In order to find the right fitness trackers for you, we tested dozens of models.
The best fitness trackers can help you get more active, get more sleep, and gain a better understanding of your overall health. They can help you track your progress and give you advice on how hard you should push yourself.
Wearable fitness trackers measure your heart rate, read your blood oxygen levels, accompany you while swimming, and let you know if you are well-rested. When you’re not working out, you can use them to pay for groceries, play music, answer texts, and more.
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With so many options available, selecting one of the best fitness trackers or fitness watches for your needs can be difficult. Over the course of several hours, we put dozens to the test on the treadmill, biking, swimming, even sleeping, to see which excelled, and which couldn’t make it past the starting gate.
See all of the best fitness trackers and fitness watches below.
What Are The Best Fitness Trackers?
Fitness trackers like the Fitbit Charge 4 are the best for most people. With a price tag of $149, it’s not all that expensive, and features a built-in GPS and extensive health tracking. Fitbit Charge 4 includes improved sleep tracking, wireless payment support, and Spotify controls on-device.
In addition, it is swim-proof and has a bright touchscreen display that responds instantly to swipes and taps. In fact, we’d even say the tracker is a better option than the Fitbit Charge 5, which has an ECG monitor and a Daily Readiness Score, but neither is available on the tracker right now.
Are you looking for something with more features? Fitbit Sense is one of the best fitness trackers that’s also one of the best smartwatches. The device includes advanced health analysis, a dedicated app store and the Alexa voice assistant. There are more features in it than in the Charge line, so it’s more comparable to the
Apple Watch. While it’s not as advanced as the Apple Watch, we think it’s a better overall wellness tool. More brand-specific advice can be found in our guides to the best Fitbit, best Apple Watch, and best Garmin watch.
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Fitbit Sense Advanced Smartwatch with Tools for Heart Health
Fitbit Sense is the company’s top-of-the-line smartwatch, which comes with more advanced health and wellness features than the Versa line. In addition to measuring blood oxygen levels and ECGs, the Sense measures electrodermal activity as well as skin temperature.
A fitness tracker that works with both iOS and Android, the Sense has on-board GPS, a native app store, Alexa, and more. Now, Fitbit isn’t just a brand that makes products to track our steps: Fitbit devices like the Fitbit Sense also make great smartwatches.
- Long battery life
- Comprehensive fitness/health features
- No Spotify storage
Fitbit Charge 4 Fitness and Activity Tracker with Built-in GPS
With the Fitbit Charge 4, we’ve found the top fitness tracker and fitness watch because it adds the key feature we missed on the Charge 4: GPS. With the Charge 4, you can track your runs, hikes, and other outdoor activities using your smartphone.
As well as pace, elevation, heart rate zones, and calories burned, you’ll see data. Even better, the app overlays this information along your route, so you can see which parts of your trip made you breathe hard.
A SpO2 pulse oximeter sensor on the Charge 4 helps you understand your sleeping patterns better, too. Plus, the Charge 4 is the first Fitbit fitness tracker to offer contactless Fitbit Pay.
This is the one to get if you’re looking for a well-rounded wearable with a wide range of features. The Fitbit Charge 4 vs. Fitbit Versa 2 comparison shows you the benefits of a traditional fitness tracker over a smartwatch.
- Accurate, fast GPS
- Big community of users
- Good design
- No onboard music storage
Samsung Electronics Galaxy Watch 4 ECG Monitor Tracker
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is an impressive piece of kit for anyone looking to monitor their health from their wrist, regardless of whether they have a Samsung phone.
In fact, it is the first smartwatch to offer bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), to help manage your health goals. Its 3-in-1 health sensor measures heart rate, takes ECGs, and reads body composition.
Even if you’re not interested in your body composition, this watch allows you to track your daily activities and automatically track your workout when you forget to press start.
