of six months – but you get the Whoop Strap 3.0 for free.

You can pay less, with $21 subscriptions available if you sign up for 18 months and put some cash upfront.


Huawei Band 4 pro
Huawei Band 4 Pro

SPECS
Screen; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; built-in GPS; 5 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Swim tracking
+ SpO2 sensor
+ Lots of watch faces

CONS
– Limited access to third-party apps

BEST PRICE
From $59

huawei.com

The feature-packed tracker features a 0.95-inch AMOLED screen with access to Huawei’s watch store to pick out different watch faces to show off on it.

The Huawei Band 4 Pro is the only budget tracker on our list that has built-in GPS to make it a useful running and cycling companion.

Features-wise, it will count your steps and monitor sleep with a heart rate monitor to power exercise insights like training effect and daily monitoring.

Huawei Band 4 Pro fitness tracker

There’s a SpO sensor to measure blood oxygen levels and you do have that built-in GPS to better track outdoor activities without your phone.

On the smartwatch front, you can view notifications, control music playback, and remotely control your smartphone camera.

Add in some pretty solid battery life and you have a cheap fitness tracker that should have appeal to anyone looking for some serious sports features packed into a slim band.


Garmin Vivosmart 4 fitness tracker
Garmin Vivosmart 4

SPECS
Screen; heart rate tracker; Waterproof; activity tracking; 7 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ VO2 Max testing
+ Step tracking
+ Lightweight

CONS
– No GPS
– Small screen

BEST PRICE
$129.99

garmin.com

This device isn’t made for serious athletes like a variety of other products from the Garmin brand, but instead, this is for those who want to be able to track the odd bit of exercise and have an attractive band to do it.

Our highest-ranked Garmin product in the best fitness tracker list is also one of the most accomplished in its range of health bands.

The screen is bigger on this version than other Garmin products, and it has a battery that should last you around a week depending on how much exercise you’ll be doing.

There’s also an innovative feature called a body battery that helps you learn when exactly is the best time to exercise depending on how much energy you have.

Garmin Vivosmart 4 fitness tracker



This is great for those who are just as interested in their recovery and general wellbeing as they are clocking up the miles.

Fitness trackers have been getting more sensor-packed, powerful – but they’re also getting cheaper.

While smartwatches have certainly taken over as the key wearable tech, activity bands still have their place.

They’re smaller, less techy, and, generally, easier to use.

The Fitbit Charge 4 still is our top fitness tracker, there are now some great budget trackers, such as the Xiaomi Mi Band 5, that offer a range of great features at a lower price point.

The best fitness trackers offer more cutting-edge technology and features than ever before; think heart rate monitoring, detailed sleep tracking, waterproof for swimming, stress tracking, sports and workout modes, and, of course, step counting.


Apple watch SE fitness tracker
Apple Watch SE

SPECS
Screen; heart rate tracker; Waterproof; Activity tracking; Embedded GPS; single-day battery life; iOS compatible

PROS
+ VO2 Max testing
+ Sleep tracking
+ Big color screen
+ Smartwatch features

CONS
– iOS only
– Short battery life

BEST PRICE
$279

apple.com

The Apple Watch rings have now become synonymous with the experience, with three tracking goals a core experience of the watch.

When it comes to fitness tracking, the Apple Watch is one of the best in the business – and that’s because it does things differently from nearly every other fitness tracking watch.

The Move goal is calorie-based, which makes way more sense than steps as it’s inherently personalized to your individual levels.

However, you can see your step count underneath.

The Exercise goal tracks those crucial activity minutes to get you the WHO recommended 150 mins a week.

And finally, the Stand goal ensures you’ve got up and moved every hour.

Apple Watch SE fitness tracker

The rings fill up as you progress towards your goals, and you can challenge any Apple Watch owning friend to a ring challenge, which awards points for progress over a week.

It’s incredibly motivating – much more than many trackers on this list with their simple 10,000 steps.

Of course, the Apple Watch does way more than goal tracking.

It’s a great workout tracker with GPS, swim tracking, heart rate, a new focus on VO2 Max and now there’s the Apple Fitness+ service which is completely integrated with the Apple Watch and the rings.

There are downsides. Sleep tracking is basic (good third-party apps are available) and the single-day battery life is a pain if you choose to wear it all night.

Then there’s the fact it’s iOS only – and the $279 price tag means it’s not for everybody.


Best Budget Fitness Tracker

Xiaomi Mi Band 5
Xiaomi Mi Band 5

SPECS
Screen; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; Up to 14 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ 24/7 heart rate monitor
+ Sleep tracker
+ Good battery life

CONS
– No GPS
– Old design

BEST PRICE
$54

mi.com

But some may feel that this cheaper option isn’t quite so affordable.

The all-new Mi Band 5 ups the ante with a larger 1.1-inch screen, while retaining the traditional feel of the budget band.

