Fitness trackers are made by all different brand names nowadays, and many of them go above and beyond the original trackers. While Fitbit and Jawbone started the fitness tracker craze, you can get trackers from names like Garmin, Jawbone, and Helvetica. With all of these trackers on the market, how are you supposed to know which one is right for you? There are a few things to think about and keep in mind when you are purchasing a fitness tracker. The following guide will help you narrow down your choice to make it easier.
What Type of Activities Will You be Doing?
What activity do you want to track when you purchase your fitness tracker? Or do you want something just to keep track or your daily steps? Most fitness trackers will record your calories burnt, heart rate, steps, etc. They do not track the specifics of the sport you are doing, such as Pilates or Zumba. Another thing to consider is if you will be using them for cycling or running. If so, you definitely need one with a GPS. Standard fitness trackers will not tell you your distance or pace, but the ones with GPS will.
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Is swimming your main activity you want to track? There are some trackers that can be taken in the pool, while others cannot. However, with the waterproof trackers, you may miss out on some features because it can be taken in the water. For example, the Moov Now can give you information on your stroke technique but it will not report your heart rate while you are in the pool.
Where do you want to wear your tracker? Most people think of fitness trackers only being on their wrist, but that is not always the case. There are fitness trackers that can clip to your clothing or worn around your neck so you can be more comfortable as you work out.
The Tracker Display
How do you like your fitness tracker to display information? Some trackers make you pull up the app on your phone to read the data for your fitness goals. Other trackers have an LED display where you can cycle through the data. The LED display trackers are normally a little more expensive than the other ones, so that is something to keep in mind as well.
Since all fitness trackers come with apps, it is important to take these into consideration as well. Make sure the tracker you are viewing is compatible with your smartphone. Most fitness trackers do have iOS and Android operating systems, but it always good to be sure.
Best Fitness Trackers
There was a large amount of research completed into what fitness trackers are the best on the market. The following is what we came up with.
The Fitbit Blaze is one of the best overall fitness trackers. This well-known brand makes a sleek looking tracker that has an LED display. It is lightweight and has a similar look to the Apple Watch. If that isn’t your thing, there are other features that make this tracker number one on the list.
The software is simple to use and give good data on your activity levels It features heart rate monitoring, sleep monitoring, and will track your steps. These stats are all easy to read on the large display face. It also has a timer and a stopwatch if you are doing interval training or racing against the clock. The tracker will record your active exercise once you work hard for a period of ten minutes or longer.
Besides fitness features, the Blaze also has some nice smart features that other fitness trackers just do not have. The Fitbit Blaze has calendar reminders, shows phone calls, and receives texts. This fitness tracker basically falls between a regular tracker and an Apple Watch.
The downside of this tracker is there is no GPS feature and the heart rate monitor will not stand up to intensive training. If you are a hardcore athletic, this may not be the fitness tracker for you. However, it is perfect for beginners and intermediates who want to track their different data.
Garmin Vivosmart HR+
If you are a runner, try the Garmin Vivosmart HR+. It has GPS, heart rate, and a mix of activity monitoring. Furthermore, you do not have to take your phone along for the GPS function to work. The Vivosmart will give you your heart rate, distance, and pace as you run. This can be very helpful when training for marathons, or just to track your progress.
If you like to track your sleep as well, this fitness tracker will record your deep and light sleep. It has an alarm that will alert you in the morning to wake you up, or you can set it to alert you to being inactive for a certain amount of time.
Some of the smart features the Vivosmart HR+ has that the Fitbit Charge HR does not have are notifications for emails, text messages, calendar events, and social media alerts. This is nice if you do not want to haul your phone around on long runs but want notifications in case of an emergency.
The downside to the Vivosmart is it is a bit bulky and can be uncomfortable to wear at first. Since it does record your heart rate, the monitor has to be close to your skin, which means the band has to be pulled tight. After a while, you do get used to how it feels so that is the upside. The Garmin Vivosmart HR+ does have everything runners needs, which is why it is the best tracker on the market if you are an avid runner.
If you have been slacking a bit on your fitness routine and want to get back into shape, Moov Now is a great option. It has a different look than most trackers and can be worn on your leg. The Moov Now has training plans for cycling, swimming, and running so you can excel at your favorite sport. This also helps you get back into shape after a long furlough by increasing difficulty levels. It will also give you tips as you go along, which is really helpful for those just starting out.
Besides giving you training plans, the Moov Now also is a sleep tracker and counts your daily steps. In addition, it has a lithium battery so you get up to six months on a single charge.
For the GPS to work with the Moov Now, you have to have your phone with you. This can be a downside for some, but if you already take your phone on runs with you, it shouldn’t be a problem. The tracker also gives you coaching through the phone, which is nice, but not if you do not want your phone with you. If you are looking to take your training to the next level or get back into shape, the Moov Now is the right fitness tracker choice.
Garmin Vivoactive HR
Another multisport fitness tracker is the Garmin Vivoactive HR. This tracks swimming, cycling, golf, and running. If that is not enough, it also has indoor rowing, indoor cycling, cross-country skiing, and more. Along with that, you will be notified of your daily steps, heart rate, and it also has a GPS feature.
The Vivoactive HR has a touchscreen display where you can select your activity or get information on the data it has collected. It even will provide you with the weather report and other notifications.
The Vivoactive HR adapts your fitness goals as your endurance builds up. The longer you use the tracker, the harder your goals will be. This is perfect for the person who forgets to move their goals or wants the tracker to do the work for them. If you are sitting or inactive for too long, the tracker will alert you to start moving again.
The downside of this tracker is the looks of it. The Vivoactive HR is basically a square attached to a strap that sits on your wrist. The display is also not very bright because this prolongs the battery. Yet, if you want a variety of sports tracked, this is a good option for you.
