Best Fitness Tracker

Last updated: October 31, 2019
BEST CHOICE
Accurate and Easy to Use
Read Review
PREMIUM PICK
Great iOS and Android Compatibility
Read Review
BEST VALUE
Functional, Accurate, and Elegant
Read Review
BEST FEATURES
Nifty and Useful
Read Review
BEST IN VERSATILITY
Simple yet Impressive
Read Review

eHomeUpgrade is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Your guide

Resolutions to “get fit” or “be healthier” are laudable, but not particularly achievable. What’s needed is a set of trackable metrics that can tell you whether or not you’re actually getting more exercise.

This is where a fitness tracker comes in. Most of these wearable devices have 24/7 heart-rate monitoring, sleep tracking and automatic activity sensors. Because they keep records concerning all of your activities, you are able to set and achieve goals like never before.

Woman checking her smartwatch during her workout

The Best Fitness Trackers

All of these devices are not created equal. Some of them are more functional and attractive than others. Accordingly, it’s essential to look at factors such as waterproofing, GPS, quality of sleep tracking, ability to work with smart headphones and the device’s syncing ability with your smartphone.

It’s also wise to keep in mind that some fitness trackers are integrated with a smart watch and that some of them are designed to excel at tracking a certain type of exercise. Here’s a look at some of the top fitness trackers.

1. Best Choice - Garmin Forerunner 235

With an accurate GPS for tracking runs, including pace and distance, and a heart-rate monitor, the Garmin Forerunner 235 is ideal for runners. It tracks sleep and has a pedometer.

However, Garmin’s Connect app can be confusing and interval training seems to confuse the heart-rate monitor. 

The Garmin Forerunner 235 connects with Android devices and iPhones for notifications. Garmin’s third-party app store, Connect IQ, is available with a variety of apps.

Other features predict your race times, and a recovery advisor lets you know when you’re ready for another high-intensity workout. The Garmin Forerunner 235 maintains your records and estimates your VO2 Max, an important metric for runners.

Features

  • Battery Life: 11 hours training; Nine days as a watch
  • GPS: Yes
  • Syncing Range: A few yards
  • Smartphone Notifications: Yes
  • Activities Tracked: Running, cycling, swimming, daily activities
  • Heart-rate Monitor: Yes
  • Sleep Tracking: Yes
  • Swim-Proof: Yes
  • Sizes: One size

Dedicated runners will appreciate the many tailor-made features in the Garmin Forerunner 235.

Pros
  • Functional
  • Runs for about 12 days when fully-charged
  • Great selection of watch faces
Cons
  • Light is a bit delayed

2. Premium Pick - Fitbit Ionic Watch

The Fitbit Ionic Watch features a variety of watch faces for enhanced personality, but syncing is slow. Plus, the Fitbit Ionic Watch apps aren’t intuitive. Nonetheless, dozens of apps are available. You can use Yelp to find a restaurant and even control Philips Hue lights. 

Despite being bulky, the Fitbit Ionic Watch feels comfortable on the wrist. The heart-rate readings are easy to access, and the battery life is great. Sleep tracking is basic, amounting to mainly a log of sleep time.

Thanks to compatibility with both iPhones and Androids, competing in fitness challenges is a snap. Fitbit’s apps for fitness logging are among the best.

On the downside, the Fitbit Ionic Watch doesn’t have a microphone for calls, and the Fitbit Pay app still isn’t accepted in many places. Storing and syncing music on the Fitbit Ionic is a nightmare.

Features

  • Battery Life: Four days
  • GPS: Yes
  • Syncing Range: 6.1 meters
  • Smartphone Notifications: Texts, calls, emails and others as chosen
  • Activities Tracked: Running, swimming, riding, workouts, daily activities
  • Heart-rate Monitor: Yes
  • Sleep Tracking: Yes
  • Swim-Proof: Yes
  • Sizes: One size

While the Fitbit Ionic Watch isn’t perfect, it boasts plenty of impressive features that make it a worthwhile fitness tracker.

Pros
  • Easy to read
  • Intuitive menus and display
  • Accurate heart rate
  • Very good battery life
  • Comfortable to wear
Cons
  • A bit confusing to update and get set up
  • Screensaver not adjustable
  • Not enough apps

 

3. Best Value - Apple Watch Series 3

With an optical heart sensor and a dual-core processor the Apple Watch Series 3 has a lot going for it. A gyroscope and accelerometer help to ensure accuracy and functionality. The built-in cellular connectivity is a plus, but the battery drains fast, and it’s expensive.

With the Apple Watch Series 3, you get clear calls and numerous band and case options. Apps include the Apple Music app so you can stream millions of songs.

