Best Fitness Trackers

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There has never been a greater variety of fitness trackers available, but with variety comes uncertainty. Which tracker offers the characteristics that are appropriate for you and your activities? Here are some pointers and suggestions for selecting the finest tracker for your needs.

How to Begin Tracking Your Fitness
If you want to explore fitness monitoring but don’t have a wearable, start with a mobile app that counts your steps. This method involves minimal to no expenditure and may be appealing to beginners. Map My Fitness is our top pick for folks who are just starting started with fitness. It allows you to track hundreds of activities, ranging from vacuuming to rock climbing.

If you run or ride a bike, we recommend using an app to track your runs or rides before investing in a tracker. Why? Some trackers require you to carry your phone to obtain precise pace, distance, and mapping, so you’ll want to know before you buy if you’re okay with having your phone or if you’d prefer a tracker with built-in GPS that doesn’t require you to. Runkeeper (for running), Cyclemeter (for riding), and Strava are a few apps we recommend (for both running and cycling).

Photograph of a woman wearing a Fitbit Versa 3.
Versa 3 Fitbit
Another fascinating option for bikers is the Coros SafeSound Helmet, which incorporates your phone’s GPS to track your rides and employs bone-conduction audio to enable you to hear directions, music, and phone calls without covering your ears.

What Should You Pay for a Fitness Tracker?
Fitness trackers can cost anywhere between $25 and $400 or more. Some less-priced trackers don’t have a display, so you have to glance at your smartphone to see how many steps you’ve taken.

More expensive trackers typically contain optical heart rate monitors and GPS, and these capabilities are frequently geared toward athletes and fitness enthusiasts. If your primary activity is walking, don’t get suckered into purchasing an expensive tracker. If you only walk and don’t do much else, there are plenty of excellent solutions in the $25 to $99 price range. If you work out frequently and want a lot of fitness-tracking choices, we recommend investing at least $99, as that’s when you’ll start to see the capabilities that are valuable to active people.

3.0 Whoop Strap
3.0 Whoop Strap
Most fitness trackers require a one-time payment for the device and then provide all the related software functions for free. The Whoop Strap 3.0 is priced differently. Whoop provides its essential black wristband for free with the purchase of a membership that grants access to its app. Whoop justifies its continued membership payments by providing convenient features like COVID-19 tracking through regular app updates.

Amazon’s Halo wristband takes a similar technique. The tracker itself costs $99.99, and the majority of its services cost $3.99 a month (after a six-month trial).

Select Your Tracker Style
The type of form factor you want is an important thing to ask yourself before purchasing a fitness tracker. Most are worn on the wrist these days, however, clip-ons and fitness-tracking rings are available. Bracelets and watches are difficult to lose. Clip-ons can slip off or get thrown in the washing machine.

See How We Test Fitness TrackersFor more information, see How We Test Fitness Trackers.

Charge 5 Fitbit
Bracelets and watches, on the other hand, can get in the way when typing on a computer or sleeping, for example. If having something on your wrist bothers you, you’re generally better off with a clip-on, but this style isn’t as popular as it once was. Fitbit sells a clip for the low-cost Inspire 2 if you’re interested in this alternative.

Meanwhile, the Oura Ring provides health tracking to your fingertips. The Oura’s workout tracking capabilities are very rudimentary when compared to a wrist-worn counterpart. Still, it offers extensive sleep tracking and is more comfortable to wear to bed than a watch or bracelet, making it an intriguing alternative.

There are various trackers for kids, such as the Fitbit Ace 2. Don’t forget about Fido, either. Yes, there are even trackers designed exclusively for pets.

Do You Want Your Heart Rate Monitored?
Training sensibly entails guiding your sessions with heart rate data. Sometimes you want to maintain your heart rate relatively low to burn fat or pace yourself for a longer workout, while other times, you want to push it higher for various health benefits, such as stamina strengthening.

Garmin Lily Chest straps are slightly more accurate than wrist-based wearables since they are worn closer to the heart and directly measure its activity. In contrast, optical heart rate sensors found in wrist-worn fitness trackers measure your heart rate by beaming light into your skin and detecting blood flow. Consider a dedicated chest strap for the most accurate heart rate measurements. Furthermore, not all intelligent home gym machines are compatible with fitness trackers, although most, such as the excellent Polar H10, support chest straps.

