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Best Fitness Tracker: 10 best activity trackers and fitness bands

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Moov Now 19

Choose the best fitness tracker, best activity tracker or best fitness band for you based on our expert reviews.

We review dozens of fitness trackers every year, but only the best ones make it into our list. Whether you want a basic fitness band for tracking your steps and daily activity, or a full-on GPS watch for serious running and fitness work, there's something in this list for you.

Every activity tracker has been thoroughly tested and reviewed – don't forget to click the link to our full reviews if our summary doesn't answer your question.

Most of the gadgets here are trackers of some kind, but we've also included our favourite pair of heart rate monitoring headphones for good measure.

Watch the video below; hit the 'Next' arrow or use the drop down above to view the list; or read on for more advice on how to choose the ideal activity tracker for you.

Watch: Trusted Explains – Wearables and Fitness Trackers

Best fitness tracker – features you need

We’ve moved on a bit from the days when the word ‘tracker’ was synonymous with ‘pedometer’. While step-counting is certainly still useful, fitness trackers are now more sophisticated. They collect lots more data and come alongside dedicated apps that analyse your activities and encourage you to incorporate healthier habits into your routine. Some of the more comprehensive companion apps will let you track your food and calorie intake. Diet is just as important as exercise, after all.

Most trackers include an accelerometer and gyroscope to monitor general movement and record steps, just like a pedometer. Additional standard features include the ability to count calories burned and track sleep patterns. The latter is just as important as how active you are during the day, as there are plenty of health benefits associated with getting more kip.

jawbone UP2 5

A good app with useful analysis and advice is very important and you can often try the apps before you buy

Beyond these basic capabilities is where things get exciting. An increasing number of trackers are coming with altimeters, which can measure changes in altitude, and are therefore able to track the number of steps you've climbed. So the next time you're headed towards the lift you might instead decide to use the stairs.

Some also include the ability to log food and water consumption, in order to give you a more comprehensive overview of your lifestyle. The better ones let you scan barcodes for food and plug into large food databases, or connect to services like MyFitnessPal that do the job for you.

It's important to consider your starting level. Only the more advanced fitness trackers, which are targeted at keen athletes, typically carry GPS and heart rate sensors. They’re designed to bring a more accurate experience to users, as well as a generous selection of training options. These are very much geared towards users trying to improve their overall performance, so can include lots of data and analytics that might be overkill and intimidating for those starting out on a new fitness journey.

How much should you spend on a fitness tracker?

The majority of fitness trackers tend to cost between £50 and £200, but there are a number of more and less expensive models. How much you spend depends almost entirely on the level of detail you want your tracker to capture.

If you’re after something basic that will monitor the steps you take and calories you burn as you travel to and from work, you shouldn’t look at shelling out much more than £50. Generally speaking, casual runners who want to improve their general fitness are best off looking at around £100 upwards, while only serious athletes should really go beyond the £200 mark.

Garmin Fenix 3 31

The Garmin Fenix is a good example of a serious running watch with built-in GPS

Other things to consider

Since fitness trackers need to be worn constantly in order to be as effective as possible, design and form factor are crucial areas to think about. They come in all sorts of shapes, colours and sizes. Watches, wristbands, chest straps, detachable pods and headphones are all available, many of which have digital displays and LED lights.

Needless to say, some undoubtedly look better than others. For example, the beautiful Withings Activité looks equally great at the gym or a dinner party thanks to an inconspicuous and stylish design, while the Misfit Flash can be easily hidden away inside a pocket or sock. On the other end of the spectrum, the TomTom Runner Cardio, which is a terrific tracker, is almost offensive to the eyes and there's no mistaking it for a piece of technology.

If you want to take your tracker into the shower or go for a swim with it, you need to make sure it's waterproof, rather than water-resistant, because those are two very different things. This will vary depending on which device you buy, but 'resistant' often means a band is merely splashproof rather than fully resistant. Actual waterproof fitness trackers might also offer extra functionality geared towards, swimmers, such as lap counting. Then there are trackers targeted towards triathletes, too, and these include cycling functionality.

Battery life is also really important. Nobody wants to charge another gadget as regularly as smartphone, and trackers can vary from a few days to close to a year of power, depending on whether they're USB-charged or contain a removable watch battery. If you're constantly having to take the device off to charge and forgetting to put it back on, it's rendered useless, so choose wisely depending on your usage style.

Most of the latest fitness trackers come alongside Android and iOS apps. Bluetooth 4.0 support, which enables real-time data syncing, is available on most phones, but it's wise to consult the relevant specs sheets before dipping into your pockets.

