Which are the Best Fitness Trackers and Watches for Everyone

The best fitness trackers offer a number of benefits that can help users achieve their health and wellness goals. These include tracking steps, sleep habits, heart rate and other health metrics as well as providing motivation through the use of gamification. They also work in tandem with compatible smartphone apps that centralize the data they collect and allow users to chart their progress over time.

The most useful fitness trackers are versatile, comfortable to wear, have a long battery life and fit your personal style. They can also be relatively inexpensive, although that will vary depending on the functionality you need. The most important factor when selecting a fitness tracker is whether or not it will provide the value you are looking for.

Fitness trackers are generally broken down into four categories: fitness trackers, GPS watches, smartwatches and standalone heart rate monitors. Fitness trackers are typically less expensive than most other types of wearables and offer basic tracking capabilities for things like steps, calories burned, flights of stairs climbed and more. The most affordable fitness tracker on our list is the Amazfit Band 7 which offers an impressive feature set at a sub-$50 price point.

More advanced wearables like the Garmin Fenix 7 are more tailored to serious athletes. It features waterproofing, built-in GPS and a detailed display of workout stats such as VO2 Max and training load. More casual athletes may find its bulkiness and high price tag off-putting, whereas a simpler, more lightweight device like the Polar H10 could be a better option.

List of the Top Best Fitness Trackers and Watches According to their Budget and Usage

Best Budget Fitness Trackers

Fitbit Inspire 3

If you have a specific workout goal in mind, choose a fitness tracker that will help you reach your goals. If you want to improve your endurance and strength, for example, consider a device that includes heart rate monitoring. Likewise, if you want to monitor your blood oxygen levels, stress level and sleep cycle, look for a wearable with those features.

The Fitbit Inspire 3 is a small, lightweight fitness tracker that offers an excellent combination of affordability, battery life and color display. This is a great pick for people who are looking to take their first steps into health and fitness tracking without a huge device on their wrist or a big dent in their energy bills.

It does the basics well offering daily step counts in line with other devices and a solid sleep monitoring system that features sleep stage breakdowns and scores along with SmartWake and guided breathing features. There is also basic activity tracking, a list of 21 workout modes and some general wellness and fitness insights like heart rate variability, skin temperature variation, blood oxygen levels and Daily Readiness Scores.

There is the option to keep the screen on at all times, which I found to be convenient and functional though it does put a severe drain on the battery life. The Inspire 3 can also pair with your smartphone for phone calls and text notifications, though I did find the call quality to be lacking compared to other wearables. It also lacks features like on-wrist payments and an always-on virtual assistant (although it does have a feature that lets you use your finger to tap on the display and access a limited set of key functions).

A subscription to Fitbit Premium is optional and opens up the Inspire 3’s augmented reality capabilities, a few extra mindfulness workouts from Calm and breakdowns of long-term fitness and sleep data. I recommend avoiding this upgrade for those who aren’t particularly interested in these features and want to keep things simple and low-cost.

Best Fitness Tracker for Android Users

Google Pixel Watch 2

Google’s Pixel Watch 2 isn’t a major overhaul, but it adds some important improvements that are worth considering if you’re in the market for a new smartwatch. It’s lighter and has improved battery life, while also offering some proactive safety features that you won’t find on many other Android wearables.

The most significant change from last year’s model is the inclusion of a more durable aluminum case that should withstand accidental bumps and scratches better than the glass-and-metal design of the original. It’s also five grams lighter, thanks to the switch from stainless steel to an aluminum frame.

There’s also a new magnetic puck that holds the Pixel Watch 2 more firmly than the weaker magnets found on last year’s version. However, the puck still won’t stay attached to the watch if it’s rotated to the side with the cable below the crown.

An improved heart rate sensor is also a welcome addition, as it can track more data like your blood oxygen levels and skin temperature, which are often affected by stress. Additionally, the watch’s continuous electrodermal activity (cEDA) sensor can detect stress throughout the day and suggest relaxation activities like breathing exercises or mindfulness sessions.

The Pixel Watch 2 offers some extra workout tracking options, including coaching tools to help you stay within your heart rate zone and run at a specific pace. It can also record your electrocardiogram (ECG), which is a good way to monitor irregular heart rhythms. Other health and fitness tracking features include sleep monitoring, high and low heart rate alerts, overnight blood oxygen levels, and built-in GPS for outdoor workouts.

