Best Fitness Trackers

Get fit faster with these top-rated budget trackers. We've reviewed activity trackers from Fitbit to Garmin, as well as some lesser known bargains. We've made some pricier picks, too, and included a kids' fitness tracker and a smartwatch option. Compare features and prices to find the perfect fit for your fitness.

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.  

We Looked At

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.

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.

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.

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.

Our Picks

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.

  • 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.

  • Swim-proof.

  • No display.

  • Some reviewers grumble that the life of rechargeable battery could be better.

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.

  • 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.

Moov Now

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.

  • 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.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2

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.

  • 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.

Misfit Flare

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.

  • 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.

  • Waterproof.

  • Swim-tracking feature costs an extra $9.99.

  • Fewer base features than other models in this price range.

Wesoo K1

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.

  • 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.

Nokia Go

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.

  • 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.

Other Products We Reviewed

Fitbit makes an entire line of fitness trackers, but only the Zip (starting at $49, Amazon) falls within the Cheapism price range of $50 or less. Fitbit Zip reviews are generally very positive, with many users reporting an increase in their physical activity as a result of buying the device. The Zip is a small, water-resistant, clip-on tracker with a screen that displays the day's steps, distance, and estimated calories burned. Collected data can be automatically synced to a computer using an included USB dongle and to apps on select Apple and Android devices. After syncing, users will find informative graphs, charts, and tools to help them understand their activity, see trends over time, and check progress toward a goal. One Zip user reports on the Best Buy website that she has become so committed to reaching her daily step goal that she walks around the house in the evening if need be, and even reviewers posting lower ratings for the Zip say they find it motivating. Fitbit builds in a little extra encouragement by awarding wearers badges for daily, weekly, and lifetime achievements, such as total steps taken. Friends and family can connect to each other to share stats, encourage each other, and participate in friendly (or not) competitions. The community support that comes with the device actually seems to be its very best feature. Groups of users from around the world keep each other committed to their fitness goals.

During a product test by CNET, the tester found that the Zip logged more steps than a competitor on an identical walk and may have given him a little too much credit. Regardless, CNET concluded that the Fitbit Zip is the best fitness tracker you can buy for less than $60. User reviews are likewise mixed when it comes to accuracy, but most report that the device is accurate and doesn't register movements other than walking as steps, a common problem among cheap trackers. One user conducted step tests with the device and reports on Amazon that in multiple counts of 200, the tracker was rarely off by more than 10 steps. Not all reviews are so positive. A few reviewers found that the estimated distance was off compared with the distance they knew they had walked; steps were logged while they were sleeping; or steps were not logged while they were walking. Some owners aren't concerned one way or another as long as they have a goal they can strive to achieve every day.

One advantage of the Zip over other trackers is the ecosystem Fitbit has created to support all its devices. Wearers can use Fitbit's online tools to log meals, water intake, and their current weight. Combined with estimated calories burned, a number provided by the Zip, users can track net caloric intake and take measurable steps (no pun intended) toward reaching a weight goal they set. Some users posting on a MyFitnessPal message board report that Fitbit's calorie count is too high, but other users point out that Fitbit includes baseline calories burned -- those that you burn just by going about everyday life -- in the total. By logging onto the Fitbit site, users can see a more precise breakdown of the information. Fitbit also lets users export their data to other popular fitness-tracking apps, such as Endomondo and Runkeeper, and transfer data to and from MyFitnessPal, SparkPeople, Lose It, and MapMyFitness.

In terms of style and comfort level, the Fitbit Zip is small and lightweight enough that users forget they're wearing it. The device can be clipped onto an undershirt, a bra, or the inside of a pocket and no one else will know it's there. There's a downside to this, though: An all-too-common reason a Zip stops working is that it's tossed into the wash while still attached to dirty clothing.

That's not the only way the Fitbit Zip has been known to break down. One-star reviews come from consumers who have had the battery die or the device simply stop working after only a few weeks of use. In many cases, customer service is quick to respond and send a replacement, but some reviewers say they received two or three faulty devices in a row. Other common complaints include the device erasing progress during the day (it's supposed to reset in the middle of each night), trouble opening the back to install the battery, and a lack of included instructions.

