With the growing popularity of at-home fitness, you may want to improve your home workout routines. Smart fitness trackers can help. Fitness trackers offer an easy way for you to find a tangible metric for your health goals.
The newest generation of these devices don’t just count your steps anymore. The tough competition between manufacturers has led to an expansion of their functions for a wider variety of wellness-related activities. (That’s the free market at work for you!)
Some of the better smart fitness trackers offer built-in GPS, music connectivity, sleep monitors, and fitness coaching. If you swim laps every day, you can even find water-resistant trackers to monitor your progress.
The Best Fitness Tracker for You
But buying a fitness tracker isn’t as simple as newbies might think. There are dozens of fitness trackers available to the exercise enthusiast. The devices range from the classic fitness tracker watch design to shoe insoles with tracking features.
You’ll likely need a little time selecting the right device for you. The little gadgets aren’t cheap, after all. To help you choose, we’ve rounded-up some of the best fitness trackers in the list below.
We offer our insights into each of the trackers on the list based on our own tests and experience. We turned to the experts at WIRED, Wirecutter, PC Mag, and CNET for additional information.
Fitbit Charge 4
Fitbit has what many reviewers say is the best sleep-tracking hardware and software in the market. The jazzy-looking Fitbit Charge 4 includes features like built-in GPS, which you only see in much more expensive trackers.
The Charge 4 is also the first Fitbit smartwatch with Active Zone Minutes. This feature measures how hard you worked during an activity based on your age and resting heart rate. The tracker’s “outdoor workout” category is meanwhile good for long hikes and golf games.
The downside is you cannot access some of the Charge 4’s best features without an annual $80 subscription. You should know that the Charge 5 will be arriving later this year, too.
Garmin Venu Sq
The Garmin Venu Sq comes in an assortment of gorgeous colors. The device misses out on features like a voice assistant and altimeter. But Garmin makes up for it in fitness features that make the Venu Sq a smart purchase.
For example, the device has excellent blood-oxygen monitoring and sleep tracking features. Garmin’s competitors only offer these two features for premium subscriptions. Garmin includes both in its more basic trackers and doesn’t require a subscription. You also don’t need to pay anything to access the Venu Sq’s cutting-edge metrics through Garmin Connect.
Letsfit Smartwatch ID205L
The Letsfit Smartwatch ID205L takes a back-to-the basics approach to the tracking features it offers. The device tracks your steps, sleep, heart rate, exercise, and alerts you when you receive calls and messages.
The pedometer is accurate. The battery will last about a week between charges, and the band fits easy and comfortable around your wrist. The tracker is waterproof, too.
The Letsfit ID205L is not a bad-looking device. Far from it. Some reviewers have said it looks like an Apple watch. But what we like most about this device is its price. This clever little gadget will cost you around $38 at Target.
Apple Watch Series 6
The Apple Watch is a perennial favorite over at PC Mag. We have to agree. Every new release in the product series offers new and better bells and whistles. With the Apple Watch Series 6, you get a faster processor and a wider selection of apps and health and fitness tracking systems.
This latest Apple smartwatch iteration includes a blood oxygen saturation sensor that calculates your SpO2 level. The Series 6 also has a handwashing timer and excellent sleep-tracking capabilities.
Coros Pace 2
The Coros Pace 2 is a light GPS sports watch that boasts unparalleled battery life. The battery on this device can last for weeks. You can’t say the same for any other watch on this list.
The Pace 2 also integrates with Strava for charting your runs and rides. This device uses the same multi-system satellite positioning system as Garmin to trace your route.
You may be disappointed to find that the Pace 2 has a basic LCD screen, though. EvoLab – its analytics platform — is still in the early stages of development, as well. Accuracy can sometimes be dubious, according to WIRED. Still, we can’t get over how Coros packed all the right features into an unbelievably light watch!
The tiny Oura Ring is a titanium device that tracks an assortment of data. While it’s mostly a sleep-tracker, the Oura provides you with a clear picture of what’s happening inside your body.
The ring tracks the time you spend in each sleep stage. The device also records your heart rate, heart rate variability, breathing rate, skin temperature, and several other metrics. It then presents analytical data using your activity goal, sleep score, and readiness.
