Best Fitness Trackers
Published on By Michael Sweet
Before you start your workout, be sure to check out: 12 Fitness Tips You Should Know Before Even Breaking a Sweat
Keeping tabs on your heart rate, daily calorie intake, and activity levels are just a few of many ways to stay healthy. Check out: 23 Keys to Aging Well on a Shoestring Budget
Moov Now Review
From $55 Best
Best Fitness Tracker for Swimming Under $60
- Innovative, award-winning design and features.
- So lightweight and comfortable that many users say they forget they have the band on; also comes with ankle band.
- Exceptionally accurate tracking can provide stats on specific activities from running to cycling to boxing and more; swim tracking includes laps, distance, pace, and strokes.
- App provides live coaching to motivate and improve form.
- Runs on a watch battery that can last up to 6 months.
- Tracks active minutes, not steps, throughout the day; steps are represented only as part of workouts.
- No heart-rate monitor (upgrade to the Moov HR Burn strap or Moov HR Sweat headband for zone-based training).
- GPS and coaching require a phone, and some complain that the robotic text-to-speech coaching voice is annoying.
- Many reviewers say the bands come undone too easily, and they've lost snap connector or tracker.
Takeaway: The design of the Moov Now is so simple that it has no display at all. But with a swim-proof casing, personalized coaching tailored to a variety of activities, and real-time feedback on performance, it goes beyond the basics at a price that's well below the competition. Some may wish the Moov Now were a bit more elementary, however: This band doesn't function as a basic pedometer, which limits the appeal for less active users who are simply looking to increase daily movement.
Garmin Vivofit 3 Review
From $56 Best
Best Cheap Fitness Tracker With Display
- Watch battery doesn't need recharging and lasts up to 1 year.
- Tracks popular stats such as steps, calories, distance, and sleep; designed to automatically detect activities such as jogging or using an elliptical.
- Provides move alerts after an hour of inactivity.
- Backlit display provides immediate fitness stats; users can choose between five screen layouts.
- App provides wealth of charts, graphs, and customizable information and goal-setting.
- Swim-proof band is said to be secure, durable, and comfortable.
- Chunky compared with other trackers in this price range.
- Accuracy can be a little off; many reviewers say it doesn't always recognize or adequately give credit for certain activities.
- Competitor apps are easier to use and less cluttered.
- More limited user community than Fitbit, with fewer opportunities to connect with friends for support.
- Syncing must be done manually, and some users say the device doesn't pair well with their phones.
Takeaway: Not everyone loves the bulkier design of the Garmin Vivofit 3, but it has an attractive backlit display -- difficult to find on a fitness tracker in this price range. It also has more features and customization options than most of the competition. This band's biggest boon, however, might be the full year of battery life, which means that serious fitness buffs don't have to worry about losing precious stats while charging.
Fitbit Flex 2 Review
From $59 Best
Best Affordable Fitness Tracker Overall
- Slim, lightweight, attractive design that can be used in a wristband, clips, bangles, or pendants.
- In addition to steps, distance, and calories, it tracks active minutes, sleep, and idleness; automatically adjusts to track specific workouts.
- Most users say the counts and sleep tracking are very accurate.
- LED lights and vibrations indicate progress toward goals, remind users to move, and provide text and call notifications.
- Fitbit's app and ecosystem are among the most robust and user-friendly.
- Very easy to sync; pairs wirelessly with a smartphone and with a computer via USB dongle.
- One of the least expensive trackers from a top brand.
- No display.
- Some reviewers grumble that the life of rechargeable battery could be better.
Takeaway: Experts and consumers alike admire the Fitbit Flex 2 for its simplicity and excellent features. It's the best budget fitness tracker in the field (and a superior alternative to the Fitbit Zip, a popular clip-on tracker that seems to be on its way out -- perhaps because many found the pop-out device too easy to lose). While the lack of display on the Flex 2 may be a drawback for some, detailed readings that are easy to access via app or computer are enough to satisfy most buyers.
Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Review
From $30 Good
Cheapest Fitness Tracker With Heart-Rate Monitor
- Tested by sites such as TechRadar and TrustedReviews, this band is considered an excellent value by a majority of experts and users.
