Fitness trackers are a great way to monitor your activity and health with little to no effort. Most of the best and newest devices on the market keep tabs on your workouts, heart rate, stress and everything in-between with pinpoint accuracy.
Think of them as an electronic finger on the pulse, constantly measuring your vitals, quality of sleep, step count and – sometimes – more. Some even refer to them as smart bracelets as activity bands can now be as good looking as traditional jewelry.
We won’t be looking at all the most high-end tech wristwear here. For that you’ll want our best smartwatch guide, which includes top-end products like the Apple Watch 4, Fossil Sport and Samsung Galaxy Watch.
You also won’t find the Fitbit Ionic, Fitbit Versa or Fitbit Versa Lite here either, which despite the brand name are all smartwatches and are priced accordingly. Most of the devices below were released in 2018 (and a few even before that) but we can expect this list to change dramatically over the course of 2019.
This guide will show you the best of the best activity trackers that your money can buy. 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.
1. Fitbit Charge 3
Take charge of your fitness with the best tracker
Screen: Yes | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: No | Battery life: Six days | Compatibility: Android/iOS
No onboard GPS
Not a color screen
More refined than the Fitbit Charge 2, the Charge 3 is one of the company’s most accomplished devices. It has a more lightweight design than the last-gen, and it looks better on your wrist. It’s our number one all-round fitness tracker since the price has dropped slightly recently, and it 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, but 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.
Read our Fitbit Charge 3 review
What’s next? We don’t expect to hear about it soon, but we’ve brainstormed what we’d like to see come to a Fitbit Charge 4.
2. Garmin Vivosmart 4
It 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.
Read the full Garmin Vivosmart 4 review
What’s next? There aren’t currently any rumors of a Garmin Vivosmart 5, and as the tracker is under a year old you may have to wait a while for the next-gen.
3. 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
Great battery life
Good looking color screen
GPS can be slow to lock
No ‘breathing’ feature
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.
Read our Huawei Band 3 Pro review
4. 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
Lots of tracked metrics
Lacks swim tracking
No contactless payments
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.
Read the full Fitbit Inspire HR review
5. Garmin Vivosport
Screen: Yes, color touchscreen | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Water-resistant | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes | Battery life: 7 days | Compatibility: Android/iOS
Small for GPS tracker
Good battery life
No swim modes
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.
Read our full Garmin Vivosport review
6. Moov Now
Previously our number one
Screen: No | Heart rate tracker: No | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes, through phone | Battery life: Six months | Compatibility: Android/iOS
Great battery life
Although it may be a few years old, the Moov Now is still one of our favorite fitness bands. It’s cheap, offers everything you’ll want in an everyday tracker and there’s a phenomenal six month long battery life.
The Moov Now isn’t just designed for step tracking though – it comes with boxing and rep-based training, as well as a swimming mode on top of run coaching and sleep monitoring features. That’s a lot to get stuck in with.
You won’t get GPS or some of the more complex fitness tracking features that others on this list offer, but if you’re looking for a great everyday tracker that doesn’t cost a lot of money the Moov Now will suit you perfectly.
Read the full Moov Now review
What’s next? The Moov Now was first released back in 2015, so the device is due a refresh. That said, we haven’t heard any rumors of a new device coming from Moov.
7. Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro
Samsung offers a beautiful display
Screen: Yes, 1.5-inch AMOLED | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: Yes, through phone | Battery life: 3 days | Compatibility: Android/iOS
Offline Spotify support
Clumsy setup processor
Expensive for fitness tracker
The Gear Fit 2 Pro has a gorgeous design that looks fantastic on your wrist and as it’s sporting a big, beautiful AMOLED display you’ll be able to see all of your stats nice and clearly.
It also comes with GPS built-in so you can leave your phone at home while you go for a run as well as a top-notch heart rate sensor that should give you one of the most accurate readings possible from a wrist based tracker. Plus it will track your swimming too.
Read the full Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro review
8. Honor Band 4
Like a Fitbit, but cheaper
Screen: Yes | Heart rate tracker: Yes | Waterproof: Yes | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: No | Battery life: Around a week | Compatibility: Android/iOS
Good glass-topped OLED screen
No GPS whatsoever
Sitting in the exact same spot as the Honor Band 3 did before it, the Band 4 from Honor is a great budget pick if you’re looking to save money on your fitness tracker.
This is much cheaper than a lot of the other bands on this list, and while it may not come with GPS or solid notifications it does offer good tracking for a casual runner as well as a beautiful color OLED display.
It’s a small screen you’ll have to work with here, but the point of the Honor Band 4 is to pack the essentials into a small package and keep the cost as low as possible. It’s not for everyone, but you may find it the best fitness tracker for you.
Read our full Honor Band 4 review
9. Amazfit Bip
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
Excellent companion app
Auto-pause feature doesn’t work
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 Amazfit Bip 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.
If this all sounds good, you’d be hard pressed to go wrong with the Amazfit Bip. It’s worth noting the fitness tracker isn’t available in all markets at the moment though and you may struggle to find the Bip where you live.
Read the full Amazfit Bip review
What’s next? Rumors suggest the Amazfit Bip 2 is in development and it was spotted in a pre-sale listing, so it may be officially announced very soon.
10. Garmin Vivofit 4
Screen: Yes, color LCD | Heart rate tracker: No | Waterproof: Water-resistant | Activity tracking: Yes | GPS: No | Battery life: 1 year | Compatibility: Android/iOS
Super-long battery life
Small but color display
No GPS or heart rate
No phone notifications
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.
Read the full Garmin Vivofit 4 review
Photo illustration: TechRadar; Fitbit; Samsung; Garmin; Moov; Huawei