Study finds that wearable fitness trackers are highly effective intervention tools for reducing body weight. Here are six of our favorite trackers based on form, function and — of course, price.
Best Fitness Trackers
Fitbit Charge 4 | Best overall Built-in GPS; Robust community & apps; stylish design; waterproof Black & white screen; basic interface 65,113 Reviews $144.95 at Amazon
Fitbit Versa 3 | Best budget with smartwatch functions Built-in GPS; fitness features; sleep tracking; phone calls; voice assistants Advanced features require Fitbit Premium subscription 23,183 Reviews $227.70 at Amazon
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music | Best for running Robust running and casual features, metrics; onboard music storage Polymer case feels cheap, especially for the price 3,936 Reviews $349.99$296.00 at Amazon | List $349.99 at Garmin.com
Fitbit Ace 3 | Best for kids In-app parent & kids views; family challenges fun to use; silicone band for kids Black & white screen; short cable; underpowered compared with adult version 1,225 Reviews $78.95 at Amazon
Apple Watch Series 3 | Best for serious swimmers Fantastic fitness features; built-in cellular & LTE; smooth performance; great UI Short battery life when connected with cellular; only compatible with iPhone 142,383 Reviews $229.00$199.00 at Amazon
Nurvv Run Insoles | Best for dedicated runners More accurate than other trackers; tons of data; pronation and footstriker insights Expensive; limited apps; short battery life 25 Reviews $299.99$269.95 at Amazon
This is a comprehensive tool for tracking health and fitness, including heart rate zone notifications during exercise and advanced sleep tracking metrics.
Has a built-in GPS tracking to follow outdoor workouts independently of your phone.
Can track over 20 physical exercise activities, from cycling to yoga. It’s also water resistant up to 50 meters, so you can use it for swimming.
Active Zone Minutes, one of the features in Fitbit app, uses your heart rate zones to determine the intensity of your workout. By default, the goal is to have 150 active minutes logged by the end of each week. It can also suggest how much progress you’ve made and how close you are to achieving your fitness goal.
Female health tracking, also a part of the app, can track female physiological cycle.
Get alerts of calls, text messages and calendar updates.
Can facilitate mobile payments and the option to reply to texts and messages for Android users.
Dedicated support for controlling Spotify music playing on any of your devices.
7-day battery life; 5 hours with GPS.
The cardiac activity tracker is simply amazing, the calorie counter very helpful to keep on top of a healthy diet, and the sleep analyzer provides great insight on quality of sleep, from which I have derived better sleep habits. Sport tracker is great, with multiple sports to choose from and automatic detection of activity. The GPS is a nice feature, but does consume quite a bit of battery life (about 15% per hour). Without using the GPS, I have been to up to 8 days between charges. I highly recommend using the “Sleep mode” at night to conserve battery life.
Best budget smartwatch-featured: Fitbit Versa 3
It features an attractive functional design, a large always-on color touch screen, and long battery life of 6 days.
It offers handy smartwatch features: preinstalled Deezer, Pandora music, and Spotify music controls; Fitbit Pay for mobile payments; and smartphone notifications for calls, texts, and meeting invites. The Versa 3 is the most feature-rich Android-compatible smartwatch in this price range.
It offers ample fitness and sleep tracking, including an integrated GPS, a blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) sensor, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, and guided breathing sessions.
It automatically tracks steps, heart rate, calories burned, floors climbed, distance traveled, and Active Zone Minutes during the day.
The Exercise app offers the following activity tracking modes: bike, bootcamp, circuit training, elliptical, golf, hike, interval workout, kickboxing, martial arts, Pilates, run, spinning, stair climber, swim, tennis, treadmill, walk, weights, workout, and yoga.
SmartTrack feature can automatically detect and record certain workouts like biking, running, swimming, and walking.
It can track time asleep, sleep stages (awake, light, deep, and REM), sleeping heart rate, restlessness, and estimated oxygen variation (whether the changes in your blood oxygen saturation were high or low, information that can help you uncover breathing issues).
For women, it offers menstrual health tracking, letting you log your periods, record symptoms, and calculate your estimated fertile window.
I love that it tracks my heart rate so that I get fitness feedback beyond how much I walk in a day, seeing how I don’t ONLY walk and run for exercise, but also do calisthenics and lift. It motivates me to get some “Zone Minutes” on the record. I was tired today but had to try that out and it ended up being a great workout.
I’m taking full advantage of the upgrades from this watch: I use the GPS to track my route when I’m hiking; it notifies me when I have a phone call; I see my text messages and it comes with a lot of nifty apps, like a flashlight, calendar, map, timer, weather, medical ID and even a “find my phone”. I’ve only had it for less than a week, but I already love it.
Best for running: Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
Advanced running dynamics, including ground contact time balance, stride length and vertical ratio.
Metrics catering to runners: Training Status analyzes your activities to see if you’re progressing as you should; training Load to look at your previous seven days of workouts; and anaerobic and aerobic Training Effect to see the effectiveness of your individual workouts.
Safety and tracking features include incident detection (during select activities) which sends your real-time location to emergency contacts through your paired compatible smartphone.