- In addition to tracking steps, distance, calories, and sleep, it includes a heart-rate monitor -- very uncommon in a fitness tracker this cheap.
- OLED screen displays phone, text, and app alerts; band vibrates for notifications and idleness.
- Rechargeable battery with extended life; many owners say their batteries have lasted more than 20 days.
- Lightweight and comfortable.
- Step counts tend to be a little off, according to user reviews.
- Some complain that the band must be positioned just so on the wrist for heart-rate readings.
- Setup may not seem intuitive; instructions are limited.
- Mi Fit app is pretty basic and not totally bug-free, but Xiaomi continues to improve it.
Takeaway: The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is a good, cheap fitness tracker that covers the basics and a bit extra. For the price, its full-display screen and built-in heart-rate monitor represent a real value. Many reviewers say this Chinese-made band more than stands up against pricier competition -- there's a reason Xiaomi has unseated Fitbit in global sales. While counts may be a tad off, improvements made to the Mi Band 2 have boosted its precision over the previous model.
Wesoo K1 Review
From $30 Good
An Affordable Fitness Tracker and Amazon Favorite
- Simple and easy to use.
- Tracks sleep in addition to steps, distance, and calories burned.
- LED display shows the date and time and provides immediate access to fitness stats.
- Comes with two bands (black and blue or black and purple) that users say are comfortable to wear.
- Easy to set up with Wesoo's VeryFitPro app and compatible with a variety of other apps; can also receive phone alerts.
- Many reviewers consider it a good entry-level option for kids.
- Charges via USB; no additional cord required.
- 4.2 stars from nearly 1,500 reviewers on Amazon.
- Some users report trouble syncing the tracker with their smartphones.
- Several users accuse the K1 of inaccurately tracking steps and being overly sensitive to arm movements.
- A few buyers complain that the screen is too dim or the watch band can break relatively easily.
Takeaway: You probably haven't heard of Wesoo or its K1 band, but this Amazon favorite has drawn quite a few positive reviews. Like some of the better quality trackers that have emerged from Chinese manufacturers in recent years, it's big on value, offering a lot of features at an incredibly low price. Although it seems to have a few issues with accuracy and durability, it makes a good first fitness tracker for casual users or kids.
Misfit Flare Review
From $60 Good
Stylish, Minimalist Fitness Tracker Under $60
- More subdued, "expensive" look and feel.
- Tracks sleep in addition to steps, calories, and distance.
- LED light flashes to indicate how close the wearer is to a goal.
- Users who've stepped up from the popular Misfit Flash generally say the Flare is more accurate than its predecessor.
- Can function as a remote control for a phone camera and music.
- Powered by a watch battery, so it doesn't need charging.
- Swim-tracking feature costs an extra $9.99.
- Fewer base features than other models in this price range.
Takeaway: Marketed more toward style buffs than fitness buffs, the Misfit Flare has a distinctive minimalist design that features a single LED on a disk that does double duty as a smart button. It's a simple but effective activity tracker that monitors movements throughout the day and night with a good degree of accuracy. Its design and features probably won't appeal to everyone, but those who are willing to max out a $60 budget for a basic fitness tracker with a bit of modern flair will appreciate this model from Misfit.
Nokia Go Review
From $50 Think Twice
Nice Design, But Falls Flat in Practice
- Simple design, light weight (just .32 ounces), and comparatively low price.
- Battery life is outstanding -- up to 8 months.
- Automatically adjusts to track different activities, including running and swimming, in addition to the basics, like sleep.
- E Ink display, which tracks progress toward goals, is bright, easy to read, and always on -- without draining the battery.
- Straightforward and easy-to-use app provides badges and theme-based facts as goals are achieved.
- 5 color options; comes with a wristband and clip.
- Setting up the app is tricky, and syncing can be difficult.
- Many users say it doesn't track steps or sleep accurately.
- Display shows only limited information and has no backlight for use at night.
- No way to display the time by default, so it doesn't double as a watch.
- Some reports of displays that have died.
