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10 Best Activity Trackers Tested & Analyzed

last updated Oct 15, 2018

Technology is consistently changing so it hard to invest in a pricey (yet beneficial) product knowing it may soon outdated by newer tech.

GPS watches, activity trackers, fitness trackers, and smartwatches have all been evolving during the past decade. It seems like a new model comes out every season—but their features all remain relatively similar, with only a few improvements or changes here and there.

These products are able to log your specific data and keep track of your activities. They can track critical fitness and improve metrics such as sleep quality, count your steps, how many calories you have burned, your pace, distance, and even your heart rate!

Other models may even provide you with real-time updates and manage your workout music. These have a long way in a relatively short amount of time, with new functions and features introduced all the time. Although it’s hard to keep up, it sometimes works best to focus on what you need.

Researched Sources
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Products Evaluated
Last Updated: August 27, 2018
By Ksenija Trajkovska:

This update brings you a solid addition to the team. We have added the Suunto Traverse Alpha. The reason we added this activity tracker and watch is because of its high-quality build, durability, and hunting and fishing activity tracking capabilities. 09/27/18 In this update we've included some more relevant information on the products available as well as brought this information to a more modern format. We love our new and improved look and we hope you will too.

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In Depth Review Top 10
  • Suunto Traverse Alpha
  • Suunto Ambit 3 Peak
  • Garmin Forerunner 230
  • Polar V800
  • Apple Watch Series 3
  • Suunto Spartan Ultra
  • TomTom Spark 3: Cardio + Music
  • FitBit Flex 2
  • Soleus GPS Pulse + HRM
  • Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Top 10 Picks

1. Suunto Traverse Alpha

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
99
1. Suunto Traverse Alpha
Features
99
Use
99
best offer for today
more shops
$355.47
$499.00
Best deal
$499.00
Best deal
Pros:

GPS detection

Built and tested to military standards

Temperature detection

Bluetooth radio

Water resistant up to 100m

Red backlight

Cons:

A pricey investment

The Suunto Traverse Alpha has become number one on our list due to its overall strength on the market in terms of customer feedback, testing, and features. We are sure you will love this watch and activity tracking gadget, so have a read below.

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Features
This watch is built for style and toughness with the quality nylon straps, waterproofing, and stainless steel bezel. With a GPS tracker in this watch, you can keep track of where you are on a hike. Using breadcrumb technology, you will easily find your way back to safety and be able to save points of interest. To determine the best hunting or fishing times, there is a moon phase calendar that also detects and shares the temperature.

Use
This tracker has a rechargeable Li-on battery that, when used in time mode, can last up to 14 days. When in GPS mode, the minimum battery life comes out to about 10 hours. The Suunto Traverse Alpha has been tested in Finland, and it is built with extreme care, and it has also been tested to military standards, so you can be sure that you will have a durable watch on your hands with the alpha.

Price
Although the price of this piece is fairly high, the durability and features that come with it definitely reflect that cost. It is a tracker meant to stand up to the outdoors and is great gear to bring along on any outdoor treks.

2. Suunto Ambit 3 Peak

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97
2. Suunto Ambit 3 Peak
Features
97
Use
97
best offer for today
Pros:

Great for multi-sport or triathlon training

Accurate readings

Altitude and route-finding features for backcountry adventures

A plethora of tracking, mapping and condition features at your fingertips

Good software with Suunto’s connected App

Water-resistant up to 100m

Cons:

Some find the size bulky

Some have had issues with wireless storm notifications

Trail runners and mountaineers are drawn to Suunto’s line of watches for their cutting-edge map and elevation features. The Suunto Ambit 3 Peak watch is well known for its compass, altitude monitor and route navigation feature. It’s also popular among other types of athletes for its multi-sport capabilities.

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Features
The watch has the ability to track back for route-finding, and when connected to the Movescount App also provides new route discovery with heatmaps and training programs. The Suunto Ambit 3 Peak monitors heart rate while swimming, has Bluetooth features while cycling, and can log multiple sports in one session, making it a crowd-pleaser for triathletes. Smartphone notifications and a variety of language options are available. It also has 5-second GPS accuracy and weather information, and the app allows you to take photos with GPS/workout information that you can combine into a movie.

Use
The manufacturer reports a 30-hour battery life with 5-second GPS accuracy. At 1-minute GPS accuracy, the battery life jumps to 200 hours. With water resistance up to 100m, you won't have to worry about water or weather damage in most cases and although the face isn't sapphire crystal it is still mineral crystal and is very durable.