The latest offering comes in at €34.99, which is way more than the bargain price tag of its predecessors.

However, you do get a lot. 11 sports modes, connected GPS (via your smartphone) plus a heart rate monitor used for 27/7 tracking, stress monitoring, and keeping tabs on your activity via the PAI score.

PAI stands for Personal Activity Intelligence and rates your weekly effort out of 100.

The more you get your heart beating, be it on a brisk walk or HIIT class, the more points you get.

It’s easy to understand, and effective.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 fitness tracker

With Mi Band 5, sleep is now tracked better than before.

You can turn on REM tracking and personalized insights, although I found that the nightly sleep score was far more generous compared to gold-standard, rival sleep tracking devices from Fitbit and Withings.

However, as a basic tracker that doubles up for smartwatch notifications, the Mi Band 5 is still one of the best on the market, and comfortably less than £50.

If you want a great overview of your activity the Mi Band 5 comes recommended.

On the other hand, the Fitbit Inspire HR is a far better sleep tracker.

But, if you really want top-quality health data, I highly recommend the Charge 4.


Amazfit Band 5 fitness tracker
Amazfit Band 5

SPECS
Screen; Heart rate tracker; Waterproof; Activity tracking; Embedded GPS; Up to 15 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Sleep tracker
+ Swim tracking
+ Long battery life
+ Amazon Alexa onboard

CONS
– Small screen
– No GPS

BEST PRICE
$39.99

amazfit.com

Design-wise it’s a polycarbonate tracker matched up with a TPU plastic band, which houses a superb 1.1-inch, 126 x 294 resolution, AMOLED display.

If you think that Amazfit’s tracker looks familiar, that’s because it’s essentially the Xiaomi Mi Band 5, with a few extra features thrown in.

That’s a higher resolution than you’ll find on trackers from Fitbit and Samsung.

In terms of fitness tracking, it does steps, distance and also continuously monitors your heart rate.

There’s also sleep monitoring on offer and you’ve got connected GPS to piggyback off of your smartphone to track your runs.

Amazfit Band 5



The Amazfit Band 5 also boasts a SpO2 sensor, which you don’t get on its Xiaomi-twin.

It also features a superior heart rate sensor to offer improved accuracy.

There are also more smartwatch features than on the Mi Band 5 with the addition of Amazon’s Alexa, though answers to queries will be displayed as opposed to reading out for you.

That’s along with notification support, music controls, the ability to remotely take smartphone photos, and a nice collection of watch faces.

Even with those extra features, you can still get up to two weeks battery life, likely closer to 7-10 days if you use all of its features regularly every day.

For its mix of fitness tracking and smartwatch features along with that great screen and battery life, the Amazfit Band 5 delivers.


Samsung Galaxy Fit 2
Samsung Galaxy Fit 2

SPECS
Screen; heart rate tracker; activity tracking; waterproof; up to 15 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Steps tracker
+ Displays notifications
+ Long battery life

CONS
– No GPS

BEST PRICE
$49.99

samsung.com

The Fit 2 boasts a 1.1-inch AMOLED screen partnered up with a band that’s slimmer and sits more snug than its predecessor.

Although the MSRP sits above our £50 limit, the Fit 2 is easily findable for less – making it a good budget choice.

It has sensors onboard to count steps, monitor sleep, and can keep tabs on your stress using the optical heart rate monitor.

There’s automated workout support for activities including running, elliptical, and indoor rowing although we did have accuracy issues.

And what’s more, while it’s fit to be worn in the pool, it won’t track your activity in the water, which is disappointing.

Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 fitness tracker

On that AMOLED display, you can take control of your music, view notifications, and send quick replies if you’re an Android phone owner.

You’re also getting a big collection of watch faces to pick from too.

Battery life is up there with Xiaomi and Amazfit’s trackers at around a week.

So if you’re a fan of Samsung’s hardware and companion app, it’s another solid option to consider.

We applaud Samsung for taking the original Galaxy Fit, streamlining the look, and bringing the price point down to make it much better value for money.

However, accuracy issues mean that you could be better off with an Amazfit or Xiaomi tracker.


Honor Band 2 fitness tracker
Honor Band 5

SPECS
Color touchscreen; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; 7 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Sleep monitoring
+ Step tracking

CONS
– No GPS

BEST PRICE
$39

hihonor.com

One of the most useful features is sleep tracking, which gives pieces of advice on how to maximize your sleep time.

The Honor Band 5 was a serious step up from the Band 4, with improved fitness features in many areas, as well as a color touchscreen to view all your information on.

Honor Band 5 budget fitness tracker

The Honor Band 5 is also one of the most affordable fitness trackers on the market, so if you want an exercise monitor or sleep counter that isn’t also a bank-breaker, this is where to look.

One thing that did not sit well with me was the poor smartphone notifications.

