Tech products don’t get any more useful and easy to integrate into your daily life than fitness trackers. While many of the same functions can be handled by a capable smartwatch or smartphone, trackers offer more convenience and simplicity. The Best Fitness Trackers cost a lot less than smartphones and smartwatches, so everyone can afford to add them to their daily routines.
The No-Hassle Way to Measure Your Activity
Exercise always includes measuring your performance, and most workout routines need to be tracked over time to make sure you’re making progress. That can be tedious if you don’t automate it. Counting laps, taking your pulse, timing your runs or rides over a course detracts from your enjoyment.
There’s an element of fun when you add a fitness tracker to your daily routine. Fitness trackers can take the place of a workout buddy. When you compete against others, your competitive instincts take over and you perform better. Fitness trackers give you a fun way to compete against benchmarks and show continued progress in any kind of activity you prefer for health and fitness
Tips for Overall Comparisons
The most important consideration for any fitness tracker is comfort. Another thing to watch out for is the ability of the device to sync automatically. The amount of steps required to sync a fitness tracker is different from device to device. In general, less is more.
Having more data in your fitness tracker won’t help you if it’s too much trouble to get it out. The third big consideration is compatibility. Choose your fitness tracker to work seamlessly with your smartphone, desktop computer, or tablet computer.
Best Fitness Tracker Reviews for 2017
1. Fitbit Flex
Fitbit is a well-known name in the fitness tracker world, and the Fitbit Flex is a Number 1 best seller. Its popularity stems from its small size, light weight, rugged construction, and ease of use. Unlike some other trackers, it’s available in a rainbow of colors to match your personal style.
- Super light weight and thin size means you’ll barely know it’s there
- Has a built-in sleep monitor for tracking health round the clock
- Tracks distance, steps, or calories burned
- Equipped with a silent alarm for reminders
- Water resistant so you can wear it during any kind of workout
- Personal dashboard makes synching and tracking progress easy
What’s to Like About the Fitbit Flex
Many users report that they purchase one Fitbit Flex for every member of their family, with each tracker a different color to make telling them apart easier. Users like many of the add-on apps that use the Fitbit’s GPS capabilities and onboard barcode scanner to make tracking calorie consumption easier.
The Fitbit has a simple to read LED progress bar that gauges how far along you are toward your pre-set goal. Users also like the 5-day battery life and water resistance, which allows them to wear the device day and night for long periods without worrying about it.
What’s not to Like
Some reviewers don’t like how much force is required to close the latch on the band. Other reviewers don’t like the fact that all customer service inquiries are handled by email.
The Fitbit Flex is a best seller, and users are generally happy with their purchase. Well over 60 percent give the Flex 4 or more, with over 45 percent giving it 5 out of 5. The vast majority of users of the Fitbit Flex say that they’ve totally integrated the device into their everyday life. They wear it all day, every day, and only take it off when it’s time to recharge.
With the wide array of apps available and reasonable price tag, the Fitbit Flex should be considered a best buy.
2. Fitbit Charge
Fitbit is such a popular brand for fitness trackers, it can seem like the only choice for a fitness buff is between Fitbit’s different models. A good example is the Fitbit Charge. It mostly competes with the Fitbit Flex for shoppers in the fitness tracker marketplace. It has more features and benefits than the Flex, and comes in at a slightly higher price point.
The Charge is the last model you can buy before you enter into the true sports watch category. It offers a great combination of small size, robust functionality, and reasonable price.
- Accurate step counters track your activity throughout the day
- Built-in barometer can calculate distance into flights of steps climbed
- Easy to set up predetermined runs or other workouts to time yourself
- GPS capable to map your location if you have your smartphone
- Silent alarm can be used for morning wakeups or other alerts
- Goes for a week between charges, and syncs automatically
What’s to Like About the Fitbit Charge
The Fitbit charge does a lot of things, but customers are mostly pleased about how well it performs the simplest tasks. The Fitbit Charge is a very accurate step counter, at least for a device that is worn on the wrist.