Best Fitness Tracker for Iphone Users

Apple Watch Series 9 41mm GPS

If you’re buying an Apple Watch Series 9 41mm GPS for the first time, or upgrading from a prior model, this year’s version offers some significant improvements. It is faster than previous models and has better battery life. It also has new ways to interact with the device, including a double-tap gesture that lets you control apps and functions by meeting your thumb and index finger in the air. It’s an intuitive and powerful addition. This and other new features are powered by a more powerful S9 silicon chip with ultra-wideband support for better location accuracy.

The S9 chipset also enables better Siri functionality. Commands that don’t require information from the internet are processed on-device for quicker response times, and dictation is 25 percent more accurate. Also, a four-core Neural Engine handles key machine learning tasks up to twice as fast as the S8’s neural engine. And a barometer, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, and altimeter continue to provide the same tracking and measurement capabilities as before.

Other hardware upgrades include an always-on LTPO OLED display that’s super crisp and vivid, and the ability to customize complications (app-specific shortcuts) on your watch face. New health monitoring sensors allow the watch to detect and notify you of an irregular heartbeat, walking steadiness, and EKG readings, and it can connect to emergency services for a call or SOS alert with the press of a button. Lastly, it’s equipped with a faster wireless charging case for true all-day battery life.

Best Fitness Smartwatch for Samsung Phone Users

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 is a decent smartwatch at a great price. Its UI is easy to navigate and the vibration motor for notifications feels strong and reliable (though it doesn’t feel as nice as Apple’s Taptic Engine). It lets you quickly and easily reply to texts, emails or messages via premade quick replies or emojis and has a full QWERTY keyboard with surprisingly good autocorrect. You can also create custom workouts with the track run mode and customize your heart rate zones for better real-time training feedback. And while the Watch 6 series isn’t catching up to its competition in terms of heart rate and GPS accuracy, it does offer some useful fitness features like Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications to flag abnormal rhythm fluctuations that might signal atrial fibrillation.

Health remains a big focus for the Galaxy Watch 6. It offers a wide range of sensors including optical and electrical heart rate, barometer, accelerometer, gyro and geomagnetic sensor as well as a microphone for audio coaching during workouts. And while some of its sleep tracking metrics could be a little more detailed, it is able to deliver meaningful feedback on your sleep quality each morning and can help you identify what’s hurting your rest. It also adds new Sleep Messages and Sleep Coaching, as well as a Sleep Consistency score that shows you how consistent your sleep cycle is each night.

Other additions to the Galaxy Watch 6 include Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications, a potential life-saving feature that flags irregular heart rhythm fluctuations that might indicate atrial fibrillation. And for women, it offers more accurate menstrual cycle tracking based on skin temperature measurements. And like other Samsung watches, the Galaxy Watch 6 supports wireless syncing to Samsung’s comprehensive Samsung Health app where you can find all your health and fitness data in one place.

Best Fitness Tracker and Running Watch

Garmin Forerunner 255 Review

Like nearly all Garmin non-touchscreen models the Forerunner 255 has buttons instead of a display, and it works well. It’s not as responsive as a touchscreen, but it is lag-free and you can tap the buttons on the sides of the case to navigate the menus. It has a selection of default watch faces you can choose from.

The 255 has a few GB of storage for music, and it can pair with the Garmin Running Dynamics Pod, which lets you see cadence and stride data right on your wrist. It’s the first time Garmin has brought this feature to its mid-range runners, and it makes the 255 more useful than older GPS running watches.

One of the biggest changes is new training features adapted from Garmin’s top-end Forerunner 955 series. You can now see morning readiness to train based on a variety of factors including HRV (heart-rate variability) and sleep stages, plus trended HRV to give you an overall view of your fitness. The 255 also supports headphone connectivity for audio routing, and you can use Garmin Pay to make contactless payments with a supported card when you’re on the go.

The 255 doesn’t have the advanced software tools found in the Fenix 7 and epix series of tactical GPS watches, but it’s closing in on them in terms of sports functionality and health tracking. For example, it can now store and access a few workouts from Garmin Connect IQ, as well as provide VO2 Max calculations. If you want a more casual look at stats, check out the new Garmin Venu 2, which has a brighter OLED screen and takes a slightly different approach to apps and navigation with a more “smartwatch” bent.

Best fitness Tracker watch for casual users

Garmin Venu Sq 2

The Garmin Venu Sq 2 is a smartwatch that delivers a suite of fitness and health monitoring features without costing you much. It boasts an extensive list of trackable health and fitness metrics like heart rate, stress levels, sleep monitoring and VO2 Max tracking along with a suite of connected features that allow you to get more out of your workouts.

