Fitness Trackers can help you monitor your steps, strides, sleep, and heart rate, record workouts, and offer detailed data over time, and more.
Some even pack smartwatch-like features for reading messages, keeping an eye on your notifications, or even serving as a digital wallet for making mobile payments on the go.
The best fitness tracker should look good, operate as intended, and minimize false readings during workouts.
The only downsides to the world of fitness trackers are that there are so many to pick from and the lines separating fitness trackers from smartwatches, GPS watches, and sports watches are blurrier than ever.
Fitness trackers typically are the smallest and most affordable of the bunch. They’re less obtrusive because of their smaller-sized screens.
But the fitness trackers still offer outstanding battery life, water- and sweat-resistant designs, and plenty of features to keep your fitness goals in check.
There are some brilliant fitness trackers available for cheap prices – and more that offer technology like heart rate monitoring, detailed sleep tracking, and even waterproofing for swimming.
But there are still huge variations in the quality of data you get – so choosing the right fitness tracker app is just as important as what goes on your wrist.
We’re here to help you choose the right fitness tracker for observing your heart rate and improving your exercise routine.
1. Fitbit Charge 5
The Fitbit Charge 5 is a feature-packed fitness tracker driven with gym-goers in mind.
The Fitbit Charge 5 takes the best features of Fitbit’s recent smartwatches and packs them into a smaller size for a lot less money.
The Fitbit Charge 5 is a perfect fitness tracker but it should’ve been Fitbit’s best ever.
You get onboard GPS for tracking runs without a watch, an EDA (electrodermal activity) sensor for calculating stress responses, contactless payments, sleep tracking, excellent heart rate monitoring, and sleep monitoring.
The Charge 5 arrives with a full-color AMOLED display, which is the first time for Fitbit. It also carries over rare smartwatch features from bigger (and more expensive) Fitbits, such as the Fitbit Sense.
2. Fitbit Charge 4
The Fitbit Charge 4 is our top pick among the best fitness trackers. The Charge 4 sync with a smartphone to show you a map of your runs, hikes, and other outdoor activities.
You’ll also see data for pace, elevation, heart rate zones, and calories burned. Even better, the fitness tracker app overlays this information along your route, so you can see what parts of your venture made you huff and puff.
GPS is the big new addition to this fitness tracker, offering accurate tracking of runs and cycles from the wrist, and the Charge 4 also has a SpO2 sensor for blood oxygen, will monitor VO2 Max, and resting heart rate, and boasts Fitbit’s brilliant sleep tracking smarts as well. For a wristband – this is pretty unique right now.
It’s a device for HIIT class go-ers, park runners, and those who want to keep a real eye on the details of their health.
3. Apple Watch Series 5
Apple Watch Series 5 is the best full-featured fitness tracker and smartwatch available.
The fitness tracker Watch also found a way to deftly mix features and fashion into a single wearable device, offering all-day battery life and a host of features that are tough to find on any competing device.
The chief upgrade for the Series 5 fitness tracker over the previous-generation Apple fitness tracker Watches is longer battery life and an always-on display that makes reading the watch dead simple.
The latest Apple fitness tracker Watch also offers a faster processor and improved performance over the already outstanding Series 4.
It’s also waterproof down to 50 meters, offers support for a vast number of workout types, and even reminds you to stand after periods of inactivity.
The Apple Watch Series 5 starts at $399 and goes up from there depending on size, the style of the band, and the inclusion of cellular connectivity.
4. Fitbit Charge 3
Yes, the Fitbit Charge 4 fitness tracker might be a better option, but the Fitbit Charge 3 still has a lot of appeal.
Not only does it offer all those metrics such as sleep, steps, and activities, but because it’s slightly older, it offers better value for money.
Sure, you miss out on some of the headline features like GPS in this fitness tracker, but if you’re not going to be doing a lot of running or riding – or have no interest in speed and distance details.
Then you might get all you want from the Charge 3 fitness tracker. If it’s mostly lifestyle tracking you want rather than sports tracking, Charge 3 has plenty to offer.
The user-friendly fitness tracker app links you to a robust network of other Fitbit wearers, who can help motivate you.
Through that fitness tracker app, you can also choose which smartphone notifications to receive so that only the ones you want will buzz on your wrist.
5. Garmin Vivosmart 4
The Garmin Vivosmart 4 does everything you would expect it to as a fitness tracker. It keeps track of your steps, sleep, calories burned, floors climbed, various exercises, and heart rate.