Takeaway: The Nokia Go, originally designed by French company Withings, looks good on paper and has an amazing battery life, but its functionality and durability doesn't impress experts or consumers. Many find the information it provides pretty basic, and its innovative E Ink screen seems wasted on the very minimal feedback it displays. There are other bare-bones trackers that look sleeker and manage to do more.
Choosing a Fitness Tracker
Many consumers swear by fitness trackers for motivation to work out, as well as accurate and easily accessible overviews of their exercise habits and overall health. Recent years have seen a flood of these dedicated activity tracking devices, and some notable shakeups in market leaders as multi-use smartwatch sales have gone up and Apple has risen in prominence in the wearables segment. With so many options for shoppers to choose among -- some with price tags well over $300 -- we've saved some of the legwork for value-conscious consumers and scoured expert reviews, user feedback, and product specifications to find the best fitness trackers under $60.
Whether you're new to the game and looking for a first fitness tracker or a long-term user looking for a more fully-featured but still affordable fitness tracker as an upgrade to your current device, there should be something here that fits both your needs and your budget. We've even rounded up a few pricier picks for those willing to spend a bit more for a "smarter" or more accurate device.
Pricey vs. Cheap Fitness Trackers.Even the cheapest activity trackers typically track steps taken throughout the day, distance traveled, and estimated calories burned, acting more or less like high-end pedometers. A few of the best inexpensive models can also track sleep patterns or heart rate, and most pair with a mobile app to provide deeper insight.
The more wallet-friendly models generally focus on activities such as walking, running, and cycling, and a select few can give users feedback on swimming and other workout activities, as well. Climb up the price ladder and you'll find models with even more advanced capabilities, like GPS fitness trackers favored by runners and devices that can deliver smartphone notifications, play music, or do double duty as smartwatches while still maintaining a fitness focus. Some high-end fitness trackers come in ring or pendant form, with crystal-encrusted displays, for users who are as fashionable as they are fitness-minded.
In fitness tracker reviews, experts and consumers say that simply strapping on an activity monitor encourages longer and more frequent workouts, as well as increased mobility throughout the day -- enough to recommend giving one of these wearables a try. However, for many users the novelty fades, and a high-priced, super-loaded band can end up gathering dust on a dresser. This guide focuses primarily on entry-level fitness trackers, so buyers who ultimately don't use them won't be plunged into ice-cream-binging despair over wasted money.
Fitness Tracker Brands.Fitbit has long been the leader in fitness trackers. It's well-known for its wide range of products at a variety of price points, particularly user-friendly interface, and robust community support system. Other popular brand names in the value segment include Misfit, Moov (born out of a crowdfunding project in 2014), and Garmin, a favorite of serious sports enthusiasts. The latter tends to produce bands that are a bit more feature-rich and less likely to be priced in the Cheapism range. Another cheap fitness tracker brand that is gaining increasing recognition in the United States is Xiaomi. Famous for bands that provide a surprising number of bells and whistles at incredibly low prices, the Chinese upstart has unseated FitBit to take the top market share for global sales of wearables in 2017. Some of the best known names at the mid-to-high end of the market are Nokia (which has taken over Withings and its line of fitness trackers), Samsung, TomTom, and Polar.
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Features Comparison Buying Guide continues below table
Fitness Tracker Reviews: What We Considered
In our research, we read fitness tracker recommendations on tech-focused sites such as PCMag, TechRadar, and Wareable, as well as expert assessments from BestReviews, CNET, and Wirecutter, where they conduct testing of many of the most popular models. We also carefully considered consumer reviews on e-commerce sites such as Amazon and Best Buy to see how the products fare in everyday usage. Some reviewers have owned several different devices over the years and offer insight into a specific model's strengths and weaknesses in comparison to competitors. More often than not, though, fitness tracker reviews come from first-time buyers, so these must be read with a discerning eye. Although reviewers recognize that our picks are much cheaper than high-end activity monitors, they often don't cut them any slack. A lower price tag may mean fewer features but shouldn't mean worse performance. Overall, users rate our top bands highly.
