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Best fitness trackers: Get fitter faster with these wearables

Best fitness trackers
(Image credit: Fitbit)

Gone are the days of simple fitness trackers monitoring your steps and little else. Now most fitness trackers on the market can keep tabs on a huge variety of workouts, as well as monitor advanced health metrics, like your heart rate, VO2 max, sleep stages and more. But finding the best fitness tracker for your needs is the key.

There are fitness trackers dedicated to tracking your workouts and providing detailed data about your pace, your heart rate zones and energy levels. But there are also plenty of smartwatches, hybrids, and even a new generation of smart rings, which can offer up so much more alongside smart fitness features, whether that’s a dazzling display or information about how stressed you are. 

The key is to figure out what’s important to you so we’ve collected not only the ten best fitness trackers, but the ten best fitness devices. There is something for everyone here, whether you're looking at features or price.

So if you like the sound of real-time stats at your fingertips plus access to notifications and apps while you run, cycle or swim, then opt for a smartwatch-style wearable with a great screen, like the Fitbit Versa or Apple Watch Series 4. If you’re all about fitness and little else, think of the Fitbit Charge 3 and Garmin Vivosport as your new personal fitness coaches. If you care just as much about your energy levels and wellbeing as your personal bests, check out the Oura Ring or Garmin Vivosmart 4. And, finally, if you want to keep fit but have a tight budget to consider, the Moov Now or Huawei Band Band Pro 3 prove you don’t need to spend a fortune to get moving.

Here are the best fitness trackers on the market today to suit everyone. And if you want something a little smarter, for every day use, check our guide to the best smartwatches of right now.

Best fitness trackers

Apple Watch Series 4

(Image credit: Apple)

1. Apple Watch Series 4

Best all-round smartwatch

Screen: Yes | Heart rate tracking: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | GPS: Yes | Battery life: 1 day

Large, great-looking display
Lightweight and comfortable
All the features you need
Expensive
Short battery life

The Apple Watch Series 4 may, officially, be a smartwatch. But it’s such a great fitness tracker that it’s worth considering alongside most built-for-fitness trackers. That’s because it keeps tabs on all the usual metrics, like your workouts, steps and calories burned. It also has some fantastic sports features, like detailed pacing and cadence data for runners, as well as automatic tracking for a huge range of exercises.

The latest Apple Watch also boasts a bunch of great health features, including built-in fall detection, heart rate notifications, a breathing app and even ECG-reading (in select countries).

The only major downside of the Apple Watch are that it’s, rather unsurprisingly, one of the priciest devices on this list. That’s mostly because it packs in much more than fitness tracking, including notifications, apps and a data connection, which means you can make and receive calls and reply to messages even when you don’t have your iPhone with you. Because it’s such a multi-tasker with a great screen, it also won’t last much longer than 18 hours on a single charge, which makes sense but isn’t long in comparison to many of its competitors.

Huawei Band 3 Pro

(Image credit: Huawei)

2. Huawei Band 3 Pro

Best on a budget

Screen: Yes | Heart rate tracking: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | GPS: Yes | Battery life: Up to 14 days

Good battery life
Very affordable
Can be a bit uncomfortable
Design won’t appeal to everyone

It’s so refreshing to see a fitness tracker enter the market that’s genuinely affordable, and given you can pick up a Band Pro 3 for less than $60 these days, we’d say it’s one of the best options available right now if you’re on a tight budget.

The great thing about this fitness tracker from Huawei is it genuinely matches up to many of the devices that are double the price. It has a great-looking AMOLED screen, built-in GPS, which makes it great for runners and cyclists, it’s waterproof up to 50m, so it’s pool-friendly for swimmers, and has a heart rate monitor too, so it’ll keep tabs on just how hard you’re working out.

It’s hard to fault the Band 3 Pro for the price, but we will say that the design might not suit everyone. It looks similar to a Fitbit Alta, but sticks out a little from your arm, which means it doesn’t always sit flush. Given the price, it also looks cheaper than some of the other devices on the list, but that’s to be expected.

