Best Fitness Tracker 2018: 9 of the best activity trackers right now

A decent fitness tracker can be a great way to monitor your workout, sleep and even your diet, if used correctly.

But knowing which model to buy can be a tricky task, with the market currently catering to multiple bespoke user scenarios and price points. A hardcore triathlete will have very different needs to a gym newbie, for example.

Here to help, we’ve created a definitive buying guide detailing the different types of fitness tracker available and a curated list of the best trackers we’ve tested.

Related: What is HIIT?

Before you dive into our list, however, note that a fitness tracker isn’t a silver bullet fix that will guarantee you achieve your goals. If you’re looking to lose a little weight then you’ll still need to put in the hard graft and follow a healthier diet to reap the rewards.

Similarly, if you’re an advanced athlete then ensure 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.

Related: Best Fitbit

How much should I spend on a fitness tracker?

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.

Related: What is VO2 Max?

Recent fitness trackers

The Huawei Band 2 Pro manages to pack in GPS distance tracking for just £80, making it good value. In our review we praised its robust design and accurate distance tracking courtesy of that GPS. Its feature set is going to meet the basic needs of runners, cyclists and swimmers (thanks to its water-resistance to 50m), but for anyone needing more advanced tracking and coaching we found it left a lot to be desired, especially from its clunky software. While it doesn’t quite earn a place in our roundup, it’s still a worthwhile consideration if you’re on a budget.

Upcoming fitness trackers

Fitbit is expected to reveal a new fitness smartwatch for 2018, possibly as a replacement for the Fitbit Blaze. You can expect it to have some of the smartwatch smarts as the Fitbit Ionic, but supposedly with a more refined design that will appeal to a wider market. The Fitbit Ionic hardly won many beauty pageants in that regard, so that should be a positive step in turning around Fitbit’s fortunes. If the rumours are true that it doesn’t have built-in GPS, however, that could put a dent in its potential. It’ll all come down to price.

Moov Now

1 of 9


Key features:

  • Waterproof to 30m and dustproof
  • Real-time coaching with rep counting
  • Six-month battery life
  • Omni Motion 3D sensor
  • Wrist- and ankle-worn

The best fitness tracker for most people

When you consider everything you get with the Moov Now for its low price, it’s an astounding fitness tracker. Not only does it handle the basic activity and sleep tracking of its peers, it has a staggering number of coaching features thanks to its Omni Motion 3D sensor.

When used alongside its excellent Moov Now app, you get guided running, swimming and cardio exercise coaching (think cardio boxing workouts). The guided workouts have real-time coaching and a motion gauge to let you know you’re following along correctly.

The Moov Now uses a coin-cell watch battery, and you can also expect around six months of battery life before it needs replacing, which is great. This means you can throw it on and forget about it, especially as you can shower with it on without a problem.

For someone looking to not only track their activity and sleep but actually also get fitter and healthier, the Moov Now offers simply unrivalled value and gets my absolute recommendation.

Read the full Moov Now review

Garmin Vivosmart 3

2 of 9


Key features:

  • Water-resistant to 50m
  • Five-day battery life
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Barometric altimeter
  • All-day stress levels
  • Automatic rep counting
  • Smartphone notifications

Best mid-range fitness tracker

The Garmin Vivosmart 3 includes some useful extras to separate it from other similar rivals like the Fitbit Charge 2. One of the bigger advantages is its water-resistance to 50m, which means you don’t have to take it off to shower. Otherwise, the Vivosmart 3 includes all of the features you would expect from a mid-range fitness tracker that doesn’t included the added expense of GPS.

You can expect the usual all-day activity tracking and sleep tracking, alongside some useful extras such as the stress level readings. These help to give you a reminder to take it easy every now and then, and there are guided breathing exercises to help relax you, too.

Whether or not you’ll find the automatic rep counting for strength training useful remains to be seen, but it’s another differentiator. Otherwise, the Vivosmart 3 proves to be a comfortable and easy to use fitness tracker, especially when you consider the convenient smartphone notifications.


Key features:

  • Interchangeable bands
  • Five-day battery life
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Altimeter
  • Smartphone notifications
  • Breathing exercises

Also consider: This all-round fitness tracker with heart rate monitor

Fitbit improved on its best-selling fitness trackers, the Charge and Charge HR. Now, heart rate monitoring comes as standard, which is a real plus. The Charge 2 also includes a much bigger display than its predecessor for much improved at-a-glance information.

This also means better smartphone notifications. With a recent update, Fitbit added the ability to get notifications from the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, alongside the usual SMS and Caller ID.

The bands on the Charge 2 are also now customisable, so you can dress it up or down depending on the occasion. The Charge 2 also provides a useful Cardio Fitness score, which is based on your VO2 maximum, which is a useful way to measure your fitness level.

The Fitbit Charge 2 has become one of our favoured fitness tracker for comparing readings whenever I test something new. That’s because we’ve grown to trust its accuracy. Its strength lies in its ever-improving app, which makes the data easier to understand.

The Charge 2 has also been updated with support for Fitbit’s Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights. These offer a deeper level of sleep tracking as well as providing guidance on getting a better night’s kip. This makes the Fitbit Charge 2 one of the best sleep trackers on the market.

Read the full Fitbit Charge 2 review


Key features:

  • Rugged and water-resistant to 50m
  • Five-day battery life
  • GPS
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Barometric altimeter
  • Smartphone notifications

Best advanced fitness tracker for everyday wear

The Garmin Vivosmart HR Plus packs in every sensor an advanced fitness enthusiast is going to want into a design that, while not the most inspiring, is more subtle and discreet than rivals. All of those sensors also proved as accurate as we would expect.