Tracking Capabilities.Although just about every activity monitor tracks the basics (steps taken, distance traveled, and estimated calories burned) some add more to the mix. Sleep tracking has become a common feature; all the models we've chosen provide insights into how users are passing their nights. Some models also adjust automatically to different types of workouts. They tell users how many stairs they've climbed and how many minutes they're active during the day. More expensive fitness trackers with GPS reveal exactly how far users have run or cycled and the pace at which they've traveled.
Built-in heart monitors, which increase accuracy when tracking calories and help wearers target heart-rate "zones" when exercising, are a much-sought-after component in trackers these days, but they're rare in the cheap segment. This accounts in large part for the amazing success of bands from Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi, which somehow manages to equip cut-rate activity trackers with this capacity.
Bands from innovator Moov are able to track a wider range of motion, so they can analyze specific workouts -- from the more common running and biking to swimming, boxing, and circuit training -- while pairing with a smartphone app to offer real-time "coaching" on form and performance. The company has also created its own line of heart-rate-based monitors that includes not only a strap device but a sweatband that tracks heart rate at users' temples.
Accuracy.What good is an activity tracker if it can't track activity accurately? Reviews are mixed when it comes to step count or distance accuracy on the inexpensive devices we researched. Most trackers provide a good general picture, although no two are likely to generate the exact same numbers. Inaccurate readings often seem to result when users don't realize they can, and need to, calibrate a tracker to their step length or alter the device's sensitivity. The accuracy of a clip-on fitness tracker also varies based on where it's worn. It should be as close to the body as possible, hooked onto a belt, bra, or pocket.
Readings provided by built-in heart-monitoring systems also shouldn't be considered exact. In a 2016 lawsuit, Fitbit conceded that the heart-rate monitors on some of its more expensive models couldn't claim 100-percent accuracy. Still, the company countered that its devices are better than the monitors found on gym equipment, which provide active-heart-rate stats without the benefit of resting-heart-rate information. If heart-rate monitoring is extremely important to you, consider purchasing a dedicated strap for that purpose. Many third-party products can be readily paired with fitness trackers.
The cheap fitness trackers recommended here use information such as age, sex, weight, height, and the amount of time the wearer has been active to reach an estimate of calories burned. Some consider only steps taken, while others let users go back and specify what form of exercise they were doing, which can increase accuracy. A heart-rate monitor within a device can further improve the accuracy, but calorie numbers should never be taken as gospel. When a Women's Health reporter wore three activity trackers at once, she found that while calorie counts were fairly consistent among the devices during regular daily activities, they fluctuated greatly when put to the test of a rigorous spin workout. Regardless, she concludes that calorie counts can be motivational and, worn consistently, a fitness tracker can, at least, offer a good gauge of how different activities affect your usual caloric burn.
Data Collection and Presentation.Even the most accurate fitness tracker is pointless if you can't interpret the data the device collects. With some activity monitors, users can easily glance down and see specific stats on a display. The convenience of that screen, which allows the tracker to double as a watch, accounts for a good portion of the cost. The least expensive trackers, when they have visuals at all, rely on more rudimentary signals like LED lights that change pattern or color to indicate progress toward daily goals.
Reviewers often speak to a tracker's ability to motivate them to be more active, and how effective a device is on this front has a lot to do with its interface. Most fitness trackers use a proprietary mobile and/or web app to give users detailed access to the data the device has collected. The option to set goals and track progress throughout the day, try to complete a new challenge, or compete against others online can inspire extra effort. Most fitness trackers include all three of these elements and some also display or send motivational messages during the day or provide alerts when users have been idle too long.
Fitbit's ecosystem is lauded by reviewers as among the most enjoyable, interactive, and educational. Fitbit's web interface and online portal offer ample insight into users' physical activity, along with a large support community. Fitbit also emails weekly reports containing fitness stats and notification of badges earned for accomplishing milestones. Even reviewers bullish on the more specialized Garmin brand admit that, for all the boons of its hardware, Garmin just can't match the user-friendly features of Fitbit's universe. Garmin manages to brings fun to kids' fitness trackers, however, with colorful designs and goal-oriented challenges that earn rewards.