Related: Best Fitbit Deals

Fitbit Versa

(Image credit: Fitbit)

3. Fitbit Versa

Best fitness smartwatch

Screen: Yes | Heart rate tracking: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | GPS: Only with phone | Battery life: 4 Days

Nice rounded design
Comfortable
Customizable with apps
No GPS
Design won’t suit everyone

Although technically a smartwatch rather than a fitness tracker, the Fitbit Versa makes our list because it straddles the line between the two so well.

It has everything that’s great about a smartwatch: large screen, apps, customizable features, different straps and notifications. But it’s also a very capable fitness device, with on-screen workouts, various exercise modes, 24/7 heart-rate tracking, plenty of real-time stats on the screen and swim-tracking, as well as much more.

The Fitbit app is also one of our favourites for fitness tracking and painting a more holistic picture of your health, with best-in-class sleep tracking, thanks to Fitbit’s Sleep Stages, as well as a Cardio Fitness score and female health tracking too.

If you like the look of the Fitbit Versa but can’t justify the price, take a look at the Fitbit Versa Lite. It has all the same core features as the regular Versa without on-screen workouts or music storage, swim-lap tracking or contactless payments. For some, the lack of these features might be a deal-breaker, but we’d bet the majority of people won’t miss them.

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music

(Image credit: Garmin)

4. Garmin Forerunner 645 Music

Best for fitness and music

Screen: Yes | Heart rate tracking: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | GPS: Yes | Battery life: Up to 4 days

Great design
Support for Spotify
Excellent tracking
Battery is lacking
Expensive

If you’re serious about working out and you’re serious about having a great soundtrack while you pound the pavement, then the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music is for you. It’s a fantastic running watch, as it has built-in GPS, a heart rate monitor and serves up data about your pace, elevation and temperature. However, you’ll find most major kinds of exercise are tracked by the 645 Music too, including running, swimming and hiking, as well as some more obscure activities, like yoga and snowboarding.

If you’re wondering why we flagged the battery life as a drawback, then it’s because 4 days feels a little short in comparison to previous Garmin devices. Plus, if you’re using it for long runs and hikes, which it’s designed for, it’ll drain even quicker.

Moov Now

(Image credit: Moov)

5. Moov Now

Best for minimalists

Screen: No | Heart rate tracking: No | Waterproof: Yes | GPS: No | Battery life: 6 Month

Long battery life
Affordable
Great tracking
Some will miss the screen
No HR tracking

If you want accurate fitness tracking for a range of activities but just don’t fancy the idea of strapping a wearable to your arm as you run, swim or box, then the Moov Now is for you. This tiny disc-shaped device has everything you need from a fitness tracker: run coaching, sleep tracking, activity tracking, support for a huge range of workouts and, most importantly, months and months of battery life.

The design is bound to divide opinion. If you like the look of large displays and want to have real-time data and notifications at a glance, then this isn’t for you. If you like minimal designs and like to focus on fitness rather than your stats as you train, then the Moov Now might be a great wearable to strap to your shoe or your workout gear – or you can wear it round your wrist too if you like.

Withings Steel HR Sport

(Image credit: Withings)

6. Withings Steel HR Sport

Best hybrid

Screen: Yes | Heart rate tracking: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | GPS: Only with phone | Battery life: 1 Month

Looks great
Long battery life
Basic fitness features
A little expensive

If you care just as much about style as fitness tracking smarts, then consider a hybrid smartwatch, which combines fitness features with a great-looking design, as well as a silicon strap to keep it workout-friendly.

The Withings Steel HR Sport may not be designed with serious fitness lovers in mind, but it does a good job of tracking the basics, including steps, sleep and 30 different workouts, as well as your heart rate.

If you like being able to swipe through lots of stats or customize your screen, then this device isn’t for you. But if you enjoy the timeless design of a regular wristwatch, it might be worth smartening it up in the form of a hybrid. 

Garmin Vivosmart 4

(Image credit: Garmin)

7. Garmin Vivosmart 4

Best for recovery

Screen: Yes | Heart rate tracking: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | GPS: Only with phone | Battery life: Up to 7 days

Good battery life
Simple, slim design
Small screen
No customizable strap

There are lots of devices from Garmin that are very serious about fitness and tracking your runs. The Vivosmart 4 is more of an all-rounder for those who workout, but aren’t seriously training. Instead, it’ll monitor your heart rate, VO2 max and can automatically track swimming, running, cycling and elliptical training. It keeps tabs on other types of exercise too, but you’ll have to add those in manually.