Random, delayed, missing, there’s a lot to improve here.

Yet, it is a great fitness tracker for training plans.


Realme band fitness tracker
Realme Band

SPECS
Touchscreen; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; Up to 10 days battery life; Android compatible

PROS
+ Step tracking
+ Sleep monitoring

CONS
– Not iOS compatible
– No GPS

BEST PRICE
$34.99

realme.com

The screen and build are certainly less premium than the likes of Samsung, although better than Fitbit’s – and you get a week of battery life too.

The Realme Band debuted in India as a super budget option – and at £24.99 it’s one of the most affordable trackers you’ll find.

It does all the basics and a bit more.

Step tracking, sleep monitoring, and even workouts – with running, walking, trail hiking, mountain hicking, climbing, cycling, spinning, fitness, and cricket.

Naturally, there’s no GPS at this price, nor can it borrow your smartphone’s.

Realme Band budget fitness tracker

We found step tracking to be generally accurate, and sleep tracking reliably showed time spent in bed, but data on sleep quality and actual time asleep varied hugely from our control devices.

We liked the water drinking and move reminders, and we actually found the heart rate monitor to be generally pretty accurate.

However, it didn’t perform well as a smartwatch alternative.

Not only is this Android only, but notifications were also really hard to read.

All in all, the Realme Band is a capable budget fitness tracker for Android users, but for a small amount extra you should opt for the Xiaomi or Amazfit and enjoy a far better experience.


Huawei Band 3 pro fitness tracker
Huawei Band 3 Pro

SPECS
Screen; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; built-in GPS; 14 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Long battery life
+ Great screen display

CONS
– No breathing feature

BEST PRICE
$109

huawei.com

This is one of the best fitness trackers you can buy if you’re on a strict budget, and it has some amazing features considering how much it costs.

Taking over from the Huawei Band 2 Pro is the Huawei Band 3 Pro.

Huawei Band 3 Pro fitness tracker



The Band 3 Pro comes with GPS onboard, it has a water-resistant design (which means you can take it swimming) and there’s a 0.95-inch color screen to display all of your stats on your wrist.

We’ve found the heart rate monitor to be accurate, and while the GPS could be quicker at locking on we also found it to be precise.

If you’re looking for an affordable entry-level device for your first foray into the world of fitness tracking, this is a great place to start.


Xiaomi Mi Band 4 fitness tracker
Xiaomi Mi Band 4

SPECS
Color touchscreen; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; connected GPS; up to 20 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Long battery life
+ Accurate heart monitor

CONS
– No built-in GPS

BEST PRICE
$39.99

mi.com

It has a few great perks for fitness buffs though, like its 20-day battery life, useful heart rate monitor, and easy-to-view screen, so if you’re looking for a new heart rate monitor there are far worse devices you can buy.

The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is a run-of-the-mill affordable fitness tracker, in that it has a slimline design, a smallish color screen with a capacitive button, and a selection of workouts to track.

Xiaomi Mi Band 4 fitness tracker

It’s worth noting that a successor to the Mi Band 4, the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 5, is now available to buy.

Once we’ve had a chance to test it, we’ll update this guide accordingly if we find the new fitness tracker worthy of a place.


Fitbit Ace 2 fitness tracker
Fitbit Ace 2

SPECS
Screen; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; built-in GPS; up to 5 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Sleep tracking
+ Swimproof

CONS
– No color screen

BEST PRICE
$69.95

fitbit.com

Fitbit Ace 2, the activity tracker for kids 6+, makes family time more fun.

It’s full of motivating challenges, sleep tracking, and inspiring ways to connect with parents, siblings, and friends.

There’s nothing more meaningful than building healthy habits together, and Ace 2 is the perfect way to get the whole family moving and making memories.

Track steps and active minutes to show how every move, skip and jump can add up to a healthier, more active life.

And with up to 5 days of battery life, it means more tracking time and less

Fitbit Ace 2 fitness tracker

Since Ace 2 is swim-proof up to 50 meters, kids can wear it in the shower, pool, and beyond.

Of course, spills and splashes are A-OK! Plus, it comes with a large and small wristband included in the box.

Steps & active minutes tracking let kids skip, jump & move their way to a healthier life.

Kids earn virtual badges and fun on-screen celebrations when they reach their goals.

Kids spend less time charging and more time moving with up to 5-day battery life.

Help kids get the sleep they need with sleep tracking, bedtime reminders, and silent alarms.


Best Fitness Tracker for Running

Polar Grit X
Polar Grit X

SPECS
Screen; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; built-in GPS; 5 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ In-depth recovery insights
+ Workout recommendations
+ Built-in GPS & Glonass

CONS
– Short battery life
– No Spotify support

BEST PRICE
From $429.95

polar.com

In a straight fight, it’s not the winner – but it doesn’t need to be.