Complaints make up a small portion of Fitbit Zip reviews in total, though. From what we read in comparing the tracker to others in the same price range, the Fitbit Zip is one of the best options.

LifeTrak Move C300

LifeTrak Move C300 reviews point to the built-in heart monitor as one of the factors that makes this inexpensive fitness tracker stand out in a crowded field of offerings. The device can also track steps taken, distance traveled, and estimated calories burned. This is a solid choice for someone who wants a wrist-worn device that tracks the basics and includes a few bells and whistles.

The LifeTrak Move C300 (starting at $47, Amazon) doubles as a watch, telling the time, day, and date with a large digital display on the front. The low-res display draws some criticism, although one reviewer posting on Amazon counters that it gives the device a stylish, retro feel. Many commenters also discuss the useful information displayed: steps, distance, calories, daily activity, a chart of the past seven days' activity, and current heart rate.

At PC Mag, a LifeTrak Move C300 review grants that the inclusion of a heart rate monitor on such a cheap tracker makes this a great value for consumers on a budget. However, the reviewer also found the tracking data to be inaccurate during a bike ride. When walking or running, users can pick from three different gaits (light, normal, and heavy), which leads to fairly accurate measurements, according to Tom's Guide. The accuracy of the heart-rate monitor is reportedly very good for a wrist-worn device. This may be in part because the manufacturer of the Move C300 is the same company behind many of the heart-rate monitors built into fitness equipment in gyms around the country.

Heart rate and other data can be tracked over time using the new LifeTrak app, available for recent Apple and Android mobile devices, or a compatible third-party app (the Move C300 can't sync with computers). A LifeTrak Move C300 review by TechHive highlights the Argus app as a well-designed and easy-to-use companion for this fitness tracker. Some owners report that they prefer the MapMyFitness app for uploading their data.

There is an upgraded band on the market now, the LifeTrak Zone C410 (starting at $65). It has all the features of the Move C300, plus sleep-tracking capability, but reviews of the band’s performance in that area are mixed. The primary flaw, users say: The automatic sleep detector reads any prolonged period of inactivity (for example, sitting at a desk) as sleep. It doesn’t seem worth paying extra money, then, for a feature that may or may not add value.

The LifeTrak Move C300 is a feature-laden option for consumers on a budget. The heart-rate monitor helps wearers stay within a fat-burning or aerobic-training "zone" during exercise and increases the accuracy of the data on calories burned. Not all wrist-worn fitness trackers include a display, and having one enables the Move C300 to double as a watch. Overall consumer and expert reviewers find this a comfortable, informative, and motivational addition to a fitness plan.

lg 052715 misfit flash 250

Misfit's Shine activity tracker, a mid-range option released in 2013, was praised for its fashionable look, versatility, and waterproof design. The Misfit Flash (starting at $20, Amazon) falls into the budget category and offers many of the same features. It is available in seven colors and can be clipped on, worn on a wristband, attached to a key ring, or placed in a pocket or shoe. It tracks steps taken, distance traveled, estimated calories burned, sleep length and efficiency, and other fitness activities. It's water resistant to 30 meters and runs on a watch battery that can last up to six months.

One of the reasons this activity tracker is cheaper than its predecessor is that the Flash is plastic, rather than aluminum. This has pluses and minuses, as CNET points out in a Misfit Flash review. The plastic design doesn't scratch or pop out of its case as easily (which happens sometimes when users press it to see their progress or the time), but it has a cheaper feel. The most notable complaint in reviews on Amazon is the quality of the included wristband. Many users report that it quickly broke after they started using the Flash. Although the option to buy a new one provides an easy remedy, it frustrates consumers that a band costs $10 when the device itself costs only $20.

