Best Fitness Trackers

Kim Suarez

Updated Oct 26, 2018

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Best Overall

Apple Watch 4

Best Runner Up

Fitbit Versa

Best for Android Users

Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro

Best for Outdoors Use

Garmin Fenix 5

The Best Fitness Trackers Of 2018

15 Fitness Tracker Considered 15 Top Picks
NAME PRICE RATING BATTERY LIFE WATER RESISTANCE SIZES OFFERED
Apple Watch 4 <18 hours <50 meters 40mm and 44mm
Fitbit Versa 4+ days <50 meters One size (S and L bands included)
Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro 3-5 days <50 meters Small (Wrist Size: 125-165mm) and Large (Wrist Size: 158-205mm)
Garmin Fenix 5 Smartwatch Mode: <2 weeks
GPS/HR: <24 hours
UltraTrac Mode: <60 hours
<100 meters 42mm, 47mm, 51mm
Garmin Vivoactive 3 Smartwatch Mode: <7 days
GPS: <13 hours
<50 meters Wrist Size: 127-204mm
Garmin Forerunner 935 Smartwatch Mode: <2 weeks
GPS/HR Mode: <24 hours
UltraTrac Mode: <60 hours
<50 meters Wrist Size: 127-204mm
Moov Now <6 months <3 meters One Size (S and L straps included)
Motiv Ring Check Site <3 days <20 meters Seven sizes offered
Xiaomi Mi Band 3 <20 days <50 meters Wrist Size: 155-216mm
Fitbit Alta HR <7 days <50 meters Small (140-170mm); Large (170-206mm); X-Large (206-236mm)
Fitbit Charge 3 <7 days <50 meters One Size (S and L bands included)
Garmin Vivosmart 4 <7 days <50 meters Small/Medium (122-188mm); Large (148-215mm)
Garmin Vivomove HR Smartwatch Mode: <5 days
Watch Mode: <3 weeks
<50 meters Small/Medium (107-177mm)
Large (138-215mm)
One Size Fits Most (127-204mm)
Bellabeat Leaf Urban <6 months coin cell battery IPX6 - not waterproof but can withstand powerful water jets One Size (comes with wristband and necklace in S/M); L wristband extra $24
Fitbit Ace <5 days Showerproof and spill-proof One Size: 118-154mm

Intro

The amount of fitness trackers available, from brands ranging from Apple to Fitbit and small startups like Motiv and Bellabeat, is staggering. It's not enough now to just have activity tracking, sleep tracking and notifications. The basic models are now coming with 24/7 heart rate tracking, stress management and even VO2 max tracking. Most of these features far surpass what most of us need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but there's something exciting about tracking your activity and sleep over long periods of time. And while you can't go wrong with any of the feature-rich fitness trackers available, specific trackers are better at specific end uses. 

When shopping for a fitness tracker, quite a few features should be taken into account given your specific goals. Read below for an outline of these key features, followed by a list of the best fitness trackers on the market. 

Best Overall

Apple Watch 4 Check Price

Though it just came out recently, the Apple Watch 4 is already top of the list of most top fitness tracker reviews. The success of the first three series, paired with the updates to the 4, still make the Apple Watch 4 the best buy for a smart watch. New features include a larger screen, electrical heart rate sensor and fall detection. And though it still may fall a bit short in the fitness tracking department, the new Series 4 features automatic workout detection, more exercise options and better data for runners.

Pros

  • Best selection of apps
  • Good GPS
  • Cellular option allows you to leave your phone at home

Cons

  • Price is high
  • Not the best option for pure fitness tracking
  • Battery life not great

Best Runner Up

Fitbit Versa Check Price

Fitbit's answer to the Apple Watch, the Versa is built for daily use both as a smart watch, and as an exercise tracker using Fitbit's well-known capabilities. Features include 4+ day battery life, 24/7 heart rate monitoring and mobile payment options. Where the Apple Watch 4 outmatches the Versa in smart watch features, the Versa definitely takes the edge when it comes to fitness tracking.

Pros

  • Accurate fitness tracking
  • Great price
  • Easy setup
  • Lots of apps

Cons

  • The Bluetooth feature can be glitchy

Best for Android Users

Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro Check Price

Built with true fitness tracking in mind, the Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro offers features like auto exercise detection, built-in GPS and UA Record by Under Armour, which allows 24/7 tracking of sleep, fitness, activity and nutrition. The Galaxy App store offers over 3,000 apps including Spotify, so there are endless ways to customize the Gear Fit 2 Pro to your needs.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Fitness tracking and GPS works well and is very accurate

Cons

  • Not for you if you are not interested in tracking fitness
  • Bluetooth can be glitchy

Best for Outdoors Use

Garmin Fenix 5 Check Price

This is the singular watch for those who participate in outdoors/alpine sports, distance endurance athletes and triathletes. The built-in navigation includes both GPS and GLONASS which tracks well in more challenging environments. The Maps version comes pre-loaded with TOPO US mapping and cycling routes. The HR bundle optional add-on comes with a chest strap for HR training. The overall rugged design, long battery life and navigation mean this watch thrives in remote outdoor environments.