Christopher Allen Peer

September 3, 2014, 6:12 pm

I have the polar loop. It's great because it's waterproof, but on very active days the battery last only at most 2 days.

fast_call

March 28, 2015, 11:58 pm

How about Fitbit Charge / Charge HR? They seem to be getting very positive reviews. The Nike Fuelband, which is in this list, has been described by some reviewers as "innacurate" (disclaimer: I own none of these devices so I don't speak from experience)

DigitalFury

March 29, 2015, 7:17 am

Agree, I own a Fitbit Charge HR, and it is a much better product than the old(er) Jawbone UP24.

The only advantage that the UP3 will have, when it actually goes on sale, is water resistance.

DigitalFury

March 29, 2015, 7:31 am

We will see how popular the Withings Activité is, because it's neither quite a smartwatch or a 'real' (i.e. mechanical movement) Swiss watch. It's quartz-based like all lowball watches, and unlike all the pictures we see will let one to believe, it's actually quite thick - i.e. not thin and refined.

Even if you put a leather strap and a sapphire crystal on it, it remains a glorified technology product, not a piece of jewellery and piece of craftsmanship like a complications-based chronograph is.

A. Mir

May 7, 2015, 5:35 pm

How does the Garmin stack up with these? Anyone?

I also thought Nike discontinued their FuelBand range?

shnatiw

May 7, 2015, 6:51 pm

Garmin are generally regarded as one of the best when it comes to fitness watches. Build and software is probably the best. And they hit a wide range of price points. I have had a 210 for the past three years with no issues.

A. Mir

May 8, 2015, 1:57 pm

I'm just surprised to see that the VivoFit isn't included here.

tengig

June 1, 2015, 10:16 pm

You need to update your review on the Jabra Sport Pulse. It's rubbish. Their most recent update (1.3.0) of the app broke heartrate monitoring and battery detection. It barely works after a full reset and reinstall and usually only once. It's complete garbage now.

roc

July 10, 2015, 7:57 am

Fitbit charge are crap there battery so called 10 days is false advertising. This is why I am now looking for a new type of watch . I have had two fitbits in a 4 month period and the service centre has a brick wall around it so don't even bother . they are full of reasons not to help. a great big waste of money I would never recommend.

Peace has no chance now

December 30, 2015, 8:32 am

For me, the Vivoactive wins this round. Especially with the new updates from Garmin fixing almost all nagging issues.

Mario Miniaci

February 7, 2016, 10:24 pm

It's hard to find something that has heart-rate, waterproof, more than a couple of days battery life and tells the time. Fitbit Charge HR needs a v2.0.

Fredrik Selvig

March 1, 2016, 9:22 pm

I got excited when Fitbit announced more products, but let down when none of them were that great. I have been looking at upgrading from Charge to Blaze, but I just don't see that it's worth the price upgrade. I like the Alta, but I wish it was waterproof and had HR.

cleanupcars

March 23, 2016, 7:38 pm

I have had a Moov Now Tracker for 4 months it performed brilliantly for both swimming and walking, although I have had to order 2 clasps for the wristband as they can get detached in normal use.

The battery has now run out. I and various friends of a diy bent have tried changing it. There is a tool supplied, a video on-line and a user manual. Can any of us prise the body apart? No. Moov Support just send me standard issue memos referencing the same video and user guide.

In my view, the battery change issue is a major design flaw in an otherwise excellent product. May have to pay a watchmaker to do it, assuming they can.

Please can reviewers try out such mundane tasks as changing the battery and also the security and longevity of the strap before arriving at a final score for these products.
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Update: Moov have offered to exchange the Core (ie the battery powered sensor) via post to California!
Good customer service,
Hopefully the exchange Moov Now will be easier to change the battery. Sending to CA for a battery swap every time is a little extreme!

Pradip J. Patil

March 24, 2016, 6:13 pm

Nice article, Fitness tracker is best device which keep track of your activity.

Noah Baudie

March 24, 2016, 6:15 pm

Nice article,I got one for my son.

Fritz Bernazzi

April 25, 2016, 4:48 am

I am so bugged that i cant find anyone really reviewing the one i have from www.rem-fit.com. I have really been loving it. it has done everything that i have wanted from a tracker. have you looked into this one before?

AllanEllen Wexler

July 27, 2016, 12:30 pm

Fit bits are poorly made- I have had 3 that all fell apart in less than a year

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