Except for running, cycling and swimming (pool only) tracking is covered; you’ll also get automatic rep counting for gym workouts and navigation features for those outdoor trekking and hiking adventures.
Get free adaptive training plans from Garmin coach, or create your own custom workouts on our Garmin connect online fitness community
Transflective displays: reflect sunlight to make them more viewable outdoors
Wireless: Bluetooth, WiFi, and GLONASS/Galileo/GPS
Water resistance: 5 ATM water and dust resistant rating
Battery: Up to seven days in smartwatch mode, up to 24 hours in GPS mode, and up to six hours in GPS mode with music playing
Can sync with music streaming services, like Spotify, to easily store and play your favorite songs right from your watch.
This watch tracks all of my workouts with unlimited stats, charts, and graphs (pace and speed, splits, heart rate, elevation, map, cadence, training effect). I can even tell my watch my goal pace or distance for a run. It tracks my sleep and tells me when I was in different sleep stages. I am fascinated by the stress graph and the body battery feature. It also shows me notifications from my phone, so I can keep my phone tucked away and not constantly feel the urge to check it. I also mainly chose this watch because you can save your Spotify playlists on it, and then go running with music without carrying your phone.
Best for kids: Fitbit Ace 3
Sized for smaller wrists with a standard watch clasp that is easy to use.
Available in two bold color schemes at launch, with children able to choose between black and red or blue and green options.
The interface sticks to basic step counting and kids can use the Fitbit app on parent’s phone or tablet to view their daily statistics.
It uses more than one strategy to encourage your kids to move. Kids may enjoy the animations that change along with the fitness stats. The rocket ship, for example, moved closer to takeoff as the step count neared its goal. When kids reach their goal, the rocket took off with a blast. Another feature is the family competitions, which let kids challenge family members and friends to get the most steps in a day.
Waterproof to 50 meters, so your child can take it swimming or just not worry about inevitably spilling a drink on it.
This is a great item for children. They are encouraged to complete the challenges and the screen displays grow with the steps so they can see rockets take off, plants grow, and other things as they increase their steps daily. I also like to see their sleep and how much they are getting. It shows you from when to when they sleep.
My son was really excited to get this and have step competitions with me. I bought it thinking it would keep him more active and I could monitor his sleep. While the sleep function is basic it is accurate. What I did not expect was how much this purchase would motivate the whole family. I found my steps and activity level increased as well!
Best for serious swimmers: Apple Watch Series 3
It features a heart rate monitor, GPS, cellular capability, waterproof up to 50 meters, and a battery life of 1 day.
It can count sets automatically, record distance, and recognize the type of strokes you do. It also gives an open water swim GPS map if you opt to swim outdoors, this makes it the best open water swim watch out there.
It has a new quick-start workout feature which triathletes would enjoy as it allows quick transitioning of workout activities. This makes it one of the best triathlon fitness trackers. You can follow workouts while in water with the aid of third-party apps like MySwimPro.
It can also be used for payments, notifications, replying messages, streaming music, and deleting emails.
Limited to iPhone/ apple gadgets usage.
I have swum with this watch multiple times and love it. It not only tracks your laps but tells you which ones you did — even an ‘unknown’ lap when I was dolphin kicking but making nonsense arm motions just to get it to track because it won’t track when your arms aren’t in motion. It gives calories burned as well as split and auto sets. I keep my heart rate on that screen too because that’s most important to me as I do intermittent cardio while swimming.
Best for dedicated runners: Nurvv Run Insoles
The NURVV Run are smart insoles that can be inserted beneath your shoe’s existing footbeds in order to provide unique data such as foot strike and pronation information. This is to help serious runners take training to the next level.
Weight: 4.4–5.3oz / 125–150g (depending on size). With six sizes available, they are intended to fit all running footwear from a women’s size 5 to a men’s size 15 (US).
Standard GPS functionality (GPS track, time elapsed, distance run, elevation)
Additional data captured via 32 footbed sensors and onboard accelerometers (pronation, foot strike, stride length, cadence, etc.)
Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity
5+ hours battery life; rechargeable
Can paired with NURVV Run app for full functionality, or paired with Garmin watch for use as a foot pod. Also support stand-alone mode. Gathers data passively for review later.
The NURVV Run app collect information from your activity. Single-run data as well as cumulative info is provided, along with resources for improvement. The app will also generate more nuanced data points and summaries, like training load, pronation, foot strike, step-length, cadence, balance, and a Running Health score that is a snapshot of all these factors in a single matrix. For those running on a treadmill, the app can show you real-time foot-strike information.
I am an avid runner who has actually run every day for over 380 days and was experiencing some ankle pain due to my running form and probably a little too much running. Shoe stores simply don’t have the solutions and oftentimes the employees just sell me a shoe every time I went in. Decided to try to use the Nurvv Insole’s to track my pronation and steps to see if I could fix my form. The data has been amazing so I can help with not just finding the best shoes, but getting better running form as I gear up for some marathons this year!
Last update on 2021-10-26. Affiliate links and images from Amazon Product Advertising API.
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