The best activity trackers on the market right now can do much more than just measure your heart rate. For example:
- accurate step counting
- reliable sleep tracking
- GPS capabilities
- calorie counting
- personalized notifications
- sports coaching
. . . are just some of the advanced capabilities of this new technology.
In general, the tools we have to help us on our path to optimal fitness, nowadays, are plentiful and ever more powerful. From elaborately formulated supplements that boost energy and muscle growth, to detailed and personalized apps that guide you through various workouts.
The variety of ways you can enhance your exercise routine increases every year.
Among these highly-technical fitness tools is the fit watch, a state-of-the-art accessory that provides more data regarding your workout than ever before possible.
10 Best Activity Trackers Reviewed
These fitness watches vary from simple activity trackers that will remember each step you take at a highly-affordable price, to meticulously detailed watches that offer hundreds of apps and serve many functions.
How you incorporate a fitness watch into your life is strictly up to you, numerous people are using them to learn more about their workouts, and ultimately, to take their fitness potential to new heights.
Let’s take a look at ten of the best fitness trackers out right now.
#10 – Plustore Fitness Activity Tracker Wristband
- Waterproof: Wear it while swimming or bathing
- Four Main Functions Including Sedentary Reminder and Sleep Monitor
- Counts Steps Without a Cell Phone
- Vibrates for Notifications
- Available in Black
The Plustore Fitness Activity Tracker Wristband does a lot of useful things for less than $40. The main thing people expect from a fitness watch is that it accurately tracks their activity, and with GPS that tracks duration, distance, calories consumed, and calories burned, you’ll have a detailed report of every workout you do.
The Plustore Activity Tracker also helps you get better on the long term, because you can keep your workouts and see how your performance improves.
This watch does a lot more than than just the basics though, with notifications for when you get a call, reminders for when you’ve been sitting too long, and even a sleep monitor to ensure that you’re recharging your body long enough to perform at your best.
Who Makes It?
PluStore specializes in watches, and innovative new types of wristbands, like fitness activity watches. Their line of products is differentiated to include numerous variations in band material, style, functions, and prices.
In addition to various watches and fitness watches, PluStore sells replacement parts, like screens and bands to keep your favorite fitness watch running.
Sporting an impressive array of functions that go above and beyond the average fitness watch, the Fitness Activity Tracker Wristband by PluStore is a top-quality product.
Not only does it track the things you depend on it for, but with sedentary reminders, sleep protection, and notifications for when you get a phone call, this activity tracker is like having a digital assistant on your wrist.
#9 – Garmin Vívofit 2 Activity Tracker
- Over One Year of Battery Life
- Move Bar Keeps you Staying Active
- Backlit Display Shows Distance, Calories, and Time
- Available in Black, Navy, White, or Pink
The primary factor justifying the higher price of the Vivofit 2 is the massive, one year of battery life. Otherwise, the watch covers all of the bases you expect from an activity band, showing calories, steps, and distance, as well as time.
One other notable factor is that the watch has a sleek, band style look more so than the look of a traditional watch. In addition to all of the info provided by the Vivofit 2 itself, it also syncs with mobile devices and Garmin Connect so you can track progress over time.
Who Makes It?
With a mantra of “Built to Last”, Garmin creates some of the most innovative watches and outdoor products in the world.
These go far beyond the fitness industry, and include nautical devices, automotive gear, and aviation equipment. For wrist bands that use the same high-tech design as the GPS used in boats and helicopters, Garmin’s Vivofit is a solid choice.
The Vivofit 2 is a top-notch fitness band that regularly updates to the Garmin Connect website to ensure you progress in the right direction. With a longer than average battery life and systematic reminders to workout, Vivofit 2 packs a lot of value in one slick looking wrist band.
#8 – Nike+ SportWatch GPS
- Water Resistant
- Tracks Heart Rate, Calories, Speed, Distance, and Your Mapped Route
- Upload Data to NikePlus.com
- Large Numbering
- 7 Styles Including Anthracite/Blue Glow and Volt/Black
From the Nike swoosh on the face of the SportsWatch GPS, you know the price is going to be a lot higher, and it is by more than double the average fitness band.
That said, Nike products are known to be of high quality, and the Nike+ SportWatch is no exception. The GPS aspect is covered by TomTom GPS, which continues to check your progress as part of the Nike+ SportWatch.
Available in seven unique styles, the SportWatch provides crucial fitness info and syncs with NikePlus.com so you can track multiple workouts over a period of time. If you also have a shoe monitor from Nike, then they can team up to provide even more accurate info, a feature that’s ideal for hardcore runners.