With a barometric altimeter, the Apple Watch Series 3 tracks stairs climbed and elevation. However, it does not continually measure heart rate unless you are exercising. The fitness reminders and goals work well to help users achieve their targets. 

Features

  • Battery Life: 18 hours
  • GPS: Yes
  • Syncing Range: Unlimited with Wi-Fi
  • Smartphone Notifications: Yes
  • Activities Tracked: Running, swimming, elevation and climbing, workouts, daily activities
  • Heart-rate Monitor: Yes
  • Sleep Tracking: Yes (Third-party app)
  • Swim-Proof: Yes
  • Sizes: 38 mm and 42 mm

Although Apple has already launched Apple Watch Series 4, their Watch Series 3 still takes the cake. With Siri connectivity and a host of apps, this may be a smart fitness tracker choice for our list. 

Pros
  • Excellent design
  • Makes and receive calls and text messages
  • Signs in to social media accounts
  • Lots of apps
  • Fitness tracking

 

Cons
  • May need charging everyday

4. Best Features - Fitbit Charge 3

The Fitbit Charge 3 features an up to seven day battery life, 24/7 heart-rate monitoring and a two-hour charge time. Users can set it to various exercise modes including run, swim, circuit training, yoga and others.

With the Fitbit Charge 3, users get data regarding time spent in light, REM and deep sleep. Bluetooth enabled, you can turn on your phone’s GPS for pace and distance tracking during runs and rides.

Having to use a proprietary charger is a nuisance, and the swipe interface seems picky.

Several apps keep you informed with everyday information, and syncing the Fitbit Charge 3 to your smartphone enables you to get notifications concerning calls, texts and apps. This fitness tracker even has female health tracking for periods and ovulation.

Features

  • Battery Life: Up to seven days
  • GPS: Through connection to smartphone
  • Syncing Range: 20 to 25 feet
  • Smartphone Notifications: Yes
  • Activities Tracked: Run, swim, bike, circuit training, yoga and others
  • Heart-rate Monitor: Yes
  • Sleep Tracking: Yes
  • Swim-Proof: Yes
  • Sizes: One size

With some really nifty and functional features, the Fitbit Charge 3 is great for activity tracking.

Pros
  • Feature-packed
  • Great design
  • Comfortable
  • Lots of apps available

 

 

Cons
  • Finicky touchscreen
  • Screen timeout is not configurable

5. Best in Versatility - Garmin Vívosport

Featuring a built-in GPS and heart-rate monitor, the Garmin Vívosport also has running and cycling modes for GPS-tracked workouts. Unfortunately, the screen is so tiny that it can be difficult to read live stats.

The Garmin Vívosport further is swim-proof, though it doesn’t offer swim tracking, and includes estimates for fitness age and VO2 Max. Compatible with iOS and Android, you can get smartphone notifications, and the seven days of battery life is impressive. 

A stress tracker can be a plus for people who are trying to relax more. Syncing of activities with the Garmin Connect app stores data and grants access to the Garmin online community.

Features

  • Battery Life: Up to seven days
  • GPS: Yes
  • Syncing Range: Within one to two feet
  • Smartphone Notifications: Yes 
  • Activities Tracked: Running, cycling
  • Heart-rate Monitor: Yes
  • Sleep Tracking: Yes
  • Swim-Proof: Yes
  • Sizes: Small, medium and large bands

The Garmin vívosport is a sleek and attractive device that’s particularly suited to runners and cyclists.

Pros
  • Accurate
  • Durable
  • Great workout buddy
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Doesn’t display current GPS

6. Best for Basic Activity Tracking - Polar A370

With in-depth sleep analysis and accurate, 24/7 heart-rate monitoring, the Polar A370 Fitness Tracker has many of the hallmarks of the best of these devices. Creating custom training programs is a bonus, but there’s no on-board GPS and the screen quality isn’t fantastic.

Still, if you want capable activity tracking at a fair price, then the Polar A370 Fitness Tracker is a good bet. It’s excellent for use while training, and it keeps track of workouts without missing a beat.

All-day activity tracking, syncing with your smartphone for notifications and a non-proprietary charger make this device a winner. 

Features

  • Battery Life: Up to four days
  • GPS: Through a paired smartphone
  • Syncing Range: Within a few feet
  • Smartphone Notifications: Yes
  • Activities Tracked: Walking, running, cycling, weightlifting, group exercise
  • Heart-rate Monitor: Yes
  • Sleep Tracking: Yes
  • Swim-Proof: Yes
  • Sizes: Small and Medium/Large

The Polar A370 Fitness Tracker has plenty of bells and whistles for people who are mainly interested in tracking workouts.

