You track your finances, your packages, and even your friends. Get a clearer picture of your health by monitoring your fitness. These aren’t your mother’s pedometers, either. These fitness trackers offer full, holistic view of your health by helping you understand your sleeping habits, level of activity and water, and how your body responds to different conditions. They can even remind you to get up and move and make sure you never miss an important email.
Let’s take a look at our five favorite fitness trackers.
Garmin Vivo Sport
Garmin’s Vivo Sport is a slim design all fitness tracker with a color display. It’s all touch and compatible with both iOS and Android systems.
It’s slim considering that it functions like a full-sized runner’s watch. If you start without selecting any specific activities, it tracks a general range of fitness markers like steps, sleep, and long runs or walks.
Selecting a specific activity gives you different types of data for cycling, running, and walking, giving you mapped routes as an example. It will also record the number of reps in the gym. A pretty glaring oversight is swimming. The tracker itself is waterproof, but there are no choices for water-based activities.
The band is plain black rubber with a thin face. The color display is simple, sticking to large display numbers and offering a simple display setting that doesn’t run down the battery. It’s nothing fancy.
It’s GPS enabled and highly accurate, though the initial triangulation takes a long time. The heart rate monitor checks the heart every second, so it picks up heart rates for interval training accurately.
Longtime Fitbit users know that the company’s best feature is its community. They’ve entered the smartwatch market now with the Ionic, a model that allows users to connect to email and phone calls without sacrificing the engagement of the Fitbit community app.
The watch has a square face and is made of aluminum. It’s lighter than most smartwatches, and you can customize the look with a range of leather and plastic bands. The screen is bright and intuitive, but it does have the Fitbit logo at the bottom which increases the bezel width. The battery life lasts four to five days.
It has a highly accurate heart rate tracker and includes built-in GPS. There are many thoughtful features including an automatic pause feature that notices a lack of movement at an intersection and resumes tracking when you begin your run again.
It also has a coaching feature that offers advice and suggestions for tailored workouts. You can record feedback to help the tracker provide better suggestions each time. While audio workouts are still missing, it will signal you through a series of movements.
It’s waterproof and helps track blood glucose levels. It’s an excellent fitness tracker for those who want more in-depth data, but don’t want to wear more than one smart device (watch and fitness, for example).
Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro
Samsung’s smartwatch fitness design is an excellent balance between the needs of a smartwatch and the needs of a fitness tracker. It has a sleek look and and and intuitive interface.
The face is oriented vertically and shines brightly with a lot of detail. It has some touch functionality, but most of the actions are controlled by the two buttons on the side. It features a standard watch clasp and magnetic charger.
It’s compatible with iOS now, as well as the standard Android. It connects fully to your phone, and you can control texts and calls. It has a native music player that connects to Spotify through Bluetooth and Wifi. It can also connect to any set of Bluetooth headphones. If you don’t want to use data on the go, it offers 4GB of onboard storage.
With light use, the battery life is about two or three days. With heavy use such as marathon training, you can expect about seven to nine hours.
It can auto-detect several common types of workouts, and it’s waterproof. It’s easy to personalize the screen for information that’s most important to you, such as steps or water intake. It also has a water lock feature that prevents manipulation of the touchscreen from the force of the water during intense workouts.
The interface can be tricky to set up the first time, but it’s a good tracker for people who need a wide range of functionality both fitness related and otherwise.
You’re reading this list, and you don’t need all the bells and whistles. You don’t even want something on your wrist. For a basic fitness tracker that clips onto your clothing and out of sight.
It has a passive LED display that scrolls through options by tapping lightly on the screen. It shows footsteps, calories burned, and distance moved. It doesn’t offer sleep analysis or any other functions besides those basic capabilities.
It doesn’t have a rechargeable battery. It uses a watch style battery that’s good for at least six months. It syncs with Fitbit’s app and community, offering pattern analysis and a history of your activities.
It’s a simple fitness tracker and good for someone who wants to venture into the fitness tracker world but doesn’t want to make a considerable investment yet. It’s also good for someone who doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles and doesn’t want wrist-wear.
It does offer a path to the Fitbit community where you can upload information from the tracker and add your info such as diet information and water intake.
Apple Watch Series 3
Diehard Apple users get an upgraded fitness tracker with the series 3. It has enhanced features such as an improved heart rate monitor that tracks not only heartbeat during workouts, but resting heart rate throughout the day, workout ranges, and your pulse while walking.
In theory, these improvements give you a better picture of whether your fitness is improving, but Apple doesn’t always make those connections clear. It also offers 16GB of internal storage for music during a run.
It connects to your phone and your entire Apple suite, including music streaming if you have an Apple Music subscription. It offers daily motivations based on previous days’ information. It’s excellent for both run and swim tracking, but one downside is that you can’t export this information to apps outside the Apple Suite.
It has excellent battery life, at least a day when not connected to the phone or wifi, and over two days when connected to both. It handles the heavy app usage during workouts well. Apple’s goal is to be able to track continuously through a marathon. It supports high-intensity interval workouts, too.
The display is pretty. Apple’s designs are excellent and user-friendly. The watch doesn’t have the full capabilities of the phone, but it does handle the sometimes-clunky interface better than other smartwatches.
Fitness trackers track fitness, end of story. Not exactly.
Fitness trackers have a range of capabilities. If you want a basic picture of your overall movement, a simple tracker will tell you your steps, calories burned, distance traveled.
As you get into more complicated trackers, you can add a sleep tracker, heart rate monitor, and GPS to map your runs.
The most complicated ones will have ways to choose or automatically identify specific types of workouts. They can pause runs while you’re standing at an intersection waiting to cross. They’re waterproof so you can track your water sports.
It comes down to what you need and want to know.
Do You Need Smartwatch Options?
Some fitness trackers have officially crossed over into smartwatch capability. They sync to your phone so that you can field calls, answer texts, and stream music. They have different amounts of onboard storage, so you can load music for your workouts.
You should also consider a smartwatch enabled tracker if you don’t want to wear more than one type of watch on your wrist. It’s also good if you’d rather not carry a phone with you when you work out, but you want to be able to monitor people trying to reach you.
Where do You Want to Wear It?
Most fitness trackers are watch styles, so they can consider your heart rate. If you have a smartwatch, it might not matter that it’s on your wrist.
If you don’t like wearing things on your wrist, or you already have a regular watch and don’t want to double up, you can find trackers that fit on other parts of your body.
Some are convertible. When you don’t want them on your wrist, you can attach them to other parts of clothing. When you want to wear them on your wrist, primarily when you’re working out, they can fit into a wrist attachment.
What Charging Routine are You Committing To?
You don’t want to be in the middle of a serious work out and have your battery die. In reality, the more features it has, the shorter the battery life is going to be. You can’t escape it. You should consider the balance you need between battery draining features and ultra-long battery life.
The Bottom Line
Personally, we love the Fitbit universe. They have created one of the best communities and apps out there. If you want to connect to others and like the functionality of a full website for your health history, Fitbit is a good choice.
If beautiful tech is more your speed, Apple just can’t be topped. It’s beautiful, gives you a full suite of fitness and smartwatch features.
Regardless of what you need for a tracker, we hope you’ve found your perfect model on this list. Now, get out and get healthy.