Who Makes It?
The most famous fitness company in the Western world, Nike rose to fame when it partnered with the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan. Since then, just having the checkmark logo on a product means the price is exponentially higher than competitors, and some athletes believe the quality is equally superior.
Much like Apple fans, fans of Nike often stick with the brand purely and will accept no other substitute. Needless to say, their products are considered top-quality and are constantly in high-demand.
If you have other Nike products, or are a serious runner wanting a premium fitness watch, then the Nike+ SportWatch GPS may be worth the exclusive price. With TomTom GPS that works equally well indoors and out, you can take the Nike+ SportWatch GPS to your favorite gym or field to measure your pace, distance, and more.
#7 – Polar M400 GPS Smart Sports Watch
- Tracks Pace, Distance, and Altitude
- Use Polar Flow App to Track and Share Progress
- Also Tracks Calories, Sleep, Steps, and More
- Available in Four Colors: Blue, Pink, White, and Black
Resembling a watch more than a wristband, the M400 GPS Smart Sports Watch by Polar has some innovative aspects that set it apart. Most notably, various social benefits come from its connectivity with the Polar Flow App, and these include the ability to share, sync, and plan workouts with friends.
Beyond that, expect a reliable sports band that tracks all the info you need to help attain your fitness goals.
Who Makes It?
From running watches to bike computers, Polar makes every variation of fitness watch or tracker imaginable. The folks at Polar are not shy about their love for runners, since their website has an entire section of blogs devoted to running info, motivation, and advice.
The social features of the Polar M400 GPS Smart Sports Watch will make it feel like your fitness secretary more than a sports band. From scheduling your workouts with other Sports Watch users via the Polar Flow App to tracking every relevant detail of your run, the M400 GPS Sports Watch advances the field of fitness accessories.
#6 – Polar A360 Fitness Tracker with Wrist Heart Rate Monitor
- Fits Various Waterproof Wristbands
- Colorful Touch Screen
- Tracks Activity 24/7 plus Sleep Quality
- Can Count Calories
- Available in Black, White, Blue, and Pink
A more expensive product than most others on the list, the A360 Fitness Tracker with Wrist Heart Rate Monitor is loaded with a lot more capabilities as well.
Anyone who does cardio knows the importance of achieving an optimal heart rate while working out, and the accurate wrist-based heart monitor is a feature not found in most other fitness watches.
The fact that it’s represented by a series of colorful bars and an interactive touch screen are innovative features that further distinguish the A360 Fitness Tracker from the rest of the pack. In addition to those highly-beneficial additions, you can expect the A360 Fitness Tracker to keep track of all the progress you’d expect from a fitness band.
Who Makes It?
Polar makes dozens of different types of fitness trackers, specializing in gear for cyclists and runners. The detail on their website is immense, and includes info on corporate wellness, advice on coaching, and a free app called Polar Beat which provides some cool tools for planning your workouts.
For a top notch fitness tracker that is immediately noticeable and sleek looking, the A360 Fitness Tracker will be an instant favorite for a lot of people. The touch screen and color make it stylish, while the heart monitor function will make your fitness tracking more accurate than ever.
#5 – Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch
- Tracks Steps, Calories, and Even Number of Floors Climbed
- Uses PurePulse for Constant Heart Rate Monitoring
- Multi-sport Tracking for Cross-Trainers, Runners, and Cyclers
- Records Workout Progress with Smart Track
- Available in Four Styles Including Blue, Black, and Plum
The name Fitbit has become pretty much synonymous with fitness watches and accessories, and the Blaze Smart Fitness Watch is arguably their best overall product. In addition to tracking the things you’d expect like distance and burned calories, it also can track floors climbed, which is a nice bonus for those who run in urban areas.
The Smart Track feature serves as a personal dashboard, storing and tracking your progress over multiple workouts. The biggest difference between watches that are $150 plus, verses less expensive brands is that the upper-scale products include a heart rate monitor, which is useful for cardio and weight loss fans. The color touchscreen is a nice effect that sets it apart as well.
Who Makes It?
As the first fitness accessory to attain mainstream popularity, Fitbit gained an early foothold on the smart watch market. Founded in 2007, Fitbit was created by tech experts who thought that new technologies could be used to improve the fitness community.
After awards, press, and a reputation as the industry’s quintessential fitness tracker, Fitbit has continued to grow and evolve with new and innovative variations.
