The 9 Best Fitness Trackers

Updated September 10, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

9 Best Fitness Trackers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 44 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 fitness goals and get us in top shape in no time. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best fitness tracker on Amazon.

9. Polar Loop 2

Your overall health will benefit from the Polar Loop 2, and your bank account will benefit from its small price tag. The unit accurately tracks several different types of activity and monitors levels of intensity, but it doesn't have a built-in heart rate monitor.
  • vibrates for inactivity alerts
  • auto syncs to polar flow app
  • takes a long time to charge
Brand Polar
Model 900525-Prnt
Weight 4.8 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Withings Pulse O2 Activity

Make a serious and lasting impact on your health with the innovative Withings Pulse O2 Activity. It can conveniently be worn in 3 different ways, which is great for those who don't enjoy wearing a watch, and it offers a sleep cycle analysis, too.
  • touchscreen swipe feature
  • monitors your heart rate and history
  • display is hard to read in sunlight
Brand Withings
Model 70034701
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Samsung Gear Fit2

The Samsung Gear Fit2 features a curved full-color Super AMOLED screen that is easy to read in full sun or in dim light. It is capable of automatically identifying the type of exercise being performed and it displays real-time activity stats along the way.
  • measures sleep quality
  • acts as a standalone music player
  • only compatible with android devices
Brand Samsung
Model SM-R3600DANXAR
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Garmin Vívosmart HR

Always have your fitness data at your fingertips with the Garmin Vívosmart HR. It has superior GPS integration that acquires satellites quickly to ensure you accurately track your running and walking routes, even when under tree cover.
  • also available in extra large
  • syncs with garmin connect mobile app
  • inaccurate stair climbing count
Brand Garmin
Model 010-01955-36
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Fitbit Alta

The Fitbit Alta is ideal for the user who doesn't want a large, clunky device on their arm, but still wants to see exercise data and smart notifications on a screen. Wearers can also buy accessory wristbands in metal, leather or sport to match the day's style needs.
  • compatible with ios and android
  • gives reminders to move
  • water resistant but not waterproof
Brand Fitbit
Model FB406BKS
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. 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 and get access to hundreds of elite training programs.
  • tracks advanced running data
  • can set daily and weekly goals
  • stores 10 hours of workout data
Brand Adidas Fit Smart
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Fitbit Charge 2

The Fitbit Charge 2 can show call, text, and calendar notifications on its bright OLED display. It has a heart rate monitor and also automatically tracks how well and how long you sleep. Plus it can be set to wake you up with a non-intrusive vibrating alarm.
  • gives cardio fitness scores
  • tracks floors climbed
  • displays real-time workout stats
Brand Fitbit
Model FB407SBKS
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. Moov Now

The Moov Now is a personal fitness coach always on hand to help you improve your endurance, muscle strength, and cardio training by creating efficient and personalized workout goals. It also talks you through workouts to keep you motivated and abreast of your progress.
  • requires no charging
  • waterproof for swim tracking
  • budget-friendly price point
Brand Moov
Model M1508-bk-mov
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Garmin Vívoactive HR

The Garmin Vívoactive HR provides 24/7 heart rate monitoring and will monitor your personal progress against aerobic activity goals to help motivate you to work harder. It also allows for smart notifications from paired devices, keeping you connected while you exercise.
  • measures daily calories burned
  • long 8 day battery life
  • can customize watch face designs
Brand Garmin
Model 010-01605-03
Weight 3.5 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: these 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.

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 (the iPhone health app assumes a certain number of feet equal one flight of stairs).

Heart rate monitor: 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 (thanks for reading!), 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 are too much, and you want a tracker that's independent of all that. Now you get to think through whether you want something you wear on your pants, in your pocket, around your chest, or on your wrist.

Once you've gotten to that point, it's important to think through what type of exercise you'll be doing. 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.

Kickboxing more your style? You may need to get two trackers to wear, one on each arm (such as with the Moov Multi-Sport, ranked #2 on our list). If you're training for a marathon or triathlon, you'll need solid GPS data to track those (very, absurdly) long training runs.

Finally, you'll 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. If you'd rather go for something that fits on your pants or in a pocket, assess whether you are the type of person who will always remember to take it out of your pocket before putting your clothes in the laundry.

Finally, 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. The drawings above show a pendulum that would swing in time with one's steps.

Later on, Thomas Jefferson had a mechanical pedometer, and he sent it to James Madison with instructions for how to set it up (spoiler alert: it was way more complicated that clipping it to your waist).

Speaking of which, when did 10,000 steps become the norm, anyway?

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. 50 years later, and nearly every device out there assumes you have a goal of 10,000 steps.



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Last updated on September 10, 2017 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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