Can the Polar Grit X compete with the Garmin Fenix 6?

Significantly less expensive yet equipped with a range of skills to suit those just starting to stride off the beaten track, it occupies a genre of its own and does so convincingly.

It might resemble a rugged running watch, but the Grit X offers an impressive range of insights, training aids, and tools that comfortably eclipse the capabilities of standard activity trackers without straying into silly money.

Polar Grit X fitness tracker

Certain aspects – such as Hill Splitter – still need work, while Komoot route-mapping lacks the depth that most seasoned endurance athletes will demand.

But a catalog of more advanced features – including intelligent fuelling support – on a watch that’s attractive and usable should make the Polar Grit X a compelling proposition for those taking their first steps into trail running


Fitbit Versa 3
Fitbit Versa 3

SPECS
Touchscreen display; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; built-in GPS; 7 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Built-in GPS
+ Lightweight
+ Beautiful display

CONS
– No offline Spotify support

BEST PRICE
$229.95

fitbit.com

Compared to versa 2, this model brings quite a few important updates.

Meet Fitbit Versa 3—the smartwatch with everything you need to just go.

Track your pace and distance—and leave your phone at home—with built-in GPS.
Fitbit Versa 3 fitness tracker



You can also get call, text, and app notifications, use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa Built-in and control Spotify and Deezer when your phone is nearby.

Plus with Active Zone Minutes, 20+ exercise modes, and a 6+ day battery with 12-minute fast charging, you’ve got all the motivation you need to reach your health and fitness goals.


Garmin Vivosport fitness tracker
Garmin Vivosport

SPECS
Touchscreen display; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; built-in GPS; 7 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Built-in GPS
+ Good battery life

CONS
– No swim modes
– Small screen

BEST PRICE
$169.99

garmin.com

It’s not as stylish as most of the Fitbit products, but there’s a reason the Garmin Vivosport appears in this list before products from the latter company.

This is cheaper than most Fitbit products and it comes with GPS built-in too.

Garmin Vivosport running fitness tracker

We found the Vivosport offers a solid seven days battery life from a single charge, even when using the GPS features.

Although it’s waterproof, it won’t track your swimming easily but the Vivosport excels for other kinds of workouts and is great for tracking your jogging and cycling.

Plus we found the heart rate tracker to be accurate too.


Garmin Vivoactive 3 music running fitness tracker
Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music

SPECS
Touchscreen display; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; built-in GPS; 4 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Onboard GPS
+ Garmin Pay
+ Spotify controls

CONS
– Short battery life

BEST PRICE
$249.99

garmin.com

As you’d expect, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music has lots in common with the Garmin Vivoactive 3.

It’s a multisport GPS watch that incorporates smartwatch features, and that’s just as well suited to wearing at the office as the gym.

The key difference between the two models, as the name suggests, lies in their music playback capabilities.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music running fitness tracker

This is one area where the otherwise excellent Vivoactive 3 could use some improvement, so I was excited to see how the Music variant stacks up in this regard.

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music review: What you need to know

To be more specific, the Vivoactive 3 Music lets your store up to 500 songs directly on the watch, which means you can connect Bluetooth headphones (not included in the price) to it for phone-free listening.

Following a recent update, this functionality also extends to being able to download Spotify music to the watch.


Apple watch series 6
Apple Watch Series 6

SPECS
Touchscreen display; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; built-in GPS; up to 18 hours battery life; iOS compatible

PROS
+ SpO2 tracking
+ Handwashing countdown timer
+ Always-on altimeter
+ Spotify/iTunes controls
+ Sleep tracking
+ Variety of design

CONS
– Rather expensive
– Only iOS compatible
– Short battery life

BEST PRICE
From $399

apple.com

Since the Apple Watch made its debut five years ago, one of its primary functions has been to help you monitor your health.

The Series 6 delivers two key features that build upon this that also can help keep you safe in the age of COVID-19:

SpO2 sensor that lets you monitor your blood oxygen saturation level
Countdown timer that keeps you honest when washing your hands.

The Series 6 further impresses thanks to a faster processor, a brighter always-on display, and an improved altimeter that can track your elevation changes in real-time.

It easily outperforms Google Wear OS-based watches like the Moto 360 and offers a much more fully realized smartwatch experience than Fitbit’s more health-centric models.

apple watch series 6 fitness tracker



If you already own a Series 5, the Series 6 is really only worth the upgrade if you absolutely must have the always-on altimeter or SpO2 readings.

But between its advanced health and fitness monitoring capabilities, safety and lifestyle features, and wide selection of downloadable apps, the Apple Watch Series 6 is the best smartwatch on the market hands down, and our Editors’ Choice.

That said, if the $399 starting price is out of your budget, the new Apple Watch SE offers many of the same features as the Series 6—including a handwashing timer, sleep tracking, heart rate notifications, and more—for $120 less.