Price
The Ambit 3 Peak is not the most expensive Suunto watch, but it certainly carries a higher price tag when compared with watches that don’t track altitude or offer advanced map functions. If you find yourself outdoors and gaining elevation in your workouts, this watch should give you a good bang for your buck.

3. Garmin Forerunner 230

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
3. Garmin Forerunner 230
Features
97
Use
95
best offer for today
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Pros:

Lightweight,  comfortable design

Bluetooth compatibility

Long battery life

Excellent water resistance

Reliable GPS tracking

Cons:

Must be connected to the internet to track elevation changes

No virtual trainer

This watch was rated as one of the top middle-level GPS watches at the end of 2016, and for good reasons. Garmin's 230 is a double duty watch with activity tracking and GPS abilities.It does an excellent job keeping track of essential data such as sleep data, distance, as well as other performance stats.

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Features
This watch features a 44% larger screen than the popular Garmin 220. It’s been tested and approved by females with smaller wrists and it is one of the lightest GPS watches in its class. The Forerunner 230 also has a useful “Find My Phone” feature and is compatible with android and IOS, with the ability to deliver Bluetooth smart phone notifications. It does not feature a wrist-based heart rate tracker, but does have the option to purchase a chest strap for monitoring your heart rate. Available in three attractive color options: Purple Strike, Force Yellow, and Black & White.

Use
The battery life is excellent (5 weeks battery life in watch mode and 16 hours in training mode). It's mostly ready to use right out of the box with easy GPS connectivity and syncing functionality. Although it isn't completely waterproof, it is water-resistant.

Price
Given all of the features of this product, most agree it’s a great deal for a reliable middle-level GPS watch.

4. Polar V800

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.5
4. Polar V800
Features
96
Use
95
best offer for today
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Pros:

Scratch-resistant Gorilla glass lens

Wrist heart rate monitor that works while swimming

Excellent test options

“Computer-like” capabilities

Waterproof up to 30m

Cons:

Many features must be must be set up on web first

Steps and sleep only viewable via app

This watch was designed for serious sports enthusiasts and professional athletes in mind. The Polar V800 offers a rugged, solid-feeling design with quick GPS activation and device-pairing. It’s one of the first watches to offer heart rate data while swimming without use of a chest strap and also measures altitude data.

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Features
Multi-sport activity tracking, high performance with swimming, running cadence detection, route finding, high speed GPS, and training load and recovery status functions are part of what make this watch hugely popular. It also features a 5-minute fitness test and an orthostatic fitness test, other unique features that are applauded by elite athletes. Polar offers its own series of apps and smartphone compatibility, along with the traditional activity tracking options like calories burned, sleep tracking and a reliable GPS system.

Use
The manufacturer reports the battery life to be 14 hours when the watch is fully utilized. Some reviewers stated that they charged the watch about once a week. It is waterproof up to 30 meters making it a good choice for outdoor runners. Users were impressed by the durability of the watch and liked the reliable extended use.

Price
In the same price class as the Garmin 735XT and offering a number of unique features, it’s somewhat easy to sell this based on its advanced level of functions. It may not be the best option for the amateur athlete or those who are looking for their first activity tracker.

5. Apple Watch Series 3

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
5.  Apple Watch Series 3
Features
95
Use
95
best offer for today
$348.00
Pros:

Great quality and durability

Excellent display

8GB of storage

Easy pairing to iPhone

Attractive and stylish

Water-resistant 50m

Cons:

Pricey

Short battery life in comparison to other options

Must have an iPhone 5s or later to use

The third generation of the Apple Watch Series still has all the features the series 2 has to offer while also improving its fitness tracking. For Apple users looking to enhance their activities, this is a great option with endless features.

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Features
This watch can do almost anything. From emails to counting your steps to tracking your sleep. If you can think of it then it can probably do it. It is first and foremost a smart watch that has improved its fitness and health tracking this time around.

Use
Unfortunately it has a battery life of less than 24 hours so you will need to make sure you charge it each day. The battery life is a sign that this watch is probably more convenient for people who like to use technology to manage many areas of their everyday routine. It is also water resistant up to 50m. You will require an iPhone 5s or later to use this device.