The Venu Sq is the second iteration of Garmin’s first square-ish wearable and gets a major upgrade from its predecessor with a brighter AMOLED display. The display looks a lot more premium than you’d expect from an entry-level Garmin watch and can be read quite well outdoors thanks to its high brightness settings. The touchscreen display is how you interact with the Venu Sq, though two physical buttons flank the screen for yes/confirmation and back/escape functions respectively. Long pressing one of those buttons will take you to a controls menu or, if you hold it down for longer, to a menu that lets you access a set of preloaded fitness and wellness apps and settings.

As well as a healthy dose of exercise apps (for running, swimming and cycling) you can find fitness profiles for snowboarding, skiing and rowing too. You can also choose from a wide range of downloadable exercise routines including aerobic, strength, yoga and HIIT workouts.

Notable omissions from the Venu Sq 2 include an altimeter which could be a deal breaker for anyone looking to track their steps or elevation, and it doesn’t have Garmin’s popular Golf mode which is a big plus for those who like to play the sport. Despite these missing features the Garmin Venu Sq 2 is still a solid choice for fitness fans that want to level up from their basic wearables and take their workouts to the next level.

Best Fitness Tracker Outdoor Athletes

Garmin Fenix 7S Pro

Garmin’s Fenix series has long been the premium flagship in the company’s lineup – offering a wide range of sports profiles, metrics, training and analysis insights with battery life that can keep you away from charging for weeks at a time. And the Fenix 7S Pro is no exception, with a slew of new features that aren’t yet available on other Garmin devices (some of which will eventually make their way to older models).

The most significant change is that you can now tweak pretty much every setting on the device from your smartphone, not just sport/activity profiles but widgets and deeper system settings as well. And while the 1.3-inch, 260×260-resolution transflective display still isn’t as bright as the AMOLED on the Epix series, it’s an impressively clear screen for a sports watch and it offers a huge amount of functionality for the price.

Running has been enhanced with the addition of Hill Score and Endurance Score software metrics, cycling has seen a bump in Grit and Flow metrics and swim tracking has received a big boost thanks to a waterproof rating of 100m and new features such as Swim Count. Plus, the preloaded TopoActive maps offer runners access to downloadable routes and terrain data while Up Ahead will give trail runners at-a-glance insight into points of interest on their route.

Other features are mostly unchanged, including a music app with offline Spotify and Deezer support as well as contactless payments through Garmin Pay. And, like other recent Fenix devices, it can act as a second screen with your smartphone via Wi-Fi mirroring, meaning you’ll be able to see notifications as well as navigate your phone’s homescreen and apps without interrupting your workout.

What’s the Best Non-Wrist Fitness Tracker?

We’ve reviewed a ton of fitness trackers and found that the best option for you depends on what you’re looking for. You might want to focus on sleep and recovery or you may need a more specialized device that can help you do something like monitor your menstrual cycle or food sensitivities.

Most of the devices in our review are wrist-based, but we also found an excellent option in the form of a smart ring that doesn’t need to be worn on your wrist. The Oura Ring Gen 3 is discreet and can help you understand how well you’re sleeping and can even connect to Natural Cycles for streamlined tracking of your menstrual cycle.

You’ll find that many of the models in our reviews are designed with a conscious eye for style, too. We’re seeing more and more sleek, comfortable trackers that are a lot less bulky than the clunky, obnoxious ones of old. And they come in a wide array of materials, colors and shapes that can match your personality and style.

Best Fitness Tracker Overall

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 does more than just tracking steps, calories burned, and heart rate—it acts as a smartwatch with the ability to read and respond to texts and emails, set calendar reminders, control your smart home devices, make hands-free calls, and pay for products with your phone. It has an impressive battery life, too.

SELF editors love the Samsung’s intuitive, easy-to-navigate app experience, which displays all your logged data in one place. We also like the fact that it’s comfortable to wear and fits well on most wrist sizes.

Best fitness tracker with advanced fitness-tracking features

The Garmin Fenix 7 stands out among other fitness trackers in its class for its comprehensive set of built-in exercise features: sleep and activity tracking, unique coaching insights, visual race time predictors, training plans, stress, hydration, blood oxygen level, and respiration monitoring; it even includes an FDA-approved ECG for on-demand heart rhythm assessments. You can also download continents’ worth of maps onto its internal memory to plan hiking, biking, and running routes so you can leave your smartphone at home.

The Xiaomi Mi Band 8 is a great-looking, affordable fitness tracker with a beautiful full-color display and a roomy form factor for all-day SpO2 and heart rate monitoring plus lots of useful workout modes (including running, cycling, cross-training, rowing, and swimming). It also has an impressively accurate sleep tracker that collects over 96 metrics per night, plus a helpful’readiness’ feature that helps you determine whether exercise or rest is more important.

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