From a colored touch screen, to the ability to track stair climbing, the Blaze Smart Fitness Watch by Fitbit is a top-quality product that further cements Fitbit’s reputation as a leader in the fitness accessory industry.
#4 – Garmin vívoactive HR GPS Smart Watch
- Long Battery Life Allows 8-Days with No Charging
- Colored Touch Screen + Water Resistant
- 24/7 Heart Rate Monitor
- Built in Sports Apps Included w/ 1300 More Downloadable
- Available in Large or Extra Large Black
With an exceptionally long battery life and a slew of apps that can help with your fitness plan, the Garmin vivoactive HR GPS Smart Watch functions more like a smart phone than a simple fitness tracker.
This is mostly because of the emphasis on connectivity and apps, as the watch gives notifications for when you have a phone call in addition to serving as a fitness watch.
Another appealing thing about this watch is that you can customize it with 1300 apps and tons of accessories, so whether you’re a runner, cross trainer, or are just trying to lose weight, this watch by Garmin can be molded to meet your needs.
Who Makes It?
Garmin makes a massive variety of products that use tracking functionality, and these products extend way beyond the fitness industry. Using the technology from their automotive and aeronautical devices, Garmin has created fitness watches and smart watches of varying prices and functionalities.
Whether you just need a simple option to count your steps, or an elaborate, $200 plus smart watch with top-notch amenities, Garmin has you covered.
While it cost more than most, the vivoactive HR GPS Smart Watch by Garmin is an exemplary smart watch that is above average in every regard. Most notably, the battery life is truly impressive, allowing for 13 hours of GPS tracking, or eight days in watch mode before needing a charge.
#3 – Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch
- Tracks Workout Progress Including Elevation and Courses
- See Notifications from your Mobile Device
- Control Music from your Watch
- Monitors Sleep and Features a Silent Alarm
- Available in Three Colors and Four Sizes
Bringing new and innovative features like Music Control, the Surge Fitness Superwatch by Fitbit is a premium fitness smart watch. The look is notably sleek, and more like a wristband than a watch, but the features are among the best you can find.
In addition to the factors you’d expect, the Surge Fitness Superwatch by Fitbit will keep track of your favorite courses, in addition to varying heights if you like running on mountains.
While most fitness watches include a sleep monitor, this one takes it a step further by including a silent alarm. Combined with connectivity with your mobile device and multiple sizes and buying options, the Surge Fitness Superwatch is an innovative fitness watch by any standard.
Who Makes It?
One of the most dominant brands in the fitness accessory market, Fitbit makes a huge array of wristbands, fitness accessories, and smart watches. Fitbit is a company that strives to innovate with its fitness products, and their website is one of the most informative out there.
If you think you’re an expert on all things related to working out, then give the Fitbit Fitness Quiz a shot on their main website.
For a top notch fitness watch from the company that made them popular, the Surge Fitness Superwatch does a lot. From monitoring sleep and heartrate, to notifying you when you get a call, the ways Fitbit’s Superwatch can enhance your life are numerous.
#2 – Garmin Forerunner 735XT
- Available as Base Model, Run Bundle, or Tri-Bundle
- Built-in Data for Various Activities
- 24/7 Heartrate Monitoring
- Connected Features Include Music Controls and Social Media Sharing
- Two Styles: Black & Grey or Midnight and Frost Blue
With a cost that’s twice that of most other fitness watches, the Forerunner 735XT by Garmin may have more features than any other. Not limited to just running, the Forerunner 735XT has data for tracking multiple sports, such as cycling, swimming, and skiing.
While that alone sets it apart from the rest, the Forerunner 735XT also makes advancements in social media capabilities. Not only can you control music and receive notifications for calls, but you can receive audio prompts and share progress on social media as well.
Who Makes It?
Garmin is an industry leader in products that use GPS technology, including but not limited to their smart watches. Their impressive line of fitness gear ranges from simple clip on activity trackers to elaborate fitness bands and watches like the Forerunner 735XT. Among the unique features on their website is a section with various maps, including cycling and outdoor maps, to assist customers.
Sporting a traditional shape and innovative features not found elsewhere, the Forerunner 735XT can be seen as the Lamborghini of fitness watches. It’s top of the line in all respects, and many will feel that it’s worthy of its hefty price.