All fitness trackers make compromises for the user’s gait, height, and other factors, but the Charge seems to do a better job at averaging out the user’s particular attributes to come up with a close approximation of actual activity.
Users love the long battery life, and say they like using the device continuously without taking it off. The Charge is not only water resistant, it can be worn underwater, so swimmers like it.
What’s Not to Like
Some users don’t like the way the wristband clasp operates, and feel that it doesn’t give them a completely secure feeling that the device will stay on their wrist.
Reviews of the Fitbit Charge are overwhelmingly positive. Almost 75 percent of users rate the Charge at 4 or more out of 5, with nearly 60 percent giving it 5 out of 5. The Charge is only slightly larger and thicker than the Flex, but adds a barometer, a clock, and caller ID to its list of features.
It’s priced in the middle range for fitness tracker, and because it tells time, you can get rid of your watch and wear one device on your wrist instead of two.
3. The Moov Smart Fitness Coach and Tracker
Most fitness trackers are rather passive devices. They have programmable alarms, a few notify you when you’re getting an incoming call, but for the most part they simply collect data and then archive it for you to look at later.
The Moov is different. It’s like a fitness coach that tags along with you, urging you to new personal bests while monitoring your performance. The purpose of fitness trackers is to introduce an element of motivation to your fitness routines, usually by letting you track and compare your performance over time. The Moov talks to you like a trainer.
- Has many levels that make the device suitable for any level of fitness
- Strap is adjustable and flexible to keep it on your wrist during heavy workouts
- No metal part in contact with your skin saves trouble with nickel allergies
- Spoken word encouragement and advice based on real-time performance
- Suitable for strapping to your ankle if you prefer using included band
- Lithium-Ion battery holds a charge for 5 days during use, or a month when inactive
What’s to Like About the Moov
The Moov looks like a wristwatch with a large watch face, and it’s light and durable. Though it does a lot of things well, users are mostly impressed with the way the device gives spoken advice and encouragement. When you’re exercising, spoken word information is extremely useful because you don’t have to read while you’re on the move.
Users love the way the Moov keeps you up to date with your progress without looking at it or operating buttons. It doesn’t simply give canned verbal directions, either.
The device has powerful algorithms that analyze your performance and then suggests changes as you run. It will even tell you when you’re running too hard.
What’s Not to Like
Some users say that the Moov gives inaccurate results when used to track swimming.
The Moov was a crowdfunded project, and it has features that were suggested by the backers of the project. Users are overwhelmingly pleased with the performance, features, and usefulness of the Moov. Almost 88 percent of customer give the device 4 or more out of 5, and a remarkable 83 percent give it 5 out of 5.
It’s surprisingly inexpensive for such a cutting-edge product. If you want something new, try the Moov.
4. Fitbit One
It’s much easier to lose weight and keep it off if you have reliable information about how many calories you’re burning with physical activity. Wearable fitness trackers like the Fitbit One make short work of keeping track of your daily movements, especially when they’re paired with apps that make data retrieval and display easy.
The Fitbit one is a tiny teardrop shaped clip-on monitor that counts your steps, distance traveled, and calories burned. It will even calculate the equivalent amount of stairs you’ve climbed by mixing distance traveled with changes in elevation. If you wear it with a sleep band, it will also track you when you’re sleeping.
- Simple screen icons show your progress as you go
- Tiny, clip-on device can be worn in any number of ways
- Can be linked with other Fitbit devices for social and competitive tracking
- Calculates the equivalent amount of stair climbing your movements represent
- Silent alarm can wake you up, or notify you when milestones are met
- Has any easy to read digital clock when not displaying other information
- Water resistant for use in any weather
What’s to Like About the Fitbit One
Users love the small size of the device. Many users don’t like wearing wristbands, and the Fitbit One works just as well when it’s clipped anywhere on your clothing, or even on your shoe. The Fitbit One keeps things simple, and makes it easy to figure out if you’re burning more calories than you’re taking in. It will even perform sleep tracking if you wear it on a band at night.