It lacks an always-on display and some of the Series 6’s more advanced health features; however, including the ability to take an ECG and measure the oxygen saturation of your blood.

It’s a strong alternative to the Series 6 if you don’t mind a less health-focused experience.


Best Fitness Tracker for Cycling And Overall Activities

Coros Apex fitness tracker
Coros Apex

SPECS
Screen; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; built-in GPS; up to 4 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Long battery life
+ Advanced fitness metrics
+ Great fitness apps
+ Sleep tracking

CONS
– No touch and dim screen

BEST PRICE
From $299

cotswoldoutdoor.com

Based on a unique algorithm with lactate threshold, VO2 Max, and HR, the COROS Trainer dials-in your running training every day.

Using your personal historical data along with metrics from your latest activity, such as pace, distance, and HR – COROS Trainer will calculate a perceived effort

I personally love the APEX’s intelligent build and design.

With finish options including titanium alloy and stainless steel bezel alongside a sapphire glass face for extreme protection, you are prepared for any and every environment.

With COROS Training mode, you can create, share and even download workouts from professional athletes and coaches.

The COROS App allows you to build your own workout, be that for running, cycling, swimming, or strength training without limitations.

You can select from more than 200+ preloaded exercises to create your ideal strength training session.

Then, you can share your workouts with friends and training partners via text, email, social media, or even direct to the app using a QR code.

Lastly, you can follow hand-picked workouts from professional athletes and coaches by downloading from coros.com and onto your watch.


Polar A370 fitness tracker
Polar A370

SPECS
Screen; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; up to 4 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Accurate heart rate monitoring
+ In-depth sleep analysis
+ Custom training programs

CONS
– No built-in GPS
– Small screen

BEST PRICE
$149.95

polar.com

The Polar A370 excels as an accurate sports watch with some lovely features for training and daily fitness tracking.

Is it beautiful? Not exactly.

Does it pack in a bunch of smartwatch features? Nope.

But for $149.95, it’s a worthwhile device for fitness enthusiasts who want heart rate monitoring, on-watch training sessions, and don’t mind pairing a phone when they need GPS.

Polar A370 fitness tracker
Definitely consider it if you’re in the market for a watch to use while cycling or training.

If you’re looking for something slightly less specialized, the Fitbit Charge 3 is our favorite entry point into the world of fitness tracking for more casual users.


Fitbit Charge 3 fitness tracker
Fitbit Charge 3

SPECS
Screen; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; 6 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Light and comfortable
+ Fitbit sleep tracking

CONS
– No built-in GPS
– Not a color screen

BEST PRICE
$159

walmart.com

Although it’s now been superseded by the superb Charge 4, the Fitbit Charge 3 is still an excellent fitness tracker and has seen some hefty price cuts following the launch of the Charge 4.

It has a more lightweight design than the Charge 2 that came before and offers a lot of insight into your overall health.

The display is bigger and clearer than a lot of other fitness trackers on this list, though it’s still a black and white screen.

Fitbit Charge 3 fitness tracker

There’s no onboard GPS, like some other trackers on this list have, but it’s waterproof and offers a full fitness suite including a heart rate tracker.

You can track GPS by pairing your phone with the tracker too.

You have to spend a bit extra on this than other fitness trackers you can buy in this same list.

But if you enjoy the whole Fitbit app and experience and would also like access to notifications and Fitbit’s fantastic sleep tracking, you’ll want to opt for this as it’s one of the company’s best trackers ever.


Fitbit Versa 2 fitness trackers
Fitbit Versa 2

SPECS
Screen; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; 5 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Built-in mic for Amazon Alexa
+ Sleep and steps tracking
+ Fitbit Pay

CONS
– No built-in GPS

BEST PRICE
$179.95

fitbit.com

When it comes to fitness tracking, Fitbit is the boss.

But if you’re looking for a smartwatch it’s the company’s Versa line-up you need.

The AMOLED screen is a big step-up from the LCD monochrome display on the Charge and Inspire devices, and the shape will suit more wrists too.

It’s unisex, and the 40mm case won’t trouble smaller wrists – and doesn’t look lost on chunky ones either.

Fitbit Versa 2 fitness tracker



With Versa 2, you get everything that’s good about the Fitbit ecosystem – top-class sleep tracking, steps, and activity metrics, Active Zone Minutes, and workout tracking – in a smartwatch form factor.

It’s missing GPS and the fast charging from the Versa 3, but you get six days of battery life, Fitbit Pay.

And because it’s now the previous generation there are plenty of good deals to be had.


Best Steps Tracker

Samsung Galaxy Fit step tracker
Samsung Galaxy Fit

SPECS
Touchscreen display; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; 7-8 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Automatic sleep monitoring
+ Accelerometer-based workout tracking

CONS
– No built-in GPS

BEST PRICE
$99.99

samsung.com

If you’re looking for the best fitness tracker for swimming, the Fit gets our vote.