#1 – Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband
- Counts Active Minutes, Steps, Floors, Heart-rate and More
- Monitors Sleep and Includes an Alarm
- Syncs with 150 Popular Mobile Devices
- Tracks Workouts to Measure Improvement
- Five Colors Including Blue, Plum, and Tangerine
Highly affordable for all it can do, the Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband is one of the most revolutionary accessories by Fitbit. Featuring a sleek, wristband style look rather than that of a traditional watch, the Charge HR Wristband has a noticeably smaller screen than most brands.
Don’t let that fool you though, because what it lacks in screen size it makes up for in features, including the ability to sync with your smart phone, wake you with an alarm. Most importantly, it can track all of the things that matter, ranging from steps and floors, to active minutes and calories burned.
Who Makes It?
One of the top companies for athletic accessories, Fitbit has continued to innovate since its inception. Whether you’re into sleek wristbands, fully loaded smart watches, or clip on activity trackers, Fitbit is the original company for products that track your progress.
Of all of its products, the Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband best combines a lot of the advanced features you’d expect with a sharp look and fair price.
With a huge battery life, sleek look, and ability to sync with your mobile device, the Charge HR Wristband is arguably the best all-around fitness band on the market. The fact that it’s available for just over $120 makes it one of the most affordable options as well.
Beginners Guide to Activity Trackers
Whether you give priority to the most well-rounded fitness watch, the most stylish looking, or the one that provides the most information, the fitness watches on this list are all high quality for their respective prices.
In addition to the many aforementioned criteria, purchasing options, brand, and battery life are additional considerations that will be important to a lot of people. If any of the items peak your interest, you can follow links to the product’s description on Amazon, or to the manufacturer’s website for each product.
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What Are Activity Trackers?
In 2007, the founders of Fitbit were confident that technology had reached a point where it could be applied to the world of fitness. Their new Fitbit Activity Trackers became a craze, counting steps and helping people lose weight around the world. Suddenly everyone from soccer moms to fitness nuts were using their Fitbits to ensure that they got their daily 10,000 steps.
With the popularity of smart phones, it was only a matter of time before this advanced technology was applied to watches. These days, fitness watches and wristbands can perform dozens of useful functions, with some able to download and use apps, and others automatically storing your progress on a website.
From their early beginnings where they only tracked steps, fitness accessories continue to evolve, with new and innovative features pushing the boundaries of what is possible.
Watches vs. Bands
The most obvious differentiator among the top fitness watches is their aesthetic style. For the most part, fitness watches on the list fall into the categories of resembling a either a traditional wrist watch or wristband.
While the watch style may cause some to confuse it for a typical digital watch, the bands often look like somewhat thick bracelets with a digital screen ingrained into the band. One could assume that the screen will typically be larger on fitness watches with a traditional watch design, but many will find the sleek design of the fitness bands to be more attractive.
What Types Are out There?
Once you’ve decided which fitness watch functions are must-haves, the next step will be to pick a variation.
The options are fairly limited with most of these, but black, blue, and plum are options you’ll see repeatedly among fitness watches. A few brands have unique color designs like frost blue or tangerine, but most brands offer a simple selection.
Watches that aren’t adjustable may have multiple size options, so if you’re buying online, giving your wrist a quick measure beforehand will probably be worth the time. Finally, a lot of these fitness watches come with options for accessorizing.
For example, the Nike+ SuperWatch GPS can be combined with other Nike products like the Nike Foot Monitor to provide a more accurate evaluation of your workout. Others let you customize the fitness watch with colorful bands, safety screens, and other ancillary products.
What Can They Track?
Extras between major brands will vary, but all fitness watches track the same quintessential criteria that are vital to understanding your workout. The most basic things that will be tracked by your fitness watch will be the amount of steps you’ve taken, distance you’ve traveled, and how long it took you.
Even the prototype activity trackers have those basic features. More elaborate fitness watches like the ones on this list have additional common features that are useful for tracking your lifestyle. Among these more advanced amenities, the ones most commonly seen in fitness watches are sleep monitors, heart-rate monitors, and calorie counters.
Many of the fitness bands and watches on the list track each of those six aforementioned parameters, so it’s easy to see how that data can shed light on your progress over time.
What Else Can They Do?
To differentiate between competitors, a lot of fitness watches try to incorporate unique extras that are innovative or rare in the industry. One that significantly effects the value and price of some fitness watches is whether they have a color touch screen or not. Some of these smart watches that have a touch screen also have a series of apps you can download and use, all on your watch or wristband.
Another advanced option shared by some of the best fitness watches is the ability to sync with your favorite mobile devices, including most popular smart phones and tablets.