What’s Not to Like
Users don’t blame it on the device itself, but they report you have to be careful not to forget the device is clipped to your clothing and accidentally send it through the wash.
Fitbit users love their fitness trackers, and the Fitbit One gets better reviews than any other Fitbit model. It’s a best seller, and the great majority of users rate it 4 or greater, with almost 70 percent rating it 5 out of 5.
Customers often describe the Fitbit One as a life-changing device, and the reviews are filled with grateful users who have used the device to lose large amounts of weight and improve their health. That alone makes the Fitbit a best buy.
5. Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band
The Garmin Vivofit looks like many other fitness trackers. It’s a slim, light wristband that comes in six colors, with an adjustable strap and a small screen that will tell you the time or show you one of your performance goals. It’s water resistant, so you can wear it in the shower or the pool.
It does have one, very big difference from all the other brands and models we’ve reviewed. It doesn’t need recharging. The Vivofit takes two lithium ion watch batteries, and will run for an entire year before they need replacing. For some users, that alone makes it the best fitness tracker in its price range.
- Thin band and light weight make it comfortable to wear
- One-year battery life lets you forget about constant charging
- Durable and moisture resistant strap and bezel can stand up to any weather
- Has useful inactivity alert that reminds you to get up and stretch your legs
- Automatically adjusts your activity milestones to continue challenging you to new personal bests
- Wireless synching with Garmin Connect fitness app give you a full picture of your progress on your chosen device
What’s to Like About the Gamin Vivofit
Users love the Vivofit’s approach to battery life. Charging your fitness tracker constantly can be inconvenient, and of course the device can’t track your activity while it’s charging. The Vivofit gives you a full year of use on its replaceable batteries, and because it syncs wirelessly, you essentially never have to take it off if you don’t want to.
Users also like the inactivity alert and the automatic milestone adjustments that act like a coach. They rely on its light weight and comfort, and its easy setup.
What’s Not to Like
Some users don’t like the way the latch works. While few lose the device, many complain that it feels like it will come off. More than a few users report difficulties in synching the device. Although it more or less always works, it takes multiple tries.
The Garmin Vivofit is substantially less expensive than competing brands, and offers capable performance and long battery life. Well over 60 percent rate it at 4 or more, with over 40 percent giving it a five out of five rating. Most users that hold back praise for the Vivofit are unhappy about the erratic synching of the device, but say that it performs well otherwise.
6. Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband
The Charge HR is essentially the same as the regular Charge, but adds a heart rate monitor, and a band with a clasp. It does everything that all the other models of Fitbit fitness trackers can do. It then adds more accurate activity tracking, a clear OLED display that shows fitness data or the current time and caller ID if you have a smartphone nearby and synched. Included is a silent alarm for wakeup calls or to remind you when you’ve reached activity milestones.
- Battery lasts for up to 5 days before needing a recharge
- Adding heart rate sensor means more accurate calculations of calorie burning activity
- Tracking changes in resting heart rate shows overall health improvements
- Automatically tracks sleep without switching modes
- Traditional watchband clasp keeps tracker on securely
- Stair counter accurately calculates the increased energy needed to go uphill
- Quickly logs exercise sessions for later downloading and comparisons
- Silent alarm is great for morning wakeup or to notifying you of completion of milestones when exercising
What’s to Like About the Fitbit Charge HR
All fitness trackers must make compromises about calculating steps and distances. If you’re performing activities that vary your normal gait, like treadmill work or walking up stairs, trackers can miscalculate the amount of activity you perform. Adding a heart rate monitor to your tracker can make calculating the actual effect of your activities easier and more accurate.
The Fitbit HR has good battery life between charges, and it’s light enough to be worn while sleeping without discomfort.