The company seems to have taken this frustration into account in creating the Misfit Flash Link (starting at $18), which is basically the same product with no wristband. But given that the price is almost the same, the trade-off doesn't seem worth it. There’s a lot to be said for having the option to wear the tracker as a wristband, no matter how flimsy.

The Misfit Flash outdoes competitors in the same price range with its tracking capabilities. Though labeled as merely "splash proof," it's said to be able to track swimming, along with eight additional activities ranging from dancing to basketball. Users must remember to switch the device into "activity mode," or go into the app later and tag these activities. On the other hand, the Flash automatically detects when the wearer goes to bed and switches into sleep-tracking mode on its own.

Like the more expensive Misfit Shine, the Misfit Flash doesn't have a screen; rather it uses a ring of 12 LED lights to indicate progress toward daily goals (a number of steps or within a point system developed by Misfit) and show the time. A review on Pocket Lint notes that it's hard to tell which way is "up" on the device without checking the logo on the back.

Without a screen, users must sync the Flash to an iOS or Android mobile device via Bluetooth for an exact readout. There is no web app for taking a deep dive into the stats, but the mobile app provides an in-depth look at each day, showing steps taken, estimated calories burned, miles walked, and sleep patterns. Users can tag activities and take a broader week- or month-long look. The Misfit app integrates with Runkeeper, MapMyFitness, IFTTT, Spotify, Lose It, Walgreens Balance Rewards, and other apps. For example, users can import relevant data to a weight-loss app or pause a Spotify song by pressing the Flash -- helpful mid-exercise. Connecting the device to the Misfit Link app turns it into a remote control for a phone camera as well as a slide show tool. The device can even control a Misfit Bolt smart light bulb from across the room. (Forgive us, however, for questioning how turning a fitness tracker into a high-tech Clapper is going to get users off the couch!)

Although the Misfit Flash lacks a built-in screen, it's a stylish device that tracks the basics and can be made to do so much more.

052715 jawbone up move 150

Jawbone Up Move Review

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The Jawbone Up Move (starting at $24, Amazon) is the least expensive device in Jawbone's popular fitness tracker lineup. The company's robust ecosystem makes this a good contender for best cheap fitness tracker, although the device has its limitations, according to Jawbone Up Move reviews.

The Up Move is small disc powered by a watch battery that lasts about six months. It's available in several colors and designs and can be worn in a clip, on a wristband, or in a pocket. Although a PCMag reviewer appreciates the flexibility of the design, she says, "It's not stylish." It's also not waterproof and can't be worn in the shower or for swimming. It is water-resistant, so sweat shouldn't harm it.

The Up Move doesn't have a display screen to show precise progress toward a step-count goal. Instead, several LEDs that light up to show the wearer's progress, the time, and whether the device is on sleep mode. The Up Move tracks sleep time and efficiency, including deep vs. light sleep, although it must be switched into sleep mode before you close your eyes. Pressing the display twice and holding activates stopwatch mode, used to track other activities such as cycling or a fitness class. A user who reviewed the Up Move on Amazon has found the resulting data accurate, even when the device is in a pocket instead of being worn on the body. Expert reviewers seem to agree that the readouts are fairly spot-on.

One of the best parts of owning a Jawbone device, reviewers say, is the accompanying mobile app. It's available for recent iPhone and Android devices and lets users easily sync a Jawbone fitness tracker to a mobile device. Within the app, users can see precise step counts, set goals, get details on their sleep patterns and physical activities, tag Stopwatch mode activities, and connect with friends for competition. The Smart Coach feature monitors activity and provides tips and motivation to keep users on track. An expert reviewer at Tom's Guide says the Up Move detected that he took 31 minutes to fall asleep and the app suggested a relaxing guided meditation for the following evening.

The Up app can also create a meal log, incorporate that data into an overall health score, and suggest improvements. Some users still find it too tedious to bother logging their meals, although a barcode scanner (using the camera on a mobile device) and an in-house food database help simplify the process. Anyone already counting calories with a tool such as MyFitnessPal can sync their data with the Up app. Jawbone also has an Up Coffee app that helps users monitor the effect of caffeine on their sleep patterns.