Price
This is an expensive smart watch that is well worth the cost if you want something with all of the essential and useful features it has to offer. It may be more worth the price for runners who would enjoy using a smartwatch in every aspect of their life and less for athletes who want to casually track their fitness.

6. Suunto Spartan Ultra

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.5
6. Suunto Spartan Ultra
Features
93
Use
94
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Pros:

Fun customizable watch face screen

Better touch screen and buttons when compared to lower end Suunto watches

Great multi-sport use

Screen is easy to see even in direct sun

Durable sapphire crystal face

Cons:

Very Expensive

Advanced features can be tricky to set up

This product is pre-programmed with 80 different sport options for tracking your training, intervals and competition. It features high-end capabilities, including barometric altitude, with a gorgeous colored touch-screen.

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Features
In addition to supporting a huge number of different types of sports, the watch features smartphone interchanges, customizable watch faces, 100m water resistance, Suunto Movescount access for a large area of training data including recovery progress, and unique features to compare and tap you’re your community of athletes.

Use
Battery life is reported to range from 26 hours in training mode to 15 days when in watch mode. The face is made of ultra-durable sapphire crystal housed in bezel aluminum.

Price
The watch is top-notch in its class, but many still consider it too expensive. Expect to pay about twice as much for this watch as the Suunto Ambit 3, but you will have more high-end features.

7. TomTom Spark 3: Cardio + Music

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
7. TomTom Spark 3: Cardio + Music
Features
93
Use
91
best offer for today
Pros:

Exercise with music without another device

Good GPS performance

Easy to skip over music tracks

Syncs easily to your music library

Cons:

Heart rate works better for cardio than for weight lifting

No phone notifications

Many users ended up having to replace the band

For the athlete that likes to rock out to some good tunes while they workout, the TomTom Spark 3 may be their new favorite sidekick. This watch has the ability to play up to 500 songs from the watch using wireless headphones. Leave your phone at home for a more hands-free music experience to focus on your workout.

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Features
The TomTom Spark 3 boasts multi-sport capabilities, plus the traditional features like steps, active minutes and calories burned. Monitor your heart rate on the watch screen without the use of a chest strap. Use the GPS in real-time and find your way back to the start if you get lost with route-finding functions. Enjoy all of these features while having access to your music library without having to mess with your phone.

Use
The manufacturer reports that the battery life is up to 3 weeks when not in GPS mode, and 5 hours when all of features are being used simultaneously (music, heart rate and GPS). It's waterproof up to 40m. Many users found that the band that comes with the watch isn't very durable and that they ended up having to replace it.

Price
Expect to pay more for the heart rate monitor and music headphone bundle version, but the features of this phone exceed the norms for this price class.

8. FitBit Flex 2

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.5
8. FitBit Flex 2
Features
91
Use
92
best offer for today
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$99.99
Best deal
Pros:

Jewelry options for those who don’t like watches

Waterproof for swimming laps

Wristband has a good fit, can be worn loose or snug

Minimalistic yet informative

Strong, effective vibrations

Cons:

Unable to view real-time data on wristband

This basic FitBit model has more features than meets the eye. It’s the thinnest, most lightweight FitBit on the market at a surprisingly economical price given all of its capabilities. The most unique aspect of this device is that the ultra-thin removable tracker can be worn as jewelry instead of a watch.

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Features
The FitBit Flex 2 includes all-day activity tracking including heart rate monitoring without a chest strap, automatic sleep tracking, distance and steps, calories burned, and is waterproof and swimming-approved. LED color-coded lights and vibration settings notify you when you’ve received a call or a text message and “move” reminders can be set. The removable tracker can be inserted into a stylist bangle or pendant, or users can wear the traditional slim wristband. Sync wirelessly to the app for additional features.

Use
The manufacturer reports that the battery life is good for up to 5 days. Some users reported needing to charge it every 2-3 days, depending on activities and use. The water-resistance is good for swimmers and outdoor use. Many users found this tracker to be very durable, getting years of use out of it.

Price
This device has excellent value given all of the product features. Most reviewers were pleased with what they got out of this piece for the cost.

9. Soleus GPS Pulse + HRM

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
9. Soleus GPS Pulse + HRM
Features
91
Use
90
best offer for today
Pros:

GPS accuracy

Heart rate monitoring via wrist

Water resistant up to 30m

Quality design

Made of durable materials

Cons:

GPS connectivity can be slow to start up

Difficult to customize settings with the use of 4 buttons

Not as many options with apps and data viewing

Expensive

If you’re looking for a simple watch that has the ability to measure wrist heart rate without a chest strap, look into the Soleus GPS Pulse and Heart Rate watch. This no-frills tracker is not smartphone compatible, but gets the job done when it comes to training monitoring.