Its downside is the battery life, which we found didn’t last the full 40 hours Samsung suggests with GPS and activity tracking on, but unless you’re going for an ultramarathon, this shouldn’t be a deal breaker for you.
- First major smartwatch with body composition analysis
- Slim design
- Bright watch face
- Concerns with BIA sensor
- Battery life can be inconsistent
Fitbit Charge 5 Advanced Fitness & Health Tracker
Fitbit’s Charge 5 tracker has a number of exciting features that are usually reserved for its more expensive trackers, such as an ECG heart rate monitor.
The bright, always-on color touch screen is an improvement over the Fitbit Charge 4 – it is easy to read even in bright sunlight, great for HIIT workouts and hiking, although there are no physical buttons to use when running.
Two of the Fitbit Charge 5’s main selling points are not yet available – the ECG heart rate monitor and the ‘Daily Readiness Score’, which lets you know how ready you are for a big workout.
Due to that reason alone, we wouldn’t recommend upgrading from a Fitbit Charge 4 just yet, but the Charge 5 is definitely worth it if you’re using a Fitbit Charge 3 or older.
- Bright, always-on display
- Fast connecting GPS
- Addition of an ECG monitor
- Daily readiness Score not ready yet
- Lack of buttons on the Fitbit makes usability frustrating
- No Spotify compatibility
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music GPS Running Smartwatch
The Forerunner 245 from Garmin is one of the best sports watches you can buy. There aren’t many bells and whistles on this running watch, but it’s small and light, comes with a built-in GPS, and has a colorful screen you can easily see in bright sunlight.
Furthermore, the Forerunner 245 has an onboard music player, so you don’t need to carry a smartphone with you while you run. In addition, the 245 calculates your V02 max score and offers a recovery advisor to let you know how long to rest between runs.
Moreover, the watch lasts about a week on a charge, which isn’t bad for such a fully-featured GPS watch. However, Garmin’s menus, both on the watch itself and in its app, can be confusing.
- Accurate GPS and heart-rate monitor
- Easy to read in sunlight
- Customizable interface
- Onboard music storage
- App could be better organized
Amazfit Band 5 Fitness Tracker with Alexa Built-in
The Amazfit Band 5 is a $50 fitness tracker that offers many of the features found in premium smartwatches, but at a fraction of the price. It has blood oxygen (SpO2) readings, stress monitoring, high heart rate alerts, Amazon Alexa built in, sleep tracking and several other high-end features.
During testing, we found the Amazfit Band 5’s fitness and sleep tracking to be adequate, not great, but still respectable considering its low cost and the fact that it offers more than many other trackers in its price range. Furthermore, the 15-day battery life meant we didn’t have to worry about charging it constantly.
- Lightweight, comfortable design
- Actionable sleep tracking
- Display is hard to see in sunlight
Amazon Halo Band – Screen-Free Sleep and Fitness Tracker
The Amazon Halo is one of the best fitness trackers for having both a $99 activity tracker as well as a $3.99 per month service to provide a plethora of health metrics and ‘labs’ to help you achieve your wellness goals. Amazon’s Alexa is surprising absent from the device, even though it’s an in-brand device.
As a result, the built-in microphones of the band listen to how you speak and assess your emotions based on your tone. With the Halo app, you can see how you sound to others, how well you sleep, and how many activity points you’re accumulating.
The Amazon Halo app also allows you to take 3D scans of your body, which, using artificial intelligence, determine your body fat percentage and show you what you might look like with less fat. Furthermore, the large library of third-party labs introduces an element of “choose your own adventure” to your overall wellness.
- Barely-there fit and feel
- Excellent companion app
- Tone analysis can be fascinating
- Tone analysis zaps battery
Fitbit Inspire 2 Health & Fitness Tracker
Fitbit Inspire 2 is one of the best Fitbits on a budget as well as one of the best fitness trackers overall. The Charge 3 is essentially a slimmed-down, stripped-down version of the Charge 3, making it the perfect choice for those interested in tracking their steps and sleeping patterns.