Ultimately the Up Move is the cheapest tracker for Jawbone's excellent software platform -- by a long shot: It's half the price of the bracelet-style Up2.

iHealth Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker

The iHealth Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker (starting at $29, Amazon) is being slowly retired from shelves but still attracting buyers on Amazon. Based on the box, it should be one of the best activity monitors in the budget price range, but reviews tell another story.

The device can be slipped into a clip that attaches at the waist or into a band that fits around the wrist, where it doubles as a watch and displays the time. It's water-resistant and tracks steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, and, as the name implies, sleep patterns. The device can even be set with a vibrating alarm to silently wake the wearer. The battery lasts about five to seven days before it needs to be recharged via USB cable.

Given all its functions and the option to wear it with a clip or on the wrist, one might expect iHealth Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker reviews to shower the device with praise. It's very inexpensive compared with popular fitness trackers that offer the same features, yet consumer reviewers find several faults. The first of these is the physical design of the device. Not all fitness trackers are comfortable or stylish, but some are better than others. One reviewer posting on Amazon says after just a week, the weight of the tracker had become a nuisance, especially in bed at night. Others comment on the size of the device when worn on the wrist and describe it as bulky and uncomfortable enough that they can't fall asleep while wearing it (it gathers sleep data only when worn on the wrist). One reviewer has a different objection to the design: He says the device looks and feels cheap -- so much so that he feels unsure about wearing it in public. Although generally we shied away from considering style in favor of utility in this comparison, a comment like that is noteworthy. Remarks about the tracker's weight, appearance, and bulky form lead us to recommend that potential customers see this tracker in person, and try it on if possible, before making a purchase.

IHealth Activity and Sleep Tracker reviews generally don't complain about the device's accuracy when measuring steps taken throughout the day, although a few recommend using it as a clip-on rather than a watch to increase accuracy. When it comes to counting calories burned, however, this tracker uses the same guesstimating method as many others that don't have a heart-rate monitor. The calorie count is based on step count and stats put in by the wearer (age, sex, height, and weight). It doesn't consider factors such as the intensity of the workout unless the wearer inputs a workout via the app.

One of the biggest selling points is the sleep-tracking function. Aside from the fact that the tracker may be too uncomfortable to wear during sleep, reviewers are generally pleased with the results. In sleep mode, the iHealth tracker collects data on when the wearer falls asleep, wakes up throughout the night, and is in deep sleep. However, without a heart-rate monitor, the data are based solely on movement.

IHealth Activity and Sleep Tracker reviews that mention the iHealth MyVitals app generally find it useful for more than just syncing and accessing data. The app adds the option of manually recording and tracking meals, for example. But some wish it would offer more a more detailed understanding of the data being recorded. Several reviewers mention the fact that it's free, a plus over a few competitors. Creating an account with a login and password provides access to the data via a web browser.

Our initial excitement at seeing an inexpensive fitness tracker that monitors sleep and can be worn as a clip-on or watch was drained after we dug into iHealth Activity and Sleep Tracker reviews. The world of fitness trackers is filled with options that consumers forget they're wearing or are proud to show off, and the iHealth is neither. Plus, without a heart-rate monitor, the sleep data aren't especially reliable. It's a nice try, but if you really want all these features in a useful, appealing form, you'll need to pony up a bit more cash.

Just don’t spring for the upgraded iHealth Edge AM3S (starting at $63). This version may be slightly more technologically “with it” than its predecessor -- it can now provide instant assessments at the end of workouts -- but what it makes up in data accessibility, it apparently loses in reliability. Selling for more than twice as much as the original model AM3, the AM3S Edge receives constant complaints about functionality in reviews on Amazon, even from customers given the device for free in exchange for their reviews. Many said the devices they purchased were faulty and they couldn’t get them to work at all.

