Wearables have become a big part of smart tech in the past few years, and while there are tons of smartwatches out there with fitness features, those looking to up their fitness game will want to get a dedicated fitness tracker to keep up with all their workouts. Not only do these more fitness-focused devices often offer more features, but they can also offer better ways to track your progress overall. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about all the extra features a smartwatch might bring getting in the way.
With so many fitness trackers to choose from, though, finding the best one can be tricky. Luckily, you don’t have to navigate that path alone. There’s a lot to look for in a great fitness tracker—from price to style and even the features that it offers. Sure, you could go with the most expensive option on the market, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to end up with the best fit for your workout style.
When looking for a fitness tracker, it’s important to figure out what you plan to track with it. While many trackers will keep up with progress on multiple things, others will work better for those who prefer to run or swim. You’ll also want to keep an eye out on its water resistance rating, as this could lead to issues if you end up getting the tracker wet during your workout. If you have a lot of concerns about your general health, looking for one that can keep up with your blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and other vital signs is also a good idea.
Instead of jumping in blind, you should take a look at our round-up of the best fitness trackers below, which can help steer you in the direction of the tracker that best meets your needs.
Best fitness tracker overall: Garmin Vivoactive 4
Pros: Built-in stress management features, classic watch design, ability to track sleep and breathing, also includes motivating training plans
Cons: More expensive than other trackers with similar options, somewhat large body
Despite the heavy price tag, the Garmin Vivoactive 4 is one of the best fitness trackers you’ll find on the market right now.
Equipped with Garmin’s well-known and trusted GPS features, the Vivoactive 4 also comes with various features to provide insight into your workout and daily routines. Trackers for your sleeping, breathing, and stress all help you keep an eye on how your body is doing that day, which is key to staying in charge of your fitness.
Additionally, like many smart fitness trackers out there, the Garmin Vivoactive 4 allows you to make use of contactless payments, downloadable apps, and even onboard music storage—to help ensure you’re never out of good tunes to keep your workout going. Perhaps one of the best features of the Garmin Vivoactive 4, though, is the built-in indoor and outdoor workouts. Simply choose a workout from the list, and you’ll get animated on-screen instructions on how to complete the workout easily and effectively.
Garmin says the Vivoactive 4 supports up to 8 days of battery in smartwatch mode, with 6 hours of battery in GPS and music mode. That gives you plenty of time to get the most out of your workout before having to worry about plugging it into a charger to top it off.
Best smartwatch: Apple Watch Series 7
Pros: Lots of applications and features, works well with almost any style, ability to tap directly into Apple’s fitness app and features
Cons: More expensive than simpler fitness trackers, more smartwatch than a fitness tracker, requires iPhone for access to best features
Few smartwatches offer the fidelity and features that the Apple Watch Series 7 does. On top of great features like an always-on display, as well as support for GPS and mobile networks, the Apple Watch Series 7 comes with a slew of fitness and health-related features that are hard to find on just about any other smartwatch.
Chief among these features are the watch’s ability to check your blood oxygen levels, as well as your current heart rhythm, thanks to a built-in monitor and ECG application. The Apple Watch Series 7 will even let you call for help in an emergency, without needing to jump through a bunch of extra hoops to do so. Much like the Garmin Vivoactive 4, the Apple Watch Series 7 also comes packed with tons of downloadable applications like Spotify, allowing you to tap into the various resources available on Apple’s App Store to help increase your workout’s effectiveness.
The Apple Watch Series 7 can also feedback information from its various health features directly into your iPhone’s Apple Fitness app. With the app, you can easily measure workouts like running, walking, yoga, cycling, and even swimming or dance. When you aren’t using it as a fitness accessory, the Apple Watch works perfectly as a fashion item, allowing you to change the band to go along with just about any outfit you might want to wear that day. If you prefer a smartwatch to a fitness tracker, you can also check out the best smartwatches right now for more details.
Best Fitness Tracker For Fashion Lovers: Withings Steel HR
Pros: Classic watch design, plethora of fitness features and functions built-in, easy-to-use app to track all of your progress
Cons: Might be too fashionable for some, may not hold up to high-intensity workouts
When it comes to fitness, you don’t have to forego style completely. Not every fitness tracker out there can double as a classic watch, but the Withings Steel HR can. Designed to look like the older watches that have been around for years, the real bread and butter of the Withings Steel HR’s features are only evident when using the tracker’s companion app.
Still, being able to add this fresh-looking device to any ensemble, and still keep track of precious workout progress like steps, sleep cycle, and calories burned is a welcome change compared to the more sporty looking trackers out there. Of course, you won’t be able to see all of that as easily on the watch’s face, as it doesn’t have the same readouts as the other trackers on this list.
But, if you’re someone who values fashion over everything, and you don’t mind having to jump through some extra hoops to get the most out of your fitness tracker, then the Withings Steel HR is a perfectly balanced piece of fitness tech that is both stylish and efficient at what it does. It also comes with support for smart notifications, a record 25 days of battery life on a single charge, and water resistance up to 50 meters.
Best Minimalist Fitness Tracker: Whoop Band 4.0
Pros: Minimalist design, goes with any workout attire, multiple color options
Cons: Monthly subscription cost
With so many other trackers out there, choosing to pay monthly for one might seem a bit silly, but there’s a case to be made for the Whoop Band. While it is minimalistic and simple, the Whoop Band offers a lot features inside of a tiny package.
First, there’s the support for Whoop’s “any-wear” design, which offers a ton of customization for those who love changing their bands and really tying their tracker into their attire. Additionally, support for haptic alarms allows you to wake up slowly at the optimal time based on your sleep cycle, which can help you start your day off right.
The Whoop 4.0 also offers the ability to monitor a plethora of health-related factors, including skin temperate, heart rate metrics, blood oxygen levels, and more. The use of 5 LEDs and 4 photodiodes helps to capture more data from your body, which Whoop says should provide more accurate ratings overall. The included Whoop App allows you to keep track of everything directly on your phone, and because there’s no included screen, you don’t have to worry about distracting features of notifications when working out.
Finally, your monthly Whoop membership comes with personalized coaching designed to help you get the most out of your sleep, cut down on strain to your body, and even help keep track of your bodies behavior over the course of your workouts.