Pros
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Interchangeable bands
  • Tracks basic health data
  • Great workout companion
  • Can be synced with downloaded phone app
Cons
  • Not very good looking
  • Syncing can be problematic

 

7. Best for HIIT and Crossfit - Garmin Vívosmart 4

With excellent battery life, accuracy and automatic activity tracking, the Garmin Vívosmart 4 excels at tracking metrics for devotees of HIIT and Crossfit with its automatic exercise detection, VO2 Max testing and heart-rate variability stress scores.

Additionally, the Garmin Vívosmart 4 has a “body battery” monitoring system so that wearers know when they’re ready for their next workout.

Other interesting features include the pulse oximeter sensor and Garmin’s Move IQ app, which is great for counting reps while weightlifting. Few other fitness trackers boast this component.

On the downside, this device must be used with a proprietary charger, and the touch screen isn’t the most responsive.

Features

  • Battery Life: Up to seven days
  • GPS: No
  • Syncing Range: Within one to two feet
  • Smartphone Notifications: Yes
  • Activities Tracked: Running, cycling, weightlifting, treadmill, trail running, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, BMX, hang gliding, etc.
  • Heart-rate Monitor: Yes
  • Sleep Tracking: Yes
  • Swim-Proof: Yes
  • Sizes: One size

HIIT and Crossfit fans are bound to love the metrics tracked by the Garmin vívosmart 4.

Pros
  • Long battery life
  • Good screen size
  • Sleek
Cons
  • No bike option
  • Inaccurate step tracking
  • No power off button

8. Best for Better Sleep - Fitbit Inspire HR

An entry-level device that includes heart-rate monitoring and connected GPS through a smartphone, the Fitbit Inspire HR is lightweight and stylish.

Smartphone notifications keep you informed, and the fitness tracking is accurate. The display is too small, but this is an otherwise excellent option.

The Fitbit Charge 3 is the flagship model, so the Fitbit Inspire HR is a pared-down but still fully acceptable device. It has all of the same detailed sleep data.

If this is a primary concern for you, then the Fitbit Inspire HR is a solid choice. With step counting, automatic exercise tracking and 24/7 heart-rate monitoring, many people will love this device.

Features

  • Battery Life: Up to five days
  • GPS: Through a paired smartphone
  • Syncing Range: 20 to 25 feet
  • Smartphone Notifications: Yes
  • Activities Tracked: Walking, running, swimming, cycling
  • Heart-rate Monitor: Yes
  • Sleep Tracking: Yes
  • Swim-Proof: Yes
  • Sizes: One size

The Fitbit Inspire HR may be the best fitness tracker for improving your quality of sleep.

Pros
  • Sleep tracker feature
  • Comfortable fit

 

Cons
  • Minimal font options

9. Best for Swimmers - Samsung Galaxy Fit

A sleek, inexpensive fitness tracker, the Samsung Galaxy Fit has excellent sleep-tracking features, a pedometer and distance tracker. There’s also support for notifications and several watch faces. Workouts are tracked by an accelerometer and gyroscope, and this is a fantastic option for swimmers. 

Plenty of apps are available on the Samsung Galaxy Fit to keep you up-to-date on the headlines, weather and notifications. It also features an excellent, clearly readable display, though it may seem a bit large for people with slender wrists.

Furthermore, the Samsung Galaxy Fit has a user-friendly interface, making it easy to switch between notifications, fitness stats, apps and more. Two apps, the Galaxy Fit app and the Samsung Health app, are required to operate this fitness tracker.

Features

  • Battery Life: Up to seven days
  • GPS: No
  • Syncing Range: One to two feet
  • Smartphone Notifications: Yes
  • Activities Tracked: Swimming, running, cycling, walking
  • Heart-rate Monitor: Yes
  • Sleep Tracking: Yes
  • Swim-Proof: Yes
  • Sizes: One size

With a slim profile, activity tracking and plenty of functionality, the affordable Samsung Galaxy Fit is an excellent choice for swimmers.

Pros
  • Long battery life
  • Expensive feel
  • Accurate steps counting
  • Sleek design
  • Water resistant

 

Cons
  • No GPS tracking
  • No wireless charging

10. Best for Beginners - Moov Now

The Moov Now is like wearing a personal coach on your wrist. It’s small, comfortable and has a great battery life. Wearing it in the shower or the pool isn’t a problem, and syncing the Moov Now with the Android or iPhone app offers real-time audio coaching for many different exercise types.

Syncing the Moov Now can be difficult, and this is not the same thing as an all-day activity tracker. If you want coaching feedback, then your smartphone must be with you.

Nonetheless, this is an excellent choice for people who are new to exercising. If you wear two of the devices, you can do an innovative cardio boxing workout that’s lots of fun, and the swim tracker is particularly detailed.

