The smartwatch hasn’t swallowed up the fitness tracker yet. While many consumers are intrigued by the Apple Watch, Android Wear devices, and the like, old-school fitness trackers can still be useful and available for the right price. The main goal of these devices remains simply tracking activity: from daily movement to intense exercise to steps, heart rate, and sleep. Most of today’s fitness trackers haven’t changed much aesthetically, either. They’re still, by and large, wristbands.
Garmin Vivosmart 3, Black
The Garmin Vivosmart 3, which is on the more expensive side of the fitness trackers listed but offers almost everything you’ll want from an exercise tracker.
With a six-day long battery life,… a heart rate monitor and fitness age feature, this is a device created more for gym-goers than runners. The Vivosmart HR+, the device Garmin released before this tracker, came with GPS built-in but this newer version has dropped the feature and it’s a big shame for anyone who wanted to take this watch running.
Even so, you should definitely consider the Garmin Vivosmart 3, especially if you’re looking for a band that can do high-end fitness tracking with an almost week long battery.
3D Fitness Tracker & Real Time Audio Coach, Moov Now
When you consider everything you get with the Moov Now for its low price, it’s an astounding fitness tracker. Not only does it handle the basic activity and sleep tracking of its peers, it has a staggering number of coaching features thanks to its Omni Motion 3D sensor.
When used alongside its excellent Moov Now app,… you get guided running, swimming and cardio exercise coaching (think cardio boxing workouts). The guided workouts have real-time coaching and a motion gauge to let you know you’re following along correctly.
The Moov Now uses a coin-cell watch battery, and you can also expect around six months of battery life before it needs replacing, which is great. This means you can throw it on and forget about it, especially as you can shower with it on without a problem. For someone looking to not only track their activity and sleep but actually also get fitter and healthier, the Moov Now offers simply unrivalled value and gets my absolute recommendation.
FitBit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker
For anyone who doesn’t want to wear something on their wrist, the Fitbit Zip is our recommendation. The tiny Zip is truly clip and go—it runs on a replaceable watch battery, so it requires no charging—and it has an easy-to-read display for you to check your progress at a glance.
Costing at least $20… less than the other clip models, it’s the best value in the field. However, it lacks sleep tracking; if that’s important to you, upgrading to (and paying more for) the Fitbit One is your only solid option. Either gives you access to Fitbit’s very active social community to keep you going.
Works well with the Fitbit app where you can keep track of your steps, distance, food intake, weight, and more. Hold competitions with other friends that have a Fitbit as well. Great motivation to get your steps in, fun little unit, and I love the size. It does not do some of the things that the watches or other bigger units do, such as stair count.
Garmin vívofit 4 activity tracker
The Garmin Vivofit 4 is one of the best fitness trackers the company has ever created, and that now means it sits in this prestigious list alongside some other fantastic tracking products.
We particularly like the super-long battery life… of the Vivofit 4, which means you won’t need to recharge your device for a whole year. That means you can wear it all day, then all night for sleep tracking and not have to worry about recharging it.
You’ll miss out on phone notifications by buying this tracker, but you do get the benefit of an always-on color display, accurate fitness tracking features – just note these are more limited than some other trackers on this list – as well as access to an in-depth app to break down your stats on your smartphone.
Fitbit Flex 2, Black (US Version)
The Fitbit Flex 2 embodies all that Fitbit excels at. The minimal form has no screen, and though its distance tracking and heart-rate monitoring are less accurate than other models, it has a big advantage over the competition with the vast social community that Fitbit has cultivated—an important factor, because research has shown social reinforcement to be one of the most powerful motivators in pursuit of fitness.
If you just want a simple way to monitor… and track your daily activity (including workouts), nightly sleep habits, and get reminders to be more active, the Fitbit Flex 2 is a great choice—especially if all your friends are on Fitbit. Unlike most other Fitbits, it’s water-resistant to 50 meters, so you can track swimming and shower with it. However, it doesn’t have a screen—just five status LEDs to track progress toward your daily step-count goal.
It also doesn’t track heart rate, but Fitbits in general continue to struggle with heart-rate accuracy, so we don’t see this as a major issue; it helps the Flex 2 maintain its slim profile and lower price. The Flex 2 syncs wirelessly to the Fitbit app on a smartphone or the Fitbit website on a computer to keep a record of your activity and link you to other Fitbit users—a real highlight, as research shows that friendly competition can be very motivating.
Huawei Band 2 Pro All-in-One Activity Tracker
Huawei Band 2 Pro, a sleek little fitness tracker that manages to pack a decent amount of features into its diminutive frame, and for an impressively small amount of money.
The Band 2 Pro has heart rate monitoring,… VO2 max, GPS, step and sleep tracking and a seriously impressive battery life. The slim screen means that this tracker will work just as well with running gear as it will with a business suit, although the slim screen isn’t going to be as easy to read as some of the competition.
If you’re looking for a device that’s going to give you totally precise metrics, this isn’t it. But if you want an affordable entry-level device for your first foray into the world of fitness tracking, this is a great place to start.
Garmin vivofit 3 Activity Tracker
When I tell people I review fitness trackers professionally, I often get asked which of these things is the least “tech-y.” The Garmin Vívofit 3 is the answer. Though you certainly get more from the Vívofit 3 if you have it synced to your phone—especially sleep tracking, which doesn’t appear on the unit itself—the beauty of this model is that you don’t have to.
I could even see a non-smartphone/non-computer owner… just wear it daily and (gasp!) write down the step count in a notepad to keep a log. It’s also water-resistant to five atmospheres for swim tracking, and an exceptional one-year battery life adds to its general never-need-to-take-it-off-ness.
Garmin vívosmart HR+ Regular Fit Activity Tracker
The Garmin Vivosmart HR Plus packs in every sensor an advanced fitness enthusiast is going to want into a design that, while not the most inspiring, is more subtle and discreet than rivals. All of those sensors also proved as accurate as we would expect.
It’s also water-resistant to 50m,… which not only means you can swim with it on, but it also means you don’t have to take it off to shower, which is more inconvenient than you might initially anticipate. With five-day battery life, it really is an advanced fitness tracker you can throw on and forget about, but ready for your next exercise session.
Garmin has included some other useful metrics, such as its ‘Intensity Minutes’, which will help to motivate you to work harder. Garmin’s Connect app could do with a design overhaul. While there’s plenty of data on offer, it can be tricky to initially make sense of it all.