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Features
This device measures the basic metrics we look for in a running workout (distance, speed, intervals, calories, heart rate, and water resistant to 30m). The technology in the wrist heart rate sensor is one of the most popular features of this watch.

Use
Several sources report 8 hours of battery life with continuous GPS use. The face is made with durable mineral crystal and is water resistant up to 30m.

Price
The best value for a watch that measures heart rate via wrist sensor. However, don’t expect it to perform like the fancier upper-end trackers.

10. Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.5
10.  Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro
Features
90
Use
89
best offer for today
$199.98
Pros:

You get off-line support from Spotify

Very nice design with reliable features

Updated

Fairly durable construction

Cons:

Setting up the processor could be more user-friendly

This is a new model updating from the previous version.

Very friendly and appealing design features. For visual ease, you get an Amoled-display-face which means instant clarity for seeing those important stats.

You won't need to bring a phone to access GPS capability, this feature is built into the  Fit Pro-2.  Very accurate and reliable heart rate monitoring through a designed in a high-performing sensor.

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Features
A nice vertical interface with highly responsive touchscreen functionality put the apps into sleep mode easily by holding your hand over the full screen. You get a charging system, designed with fail-proof magnetic tech, whatever the alignment it will charge up. This device can function as a stand-alone source for good music and works with wireless headphones. Comes pre-loaded with MayMyRun, UA Record/Endomondo, Speedy-Go. The upgrade shows Samsung has doubled the earlier IP68-rating, it's now MIL-STD 810G level certification.

Use
In the previous model battery life was challenged when constantly using GPS and wi-fi, this was cutting battery life to around 6 to 8 hours. A new software update has been created to tackle this issue and prolong the battery life. It has a durable silicone band and is water-resistant, making it a great choice for outdoor runners.

Price
The price is standard and the update makes this a worthwhile consideration for adding to your running gear.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Features

One of the best parts about getting a new “grown-up toy” is all the fun features!

Our list of activity trackers are no exception, and the list of bells and whistles on some of these products on the market today seems to be endless. Determining what your specific use (or uses) is for an activity tracker will help you decide which model best suits your needs. Most of the features can be lumped into three different groups – these include features pertaining to health metrics and bodily vitals, the specific sport or activity you are tracking, and then a catch-all “other” category for features that do not fit cleanly into either of the aforementioned categories but which are definitely still important.

Above all, the most important part of having an activity tracker with so many features is being able to depend on it, that they are accurate and reliable. A major component of gauging and ranking the products on our list is not only ranking them off of which features and the number of features that each model comes equipped with, but whether or not these features give you accurate numbers, distances, and scores.

Let’s first talk about vitals and body function tracker features. These include such statistics as heart rate, calories burned, and can possibly get as in-depth as BMI and body fat percentage. These will help you stay in the know about your overall health and how your fitness is improving (or possibly alert you to potential problems or issues you would not have known about otherwise). Take monitoring your heart rate, for instance (which, with some of the activity trackers on our list, means regularly taking an orthostatic fitness test that simply measures and tracks heart rate).

Knowing when it is elevated will alert you to when your activity levels are increasing, the intensity of your training is increasing, and ultimately when you are burning more calories. It will also tell you a bit about your overall fitness level, especially when tracked and monitored over time: if, over the course of several weeks, you start to see a lessened heart rate while participating in the same activities and intensity levels of activities, then this indicates you are increasing your cardiovascular fitness levels (aka “getting into better shape”). However, knowing your heart rate on a consistent day to day basis will also help you know if something is not quite right. For example, if you notice that, while at rest, you have a heart that is well under 60 beats per minute (edging closer to 50) then you might be at risk for having bradycardia – an abnormally slow heart rate that might result in the heart not being able to adequately pump oxygen to your muscles.