As with the Charge 3 and Charge 4, the Inspire 2 has an OLED touchscreen (though a bit smaller), a heart rate monitor, smartphone notifications, swim tracking, and sleep tracking.
The Inspire HR lacks a GPS built in, but you can connect it to your smartphone and use its GPS to accurately track your outdoor activities, if that’s what you want.
- Slim, lightweight design
- Accurate sleep-tracking
- Small display
Garmin GPS Smartwatch with Bright Touchscreen Display
Garmin Venu Sq offers many of the same features as the $349 Garmin Venu – including GPS, blood oxygen (SpO2) readings, mobile payments, and optional music storage – but for a more modest price of $199. This makes the Venu Sq one of the best fitness trackers for under $200.
There’s nothing particularly attractive about this watch (although the squircle shape is familiar), but it’s certainly functional. In addition to GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo tracking capabilities, the Garmin Venu Sq can track a variety of gym exercises. People who exercise both outdoors and indoors will find it to be a good hybrid choice.
- Great selection of fitness and health features
- Accurate, fast GPS
- Great battery life
- Limited app selection
Apple Watch Series 7 GPS
While the Apple Watch Series 6 might be a cheaper option, the Apple Watch Series 7 is the most usable smartwatch yet, and is well worth upgrading. However, if you’re looking to save money, the Series 6 is still a great option – we even gave it a Tom’s Guide Award for Health and Fitness in 2021.
From the perspective of a fitness tracker, it’s an impressive piece of technology. It has an always-on display and a bunch of health features, including a brighter screen and a blood oxygen (SpO2) reader.
Exercise modes include running, cycling, walking, and strength training, and you can add new workouts in the Workout app. This year, it added the ability to automatically track outdoor cycling and Tai Chi, so it can detect when you’re riding your bike and enable a workout. The cycling algorithm has also been adjusted to incorporate metrics for the best electric bikes, which are easier to ride than regular bikes.
Last year, Apple launched Apple Fitness Plus, which lets you access hundreds of workouts. The Apple Watch has an 18-hour battery life, which is considerably shorter than some of the other trackers on this list.
- Larger display
- Brighter always-on mode
- QWERTY keyboard
- Comes with USB-C magnetic charger
- No added health features
- Still 18-hour battery life
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How to Choose The Best Fitness Tracker For You
You should evaluate your needs before buying a fitness tracker. How do you want to track your fitness? For counting your steps and your heart rate at the gym, a simpler, less expensive fitness tracker should suffice.
However, if you plan to do more outdoor activities, such as running or biking, you may benefit from a fitness tracker with built-in GPS, so you can more accurately see where you are and where you have been. Running enthusiasts and athletes will also want to check out our best GPS watches page.
In addition to being waterproof, make sure the fitness tracker can also track your laps in the pool if you intend to swim with it.
Fitness-tracking is also a common feature of many of the best smartwatches, as well as features such as text messaging and payment. The drawback is that these features come at a cost. The general consensus is that smartwatches are more expensive and have a shorter battery life than fitness trackers.
How We Test The Best Fitness Trackers
We evaluate the design and comfort of each fitness tracker; you need to be able to wear it all day, and we’ve found that some larger trackers don’t fit well on smaller wrists. When the device has a touchscreen, we check to see how easy it is to read, especially in bright sunlight.
We also check out how easy it is to navigate the fitness tracker’s menus; you don’t want to have to click through multiple screens to change your music when you’re out running.
Additionally, we evaluate features such as step counting, sleep monitoring, and distance calculations, as well as GPS and heart rate accuracy, when applicable. In addition, we check to see how well a manufacturer’s battery life claims hold up in real-world tests.
Lastly, we evaluate how well a device pairs with its companion app, and how well it works together. We also look at the app’s features, such as coaching and diet tracking, and whether it can sync with third-party applications, such as MyFitnessPal.
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