It’s also water-resistant to 50m, which not only means you can swim with it on, but it also means you don’t have to take it off to shower, which is more inconvenient than you might initially anticipate. With five-day battery life, it really is an advanced fitness tracker you can throw on and forget about, but ready for your next exercise session.

Garmin has included some other useful metrics, such as its ‘Intensity Minutes’, which will help to motivate you to work harder. Garmin’s Connect app could do with a design overhaul. While there’s plenty of data on offer, it can be tricky to initially make sense of it all.

Related: Best heart rate monitor

Read the full Garmin Vivosmart HR Plus review


Key features:

  • Colour touchscreen display
  • Rugged and water-resistant to 50m
  • Seven-day battery life
  • GPS
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Barometric altimeter
  • Smartphone notifications

Also consider: An advanced fitness tracker with stress-monitoring and rep-counting

The Garmin Vivosport is a pseduo-follow up to the Vivosmart HR Plus, but it doesn’t necessarily do enough to warrant selection over the older model.

It has a new colour touchscreen display alongside a slightly more fun design. It otherwise has everything that made the Vivosmart HR Plus great, including built-in GPS, heart rate monitoring and excellent battery life.

Now, you also get stress monitoring, guided breathing exercises and some basic rep-counting for your stretch training. Unfortunately, these new additions don’t really justify the higher cost considering you can pick up a Vivosmart HR Plus for a little less nowadays.

Read the full Garmin Vivosport review


Key features:

  • 1.5-inch curved OLED touchscreen
  • Always-on display
  • GPS
  • Barometer
  • Smartwatch functionality
  • Water-resistant to 1.5m for 30 minutes
  • Three-day battery life

Also consider: An advanced fitness tracker with added smartwatch smarts

If you want a fitness tracker that can serve a dual purpose as a smartwatch, you would do well to consider Samsung’s Gear Fit2. It’s by far the company’s best fitness wearable to date.

It has a stunning 1.5-inch curved OLED touchscreen and runs on Samsung’s Tizen operating system, the very same seen in its Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch. This means you have access to a catalogue of apps and smartphone notifications.

But as for its fitness capabilities, all are present and correct, including GPS, a heart rate monitor and barometer to get you wanting to use the stairs. There’s also built-in storage to store music and you can pair Bluetooth headphones, so you really can leave your phone at home.

The Samsung Gear Fit2 falls a little short when it comes to training insight, and that gorgeous screen also impacts battery life, which amounts to only around three days, but it’s still fantastic overall.

Read the full Samsung Gear Fit2 review

Withings Activité Pop

7 of 9

Key features:

  • Discreet traditional watch design
  • Water-resistant to 30m
  • Replaceable straps
  • Eight-month battery life

Best for discreet activity tracking

While Withings has been snapped up by Nokia, so no longer exists as a brand, you can still grab the Activite Pop for a bargain price.

Not everyone wants the world to know they’re looking to get healthier or keep tabs on their activity levels. In that sense, many of Withings’ fitness-tracking watches are the perfect fit. The Activite Pop is one of the less expensive models in the range, with the standard Activite costing three times more if you want far fancier materials.

The Withings Activite watches let you know how close you are to your steps goal via a sub-dial. A full revolution of the hands tells you you’ve hit 100% and it’ll also track your sleep.

On the surface, though, the Withings Activite watches just look like standard traditional analogue watches, meaning they won’t stick out like a sore thumb in more formal attire.

The Activite Pop only comes with rubber straps, owing to its lower price, but these are replaceable if you want something flashier. The rubber straps will at least fare better than leather in water, as the Activite Pop is water-resistant to 30m.

Not everyone wants the world to know they’re keeping an eye on their activity levels. For something that is both tastefully designed and discreet, the Withings Activite Pop is great.


Key features:

  • Discreet traditional watch design
  • Heart rate monitor
  • 25-day battery life (plus 20-day low-power mode)

Also Consider: Discreet activity tracking with heart rate monitor

As Nokia has bought the Withings brand, this fitness tracker has been re-branded, but it’s still the same great tracker we tested as the Withings Steel HR.

Keeping an eye on your ticker is just as important as keeping tabs on your activity. Thankfully, wrist-worn optical heart rate monitors make this much more convenient.

The Withings Steel HR takes the company’s activity tracking expertise and manages to add in heart rate monitoring, too, all the while maintaining a discreet watch-like form factor.

There’s also a new digital secondary display, which can be used for basic smartphone notifications, so you know when you get a phone call or an email. Other useful features include its silent alarm.

There are two different-sized models available, in 36mm or 40mm diameters, which is a first for Withings. This means it’s easier to find a watch more suitable for your wrist.

If you’re looking for a discreet tracker with heart rate measurements, the Steel HR gets plenty right, including a stylish design and strong companion app.

Read the full Nokia Steel HR review

Motiv Ring

9 of 9


Key features:

  • Discreet ring design
  • Heart rate monitor
  • 3-day battery life

Also Consider: Discreet activity tracking from your finger

The Motiv Ring is a clever little fitness tracker that does all its readings from your finger. It looks just like a standard ring but packs in an accelerometer for activity and sleep tracking, and a heart rate monitor.

If you want to keep tabs on your activity without letting the world know, this is one of the most discreet options out there. It’s available in even slate grey or rose gold designs.

Read the full Motiv Ring review