The 10 Best Fitness Trackers

Updated February 15, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

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We spent 46 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Leave expensive personal trainers to the Hollywood types. The rest of us can stay motivated with one of these high-tech fitness trackers that will ensure we stay on target with all of our goals and get us in top shape in no time. Many of us aren't always aware of how sedentary we tend to be on a daily basis, but any one of these devices will make it clear, so we can step up our game. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best fitness tracker on Amazon.

10. Adidas Fit Smart

The Adidas Fit Smart helps keep wearers motivated by providing visual guidance and feedback during workouts. It can sync wirelessly with the miCoach train and run app, where you can see your progress over time. Unfortunately, it looks bulky.
  • crack-proof display
  • can set daily and weekly goals
  • vibration is too intense
Brand adidas miCoach
Model M33704-P
Weight pending
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Fitbit Alta

The Fitbit Alta is ideal for the user who doesn't want a large device on their arm but still wants to see exercise data and smart notifications on a screen. You can buy accessory wristbands in metal, leather, or sport styles to match the day's fashion needs.
  • compatible with ios and android
  • gives you reminders to move
  • must be charged frequently
Brand Fitbit
Model FB406BKS
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Bellabeat Leaf

Fitness trackers don't need to look high-tech and utilitarian. The Bellabeat Leaf is a charming silver accessory that can be worn as a necklace, on a wrist, or simply attached to your clothing. It's equal parts jewelry and activity monitor.
  • elegant white ash wood
  • stress management exercises
  • does not detect sleep disturbances
Brand Bellabeat
Model HT-10LF-RG-01
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

7. Coffea H7-HR

The Coffea H7-HR is like a little active lifestyle buddy you wear on your wrist. It offers 14 training modes and a look at your activity levels over a 24-hour timeline, giving you an in-depth understanding of your progress toward your goals.
  • shows the weather forecast
  • has music controls
  • must be disassembled to charge
Brand Coffea
Model pending
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Wesoo K1

At a glance, the Wesoo K1 will display the date and time, but when you scroll through its interface you'll find other helpful data, like steps taken, calories burned, and distance traveled. In the compatible app, you can set your daily goals.
  • comes with a replacement band
  • made from eco-friendly materials
  • takes a long time to sync
Brand wesoo
Model pending
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro

With the ability to recognize and monitor your activity on most major workout equipment, including ellipticals, step machines, treadmills, and exercise bikes, the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro is a gym rat's best friend. It can even store music.
  • continuous heart rate monitoring
  • battery-saving screen modes
  • charging cable is of poor quality
Brand Samsung
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Fitbit Blaze

A stylish watch and fitness tracker in one, the Fitbit Blaze won't even tip off onlookers to the fact that you're monitoring your exercise and health. It's a good discreet option for those who don't like to wear conspicuous workout-related devices.
  • connects to gps satellites
  • large screen is easy to read
  • swapping out bands is simple
Brand Fitbit
Model MAIN-61691
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. Garmin Vivofit 3

The Garmin Vivofit 3 will record your data for a full year before requiring a charge, so you can keep it on 24/7 for a full 365 days of fun and fitness. Its simple interface has just one button, and pressing it will help you scroll through your stats.
  • clasp locks securely in place
  • offers plenty of size adjustment
  • notifies you of prolonged inactivity
Brand Garmin
Model 010-01608-04
Weight 10.6 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Fitbit Flex 2

Getting in great shape and developing healthier habits doesn't have to cost a fortune with the Fitbit Flex 2. It syncs your exercise statistics to the Fitbit dashboard so you can share your progress with friends, compete with them, and more.
  • can track swimming laps
  • lightweight on the wrist
  • removable tracker fits anywhere
Brand Fitbit
Model FB403BK
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Fitbit Ionic

The Fitbit Ionic coaches you through customized workouts and can store more than 300 of your favorite songs, so you'll be motivated to push through even the hardest exercise routines. Each one comes with both small and large wristbands to ensure a perfect fit.
  • can also be used for touch payments
  • 1000-nit brightness for easy viewing
  • works at altitudes over five miles
Brand Fitbit
Model FB503GYBK
Weight 11 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

What Makes Fitness Trackers Work?

