The definitive ranking of the best fitness trackers
(Image credit: Future)
The best fitness tracker will give you extra incentive to get active and provide you with a wealth of statistics on your workouts and general health so you have the data you need to achieve your fitness goals.
With so many fitness trackers on the market, it can be daunting knowing where to begin, so we’ve rounded up the top options we’d recommend to help you better understand your health. Whether it’s tracking a run, monitoring your sleep patterns or monitoring your stress levels, there’s a fitness tracker to help.
What about Black Friday 2020?
Many of the fitness trackers in this guide are likely to see big discounts over Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We’ve already seen some huge savings on FItbit, Garmin and Amazfit devices on Amazon Prime Day this year, and it’s likely that many of these deals will be repeated. Stick with TechRadar and we’ll bring you all the best fitness tracker deals as soon as they land.
Before you go any further, know that we aren’t evaluating all the highest-end wristwear like the Apple Watch 6 or Garmin Fenix 6 in this list. For that you’ll want our best smartwatch guide, or if you’re a serious athlete, our guide to the best running watches.
Right now this guide is designed to show you the best of the best that your money will get you. We’ll show you how each ranks in terms of stand-out features, specs, price, design, the quality of the software you’ll be using on your phone and much more.
The best fitness trackers at a glance
- Fitbit Charge 4
- Fitbit Charge 3
- Garmin Vivosmart 4
- Huawei Band 3 Pro
- Fitbit Inspire HR
- Garmin Vivosport
- Honor Band 5
- Xiaomi Mi Band 4
- Garmin Vivofit 4
(Image credit: Fitbit)
1. Fitbit Charge 4
Take charge with the best fitness tracker you can buy
Screen: Yes | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Battery life: Up to 7 days | Compatibility: Android/iOS/Windows
The Fitbit Charge 4 might look almost identical to the Charge 3, but there’s one very important difference: the newer device includes on-board GPS, so you can track your runs and leave your phone at home. There’s also Fitbit Pay for contactless payments, and if you do decide to take your phone along, you can control your Spotify playlist from your wrist.
It also includes a new feature called Active Zone Minutes. This is a measure of any activity faster than a brisk walk, and is based on recommendations from various health organizations. It’s essentially a simple type of heart rate training, encouraging you to spend time at different levels of exertion based on your age and fitness (as measured by the watch).
The Fitbit Charge 4 lacks a color screen, but its icons and menus are well laid out and easy to understand. Whether you’re looking for sleep tracking, the weather forecast or breathing exercises, it’s only a couple of swipes away.
Slim, neat and packed with features, the Charge 4 bridges the gap between activity bands and serious running watches, and is truly a fitness tracker for everyone.
2. Fitbit Charge 3
Feature-packed, and great for all but serious athletes
Screen: Yes | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: No | Battery life: Six days | Compatibility: Android/iOS
Although it’s now been superseded by the superb Charge 4, the Fitbit Charge 3 is still an excellent fitness tracker, and has seen some hefty price cuts following the launch of the Charge 4.
It has a more lightweight design than the Charge 2 that came before it, and offers a lot of insight into your overall health. The display is bigger and clearer than a lot of other fitness trackers on this list, though it’s still a black and white screen.
There’s no onboard GPS, like some other trackers on this list have, but it’s waterproof and offers a full fitness suite including a heart rate tracker. You can track GPS by pairing your phone with the tracker too.
You have to spend a bit extra on this than other fitness trackers you can buy in this same list, but if you enjoy the whole Fitbit app and experience and would also like access to notifications and Fitbit’s fantastic sleep tracking, you’ll want to opt for this as it’s one of the company’s best trackers ever.
3. Garmin Vivosmart 4
Tells you how much energy you do (or don’t) have
Screen: Yes | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: No | Battery life: 7 days | Compatibility: Android/iOS
Our highest ranked Garmin product in the best fitness tracker list is also one of the most accomplished in its range of health bands.
This device isn’t made for serious athletes like a variety of other products from the Garmin brand, but instead this is for those who want to be able to track the odd bit of exercise and have an attractive band to do it.
The screen is bigger on this version than other Garmin products, and it has a battery that should last you around a week depending on how much exercise you’ll be doing.
There’s also an innovative feature called body battery that helps you learn when exactly is the best time to exercise depending on how much energy you have. This is great for those who are just as interested in their recovery and general wellbeing as they are clocking up the miles.