A common complaint with many fitness bands is an unsecure latch, but the Fitbit Charge HR solves that problem with a traditional watchband that keeps the tracker securely on your wrist.
What’s Not to Like
Some users with small wrists have trouble adjusting the band tightly enough to keep it from spinning around their wrist while they work out. Others don’t think the step tracking of the Fitbit Charge HR isn’t accurate enough.
The Fitbit Charge is as capable and accurate as a fitness tracker without GPS can be. It’s moderately priced, and users love it. A very high percentage of customers give it 4 or more out of 5 with more than half of users giving it 5 out of 5. For its price tag, it might be the most full-featured fitness tracker on the market.
7. Misfit Shine Activity and Sleep Monitor
The Misfit is one of a new breed of fitness trackers. It combines some elements of a Moov and the Garmin Vivofit. It has the unusual large circular disk that makes it look like a watch, but instead of hands or numerals, the disk is surrounded by a perimeter of lights that signal different levels of activity, or can tell the time.
Like the Garmin Vivofit, there’s no rechargeable battery onboard. The Misfit runs on a watch battery that you change every six months or so. The disk with all the electronic parts is removable, so it can be worn on a chain around the neck, or put in a pocket. It’s totally waterproof, too, so you can even wear it when you’re scuba diving.
- Beautiful design looks more like jewelry than a fitness tracker
- Waterproof to 50 meters, so you literally can wear it almost anywhere
- Tracks sleep as well as activity
- Replaceable battery holds a charge for six months of continuous use
- Keeps track of calories, steps and distance
- Also great for cyclists, swimmers, and racquet sports players
- The Misfit Shine is compatible with a host of smartphones and other devices for syncing and download
What’s to Like About the Misfit Shine
Reviewers use words like stunning and beautiful to describe the appearance of the Misfit. It doesn’t look anything like any of the other fitness trackers we’ve reviewed. It’s one of the only trackers that is truly waterproof, so it ends the worry of taking it swimming, diving, or just in the shower. Users like the automatic sleep detection.
The long battery life means it can be worn continuously, and users like not having to remember to turn on a sleep tracking mode by hand.
What’s Not to Like
The Misfit Shine is designed to pop in and out of its wristband holder, and some users say it does it at unexpected times.
The Misfit Shine is a popular fitness tracker, and it has one of the lower price tags we’ve seen. Most users rate the Misfit at 4 or more, with around half giving it 5 out of 5. If complaints about the difficulty in keeping the electronic parts seated in the watchband didn’t affect so many reviews, it might be one of the highest rates fitness trackers available for the price.
Once GPS capability is added to a fitness tracker, the accuracy of the measurement goes way up. The battery capacity and electronic parts require a larger form factor, so manufacturers usually just turn the tracker into a sports watch. The Polar M400 delivers great performance at a moderate price. It has a big, easily readable face that can display a lot of information at a glance.
- Supplies around the clock activity monitoring for fitness and health improvement
- Tracks your steps, distances, and altitude changes accurately using GPS technology
- Optional heart rate monitor lets you hit and maintain proper heart rate zones by adjusting your activities while observing the readout
- Synchs easily using Bluetooth
- Water resistant for swimming, running in bad weather, or bathing
- Calls up stored data to track new personal best targets
- Calculates your running index based on your heart rate and speed
What’s to Like About the Polar M400
Users like the Polar’s design, and say it’s an attractive watch in addition to being a capable fitness tracker. It has a large dial face that displays a lot more information than a typical fitness band. The addition of GPS tracking makes the Polar much more accurate, and allows for handy route tracking. Users like the ability to set up different screens showing different information, and then call up as many as eight different versions with the tap of a button.
What’s Not to Like
Many users say they wish the Polar M400 had a vibrating alarm.