Trackers from Fitbit, Garmin, and many others also have the ability to sync with third-party apps such as Strava, Runtastic, MapMyFitness, and the popular calorie counter MyFitnessPal. Although the latter app is helpful on its own, experts agree that incorporating data collected by a tracker makes MyFitnessPal an even better tool for people trying to lose weight.
Beware trackers that have closed ecosystems, as this can certainly limit functionality and ease of use, particularly if software issues hinder syncing with proprietary apps or membership fees are required to access data online.
Syncing.Some trackers require users to connect to a smartphone or computer and press a button to upload all the data they've gathered. Our top picks use Bluetooth to sync wirelessly when they're within range of a compatible device. In most cases this happens automatically, but some require the push of a button. Although automatic syncing is a more seamless process, it may drain the battery more quickly.
Keep in mind that not every tracker can connect to every device. It's important to check the packaging or company website to see if a fitness tracker supports your phone, computer, or tablet. Fitbit trackers tend to offer the most flexibility: They wirelessly sync to a multitude of Apple, Android, and Windows mobile devices and to computers via a USB dongle. Even if a tracker has wide compatibility, there might be differences in app design and features based on the platform.
Water Resistance.The best cheap fitness trackers are designed to motivate wearers to work up a sweat, so they are also designed to resist moisture. Water-resistant bands should withstand a splash or a run in light rain but are not suited to being fully submerged. Consumers who want the added convenience of being able to confidently wear the device in the shower or track swimming have more limited options.
Comfort.Fitness trackers are meant to be worn all day, and sometimes all night, so it's important they be lightweight, comfortable, and unobtrusive. Most cheap fitness trackers take the form of either a clip-on or a bracelet. Many users favor wrist-worn devices that double as watches, while clip-ons are often lighter and less noticeable. Which to choose is a matter of personal preference and, for some, style. Many activity monitors can be worn either way; for example, some house a small, removable disc or insert that can be placed into a clip, on a wristband, or in a pocket. The versatility is handy, especially for tracking more localized movements -- for example, clipping to a shoe or using an ankle band during a run. On the flip side, these tiny trackers can fall off, be misplaced, or accidentally be thrown into the wash.
Although the packaging might claim that a device is easy to slap on and forget about, fitness tracker reviews provide more insight into reality. An example of what can go wrong is the Fitbit Force, a popular model that was recalled because it caused skin rashes on some wearers. The good news is that most reviews are positive when it comes to the comfort of the devices we recommend, most of which are quite lightweight. Users with particularly sensitive skin might find that a replacement band or switching from a wristband to a clip-on is required for ultimate comfort.
Battery.A majority of our top picks are powered by watch batteries that last up to six months, if not more. The others rely on a rechargeable battery. The reviews we read generally support the manufacturers' estimated battery life -- anywhere from five to a whopping 20 days for the rechargeable devices. Most battery-related complaints seem to concern disappointment at having to charge batteries frequently or faulty units that don't hold a charge at all. Users recommend charging when the device is removed for showering, so as not to lose out on valuable stats.
Additional Products We Considered
Garmin Vivosmart 3 Review
Bonus: Best Garmin Fitness Tracker For Slightly Bigger Budgets
- Lighter, thinner design than previous models and especially comfortable to wear.
- OLED display for better visibility outdoors in sunlight.
- Lots of extra features beyond simple tracking, including a plethora of specific workout activities, stress-level monitoring, and guided breathing exercises.
- Built-in heart monitor that's said to be fairly accurate; on-screen graphs of heart-rate data.
- Receives phone notifications, can control the music on your phone, and can even help find a misplaced mobile device.
- Design is very plain, although many appreciate its unobtrusiveness.
- Some users are frustrated by the tap and swipe screen, saying touches frequently don't register and it doesn't always wake up on command.
- Interface can be tricky to navigate.
- Some disappointment in the accuracy of the heart-rate monitor.
- Several reports of bands breaking.
- Doesn't quite stand up to its closest competitors, the Fitbit Alta HR and Fitbit Charge 2, in reviews, but it's also a bit cheaper than those bands.