This is all quite impressive, of course. But if you’re looking for a full-on health and fitness tracker, we suggest that you skip this one.
Whoop Strap 3.0
The Whoop Strap 3.0 measures your sleep, workout intensity, and how your body recovers from your exercise routines. The Whoop 3.0 uses heart rate variability, respiratory rate, and other metrics to assess your fitness. But you need to pay a for membership to see the benefits.
The band is light and inconspicuous. That makes it perfect for people who don’t like wearing something like a computer around their wrists. However, we think this product is more useful for high-level athletes and Navy Seals than the average health enthusiast.
Withings Move ECG
The Withings Move ECG is a stylish and affordable hybrid smartwatch. The device tracks your walking, swimming, and exercise. But its defining feature is its electrocardiogram (ECG) capabilities.
The Move ECG is a hybrid. The device has analog dials but it does include accelerometers and a Bluetooth connection for tracking your activities. The Withings Health Mate smartphone app is free and is available for both iOS and Android.
If you feel you need to keep tabs on your heart’s health, then the Withings Move ECG is an affordable option.
Garmin Fenix 6S Pro
The Garmin Fenix 6S Pro is a personal favorite of ours. The 6S Pro is a handsome smartwatch that packs a gamut of useful features. The watch is smaller than its other siblings in Garmin’s Fenix 6 series. But this rugged little device is an excellent companion for those who enjoy the big outdoors.
The 6S Pro features a pulse oximeter for measuring oxygen levels in your body. It also packs a new PacePro metric, streaming music support, and reliable navigation.
Some find the price tag a bit steep. We do, too. But if you don’t mind spending for a top-quality smartwatch for the outdoors, we say go for it.
The Garmin Lily is a smartwatch with health and wellness features designed for women. Those who are accustomed to big, bulky smartwatches will immediately notice the small case size and a slim strap.
The touchscreen is a monochrome LCD display with no buttons or even a fake crown. It’s not always on. It switches off when not in use. Reviewers have consistently complained that getting it to light up again can be frustrating.
The Lily has two iterations. The Classic comes with a leather strap in black, brown, or white. The gorgeous Sports version has a silicone strap in white, sand, or orchid.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 comes in two designs and four sizes: the Classic and the Standard. Both have the same chips, screen sizes, and features. But the stainless-steel Classic has Samsung’s bezel controller. The aluminum Watch 4 Standard has a touch-sensitive ring, instead.
The watches in this series are slimmer than their predecessors. The Classic is a more comfortable fit. Unlike the standard silicone straps, the Classic’s stainless-steel strap isn’t sweaty at all. The watches are also water-resistant for up to 50 meters.
But the most exciting feature of the Galaxy Watch 4 series is the operating system. The Wear OS 3 marks the first time Samsung, Google, and Fitbit collaborated to compete against Apple. The switch to Wear OS 3 will probably pave the way for greater third-party app support later on.
If you have an Android phone, then the Watch 4 makes for the best pairing. Otherwise, it isn’t a giant leap ahead of its predecessors. The battery life is at least 24 hours, which isn’t impressive.
Garmin Instinct Solar
The Garmin Instinct Solar isn’t the best-looking GPS smartwatch in the market. But many have said it’s the best watch you can buy for running. This sturdy, non-descript device is also an absolute joy to use for hiking and cycling.
In addition to its impressive sports and fitness tracking metrics, the Instinct Solar includes advanced navigation features. You also get Bluetooth connectivity with an iPhone or an Android device.
Our verdict? If you are looking for a practical, no-frills smartwatch for your fitness routines, then the solar-powered Instinct is for you.
You wouldn’t think much of the Amazon Halo at first glance. The device looks rather unremarkable, but it’s capable of measuring your activity, sleep, tone of voice, and body fat percentage. The device works with a membership-based wellness service that encourages you to sleep better and switch to a healthier lifestyle.
The biofeedback system on the device is incredibly sensitive, too. So sensitive, in fact, that it can even help people who have problems keeping their cool. That doesn’t sound bad for a $100 wristband, right?
What we may find invasive, though, is that you have to strip to your skivvies to scan your body fat. Then you need to follow prompts to get your phone’s camera into the right position for a proper scan. Some find the idea of taking instructions from an app in their undies somewhat unnerving. If you feel the same way, give this one a pass.