Sitting below the Fit2 Pro, the £99.99 Fit does all the basics including step counting and distance covered, and also offers strong sleep monitoring features too.

You also get smartwatch features like notification support and the ability to switch out watch faces on the gorgeous 0.95-inch AMOLED touchscreen display.

There are no music player controls, payment features, or Bixby support, but that’s not surprising considering the price.

Samsung Galaxy Fit step tracker

On the swim tracking front, you’re relying on the onboard motion sensors to monitor pool time.

Accuracy-wise, we found it served up data on par with what our Garmin sports watch recorded, which is impressive given the sub $100 price.

What’s more, its slim design means it’s nice and unobtrusive in the pool.

For battery life, you can expect around the seven-day mark depending on usage. If you want a slim, comfortable tracker with decent swim tracking skills, this is definitely one to consider.


Best Fitness Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor

Fitbit Inspire HR fitness tracker
Fitbit Inspire HR

SPECS
Screen; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; 5 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Advanced biometrics tracker
+ Light and comfortable

CONS
– No built-in GPS
– No swim tracking

BEST PRICE
$91.99

walmart.com

The predecessor of the Fitbit Inspire 2, this isn’t the most capable fitness tracker in our best-of list, but it does a lot considering its price and you’ll get access to all of Fitbit’s top-end services.

It’s now been replaced by the Fitbit Inspire 2, which we’re currently in the process of reviewing, but if you’re in the market for an affordable, slimline fitness tracker the Inspire HR is still a great choice.

Fitbit Inspire HR fitness tracker

The Fitbit Inspire HR unsurprisingly offers a heart rate tracker alongside a variety of other fitness tracking capabilities.

It isn’t as capable as the Fitbit Charge 3 as it lacks swim tracking or Fitbit Pay integration, but that’s understandable as this is much cheaper.

It features a slimmer and more comfortable design than a lot of other trackers you can buy, so if you’re after a Fitbit that won’t be heavy on your wrist you may want to consider the Inspire HR as your next fitness band.


Apple Watch Series 5 fitness tracker
Apple Watch Series 5

SPECS
Screen; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; built-in GPS; Up to 18 hours battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Great health tracking
+ Spotify/iTunes controls
+ Apple Pay

CONS
– Only iOS compatible
– Short battery life
– No sleep tracking

BEST PRICE
$399

amazon.com

Since its second generation, the Apple Watch has been the best smartwatch for the iPhone.

But for Series 5 that’s changed. It’s not just the best smartwatch for the iPhone.

The Apple Watch is now a solid reason to buy an iPhone in the first place.

From all the fitness watches I have tried, this remains my favorite to date.

I use it for daily activities, for an outdoor workout, to check my oxygen saturation levels, this watch is all I need thanks to its heart rate monitor, attractive design, and larger display size.

The screen being on all the time was the last piece in the Apple Watch puzzle.

What started out as a bit of a letdown in 2015 has since been refined, sped up, and had meaningful features added to it that make it far more than the sum of its parts.

Apple Watch Series 5 fitness tracker



After five generations Apple has finally nailed it, but that’s not to say the Series 5 is perfect.

It would be great to have sleep tracking to close the circle on health tracking.

It would be better if it lasted at least two days so you could go on a weekend away without bringing the charger.

I wish there was a circular version too for variety, and it would be better for everyone if they didn’t all look the same as some sort of clone army.

Strap one of these to your wrist and you become part of a tribe: the Apple Watch wearers.

Then there’s the price. At $399 and up the Apple Watch Series 5 is in no way cheap.

The Series 3 is still on sale for £199 but doesn’t do it for me with that mostly-off screen.

With the competition mostly coming in at under $300 the Series 5 has Apple’s typical premium – but it’s a premium anyone considering an Apple Watch has already paid for their iPhone.

Simply put, the Apple Watch Series 5 is the best smartwatch you can buy right now. You might just need to also buy an iPhone to get it.


Amazfit Bip
Amazfit Bip

SPECS
Screen; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; over a month battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Super long battery life
+ Excellent health monitoring apps

CONS
– No color screen

BEST PRICE
$120

onbuy.com

This may look more like a smartwatch than any of the other devices on this list, but as it runs its own software and has a very big focus on fitness we’ve decided to include it in our list of the best fitness trackers.

Hailed as one of the best female health tracking devices in 2020, this is one of the best fitness trackers you can buy to achieve your health goals.

Packed with a wide range of activities and sleep stages, this basic fitness tracking is a monster in disguise.

Amazfit Bip fitness tracker

The Amazfit Bip design has been influenced by the Apple Watch (there’s no denying that) and it comes packed with tons of features including GPS, an accurate heart rate tracker, multi-sport tracking, sleep tracking, and VO2 Max features too.