The biggest advantage of a wrist-based heart rate tracker is that you can wear it all day. They’re more convenient than chest straps and provide a continuous image of your heart rate.

Meanwhile, if you want to know your resting heart rate, you don’t need heart rate-tracking equipment to do it. Many smartphone apps allow you to take your heart rate in roughly 15 seconds using the phone’s camera.

More information can be found at The Best Heart Rate Monitors.

Will You Monitor Your Sleep?
Many fitness trackers keep track of your sleep. When they do, they often use a three-axis accelerometer to detect movement in a more sensitive manner than they do during the day. In their companion app, most devices provide graphs that illustrate the duration of your light, deep, and REM sleep. Some track your nightly respiration (the number of breaths you take each minute), which Apple wants to integrate to its wearables as part of watchOS 8 this autumn.

Polar Ignite 2 sleep data
Data from the Polar Ignite 2 on sleep
There are specific sleep trackers that attach to your mattress as well, but we haven’t found them to provide a significant advantage over wrist-based trackers. Wearable trackers can do a lot more than track your sleep. If you don’t like the concept of wearing anything on your wrist to bed and need a new mattress, the Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed is a good option. Another option is the second-generation Nest Hub, which employs a motion sensor to track your sleep and respiration.

Fitness Trackers for Specific Sports
Swimmers will want a waterproof tracker, but keep in mind that not all water-resistant trackers monitor swimming. Runners will most likely desire a watch that displays time, distance, pace, and lap time. If you want decent precision for those measures without carrying a smartphone, you’ll need a runner’s watch with built-in GPS—see our recommendations for The Best Fitness Trackers for Running.

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is depicted in this image.
Garmin Vivoactive 4
Consider the display as well. Look for a tracker with an always-on display if you want to monitor your metrics at all times or use it as a wristwatch. It’s also necessary to know how to regulate the tracker. If you enjoy running in the cold while wearing gloves, you should avoid devices with solely touch-enabled displays.

Cyclists must take into account even more factors. There’s a distinction to be made between recording how many kilometers you bike and how many calories you burn and monitoring your power and cadence. If you only want the former, there are a few fitness trackers that include bicycle as an activity. Serious cyclists will wish to a gadget that can connect to extra cycling equipment, such as a cadence sensor, and should consider devices from sport-specific firms, such as Garmin and Polar.

Fitness App Experiment
The app for a fitness tracker is important. The app, whether on your phone or on the web, is critical since it is where you interpret the data collected by the tracker. Fitbit’s apps and websites are among the best we’ve seen. It allows you to track a variety of statistics, including your weight, menstrual cycle, calories and water eaten, and stress level.

Fitbit data image
The Fitbit app
Look for a device that includes a smart bathroom scale if you want whole body analysis. Because the Fitbit Aria 2 communicates your weight straight to your account, you can’t fool the system by inputting a lower figure. The QardioBase 2 is another excellent smart scale, particularly for pregnant ladies.

Smartwatches vs. Fitness Trackers
The majority of fitness trackers have some smartwatch capability, while the majority of smartwatches offer fitness functions as well. The Fitbit Versa 3 comes close to combining the best of both worlds, but it still falls well short of the Apple Watch in terms of third-party app support.

The Apple Watch Series 6 is depicted in this image.
Series 6 Apple Watch
The Apple Watch Series 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch4 prioritise health and fitness tracking more than any other smartwatch we’ve seen. They can determine your blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) level, perform an electrocardiogram (ECG), identify exercises automatically, and track your sleep.

We haven’t yet tested the Series 7, which is set to be released this fall, so we’re leaving the Series 6 on this list for the time being. See our storey on which Apple Watch to buy for a thorough comparison of all available models. Also, see our list of The Best Smartwatches for more suggestions in this area.

Alternatives
With so many good fitness trackers on the market and more on the way, it’s difficult to include them all in a single list. We’ve confined our selections to trackers with four stars or better, but there are plenty of other excellent alternatives available that may be ideal for you. This article is frequently updated, so m

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