Are you looking for a simple fitness tracker? The Jawbone UP2 will track your steps and sleep without all the activity choices. It helps you reach your step goals, without any technological distractions.
The Jawbone UP2 is a slimmer, sleeker fitness tracker compared to the others on the list. It comes in fashionable colors, such as light blue. The tracker is so comfortable to wear you will hardly know it is there.
The tracker logs your calories burned, steps, and bursts of activity. The sleep mode tracks the quality of your sleep as well as how long you sleep. There is a stopwatch feature as well if you use that for training.
The Jawbone UP2 does not have a screen or buttons, but you can go through modes by tapping the top of the band. Yet, without a screen, there is no way to tell how close to your goals you are without opening up the app. If you are looking for something slim and stylish to track your steps, this is the fitness tracker for you.
Xiaomi Mi Band Pulse
If you are searching for a fitness tracker that is lower in price than others on the list, this is the right one for you. The Mi Band Pulse comes with colorful band options and is lightweight when you wear it on your wrist.
The Mi Band Pulse keeps track of the calories you burned, the distance you traveled, and how many steps you have taken throughout the day. The problem with the band is that it overestimates everything. For example, if you are not moving it may register steps. It is not as accurate as other fitness trackers, but it is cheaper, which is the tradeoff.
The app that goes along with the Mi Band Pulse is pretty basic and simple to use. It does not have a sharing option, so if you do like to advertise your progress, then you might want a different tracker. The battery life on this tracker is about ten days to two weeks, which is average among fitness trackers. If you are searching for a simple, cheap tracker, this is the best option for you.
Misfit Shine 2
The Misfit Shine 2 is a sleek looking fitness tracker that can be worn around your wrist or clipped to your clothing. The tracker is composed of a small metal disc that fits into a silicone band. This is nice because it is a versatile tracker for those who do not want one that is just limited to being worn around the wrist.
The Misfit Shine 2 is an accurate step tracker along with distance tracker. It logs information on activities such as cycling, tennis, swimming, soccer, running, and basketball. Another nice feature is it keeps track of your sleep and sleep quality. There is no heart rate monitor, which is a downside.
Since there is no LED display, the Misfit Shine 2 has lights on the disc that light up to tell you how close to your goal you are. The lights go from red to green, with orange and yellow being in between to the two, to notify you of how close you are.
This fitness tracker also has text and call notifications. When you receive a phone call, half of the lights blink green. For a text message, half of the lights glow blue. It can be a little confusing at first but after a few times, you will get the hang of it. The Misfit Shine 2 is nice if you are looking for a little more versatility when it comes to wearing your fitness tracker.
Samsung Gear Fit2
If you are searching for a fitness tracker that has an easy to read LED display, the Samsung Gear Fit2 is the right one for you. It is basically a combination of a smartwatch and fitness tracker. The 1.5 inch display screen is set on a strap that is comfortable to wear.
The Samsung Gear Fit2 keeps track of calories, sleep, and steps. In addition, it also knows when you are doing yoga, squats, riding a bike, or using a rowing machine. It automatically switches from tracking one activity to another. Another nice feature the tracker also logs data on your sleep. Some people do find it to bright do wear during the night, so that can be a downside.
The Fit2 takes your tracking to the next level by recording how much caffeine and water you intake. You have to manually input this in yourself, but it is helpful if you are trying to make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day. The tracker also has heart rate monitoring, which can be turned on or off.
The Samsung Gear Fit2 has GPS built in as well, so you do not need to carry your phone around for it to work. It has an accelerometer, barometer, and a gyroscope built in as well. If you are looking for a tracker that has a bright display and doubles as a smartwatch, this is the one for you.
Mondaine Helvetica No.1 Smart
Are you looking for a fitness tracker that doesn’t look so much like a typical tracker? The Mondaine Helvetica No.1 Smart looks like a regular watch, but also trackers your steps as well. The face of the watch has large numbers and has an overall striking appearance.
There is a second dial on the watch that does a few different things. It tells the month and the day as well as shows how close you are to your step goal. Once you go to sleep, the date hand will move to show how long you have slept.
The app for the Helvetica No.1 Smart gives you a good overview of the activities you have completed all broken down by month, week, or day. When it comes to battery life, this watch/fitness tracker will last for the long haul. It is supposed to last up to two years before you need the cell changed. There is no charging or worrying about forgetting to charge your tracker, which is nice if you are one of those people who forget to do that on a regular basis. This watch is perfect for those who want a fashionable watch and a fitness tracker combined into one.
The Jawbone UP3 was designed to track your sleep much more in depth than other fitness trackers on the market. It has a small design that looks more like a bracelet than a fitness tracker. It does have to be worn pretty tight around your wrist to get an accurate reading, but it is thinner than other trackers.
The Jawbone UP3 measures your heart rate by sensors that are located on the inside of the band and are five metal squares. It monitors your heart rate throughout the day and provides you with trends over weeks or months of time.
The fitness tracker logs your steps as well as keeps track of other activities. Some of these sports include cross training, hiking, Zumba, running, and tennis. For activities that are not based on steps, you can log your activity in manually when you are finished.
The sleep tracking system on the Jawbone UP3 is more advanced than other trackers. It keeps track of your respiration rate, heart rate, and body temperature. It also can tell the difference between light, deep, and REM sleep. If you forget to wear the tracker on your wrist at night, the app will guess at your sleep from inactivity. If you are looking for accurate tracking in your fitness app, this is the right tracker for you.
When searching for the right fitness tracker, think about what is most important to you when it comes to the type of data you want. These are the best fitness trackers on the market, and each one comes with its pros and cons. Go through the list and find the one that best suits your lifestyle.