Pros

  • The best feature set for triathletes
  • Endurance athletes
  • Alpinists
  • Backpackers and long distance hikers

Cons

  • Very expensive

Best Metrics

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Check Price

For those who want some smart watch features like Garmin Pay and apps like Uber, but who also want extensive fitness tracking, the Vivoactive 3 is the best of both worlds. Within the fitness tracking are features like stress management, VO2 max measuring and automatic exercise tracking. The Music option adds $30, but allows for the storage of up to 500 songs on your device. GPS is also included in the Vivoactive 3.

Pros

  • Great data offered for multi-sport athletes
  • GPS is accurate

Cons

  • Can feel big on those with small wrists
  • HR not as accurate as chest straps

Best for Running

Garmin Forerunner 935 Check Price

The Garmin Forerunner 935 was built for athletes who love tracking data and want to be able to see real-time tracking to ensure they are on pace and progressing each day. With built-in GPS, heart rate monitoring and VO2 max, the Forerunner is the premium training watch that won't break the bank. Whether you're just starting to train or a seasoned triathlete, the Forerunner is built with every athlete in mind.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Great battery life
  • GPS is accurate and fast

Cons

  • Can feel big on those with small wrists
  • Does not have music playing capability
  • Cannot reply to notifications

Best for Swimming

Moov Now Check Price

This lightweight, feature-packed fitness tracker offers a durable band, real-time audio coaching and the most advanced swim tracking and stroke detection possible, all for an unbeatable price. And the best part - 6 months of battery life! While swimmers will benefit most from the Moov Now, the feature-set is beneficial to anyone looking to track their fitness and wanting a coach in their ear guiding them the whole way.

Pros

  • Low price
  • Long battery life
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Bluetooth and sleep detection are lacking
  • Customer support is not great

Best Wrist Alternative

Motiv Ring

Check Price

If wearing a fitness tracker around your wrist isn't your thing, check out the Motiv Ring. This ring has a surprising amount of features packed into its tiny size. Aside from the standard activity tracking like steps and distance, the Motiv Ring also tracks heart rate, sleep and allows for quick charging on the go in any USB port.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Accurate tracking
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Scuffs easily
  • Battery life could be longer

Best Budget

Xiaomi Mi Band 3 Check Price

For those looking for the best bang-for-your-buck fitness tracker, look no further than the Xiaomi Mi Band 3. Coming in at under $50, the Mi Band 3 has a OLED touch screen, heart rate monitoring, sleep and activity tracking and is waterproof to 50 meters. Notifications include incoming calls and text messages as well as an alarm clock feature. The Mi Band 3 is right up there with some of the intro products from Fitbit, Garmin and more.
Pros:
Great battery life
Lightweight
Good quality

Cons:
Not a ton of features
Not very customizable
Not a ton of exercise options on the app

Pros

Cons

Best Small Size

Fitbit Alta HR Check Price

The Fitbit Alta HR packs a ton of features into a small package. At only 0.61" wide, this is the perfect fitness tracker for those who want something more subtle, but still get the important data. This is also the perfect fitness tracker for day-to-night, as there are various bands you can change out to dress the tracker up or down. With all the basics including fitness tracking, auto start for exercising, sleep tracking, notifications and heart rate monitoring, this is the perfect tracker for the working professional who wants the basics.

Pros

  • Heart rate tracking is accurate
  • Notifications for calls and texts is great
  • Battery life is good

Cons

  • Step tracking and calorie burn not always accurate
  • Would like it to be more customizable

Best for Sleep Monitoring

Fitbit Charge 3 Check Price

The Fitbit Charge 3 offers an advanced level of fitness tracking and 24/7 heart rate tracking for an all-in-one, feature-heavy fitness tracker. However, it's still a great option for smart watch wearers with its use of Fitbit Pay, notifications and a wide variety of apps. And with guided breathing sessions and coaching, there's no reason this tracker can’t help get you in the best shape of your life.