It’s also got a number of smart health features, including stress-tracking, as well as a body battery metric. This tells you how worn down you are. Not only does it help with recovery after working out, but it’s a really good indicator of overall wellbeing too, especially combined with stress tracking, and could be used to help avoid burn-out.

The main drawback of the Vivosmart 4 is that the screen is a little on the small side, meaning that we’d recommend it for those who want fitness tracking smarts but then like to look at stats in more depth via the Garmin Connect app – as well as those who don’t care too much about notifications throughout the day.

Fitbit Charge 3

(Image credit: Fitbit)

8. Fitbit Charge 3

Best fitness tracking

Screen: Yes | Heart rate tracking: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | GPS: Only with phone | Battery life: Up to 7 Days

Good-sized screen
Light and comfortable
No GPS
No color on the screen

Fitbit’s most advanced tracker, the Charge 3 is a lightweight device built for fitness – if you’re looking for something with more general, lifestyle features too, try the Versa. It has a simple, black and white screen, which may be smaller than a smartwatch display, but it’s bigger than most of its competitors. 

Unfortunately, it doesn’t have GPS built-in, but it’s fantastic for fitness in every other way, with an accurate on-board 24/7 heart rate monitor, waterproofing up to 50m for swim-tracking and lots of other workout modes to choose from.

Like Fitbit’s other more recent devices, it’s a really solid option if sleep-tracking is important to you – the app presents Sleep Stages and plenty of data about how you snooze.

Oura Ring

(Image credit: Oura)

9. Oura Ring

Best for lux sleep tracking

Screen: No | Heart rate tracking: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | GPS: No | Battery life: Up to 6 days

Excellent for recovery and wellbeing
Surprisingly comfortable
Very expensive
Niche appeal

The Oura Ring isn’t a fitness tracker, but it is a fantastic device to keep an eye on how you’re feeling – especially how you’re sleeping. Over the past few years, there have been so many books, articles and research papers suggesting that none of us are getting enough sleep. The Oura Ring brings you detailed sleep tracking so you’re empowered to improve the quality of your sleep, as well as data about your heart rate, activity throughout the day and your ‘Readiness’, which is a fancy way of saying how much energy you have.

The smart ring design is bound to appeal to some people and put plenty of others off. We were surprised at just how comfortable the Oura Ring is – we even forgot we were wearing it for most of the day. This means it’s ideal for sleep-tracking, which is the ring’s big USP.

If you’re serious about fitness, the Oura Ring isn’t for you. It may track activity and heart rate, but it doesn’t care about personal bests. Instead this is a device for those who want to find out more about their general health and optimize their performance. And, if you’ve got cash to burn, it could make a fantastic wellbeing device alongside another fitness tracker, that way you’ve got all the bases covered. 

Garmin Vivosport

(Image credit: Garmin)

10. Garmin Vivosport

Best for running

Screen: Yes | Heart rate tracking: Yes | Waterproof: Water-resistant | GPS: Yes | Battery life: Up to 7 days

Slim design
Good battery life
Boring looks
No swim tracking

This fitness tracker from Garmin may look achingly simple, but it’s packing a lot of great tech inside. Unlike many of the other devices on this list, the Vivosport has built-in GPS-tracking, a heart-rate sensor, VO2 max reading and an altimeter, making it a solid option for runners, cyclists and those serious about fitness. The only main feature it lacks is swim tracking, even though it is waterproof.

Its basic design might be a bit boring for some, but because it’s so understated, and not to mention slim, it’s got a wide-ranging appeal. That means we’d recommend it for those who need a reliable fitness device, but aren’t too fussed about customization options or scoring style points.

Who do fitness trackers cost?

On average, you can expect to pay between $60 and $650 for a fitness tracker. That price range takes into account the basic step tracking wearables at the entry level and goes right up to the all-singing, all-dancing GPS and O2 tracking watches that pack in music and Bluetooth headphones connections, contactless payments, Wi-Fi and more.

There are plenty of options in between, meaning there's an ideal fitness tracker out there for you and now all you need to do is pick it from this list of the ten best.