If you’re looking for a more watch-like design than everything else on this list, the Bip will be up your street.

It’s lightweight too and other highlights include the always-on display and strong battery life that should last around a month depending on your usage.


Withings Steel HR Sport fitness tracker
Withings Steel HR Sport

SPECS
Hybrid; heart rate tracker; waterproof; activity tracking; 25 days battery life; Android/iOS compatible

PROS
+ Automatic exercise detection
+ Continuous heart rate monitoring
+ Swim tracking
+ Sleep tracking

CONS
– No screen
– No Built-in GPS

BEST PRICE
$179.95

withings.com

We’re desperate to include the Withings ScanWatch here, but it’s still short of FDA approval which is holding up the ECG hybrid smartwatch’s release outside of Europe.

If you’re in Europe – definitely check that device out.

So that leaves us the Steel HR Sport for those in the US.

A gorgeous-looking hybrid smartwatch, don’t be fooled into thinking this is style over substance.

The Withings Steel HR Sport is a hugely powerful fitness and wellness device masquerading as an analog watch.

Withings Steel HR Sport fitness tracker

The key thing here is the accuracy of the heart rate monitor, which, in our testing, was a top performer.

It’s designed for continuous wear and will take a reading from your wrist every minute.

However, the fact that it’s combined into such a beautifully designed tracker-watch hybrid, and still manages 25 days of battery life, is a huge boon for Withings.

Swim tracking is also present, as well as GPS connection over the phone, meaning you can now more accurately track runs with the help of your smartphone.

In short, the Withings Steel HR is a superb fitness tracker – but there are even more powerful devices incoming.


What Is A Fitness Tracker?

Dedicated fitness trackers are wearable devices that can help you move more, sleep better, and improve your overall health.

Modern fitness trackers are getting further sensor-packed, more powerful – but also much cheaper.

While smartwatches have undoubtedly taken over as the leading wearable tech, dedicated fitness trackers and activity bands still have their place.

For once, fitness trackers are smaller, less techy, and, generally, easier to use.

Overall, the best fitness trackers offer more cutting-edge technology and features than ever before.

Think heart rate monitoring, detailed sleep tracking, waterproof for swimming, stress tracking, sports and workout modes, and, of course, step counting.

Can You Track Fitness Without a Fitness Tracker?

If you want to give fitness tracking a try (but without a wearable), start using a mobile app that counts your steps.

This method requires little to no investment and could be of interest if you’re a beginner. Some apps we like are Argus, Fitbit, and Moves.

If you run or bicycle, we recommend tracking your runs or rides with an app before going whole-hog and splurging on a tracker. Why?

With some trackers, you still need to carry your phone to get accurate pacing, distance, and mapping, so you’ll want to know before you purchase if you’re okay with taking your phone or if you’d prefer a tracker with built-in GPS, so you don’t have to.

A few apps we recommend are Runtastic PRO (for running), Cyclemeter (for bicycling), and Strava (for both running and cycling).

The Coros SafeSound Helmet is another attractive solution for cyclists that integrates your phone’s GPS to track your rides and uses bone-conduction audio to let you hear directions, music, and phone calls without blocking your ears.

How Much Should You Spend on a Fitness Tracker?

Some of the best fitness trackers can cost $1000 or more.

However, the best fitness trackers range from $25 to $400.

Some of the least expensive trackers lack a display – so you can’t see how many steps you’ve taken unless you look at your smartphone.

More expensive trackers usually include built-in optical heart rate monitors and GPS, and often, these features are tailored toward athletes and exercise enthusiasts.

Don’t get suckered into buying an expensive tracker if your primary activity is walking. If you walk and don’t do much else, there are great options in the $25 to $99 range.

If you work out a lot and want ample fitness-tracking options, we recommend spending at least $99, as that’s the price point where you’ll start to see the features that are useful to very active users.




How To Choose Your Fitness Tracker

One crucial question to ask yourself before choosing a fitness tracker is the type of form factor you want.

Most these days are worn on the wrist, though you can get a clip-on or fitness-tracking ring.

Bracelets and watches are hard to lose, while clip-on can fall off or get thrown into the wash.

That said, bracelets and watches can get in the way when typing on a computer or sleeping, for example.

If you’re bothered by having something on your wrist, you’re probably better off with a clip-on, although this style isn’t nearly as popular as it used to be.

Smart rings, meanwhile, bring fitness tracking to your fingers and can track many of the same metrics as wrist-worn models in a discreet form factor that looks like jewelry.

There are also trackers for children, like the Fitbit Ace 2.

And don’t forget about Fido; that’s right, there are even trackers out there specifically for pets.

Do You Need A Tracker With Heart Rate Monitoring?