Reversely, if your resting heart rate is over 100 beats per minute, you might have tachycardia and be at risk for increased fatigue, dizziness, and even as serious consequences as fainting or cardiac arrest. Activity trackers that are more high end may also provide specific fitness tests. Certain brands, like the Polar Fitness Tracker on our list, will test your VO2 Max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen your body is able to use, and thus, the maximum power output your muscles can generate. The fitter you are, the more oxygen your body can pump, and thus, the greater amount of power you can generate. In short, your VO2 Max will tell you how fit your cardiovascular system is, which is a big deal for endurance athletes. Knowing your health metrics and bodily vitals can be especially helpful for those who purchase an activity tracker to help with weight loss goals.

Other metrics that your activity tracker should include are those that track your sport of choice. Depending on what your needs are, this can mean distance traveled, the number of steps taken, elevation change, and laps swam. Most often this means the inclusion of a GPS and GPS satellite technology. Obviously, base your purchase off of what you need your tracker to do for you. If you’re not sure, or if you want to think positively and create big goals for yourself, why not opt for one that does it all! You never know when you might finally decide to sign up for that triathlon and need to add biking and swimming to your workout routine. Or you might get a serious itch to take a trip and conquer some serious mountain hikes. Whatever your goals are, there is a tracker that will meet them.

Finally, activity trackers often come loaded with some additional features that are not only cool, but play into overall, general health – even if that means your mental health (sanity) by providing you with a top-notch music playlist for your long run. These kinds of features include music storage, a stress score to monitor your stress levels, a sleep tracker that monitors your REM cycles, connection to WiFi and Bluetooth compatibility, and device pairing so that you can access your stats and progress from your other electronic devices as well as stay up to date on your activity tracker’s app, if it comes with one. For the hardcore athletes, you might be interested in the activity trackers that even come equipped with a recovery advisor which will suggest the best methods and form of recovery for you based off your activity and intensity levels.

Use

To get the most use out of your activity tracker you want to know how long it will last, in terms of both battery life and durability.

Another metric we based our list of activity trackers off of is battery life, and how long you can use each product for before having to be plugged in again. Obviously, it needs to at the very least stay charged to record the entirety of your workout or run – and for some ultra-marathoners, that’s as long as a couple days! But ideally, it will stay charged longer than that. After all, with so many devices on the market right now that we need to plug in and charge regularly, another one could just really make us go crazy.

Luckily, most of the activity trackers on our list stay charged for several hours if they are being used in full GPS or activity tracking mode, and for several days to several weeks even if they are on battery save mode. Not only does the length of the battery life matter, but so too does the level of difficulty of charging each device. Activity trackers that are overly cumbersome to charge simply will not do. We know that, as a busy runner with an intense training plan on top of an already hectic life, if your device is too difficult to charge then you probably just won’t… and then end up wasting your money if you purchase one! Our activity trackers come with all the charging equipment you need and can easily be plugged into a wall outlet or your computer and then left alone to charge. (But you will still need to remember to charge them, at least every once in a while!)

Value

Here is where the good activity trackers are set apart from the totally awesome and over the top activity trackers.

Here is where you as a consumer can really decide, do I really need so many features? Is it worth it? We’re talking about cost, and some of the activity trackers on the market can get pretty pricey. The higher end products will cost you a couple hundred bucks, easy. But luckily, the ones that are higher in cost live up to their price tag.

Not only do they come equipped with just about every distance tracker and health and fitness monitor you can think of, as well as a plethora of other fancy features, but they are durable (which is arguably what will add the most value to your activity tracker in the long run). They stand the test of time, and they can endure extreme conditions. From icy and frigid temperatures to sweat and water to heat and dryness, it takes a LOT to get these things to bonk out prematurely. And they come with thick and sturdy faces as well, making it difficult for you to smash or break the exterior. Overall, a decent tracker WILL cost you – but what you get for the money can be worth it, depending on your needs.

Other Factors to Consider

Style

It is probably a safe bet to say that you are not purchasing an activity tracker to accent your formal attire during a swanky night out on the town. But you also lead a demanding life, and with a packed schedule, you need an activity tracker that isn’t a total eyesore on your wrist as you bounce from the running trails to the store to work and back home again. After all – the majority of them are meant to be worn pretty much at all times if you want an accurate reading of your day’s total steps, calorie burn, etc. In a nutshell, you need an activity tracker that can easily transition from different locations and venues to events and hold up to multiple wardrobe changes.