The majority give the Polar M400 at least a 4 rating, with around giving it 5 out of 5. For a sports watch/fitness tracker priced well, it’s very well equipped, accurate, rugged, and attractive. If you need a higher level of accuracy than your typical fitness band, or prefer a watch face instead of a series of LEDs or a tiny readout, the Polar M 400 is perfect for you.
9. Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch
The Fitbit Surge is their top-of-the-line fitness tracker in watch form. With the addition of GPS technology, the Surge can measure your activities with superior accuracy. It can track your pace and speed in relation to elevation climb. You can set up the Surge to monitor your entire day’s activities, from exercising to taking the stairs at work. It also tracks your sleeping time to give you a fuller view of your total day’s activities.
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Has a traditional watch clasp to allow secure fit
- Measures your heart rate to deliver more accurate calorie burning information
- Automatically goes into sleep tracking mode
- Has silent alarms for waking up or to notify you of important milestones in your activities
- Accurate measurements for many sports like cycling, swimming, and running
- Backlit for use in low light
What’s to Like About the Fitbit Surge
The Fitbit Surge is barely larger than a conventional watch, so you can wear it with any type of clothing in any setting. It has an attractive, easy to read face, and it can display a lot of information at once. Users like to set up different screens to display pertinent information for whatever activity they’re doing, and then transition to the next part of their day with the touch of a button.
Users report getting about 4-5 days of use on one charge, about average for a fitness tracker.
What’s Not to Like
Users say they wish there was a stopwatch function on the watch. Others report that the heart rate monitor is less accurate during high-intensity workouts.
Fitbit is a premier name in fitness trackers, and the Surge is their best performer, and one of their biggest sellers. It gets high marks from customers, with most users giving it 4 or more, and nearly half giving it 5 out of 5. Users like the ability to track heart rate without a chest strap, and applaud the accuracy that GPS technology gives to the distance measurements.
The Fitbit Surge costs more, but users say it’s worth it.
10. Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker
The Zip is the smallest, least expensive fitness tracker that Fitbit offers. It’s a tiny clip-on device with a limited screen. It’s designed to be simple to use, with readily understandable fitness and activity information you can use to shed pounds or simply stay healthy.
It’s compatible with the most common smartphone models, and allows an element of social sharing that can make fitness routines more competitive and fun.
- Keeps track of distance traveled, steps taken, and calculates calories burned
- Bluetooth synching to your favorite device, including most smartphones and tablets
- Easy to set goals and keep track of your progress during your workout sessions or daily activities
- Just tap the display to find and select options
- Water resistant for use in any weather
- Inexpensive price tag puts it within reach of any consumer
What’s to Like About the Fitbit Zip
Users often use the words love and perfect when describing the Fitbit Zip. People who are interested in simply keeping track of their physical activity and then comparing it to the amount of calories they consume prize the Zip for its simple operation and inexpensive price.
Users say that they lover that there are no complicated functions, and the device can be controlled entirely by a few taps on its screen. When out for a run, many people like being able to track their steps and know what time it is, and nothing more. They consider the Fitbit the perfect pedometer for a simple, healthier lifestyle.
What’s Not to Like
Some users report problems with battery life.
Users love their Fitbit Zips. The great majority of customers give the device at least 4 out of 5 and a high % give the device 5 out of 5. Many reviewers directly credit use of the Fitbit Zip to an entire lifestyle change. Because the device is so uncomplicated, it offers users a single point of activity to track.
That makes it possible to increase healthy activities and maintain proper nutrition for that level of activity. It should be considered a best buy.
How to Shop for the Best Fitness Tracker For You
If you could make use of more detailed information about your fitness routines, and would like to track yourself while you’re sleeping, you can find many models between $100 and 200 that deliver amazingly detailed tracking and reliable performance.
For the most accurate data, you can move up to GPS watches like the Polar or the Fitbit Surge, and integrate fitness tracking into your everyday life by replacing your regular watch. No matter which you choose, you’ll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.