Features

  • Battery Life: Up to six months
  • GPS: No
  • Syncing Range: One to two feet
  • Smartphone Notifications: No 
  • Activities Tracked: Running, cycling, swimming, bodyweight exercises, cardio boxing
  • Heart-rate Monitor: Yes
  • Sleep Tracking: Yes
  • Swim-Proof: Yes
  • Sizes: One size

The Moov Now is a fun, entry level device for activity tracking.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Long battery life
  • Waterproof
Cons
  • Too simple concept
  • Poor Bluetooth connection

Frequently Asked Questions: Best Fitness Trackers

Do fitness trackers improve health?

It is possible for a fitness tracker to improve anyone's health if it is used correctly. Most people already know that being more physically active will make them healthier. However, it isn't easy to track just how active you are unless you have a tool that can help you do so.

Thanks to fitness trackers, it's possible for anyone to know how active they are, and they also can get the encouragement they need to be more active. With hard data available, you can set new goals that will drive you toward a better level of fitness.

The trick is to consistently use your fitness tracker. Keep an eye on the objective daily goals to get a sense for how active or inactive you really are. If you do this, your fitness tracker will make you healthier.

Are fitness trackers worth it?

Wearable fitness trackers can be expensive, but many people love this technology and feel that the cost is worthwhile. This is because seeing data in black and white can be motivational, inspiring individuals to achieve greater activity levels.

These devices take the guesswork out of "being more active," thereby making it possible to hit specific targets. With each new goal achieved, the wearer is inspired to move on to the next. This makes fitness trackers worth it to many people.

Are fitness trackers accurate for calories burned?

Some fitness trackers are more accurate than others when it comes to tracking calories used. Typically, when heart rate is taken into account, the numbers are more accurate. The devices listed here are considered to be among the most accurate and reliable fitness trackers on the market.

You might also like
Best Home Gym
by Susan Miller

Best Home Gym: Buyers’ Guide

No matter which home gym you buy, you need to know certain things in order to assure that you’re getting the right machine for you. We cover a few things here to help you make sure you’re getting the right home gym.
Budget and Value: Is it worth the money?
Two of the biggest things to consider when buying a home gym, or equipment in general, is the price and value. Too many people nowadays think that the more expensive something is means the better it is. That’s not true.
Know how much you want to spend and how much you’re willing to spend. If you have all the money available, then you can go for the best of the best, but you don’t need it. Compare the value of a home gym that fits you and your space to its price and determine if they’re equivalent or if one is higher than the other. If the price is higher, you might want to look at another option. If its value is higher, it might be a steal. Compare your options and determine which is best for you this way.
There are great options even if you’re on a budget. Depending on what you want to accomplish with your home gym, you may require a lot or a small amount of equipment. Regardless of which side you fall on, the best things to do in any scenario are to get secondhand equipment, such as on eBay, or go to an off-price department store. This will save you a lot in the long run.
In general, you shouldn’t spend too much when first setting up your home gym. Start with just what you need and build from that over time, don’t waste money and buy what you don’t need because you “might use it.”
Space: Do you have enough space?
One of the best spaces for a home gym is a garage or basement, but not everyone has these available. A good home gym does require a lot of space, but you need to work with what you have.
Measure your space and think about what you want to accomplish. What exercises do you want to do? Which equipment fits those exercises? Unless you have an adjustable dumbbell, which saves a lot of space since you can switch the weight on it, you’re going to need a rack. Depending on what you’re doing, if you plan to squat or deadlift, you’ll need a power rack, a barbell, weights, etc. If you plan to bench, you’re going to need a bench. Determine what you need and if you have space for it.
Many people want a treadmill or elliptical too, but running outside is also an option if you don’t have space inside. You’ll probably want a mirror too, which means you won’t want anything, or too much, in front of it. Work with what you have, determine what you need, and go from there. Only get as much as you need, let your gym evolve from there.
Equipment: What Equipment do you need?
Depending on what you plan to work out depends on your equipment. Like we stated in the last section, you’ll want a squat/power rack for squats, a bench for bench, weights and barbells for both. At the least, dumbbells, racks, barbells, and weights are must-haves for home gyms.
Depending on what you’re doing, you may want a treadmill or elliptical. Maybe a jump rope, yoga mat, medicine ball, ab-roller, punching bag, etc. A mirror is also generally a must to watch yourself working out or for motivation. I, for one, find it easier to work out in front of a mirror just to make sure I’m doing everything correctly in order to avoid any possible injury.
Other possible equipment would be a dip belt, a dip station, a lat pulldown, and more. Determine what you’re looking for, if you’re getting a home gym machine and what exercises it covers, your space, budget, and everything else. Off of these, you’ll be able to determine your needed equipment.
If you don’t know what to get, get what was first mentioned: dumbbells, a rack, barbells, and weights. Free weights are the best, especially with strength training.

Best Fitness Tracker — EHome