However, where this fitness tracker shines is its health-tracking features. For starters, you’ll have advanced sleep tracking with REM sleep.
It can also gauge blood oxygen saturation levels during the night with its wrist-based Pulse Ox sensor.
A relaxation breathing timer complements the all-day stress-tracking feature. Lastly, the “Body Battery” monitor helps optimize your daily activities based on your energy levels.
A couple of things you’ll miss in this fitness tracker includes GPS and replaceable bands. You’ll still have access to smartphone notifications on your wrist.
If you’re an Android user, you can respond with preset quick replies. If you want detailed health tracking data, the Garmin Vivosmart 4 is the way to go.
6. Fitbit Inspire HR Fitness Tracker
If you’re only just getting into exercise, you may not want to drop a ton of money on a fitness tracker.
If that’s the case, the Fitbit Inspire HR is the best fitness tracker for you. It costs less than $100, yet automatically tracks sleep and a handful of workouts, and offers deeper insights about sleep stages and cardio fitness, thanks to its heart rate sensor.
The Fitbit Inspire HR fitness tracker has a simple design, but its bands can be swapped out, and while its screen is small, it’s easy to navigate.
The Inspire HR fitness tracker is also swim-proof, so you can take it in the pool. When connected to a smartphone, Inspire HR uses the phone’s GPS signal to log outdoor workouts.
The Fitbit app remains one of our favorite fitness dashboards, especially with the inclusion of female health tracking.
7. Garmin Vivoactive 4
The Garmin Vivoactive 4 distills much of the goodness that Garmin offers in its advanced fitness trackers and puts them into a device that’s more accessible and offers better value for the money.
It offers great heart rate tracking and GPS, as well as monitoring things like steps, sleep, and daily activity.
This is a Garmin fitness tracker device aimed at those who want all those things but don’t really consider themselves to be an athlete who needs the more advanced functions and options offered by the Forerunner or Fenix devices.
What the Vivoactive 4 fitness tracker offers is just about enough fitness tracking to keep most happy, in a stylish package with plenty of options.
8. Polar Ignite Fitness Trackers
The Polar Ignite is a great fitness tracker, mainly aimed at runners, but it can track a million other fitness activities like backcountry skiing and fitness dancing too.
As well as tracking your activities, it can also monitor sleep and keep an eye out on your heart rate throughout the day too.
Thanks to the built-in GPS, there is no need to carry around the phone with you when you go out for a run to be able to track your course.
Wrist-based HR trackers aren’t the most precise but the Polar Ignite does a good job to give you an estimate, based on your fitness levels, age, sex, etc. It can also measure VO2 Max with the ‘Fitness Test’ feature.
You can also track your sleep with the Polar Ignite. The only issue – and this is something all fitness trackers have in common – is that wearing a tracker ‘snugly’ is not comfortable in the long run.
The Polar Ignite is by no means the cheapest tracker on this list but given the range of features, it’s a worthwhile investment.
9. Samsung Galaxy Fit
The Samsung Galaxy Fit is at a comfortable price point for the features it offers.
Take it with you on all your activities walking, running, cycling, and swimming are all part of the deal.
What’s more is that the Galaxy Fit tracker can sense which workout you’re participating in, and track it accordingly.
Get real-time information at a glance from Samsung’s AMOLED display, including heart rate monitoring, text messages, calendar updates, and reminders.
The screen on this fitness tracker looks pretty cool, and it’s got automatic fitness tracking that can distinguish the difference between you hopping on an elliptical or going to a Spin class.
That’s some Wizard of Oz level-ish right there. It’ll also keep track of your daily steps, calories burned, water and caffeine intake, and sleep patterns.
10. Xiaomi Mi Band 4 Fitness Trackers
We’ve put the Mi Band 4 fitness tracker to the test, and, after some notable changes in the features department, we see this as the best fitness tracker for those looking for a great value.
While it might look similar to its predecessor, there’s an improved screen – now a bigger, 0.95-inch color AMOLED touchscreen display with 120 x 240 resolution – that makes it a much nicer place to view your data.
The Android and iOS-friendly fitness tracker does the basics like tracking steps and sleep automatically, but will also track activities like running and cycling with GPS help from your phone.
The waterproof design of this fitness tracker allows for swimming workouts, too. The price has jumped up ever so slightly from the previous generation, but the latest Mi Band still represents excellent value for money if you want a fitness tracker that does the basics and more.