Heart rate monitoring sounds like the best feature ever, but there are different kinds of heart rate monitors, and frankly, some people don’t need it at all.

A built-in heart rate monitor can drive up the price. However, many excellent fitness trackers don’t have a heart rate monitor but collect data from a chest strap.

Almost every device from Garmin and Polar supports a chest strap (like the excellent Polar H10), and you can usually bundle one in when purchasing a tracker for an extra $40 or $50.

Finally, if you’re interested in knowing your resting heart rate, you don’t need to buy a tracker with an optical heart rate monitor to find it.

Many smartphone apps let you take your heart rate in about 15 seconds using the phone’s camera. Check your pulse once or twice a day, and you’re good to go.

Best Sleep Tracker Device

Not all fitness trackers can record your sleep.

Those that do, use a three-axis accelerometer to a more sensitive degree than those used for fitness purposes.

As such, these devices report graphs showing the times when you were in light sleep and deep sleep, all based on motion.

There are also dedicated sleep trackers out there that attach to your mattress, but we haven’t found them to offer an appreciable advantage over wrist-based trackers.

And wearable trackers can do a lot more than simply track your rest. If you don’t like the idea of wearing something on your wrist to bed and need a new mattress, you can always spring for the Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed.

Sport-Specific Fitness Trackers

Swimmers will want a waterproof tracker, but keep in mind that not all water-safe trackers track swimming.

Runners will probably want a watch that shows time, distance, pace, and lap time, at the very least.

If you want good accuracy for those metrics without carrying a smartphone, you need a runner’s watch with a built-in GPS.

Also, consider the display if you want to see your stats at all times.

Or, simply use your tracker as a wristwatch, look for one with an always-on display.

How you control your fitness tracker is also important. If you like to run in the cold while wearing gloves, you may want to steer clear devices that only have touch-enabled displays.

Cyclists have even more considerations. There’s a difference between tracking how many miles you pedal and calories you burn versus monitoring your power and cadence.

If all you want is the former, you can find a few fitness trackers that support bicycling as an activity.

More serious cyclists will want a device that can pair with additional bike equipment, like a cadence sensor, and look at devices from sport-specific companies, like Garmin and Polar.

Best Fitness App Experience

The quality of your fitness tracker app matters a lot.

Whether on your phone or the web, the app is vital because it makes sense of the information the tracker collects.

Fitbit has one of the best apps and websites we’ve tested.

It lets you record all kinds of data that many other companies don’t, such as calories consumed, allergy severity, and stress level.

If you want full body analysis, look for a system that incorporates a smart bathroom scale.

Fitbit, Polar, Withings, and Wyze do. Check out the Fitbit Aria 2, Polar Balance, Withings Body Cardio, and Wyze Scale.

These send your weight directly to your account, so you can’t cheat the system by entering a lower number.

The QardioBase 2 is another top choice, especially for pregnant women.




Smartwatch vs. Fitness Tracker

Several fitness trackers have some smartwatch functionality, and some smartwatches have fitness features, too.

The Fitbit Versa 3 comes close to blending both worlds. Yet, at the moment, it still lags behind the Apple Watch in terms of third-party app support.

In comparison, the Apple Watch Series 6 places more of an emphasis on health and fitness tracking than any other smartwatch we’ve seen.

It even has an FDA-approved electrocardiogram (ECG) function that generates a PDF of your heart rhythm you can share with your doctor, which is a feature you won’t find on any of the other trackers listed here.

How to Buy a Fitness Tracker

There are still considerable variations in the quality of data you get from a fitness tracker.

That’s why it is important to pay attention not just to the fitness tracker, but also to the app it sends data to.

After all, you want the algorithms that measure and analyze your data to be as clever as the sensors powering them.

So far, Fitbit trackers and Garmin watches seem to offer a better experience than most competitors.

Both companies deliver reliable and exciting insights, and often the high price you’re paying reflects ongoing research and development of new hardware and software.

Conclusion

If you want to make some long-term changes to your lifestyle, choosing one of the best fitness trackers is a must.

Also, reading data from an easy-to-understand app can be a great motivator.

At the same time, if all you want is just a simple step counter or a wearable that keeps an eye on your core heart vitals, check out brands such as Amazfit, Xiaomi, and Huawei.

Whether you’re looking for basic everyday activity tracking or you’re after something a bit more in-depth in terms of sports and health monitoring, there’s a fitness tracker out there for you.

Read on for our pick of the best fitness tracking wearables you can buy right now.

Now it’s your turn…

Which one of these fitness trackers is your favorite and why?

Are there any other fitness trackers you’ve tried and want to add to this list?

Please leave your comments below so others can benefit from your expertise.

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  1. What about the Microsoft Band?

  2. Avatar

    Andries van der Werf

    7 December 2015

    How would the newly released Microsoft Band (2015) stack up agains the one that is used in the review (which is the 2014 model)?