Our list of activity trackers are some of the most stylish ones on the market. For the most part, they aren’t overly thick or bulky and will not stick out like a sore thumb. Some of the models on our list are totally minimalist – they are designed to look thin and slim so much so that they do not even have a typical watch face or screen but instead, just simple metric readings. However, you might actually want an activity tracker that draws attention (in a tasteful manner, of course). If that seems more your speed, consider purchasing one of our models that comes equipped with a fancier touchscreen and interactive face. Some of the nicer versions even come with customizable faces so that you can really match them to your unique style.

You'll also want to think about the way the design will affect your display. Most activity trackers come with a face that makes viewing your stats and health metrics easy. Even if the face shuts down temporarily after non-use to save battery life, they are easy to turn back on (usually just touching it will wake it back up). However, some activity trackers like the Fitbit Flex 2 on our list have a more minimal and simple design without an interactive face. Consumers might prefer one look, style, and use over another so know your preferences before making a purchase. (If you want an activity tracker that does more in the way of not just tracking health metrics but giving information on sleep, recovery, music, texting, calendar, etc. then you will likely need to go with an activity tracker that has a face. If you’re solely interested in steps counted, heart rate, calories burned, and logging simple distances, then a tracker like the Flex 2 could work well for you.)

Advanced Features

Determining your goals and priorities will help you narrow down exactly why and for what purposes you would even need an activity tracker, and can thus best steer you in the direction of choosing the model that fits your individual needs. If you are a hardcore endurance athlete, a professional, or training for an endurance race or event, then you will definitely benefit from having an activity tracker that calculates distances and elevations.

Even if you are more of a casual weekly runner, these can be beneficial. But if you are solely interested in monitoring health trackers like heart rate and calories burned, then the right model for you might be different from others. Know what your goals are and what you want out of an activity tracker before you begin the process of purchasing one.

Brand

If it is important to you to have all of your electronic devices syncing up and displaying the same data, then you will need an activity tracker that can easily join in on that. For instance, it might be critical to you to be able to track and log your run on your cell phone and your computer, and have the ability to access with your personal stats on multiple devices, especially if you are interested in the stats and numbers from a holistic perspective (i.e. monitoring heart rate on longer runs on flatter terrain versus heart rate on shorter hikes with steep elevation changes, and then comparing all that to REM sleep cycles at night). However, if that really is not a priority to you, then you will be able to look at a wider variety of brands and products to find the activity tracker that’s just right for you.

Apps

With the use of social media and electronic applications on phones and computers so high (and constantly on the rise), you need to be able to easily stay plugged in able to access your activity tracker’s fitness and movement stats on your iOS devices, Android devices, and desktop. This helps with what we already mentioned about being able to integrate your stats for a more holistic approach to tracking your health and fitness, but it also helps you actively engage in using the product. Apps connect you not only to the device, to the model you are wearing, and to the company that produces it but also to a community of other users who follow the app and actively engage on it.

Many folks need accountability, especially when it comes to staying fit and active. Luckily, the big name companies that manufacture popular activity trackers often come with a great online community that connects you with your friends and fellow activity tracker users. For instance, connecting your FitBit to others of your friends who use FitBit products not only allows you to keep up with your accountability partners, and gives you access to great forums and discussion boards about health and fitness topics that might be of interest to you, but it offers the option of participating in friendly challenges against one another in which you can compete against or simply encourage each other in your fitness goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What is the average battery life of these activity trackers?
a:

On average, when set to be in a mode that is not always using the GPS or tracking your health metrics, most activity trackers will last 1-2 weeks without being charged. However, if you train a lot more or just want to have your tracker set to monitor your health metrics more often, then you’ll need to carve out time and/or remember to plug yours in more often.

The lowest battery life on our list is 14 hours, and the longest is 5 weeks (when set in “watch” mode and not in “training” mode”). The Timex Ironman Sleek 50 offers fewer features than some of the other watches but it can be the most practical purchase for those who don’t care so much about features and just want a simplified activity tracker – especially because it requires no charging of a battery at all, and is just run on a replaceable battery.

q: Do chargers come with the activity trackers? Do they have to be charged on the computer or connected to an electronic device?
a:

If the activity charger requires a charge from a plugin, then the charger will come included with the tracker. Most conveniently come with an adaptable charger that adapts to charge on your computer, or through a compatible wall charger.

q: How many songs can the music-playing activity trackers hold?
a:

While not all of the models of activity trackers on our list can play music, the ones that can typically hold up to as many as 500 songs – definitely enough for you to get all your favorites downloaded and make a great playlist for even the longest of your runs!

q: Do they come with any kind of warranty?
a:

Most warranties are limited, especially those warranties that are automatically included with the activity tracker upon purchase. However, many of the more expensive models offer extended warranties which can be bought at an additional cost. For such models as the Apple Watch, the warranted that is included with your initial purchase covers up to “one year of hardware repair coverage.” Extended warranties can be purchased through Apple Care, which will include extended coverage on accidental damage.