Pros

  • Great for swimmers and less expensive than other comparable swim trackers
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • No GPS on the tracker
  • Not great at on-screen stats during a workout
  • No automatic pausing of runs at stop lights

Best for Gym Use

Garmin Vivosmart 4 Check Price

With Garmin getting more into the casual fitness tracker game, the Vivosmart 4 has a nice mix of basic and advanced features, all in a small package. Along with basic fitness and sleep tracking, auto exercise start and 24/7 heart rate tracking, the Vivosmart 4 also offers stress tracking, a breathing timer, VO2 max tracking and a body battery. The body battery takes into account all of the previously mentioned metrics and gives you a rating between 0 and 100. The lower the number, the more rest and recovery you need, while higher numbers mean you can get a strenuous workout in.

Pros

  • Small with good design
  • Great battery life
  • Able to set sleep time

Cons

  • No interchangeable band options
  • Poor interface
  • Can't pair with phone GPS

Best Watch Hybrid

Garmin Vivomove HR Check Price

Looking for a stylish yet subtle watch that has the technical features of a smartwatch and fitness tracker? The Garmin Vivomore HR is the perfect option. The traditional watch face looks normal at first glance, but features notifications and specific metrics that you can personalize. While it doesn't feature the full offering of apps available with other devices, it makes up for in style. If you're looking for a hybrid smartwatch, this is currently the best on the market. The sport version features a silicone band and the premium version has a leather band with a stainless steel case.

Pros

  • Great feature set on a regular-looking watch
  • Long battery life
  • Compatible with any 20mm quick release bands so there are lots of band options

Cons

  • Touch display is hard to navigate
  • No buttons
  • Lens can get scuffed easily

Best for Women

Bellabeat Leaf Urban Check Price

For women looking for a well-designed fitness tracker that doesn't look like one, the Bellabeat Leaf Urban is a great choice. The Leaf Urban offers full sleep tracking, activity tracking, guided meditations, stress monitoring and period tracking. All of this is packed in a small, leaf shaped wood composite case with stainless steel clip, and around 17 grams in total weight.

Pros

  • Nice design
  • Can be worn as a bracelet
  • Necklace and clip on clothing
  • Offers women-specific tracking

Cons

  • Alarm vibration does not work well for heavy sleepers
  • As a necklace it is quite heavy

Best for Kids

Fitbit Ace Check Price

Fitness tracking doesn’t need to be reserved for adults only. Kids have much to learn about getting the proper amount of exercise and sleep, and this is the perfect way to show them actual data. The features include activity tracking, step challenges, sleep tracking, progress, rewards and badges, notifications, activity goals and reminders to move. With the Fitbit Ace, you can be sure your child is being encouraged to get the right amount of exercise and sleep.

Pros

  • Fun for kids to see their steps and for parents to teach their kids to be more active
  • Nice for parents to see how their kids are sleeping

Cons

  • Not waterproof so cannot be worn swimming
  • Software can be glitchy
  • Lots of menus and back-and-forth from kids to parents mode

Buying Guide

Accuracy
This is dependent on what use you are getting out of this device. While there is still a long way to go in terms of tracking data at the wrist (vs at the chest), most trackers are accurate enough for basic needs. If you are a triathlete, professional athlete or just obsessed with data and tracking, you may want to seek out one of the more accurate devices, like the Garmin Forerunner 935 or Garmin Fenix 5 Plus. But for most of us, the tracking provided in most devices will work fine. Especially as you continue to add data after each days use, the most important numbers are the changes over time as they relate to each other, versus the actual numbers themselves. 

Price
A strong factor to consider when shopping for a fitness tracker is price. If you are not an athlete, you probably don't need the $500+ tracker with built-in TOPO maps and scratch-resistant sapphire lens. You might be just fine with the $99.99 basic model, with sleep and activity tracking and stress monitoring. What's most important is identifying your goal with the fitness tracker and what is most important to measure, and use that to narrow down your search. 

Battery Life
Poor battery life can drastically affect how often you use your new device. Some devices only last less than 24 hours, and therefore need charging each day. But if you want to track sleep and 24/7 heart rate tracking, how are you expected to charge the device without missing potentially valuable data? For this reason, finding a fitness tracker with long battery life may make the difference between using the device regularly or not at all. 

Waterproof
Being waterproof is a valuable feature on a fitness tracker, making it wearable while swimming, during a hard sweat work out, or even in the shower. Most fitness trackers are waterproof to at least 3 meters which is fine for swimming. For those who need more depth for open ocean swimming and diving, make sure the tracker you are looking at is rated to at least 50 meters. 

About the Author

Kim Suarez

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About the Author

Kim Suarez

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