A fitness tracker could be the extra push you need to get more active by showing how effective your workouts are and your overall general health. On a basic level, fitness trackers count your steps, distance covered, calories burned, and will also monitor your heart rate during exercise. Some sense your stress levels and help you regain calm through mindful breathing exercises, while others track your periods if you menstruate. Others track your sleep to help you improve it over time.
The Fitbit Charge 4 has a feature called Active Zone Minutes, a form of heart rate training. Based on your age and current fitness level, it encourages you to exert yourself a little harder or longer to strengthen your heart and elevate your fitness. This fitness tracker has an onboard GPS, plus you can sync it with your mobile phone to send and receive calls, or text alerts. It's also swimproof up to 50 meters deep.
Fitness and sleep tracker
The Apple Watch Series 5 has some of the most impressive heart tracking tech on the market, including its ECG (electrocardiogram) monitor that measures your resting, active, and sleeping heart rate. It will even take care of your hearing by using noise-tracking to alert you if you're in a high-decibel environment. Apple's watch is capable of helping you track menstruation too.
Add your playlist to this tracker
The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music has GPS and both heart rate and VO2 Max monitoring. It also has running dynamics, pulse ox sensing, training status, post-workout recovery advice, plus plenty more when you use this tracker along with the Garmin app. You can expect it to keep going for up to six hours on a full battery charge even when connected to Bluetooth headphones and playing music continually.
Detailed exercise stats
The Polar Ignite wearable is a smartwatch-style device That has workout tracking, sleep analysis, and onboard GPS. This tracker includes a breathing exercise called Serene to help you relax for better sleep. The FitSpark daily training guide included with the Polar Ignite is a great way of keeping an eye on your workout history including recovery, and readiness to train more. The use of VO2 max and continuous heart rate tracking help to make this genuinely useful data.
Track your steps, heart rate, and sleep
The Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness is one of the most stylish-looking wearables out there thanks to its curved edge screen, which is full color and high-resolution, making it easier to read when you're out exercising in bright daylight. The Fitbit Versa 2 is waterproof to 50m, so making it suitable for swimming, and tracks steps taken, elevation, heart rate, and your sleep cycle – the latter comes via a personalized Sleep Score with actionable insights on how you can sleep better.
A lightweight band
The Fitbit Charge 3 is a lightweight fitness tracker that's comfy and unobtrusive enough to wear day-to-day, and not just when you're exercising. The Charge 3 is fantastic for health and fitness with an accurate onboard 24/7 heart rate monitor, water-resistant for swimmers, and plenty of dedicated workout modes to choose from. The Fitbit SmartTrack function automatically recognizes swimming, elliptical training, walking, or cycling. It monitors sleep stages and records plenty of data about sleep patterns and how to improve them.
Avoid workout burnout
The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is a solid all-rounder for those who workout, but aren’t training seriously. Instead, it’ll monitor your heart rate, VO2 max to help you understand your current fitness levels, and can automatically track swimming, running, cycling and elliptical training too. It keeps tabs on other types of exercise too, but you’ll have to add those manually. It has a number of smart health features, including stress-tracking, and a full body battery metric – essentially, this tells you how worn down you are.
How to choose the best fitness tracker for you
Choosing the best fitness tracker for you depends on what level of fitness you currently have, what types of exercise you enjoy, what level of stats you want available to you, and whether you're interested in sleep tracking and period tracking smarts too.
Most of today's fitness trackers offer contactless payment support, while a good range offer GPS, either integrated or when connected to your phone.
Also think about how you want the fitness tracker to feel on your wrist: whether a lightweight tracker that you can leave on at night for sleep tracking is your top priority, or whether you need a super-robust tracker that can withstand any rough and tumble during outdoors exercises and bootcamps.
Many fitness bands come with automatic workout tracking, too. That means the best fitness trackers will automatically recognize a number of exercise ‘types’ and start monitoring your workout without you having to press a single button. Stats will be shown on the fitness tracker’s display, as well as being stored in a companion app if you sync the fitness watch or band with your phone.
Heart rate tracking is now a staple feature on the best fitness trackers, but there’s a big difference in accuracy between something like the Apple Watch, one of the world’s best smartwatches, and a cheap fitness tracker. So if you want super accurate heart rate monitoring, it’s worth shelling out a little more.