Watches that can sync with mobile devices do more than just track fitness info, as they can alert you to various phone notifications as well.
Finally, sleep functions are another area where some watches excel, with some going beyond sleep monitoring to offer a silent alarm to make sure you’re up for your workout.
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How Can a Fitness Watch Help You?
From the first time you wear your fitness watch to go on your favorite hike or jogging course, the data it relays to you will be a real eye-opener. For example, knowing the exact amount of miles you’ve hiked will serve as a valuable reference for knowing what you can handle, and for planning future adventures.
The other, and perhaps most important way a fitness watch can help you is that it holds you accountable. Without a fitness watch, skipping a couple of days of exercise can easily go unnoticed, but with the watch tracking your steps, you have can see at a glance how consistent you’ve been with your workout.
This additional accountability is arguably the greatest benefit of a fitness watch, because with the calories you’ve burned and steps you’ve taken all clearly on display, there is no room to make excuses for lack of action. The fitness watch shows you whether the workouts have been done, and enables you to track them over a period of time to show progress and hold you accountable.
Who Can Benefit Most from Fitness Trackers?
While not everyone who is into working out will get full benefit from a fitness watch, for some it will be a valuable tool with the potential to change their lives for the better. Among these, the people who are losing weight are the largest demographic, as a good fitness watch can hold people accountable for getting in their daily exercise.
There are a lot of features and reasons to want a fitness watch, but these types of consumers stand to gain the most from owning one.
Those Who Are Losing Weight
Packing all of the accountability without the pressure, a fitness watch can be the perfect substitute for an expensive personal trainer. Even the simplest versions can count your steps, and when you follow the simple rule of getting your 10,000 steps per day while following a healthy diet low in carbs, the weight has to come off.
Thousands of people have lost weight with the assistance of a good fitness watch, so consider this one of the top tools for those who need to get healthy. This is especially true for the fitness watches that monitor heart rate and count calories.
Runners and Walkers
With all the elaborate details fitness watches can provide regarding your distance, time, and even elevation climbed, it’s easy to see the appeal of a fitness watch for runners and hikers.
Whether you run for speed and want to record your times on the same course, or you simply like seeing the visual representation of how many miles you’ve hiked, a fitness watch can be of enormous benefit to a runner or hiker.
Many fitness watches track elevation as well, so that’s a great feature if your favorite hiking spots are mountainous.
Athletes Who Care About Their Progress
While a lot of us maintain some level of fitness, athletes who are training for competition have a real need for improvement at the physical skills they practice. The old school method of tracking your progress involved a stop watch, notebook, and probably a partner, but these days, fitness watches can play this role perfectly.
If you’re not a runner, there are even some watches that transcend running. One example is the Forerunner 735XT by Garmin, a fitness watch that has data pre-programmed to track swimming, skiing, cycling, and racket sports, among others.
Related: Morning vs. Evening Workouts
What to Look for In a Good One?
If all the fitness watches were of a similar price range, then mentioning budget wouldn’t be an issue, but fitness watches actually vary greatly in price. The margin is significant, with some of the least expensive fitness watches costing less than $40, and some of the upper scale watches priced at over $400.
The most expensive features seem to involve the touchscreen, sleep alarm, and elaborate social media options and apps. With such a massive difference in the price of the top ten fitness watches, it makes it even more important that you know exactly which features you care about so you don’t over spend.
What Are Some Popular Brands?
Fitness watches are a relatively new product in general, and the companies that make high-quality fitness watches are few and far between.
Although only a few companies currently develop highly-rated fitness watches, they are comprised of heavy hitters that most people will recognize.
The most popular companies that sell fitness watches include Nike, Fitbit, Garmin, and Polar.
While some companies sell everything sports related, like Nike, others like Garmin focus on all products related to GPS technology, including automotive and boating equipment. Fitbit is a company that exclusively focuses on activity trackers and wrist watches, and three of their fitness watches made the top ten list.
Each item on the list provides a link for learning more about the company who makes it.
From style to features, the products on this list are vastly different aside from the fact that they all track your workouts. Maybe you’re interested in a sleep monitor, or prefer a wrist band over a standard looking watch.
Those who are exercising for weight loss or to enhance their cardio will be especially interested in the heart rate monitor. For people who aren’t into running, some fitness watches have a cross training feature that allows you to track miles of cycling, swimming, or climbing, among other activities.
Ultimately, only you know the reasons why you want a fitness watch, and with a little research, perhaps you’ll be able to find the perfect one that can track and enhance your workouts while looking awesome.
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