Looking for the best fitness tracker for you? We’ve put together the ultimate guide to the best activity trackers and fitness bands on the market right here. Whether you’re an experienced athlete or an absolute fitness beginner, you’ll find what you need.
Because they’re an extremely convenient way to get quick, at-a-glance updates on your activity and encourage you to do more. And, if you’re already active, more advanced models are perfect for keeping tabs on your performance, and even improve your recovery.
A good fitness tracker will also work with a companion app to let you get an overview of your fitness. This way you can easily identify trends or areas for improvement. Many apps will have extra functionality, like the ability to log your food and water intake, too.
If you’re expecting that wearing a fitness tracker will be a magic bullet to getting fitter and losing weight, you’ll be disappointed. You’ll still need to put in the hard graft and have a healthier diet to reap the rewards.
Similarly, if you’re an advanced athlete, make sure you take the time to understand some of the extra data and insights provided by your fitness tracker – otherwise you’re wasting a lot of potential.
If you’re not committed, your shiny new fitness tracker might soon find its way down the back of a drawer, never to be used again – but the better ones will keep you motivated and on the right track to succeed.
If you’re just starting out, £80/$100 or less will get the features you need. These will cover the basics, such as counting the steps you take throughout the day and keeping tabs on your sleep at night.
For £100/$120 or more, you’ll find fitness trackers begin adding in heart rate monitors targeted towards more intermediate exercisers. At this price you tend to also see added smartwatch functionality, such as notification mirroring.
Spend around £150/$180 or more and you’ll find the advanced fitness trackers with GPS sensors and more fully fledged performance analysis. You’ll also start entering smartwatch territory, which means they can serve a dual purpose.
Richard Easton: Resident Wearables & Fitness Editor and self-proclaimed ‘henchest in technology journalism’. Richard is as at home on the running track as he is in the squat rack. His attire is either set to ‘maximum dapper’ or ‘headed to the gym’, so he knows how to spot both a stylish and functional fitness tracker.
Alastair Stevenson: Reviews Editor for TrustedReviews. His lunch runs are as regular as clockwork. Alastair has been training for the impending zombie apocalypse, so when the time comes he’ll be able to leave the hoards of undead in his wake.
Withings Activité Pop at Amazon.com | Was $129 | Now $81
Moov Now at Amazon.co.uk | Was £59 | Now £49
What to look out for when shopping for a fitness tracker – and what they mean:
We’ve pared back our list of fitness trackers considerably so that the list above is going to be the best starting point for the vast majority of people. That’s not to say they’ll be the best fit for everyone, though, and there were some great fitness trackers that didn’t quite make the main list for a number of reasons.
Here are a few of the others that are worth considering:
Fitbit Flex 2: The follow-up to the original Fitbit Flex added in water-resistance to depths of 50m – a first for Fitbit – and a new customisable design. It’s a decent choice if you only have basic fitness-tracking requirements, but it just can’t compete on value with the Moov Now. The ever-evolving Fitbit companion app is great, however.
Fitbit Alta HR: An update to the Fitbit Alta that adds in a heart rate monitor. Intriguingly, it's what the Alta HR does overnight using the HRM that makes it interesting. By pairing it with the accelerometer data, the Alta HR can more accurately tell you about your sleep stages during your slumber. You can then benchmark your time spent in light, deep and REM sleep phases against other people of your age. While this is all useful, its actual fitness tracking element is a little lacking compared to the Charge 2, which will soon be getting the Sleep Stages update.
Polar M400: The Polar M400 is slightly showing its age, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t got a lot going for it. There’s GPS, a heart rate monitor and multi-sport functionality. The Polar Flow companion app isn’t great, however.
Polar M600: An Android Wear-powered smartwatch with sports-tracking functionality thanks to included GPS and heart rate monitoring. This is a good choice if you want a hybrid device, but it’s just not as elegant or attractive as the Samsung Gear Fit2.
Misfit Phase: Misfit’s take on a discreet fitness tracking analogue watch. This does the usual activity and sleep tracking tucked away behind a traditional watch design. Unlike the Withings Steel HR, it doesn’t have a heart rate monitor and its smartphone notification implementation leaves a lot to be desired. It’s also rather thick.
Garmin Fenix 3: If you’re an advanced athlete, a simple fitness tracker won’t cut it. Enter the Garmin Fenix 3, which can track 13 different sports and activities ranging from cross-country skiing to trail running. This will be overkill for most people, but it's great at what it does.