4. Huawei Band 3 Pro
Both style and substance on a budget
Screen: Yes | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Battery life: 14 days standby | Compatibility: Android/iOS
Taking over from the Huawei Band 2 Pro is the Huawei Band 3 Pro. This is one of the best fitness trackers you can buy if you’re on a strict budget, and it has some amazing features considering how much it costs.
The Band 3 Pro comes with GPS onboard, it has a water resistant design (which means you can take it swimming) and there’s a 0.95-inch color screen to display all of your stats on your wrist.
We’ve found the heart rate monitor to be accurate, and while the GPS could be quicker at locking on we also found it to be precise. If you’re looking for an affordable entry-level device for your first foray into the world of fitness tracking, this is a great place to start.
5. Fitbit Inspire HR
Inspiration to get off the sofa
Screen: Yes | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: No | Battery life: 5 days | Compatibility: Android/iOS
This isn’t the most capable fitness tracker in our best of list, but it does a lot considering its price and you’ll get access to all of Fitbit’s top-end services.
The Fitbit Inspire HR unsurprisingly offers a heart rate tracker alongside a variety of other fitness tracking capabilities.
It isn’t as capable as the Fitbit Charge 3 as it lacks swim tracking or Fitbit Pay integration, but that’s understandable as this is much cheaper.
It features a slimmer and more comfortable design than a lot of other trackers you can buy, so if you’re after a Fitbit that won’t be heavy on your wrist you may want to consider the Inspire HR as your next fitness band.
6. Garmin Vivosport
The sportier Garmin
Screen: Yes, color touchscreen | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Water-resistant | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Battery life: 7 days | Compatibility: Android/iOS
It’s not as stylish as most of the Fitbit products, but there’s a reason the Garmin Vivosport appears in this list before products from the latter company.
This is cheaper than most Fitbit products and it comes with GPS built-in too. We found the Vivosport offers a solid seven days battery life from a single charge, even when using the GPS features.
Although it’s waterproof, it won’t track your swimming easily but the Vivosport excels for other kinds of workouts and is great for tracking your jogging and cycling. Plus we found the heart rate tracker to be accurate too.
7. Honor Band 5
One of the cheapest options on the list
Screen: Yes, color touchscreen | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: No | Battery life: 7 days | Compatibility: Android/iOS
The Honor Band 5 was a serious step up from the Band 4, with improved fitness features in many areas, as well as a color touchscreen to view all your information on.
One of the most useful features is the sleep tracking, that gives you advice to maximise your sleep time, as well as simply monitoring it like many other fitness trackers do.
The Honor Band 5 is also one of the most affordable fitness trackers on the market, so if you want an exercise monitor or sleep counter that isn’t also a bank-breaker, this is where to look.
8. Xiaomi Mi Band 4
Xiaomi’s budget fitness tracker
Screen: Yes, color touchscreen | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: Connected GPS | Battery life: 20 days | Compatibility: Android/iOS
The Xiaomi Mi Band 4 is run-of-the-mill affordable fitness tracker, in that it has a slimline design, a smallish color screen with a capacitive button, and a selection of workouts to track.
It has a few great perks for fitness buffs though, like its 20-day battery life, useful heart rate monitor and easy-to-view screen, so if you’re looking for a new heart rate monitor there are far worse devices you can buy.
It’s worth noting that a successor to the Mi Band 4, the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 5, is now available to buy. Once we’ve had a chance to test it, we’ll update this guide accordingly if we find the new fitness tracker worthy of a place.
Looks like a smartwatch, but it’s more fitness tracker
Screen: Yes, black and white | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Battery life: 1 month | Compatibility: Android/iOS
This may look more like a smartwatch than any of the other devices on this list, but as it runs its own software and has a very big focus on fitness we’ve decided to include it in our list of the best fitness trackers.
The AmazfitBip design has been influenced by the Apple Watch (there’s no denying that) and it comes packed with tons of features including GPS, an accurate heart rate tracker, multi-sport tracking, sleep tracking and VO2 Max features too.
If you’re looking for a more watch-like design than everything else on this list, the Bip will be up your street. It’s lightweight too and other highlights include the always-on display and strong battery life that should last around a month depending on your usage.
10. Garmin Vivofit 4
One of Garmin’s cheapest fitness trackers
Screen: Yes, color LCD | Heart rate tracker: No | Waterproof: Water-resistant | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: No | Battery life: 1 year | Compatibility: Android/iOS
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.