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LifeTrak Zone C410 reviews point to the built-in heart monitor as one of the factors that makes this inexpensive fitness tracker stand out in a crowded field of offerings. The device can also track steps taken, distance traveled, and estimated calories burned. Automatic sleep tracking is another notable feature, as is water resistance up to 30 meters. This is a solid choice for someone who wants a wrist-worn device that tracks the basics and includes a few bells and whistles.

The LifeTrak Zone C410 (starting at $42, Amazon) doubles as a watch, telling the time, day, and date with a large digital display on the front. Although the screen does have a backlight, the low-res display draws some criticism. There is also some discrepancy in presentation, as older models had a black screen with white characters and newer screens are white/gray with black characters. Although the switch was supposed to improve readability, some reviewers strongly preferred the other color scheme. Regardless, many also marvel at the wealth of useful information right at their wrists: steps, distance, calories, daily activity, sleep information, and a chart of the past seven days' activity, in addition to current heart rate.

Heart rate and other data can be tracked over time using the LifeTrak app, available for recent Apple and Android mobile devices, or a compatible third-party app (the Zone C410 can't sync with computers). A review of the older LifeTrak Move C300 by TechHive highlights the Argus app as a well-designed and easy-to-use companion for this brand of fitness tracker. Some owners report that they prefer the MapMyFitness app for uploading their data. The LifeTrak iOS app can also now integrate with the Apple Health app.

According to a CNET reviewer, the accuracy of both the step tracking and the heart-rate monitor are very good for a wrist-worn device, and unlike some trackers that struggle to get pulse readings, the LifeTrak Zone C410 proved easy and reliable in testing. This may be in part because the manufacturer is the same company behind many of the heart-rate monitors built into fitness equipment in gyms around the country. Reviews of the band's performance on the sleep-tracking front are mixed, however. The primary flaw, users say: The automatic sleep detector reads any prolonged period of inactivity (for example, sitting at a desk) as sleep. One undisputed positive is the extended battery life -- up to one year. This can end up saving users money compared with other trackers that require much more frequent battery changes.

Overall, the LifeTrak Zone C410 is a feature-laden option for consumers on a budget. The heart-rate monitor helps wearers stay within a fat-burning or aerobic-training "zone" during exercise and increases the accuracy of the data on calories burned. Not all wrist-worn fitness trackers include a display, and the screen enables the Zone C410 to double as a watch while providing immediate fitness data. Overall consumer and expert reviewers find this a comfortable, informative, and motivational addition to a fitness plan.

Garmin Vivosmart 3

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.

  • 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.

  • Swim-proof.

  • 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.

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.

  • 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.

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.

  • 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.

  • Swim-proof.

  • 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.

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.

  • 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.

Buying Guide

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.

Features Comparison

Sort by:
Review Score:
Product Title
Tracking Capabilities
Display
Phone Compatibility
Water Resistance
Battery
Product Title
Tracking Capabilities
Display
Phone Compatibility
Water Resistance
Battery

Fitbit Flex 2

$59
Steps, distance, calories, sleep, active minutes, idleness
5 LED indicator lights
iPhone, Android, Windows (phone alerts)
Swim-proof
Rechargeable lithium-polymer

Garmin Vivofit 3

$56
Steps, distance, calories, sleep, active minutes, idleness
Backlit monochrome LCD
iPhone, Android, Windows
Swim-proof
Watch battery

Moov Now

$55
Multi-workout (e.g., running, swimming, cycling, boxing, etc.), calories, sleep
LED sync light
iPhone, Android
Swim-proof
Watch battery

Xiaomi Mi Band 2

$30
Steps, distance, calories , sleep, heart rate
OLED display
iPhone, Android (phone alerts)
Splash-proof
Rechargeable lithium-polymer

Misfit Flare

$60
Steps, distance, calories, sleep
LED indicator light
iPhone, Android, Windows
Swim-proof
Watch battery

Wesoo K1

$30
Steps, distance, calories, sleep
LED display
iPhone, Android (phone alerts)
Splash-proof
Rechargeable lithium-polymer

Nokia Go

$50
Steps, distance, calories, sleep
E Ink display
iPhone, Android
Swim-proof
Watch battery