No matter your health and fitness goals, the best fitness trackers can, well, help you stay on track. Between monitoring your heart rate, steps, and more, they’ll give you that extra boost of motivation to maintain an active lifestyle.
However, it’s important to note that not all activity monitor watches are the same. How well your fitness tracker works depends a lot on its hardware. The built-in sensors measure your motion frequency and search for patterns. According to Wareable, the three-axis accelerometer sensor in most trackers keeps count of your movement in each direction, while the gyroscope determines whether you’re standing up or sitting down. The altimeter picks up altitude, tracking stairs and intensity.
Each activity monitor varies in specs, so picking the best comes down to your own personal goals. For example, a fitness tracker with a heart rate monitor is great for tracking how your body is adjusting to new workouts, but you might also want one with a built-in GPS or other features that suit your lifestyle.
To make your choice easier, I’ve already done the research. Here, find my comprehensive roundup of the best fitness trackers. (Yes, they’re all discreet enough to wear all day, every day.)
From tracking your daily steps and heart rate during workouts to monitoring your sleep at night, the FitBit Versa — which features a built-in GPS and storage for more than 300 songs — does it all.
FitBit’s SmartTrack feature, complete with 15 exercise modes, automatically detects which exercise you’re doing and starts tracking your pace and distance. What’s more, this device is water-resistant up to 50 meters and even has an on-screen coaching function should you need a little help.
It’s compatible with most smartphone devices, meaning you can receive alerts for calls and texts, and the best part? The battery can last as long as four days.
What fans say: “Have owned this for a week now and can’t say enough good things about it. Fantastic smart watch that is about 80 percent of an Apple Watch for less than half the price. If you love the Fitbit community and want a waterproof tracker that adds a ton of smart watch features and has great battery like to boot, this is your Fitbit!”
Garmin Vivosmart 3
The Garmin Vivosmart 3 is a budget-friendly fitness tracker that brings a lot of function and style to the under-$100 price point.
This particular Garmin activity tracker is water-resistant and 4 millimeters sleeker than its counterparts from the same brand, plus its compact, 0.38-inch by 0.76-inch display is automatically hidden when it’s not in use. Like the FitBit option, above, it has plenty of gym-ready features including step and heart rate monitoring as well as rep counting via Garmin Connect.
It also connects to your smartphone, allowing for streamlined access to your emails, texts, and notifications — all on your wrist. With five days of battery life and all those features, it’s a great value.
What fans say: “[It seems to work] well. My biggest complaint, or rather cautionary statement, is that steps are not tracked if [your arm is] stationary (pushing a shopping cart). But, beyond that the tracker is waterproof for most water excursions which is a huge bonus. It is lower profile than most trackers and has a heart rate monitor. I love the face. It’s not flashy at all so it isn’t distracting.”
Samsung Gear Sport Smartwatch
If you’re looking for a fitness tracker that goes beyond just tracking your workouts — and you’re willing to splurge a little — then the Samsung Gear Sport smartwatch is for you.
Thanks to its 1.5-gigahertz dual-core processor and many compatible apps, this tracker can monitor your heart rate and, like the FitBit listed here, even provide interactive coaching as you move. It’s also water-resistant up to 50 meters and compatible with Samsung Pay for seamless transactions on the go.
Along with all-day fitness tracking, you can control most of your smart devices directly from this watch. It easily pairs with both Android and iOS devices via Bluetooth, meaning you can make and receive phone calls — and so much more.
What fans say: “I love this watch … I really picked this one because it’s water-resistant, with my old one I was always worried about it getting wet and not working. I can shower in this one and it still works great! The battery life is good also I can usually go about 2 days before having to charge it.”
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