Takeaway: Although there are less expensive bands from Garmin, the Vivosmart 3 has more features than just about any fitness tracker you can find for just over $100. It even seems to be more highly regarded than the more expensive Vivosmart 4. It's a little trickier to use than most budget fitness trackers, but buyers get a lot more than a simple entry-level tracker with this device.
Fitbit Charge 2 Review
Bonus: Best Fitbit Fitness Tracker With Heart-Rate Monitor
- In addition to the basic stats, it tracks active minutes; automatically logs running, walking, and biking data in addition to other workouts; and provides detailed sleep-tracking information.
- Accurate step counter and heart-rate monitoring.
- Sends reminders to move, offers guided breathing sessions to help relieve stress, and provides cardio fitness scores.
- Receives phone alerts and notifications.
- Nice design, both technically and stylistically; comfortable, lightweight, and available in lots of color combinations.
- Automatic wireless syncing; displays time, date, and basic fitness stats (including heart rate) on screen.
- Fitbit's app and ecosystem are among the most robust and user-friendly.
- Rechargeable battery can last up to five days.
- Not swim-proof.
- Users say the display sometimes doesn't respond to taps.
- No built-in GPS -- a bit of a disappointment to some reviewers but not necessarily common at this price.
- Chunkier and slightly less battery life than the newer Fitbit Alta HR -- but more fully-loaded.
Takeaway: Take all the things users love about Fitbit's basic design and ecosystem, pack in a few extras like a large OLED display and a heart-rate monitor, and you've got a best-seller in the Fitbit Charge 2. This stylish and simple band earns 4.2 stars from 14,500 reviewers on Amazon, and users say it's one of the best fitness trackers available for the price. The only real drawback is that it's not swim-proof, and the lack of GPS might make it a no-go for some.
Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 Review
Bonus: Kids' Fitness Tracker
- Tracks steps, sleep, and activities.
- Users can schedule alerts and monitor completion of chores and tasks.
- Kid-friendly app, with a built-in game and challenges, encourages kids to be active and gives rewards for goals achieved.
- Parents can track children's activity through the app.
- Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars wristbands.
- Color LCD (Memory-In-Pixel) display provides greater visibility, low battery drain, and customizable views with the child's username.
- Replaceable battery can last up to a year.
- Many users report issues with syncing (which isn't automatic) and dead batteries.
- Some say the small screen can be hard to read.
- In-app game is pretty simplistic and doesn't necessarily hold the interest of older kids.
- Pricey for a band that's a bit basic and meant to be worn by children.
Takeaway: This Garmin fitness tracker motivates kids to be active by making a game out of it. With quality components, a range of designs that incorporate favorite characters, and features that encourage children to complete daily chores while achieving activity goals, the Vivofit Jr. 2 is well-liked by parents and kids alike. While some improvements might be necessary to make the in-app game more appealing, Garmin seems to have cornered the market on value with a tracker for kids that's more than a cheap toy.
Fitbit Ionic Review
Bonus: Best Smartwatch Fitness Tracker
- Built-in GPS and heart-rate monitoring for precise workout stats; GPS tracking is very accurate, reviewers say.
- Features include coaching for specific workouts, cardio fitness levels, and sleep tracking.
- 2.5GB of music storage and Bluetooth playback.
- Smartwatch capabilities include mobile payments with Fitbit Pay.
- Interface is easy to use, according to reviews, and the display is bright.
- Lightweight and comfortable to wear.
- Touchscreen can be slow to respond to taps.
- Limited selection of apps.
- Doesn't sync well with less popular brands of Android phones.
- No cellular connectivity.
- Some banks don't support Fitbit Pay.
Takeaway: Unlike Fitbit's first failed attempt to enter the smartwatch game with its Blaze fitness tracker, the new Fitbit Ionic is a compelling -- and lower-cost -- alternative to Apple's wearables, experts and users agree. Its app selection can't hold a candle to Apple's inventory, but for fitness buffs who want to take advantage of Fitbit's large membership community and popular interface -- which provides all the stats users need in one convenient app -- the Ionic offers smart connectivity alongside those perks. And it's pretty darn stylish to boot.