For Garmin products, there is a limited one year warranty upon purchase of the product, but will not help you if your activity tracker is damaged due to cosmetic damage (scrapes or dents), consumable parts like batteries, damage caused by water, fire or other external causes, and damage caused by being connected to a power source or using cables that we not originally supplied along with the Garmin product. The bottom line is if you want a decent warranty and to protect your possibly-costly purchase, spring for an extended warranty.

q: Do the activity trackers that monitor and track heart rate only do so with a chest strap?
a:

Knowing your heart rate is a significant metric to be aware of, especially when you are trying to maximize the efficiency of your work out in terms of intensity and calorie burn. However, if you have ever worn a chest strap before to help monitor your heart rate, you know that they can be less than ideal. Often times they will cause chafing, retain moisture and sweat and end up smelling bad, are a pain to remember to put on and then half the time they are uncomfortable, and especially for women, they can, well, get in the way… And on top of all that, they might lose their signal and not give you accurate data.

So what are you to do when most activity trackers that say they track and monitor heart rate actually only do so if you wear a chest strap? Luckily, there are a few activity trackers that can efficiently and effectively monitor heart rate just through the pulse of your wrist. The Soleus GPS Pulse and Heart Rate watch on our list is one of these. This activity tracker is especially ideal for those of you who want to monitor your heart rate while swimming (as most chest straps cannot be worn underwater).

q: What colors do the activity trackers come in?
a:

Most of the activity trackers on our list stick to the basics and range from black to grey and/or steel tones. On the whole, a decent activity tracker will probably be a neutral color, but there are a few more colorful and vibrant options for those of you who want to stand out! While the Garmin products have a standard face, there are different colored wristbands that can easily be interchanged, based on your mood or outfit. Colors range from black and white to red, yellow, and green. (It is important to note that these customizable wristbands are an additional expense and not included in your initial purchase of the Garmin activity tracker).

The Suunto Ambit2 Peak HR Running GPS Unit is one of those products that run on extremes: it comes in either a standard black or white, or an electric blue. The ever-popular Apple Watch also comes in a range of colors, though not quite as wide of a range as Garmin. Apple Watches can be bought in black, white, or grey, or a pinkish rose colored tone. And although FitBit products sometimes get a bad rap because they do not have an interactive face and have only limited features, they definitely come in the most color options. From purple and pink to red and orange and yellow and blue, whatever spectrum of the rainbow you want to sport on your wrist can basically happen!

q: What will one of these activity trackers cost me?
a:

For the most part, if you want to purchase a decent activity tracker, you might need to save up your pennies (or dollars…or twenties…) for a while. Most range in the several hundreds of dollars, from $200 to over $500. On average, you will likely pay somewhere between $300 and $400 if you want a reliable activity tracker that comes fully equipped with all the distance trackers and health and fitness monitoring features that you need for your sport and lifestyle. However, that is certainly not to say that those of us on a more limited budget cannot have a decent activity tracker.

While you will sacrifice some features, (which might not even be necessary for your particular needs anyway) products like the Fitbit Flex 2 and Timex Ironman Sleek 50 will be well under $100 – the Fitbit Flex usually retails for about $60 and the Timex even less around $30 or $40. Whatever your budget, there is an activity tracker that can fit into it!

Sources

  1. American Heart Association, Tachycardia - Fast Heart Rate, American Heart Association Health Article, Sep 01, 2016
  2. Mayo Clinic Staff, Bradycardia, The Mayo Clinic Health Article,
  3. Reibold Shvartz, Let's Talk Polar - Polar Fitness Test, Product Review Guide, Sep 16, 2016
  4. Amy Roberts, The Best Fitness Trackers, The Sweet Home Buying Guide, Sep 01, 2017
  5. Garmin, Consumer Limited Warranty, Buyer's Information,
  6. Jordan Kahn, What Apple Watch damage is covered by warranty? Here’s how Apple will determine what’s eligible, Apple Watch Buying Guide, Apr 15, 2015