What a great question. It looks so magical, that simple band on your wrist that converts your every movement into data points for analysis. There's actually a ton of stuff going on inside though, and worth taking a look at:

Accelerometers are the nifty sensors that exist in your Wii controllers, your iPhone, and many other devices these days. They measure orientation and - you guessed it - acceleration, and then send these signals to the software so that it can respond appropriately. Some even have a gyroscope inside. Without them, fitness trackers couldn't exist.

Another vital sensor is the altimeter: Whether you're big into mountain climbing or just trying to take the stairs more often, the altimeter measures your altitude and converts that data into stairs climbed by way of a mathematical formula. For example, the iPhone health app assumes a certain number of feet equal one flight of stairs.

To truly calculate how many calories you are burning, a fitness tracker must be able to measure your heart rate. Most of the monitors embedded in fitness trackers these days shine a light onto your wrist and track how much light bounces off your blood. Changes in light are then converted into a heart rate.

How Do I Narrow Down My Options?

If you've gotten this far, you're probably aware that there are a mind-boggling number of options out there if you'd like to add some data to your fitness (and really, who doesn't want to play with pretty graphs?). Let's assume for the sake of simplicity that you've decided that your smart phone and/or smart watch aren't quite up to the task, and you want a dedicated tracker that can provide you with more accurate information. Now it's time to figure out exactly which models work best for you so you can make a purchase decision.

Start by considering what kind of exercises you'll be doing most often. Not all fitness trackers are made for swimming, for instance, and you can seriously damage your brand new toy if you aren't nice to it and play by its rules. If you plan on involving yourself in a lot of water-based activities, it is vital that you choose a waterproof model. Check the specifications of the fitness tracker you are considering and ensure it states that it is waterproof, not just water resistant. It is important to understand the differences between these two specifications, as you may ruin a water-resistant fitness tracker if you fully submerge it. Sometimes it may not be labeled simply waterproof or water resistant, but will instead have an ingress protection rating specified with a number like IP-55 or IP-67. Take a moment to learn what each of these ratings mean.

If you're training for a marathon or triathlon, you'll need solid GPS data to track those (very, absurdly) long training runs. Not all models come with this. If you want to know exactly how far you have traversed in miles or kilometers, rather than just the number of steps you've taken, choose one that offers GPS tracking.

You'll also need to assess your level of vanity. Are you going to feel self-conscious wearing something that resembles a calculator watch from the 80s? Does style beget substance on some level? Be honest with yourself, because unless you wear your fitness tracker every day, it's nothing but an expensive paperweight.

Last but certainly not least, make sure the tracker's app works with your phone's operating system. While the vast majority of apps are now available on Android and iOS, it's always good to double check.

Fitness Trackers Are Way Old

You whippersnappers out there may not believe me, but once upon a time, fitness was tracked.... with a pencil and paper. Yep, you read that right: our athletic ancestors had to figure out their split times themselves. Be glad you live in the 21st century.

While this seems like a truly late 20th/early 21st-century concern, the pedometer - the fitness tracker's ancestor - was conceptualized as far back as Leonardo da Vinci. His design was based on a pendulum that would swing in time with one's steps.

It is believed Jean Fernel, a French physician, created the first working pedometer in the early 16th century. He crafted it in the shape of a pocket watch and it had four dials to count units, tens, hundreds, and thousands. Inside of the unit was a small lever with a cord attached to it. Users would wear the pedometer on their belt and attach the cord to their knee. Each time they took a step, the cord pulled the lever inside the unit causing the needle on the tens dial to register that step.

Speaking of steps, *did you even wonder when 10,000 steps become the norm, anyway? for a healthy lifestyle?

Amazingly enough, devices were sold in Japan in 1965 by one Y. Hatano, who asserted that 10,000 steps was the ideal amount of fitness and caloric expenditure to ensure healthiness.

The goal stuck in the collective hive mind not because of some massive scientific study, but because the name, Manpo-kei, was catchy. More than 50 years later, and nearly every device out there still assumes you have a goal of 10,000 steps. Of course this number is relative and the ideal amount of daily steps should be determined by your personal fitness goals.

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Last updated on February 15, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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