Best Fitness Tracker

UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2018

Our shopping guide to the best fitness trackers will help you get in shape and stay healthy. We provide you with all the fundamental info you need to know about fitness trackers.            

BEST FITNESS
TRACKER 2018

BOTTOM LINE

Capable of tracking your activities during the night and day, this model is suitable for most shoppers. It has 14 modes and allows you to use Facebook and other popular apps.

PROS

This tracker will help you stay connected and get fit because it’s compatible with so many different apps. The HR has a built-in USB for fast and easy charging too.

CONS

Some customers found that this tracker didn’t do a good job of tracking their nightly movements and sleep patterns. Others had issues with the heart rate monitor.

BOTTOM LINE

As the latest version of the Fitbit, the Versa allows you to track all your movements and activities and connect with others on the go. It has a sleek and stylish design that many shoppers love.

PROS

Thanks to a waterproof design, this tracker will go anywhere you do. The Versa will connect via WiFi to other devices and let you use some features while offline.

CONS

The GPS feature does not work as well as some shoppers expected. A few customers had issues with the high cost and with syncing the tracker.

BOTTOM LINE

With a touchscreen design and a waterproof case, this fitness tracker is great for anyone who leads a busy lifestyle. It is compatible with most fitness apps and records data as you sleep and live.

PROS

This tracker monitors your sleep patterns and your lifestyle habits to give you a better idea of your overall health. You can sync this model with other devices and use it with your favorite apps.

CONS

Some customers complained that the battery died in less than a day. Others had some problems using the touchscreen.

BOTTOM LINE

Thanks to its slimmer design, this fitness tracker will never weigh you down or get in your way. It works inside and outside and comes with a fitness app designed specifically for this model.

PROS

Available in multiple sizes and colors, this fitness tracker will match your personality and wrist size. You can adjust the band to fit your wrist and use your favorite apps as you workout.

CONS

If the wristband breaks, you’ll need to send it back to the manufacturer for a repair. It may not keep accurate details about your heart rate.

BOTTOM LINE

This model is perfect for women who want to track their activities but don’t want to wear a traditional fitness tracker. It has a beautiful look and works like a necklace or a bracelet.

PROS

You can get up to six months of use from this tracker, which relies on a basic cell battery. It comes in several style options and is compatible with both iOS and Android operating systems.

CONS

Some shoppers thought the tracker was either too big or too small. You may find that it’s not as precise or accurate as the manufacturer claims.

Shopping Guide for the Best Fitness Tracker

Whether you want to lose weight and get in shape or simply maintain a healthy weight, you really need one of the best fitness trackers of 2018. A fitness tracker can alert you when you sat for too long and remind you that it’s a good time to get up and take a walk or do some basic stretches. The top fitness trackers for 2018 can even remind you about upcoming appointments and let you know when to take your medications. The best fitness tracker can act as your best friend and as your personal trainer.

While there are many things to consider when buying a fitness tracker, we wanted to make the job of finding one much easier. We looked at many different things, including who makes it and whether the gadget is compatible with any other electronics you own. Also called an activity tracker, these devices sync to your computer and phone to give you the information that you need. You can also sync your calendar and other apps across those devices. If you want to find the ultimate fitness tracker for you in 2018, you’ll want to use every section in our shopping guide as you look at the top models.

Shopping Guide for the Best Fitness Tracker

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Selection Criteria

If you head to Amazon and do a basic search for fitness trackers, you might find yourself shocked at how many results come up. Both big name and lesser known companies make trackers that are compatible with both Apple and Android operating systems. You’ll find some models that come in different sizes or colors and models that have more features than others. We looked at all of the available models to find the top five options for our readers. If you check out the Resources and Further Readings section at the bottom of this guide, you can see what resources we used to create this list.

We started with a look at what some of the leading fitness experts thought about the top devices and which ones they recommended. Once we had a list of the top models, we headed to Amazon to find out which ones have the best reviews. We also looked at whether there are newer versions of some top models from past years. Looking at customer reviews and ratings helped us identify the best five fitness trackers of the year. You can use any of these devices while working long hours at the office and when relaxing at home.

Selection Criteria With Text

What Did We Consider When Choosing the Best Fitness Trackers?

  • Number of features
  • Price
  • Compatible with other devices
  • Ease of use
  • Customer reviews

A fitness tracker can easily cost $100 or more, but the best of the best in our minds is this HR model from LETSCOM, which retails for a fraction of that price. Available in a wide range of fun colors, it comes with a wristband that you can adjust to fit your own hand. It monitors your heart rate during the day and night and can also monitor your sleep patterns. You can view all the data the HR records the next day. As it tracks your daily activities, the HR will tell you how many calories you burned and how many steps you took. You can also see the number of minutes you spent sleeping and how much time you stayed active during the day.

Best of the Best - LETSCOM Fitness Tracker HR
LETSCOM Fitness Tracker HR

We like that this model has a built-in GPS feature that lets you send info about your route and progress to a synced cell phone. It features 14 modes for different types of exercises too. Those modes track your pace and how far you walked or ran. Thanks to the built-in USB, you can easily charge this device too. It works with popular apps such as Twitter and Facebook to help you stay connected as you workout also.

What Can a Fitness Tracker Do for You?

The chances are good that you probably heard an alarm going off on a fitness tracker before, especially if you work around other people. You can set alarms on your own tracker to remind you of a doctor’s appointment or when you need to take a pill. The alarm will also let you know that you sat for too long and that it’s time to get up and get active. Some of the top fitness trackers can give you information about other things, including:

  • the total number of steps you took during the day
  • a GPS location setting that gives your current location
  • your current pulse rating
  • the current temperature of your skin
  • how often you move during the day

Some models can also monitor you as you sleep. When you wake up in the morning, you can see information relating to how long it took you to fall asleep, whether you tossed and turned in the middle of the night and when you entered or how long you remained in a REM sleep cycle. Fitness trackers will tell you everything you need to know about your fitness and activities. It can motivate you to work out too.

How Does a Fitness Tracker Work?

Fitness trackers use a feature called an accelerometer that detects how often you move and in which direction you move. When it detects that you stayed in the same position for too long, it will send out an alert to let you know that you need to move. This feature monitors any movements that you make, including when you stand up and when you move back and forth. Some models have a barometer too that detects any changes in altitude, which will indicate when you go up and down stairs.

What Can a Fitness Tracker Do for You

Using a Fitness Tracker as a Smart Watch

One reason fitness trackers are so popular today is that they function as smartwatches. You can sync one to your phone and actually take phone calls while jogging or walking around the block. It typically only takes a few minutes or less to sync your two devices. When someone sends you a text message or an instant message, you can read that message on the tracker and send back a quick response. If you prefer making phone calls, you need to look for a tracker that offers this feature and one that has a built-in microphone. Most of the models we looked at will let you check your email and view text messages but not all offer a call feature.

If you like getting in a quick workout while on the job, you can use a fitness tracker and still stay connected to the office. As you take a short walk or climb a few sets of stairs on your break, you can use the tracker to respond to emails from clients and to connect with your coworkers. Fitness trackers also help you stay connected when working out at home or at the gym because you can access all your messages on the go.

Benefits of Fitness Trackers Over Pedometers

  • Does a better and more accurate job of counting your steps
  • Counts all types of movements and not just steps
  • You can wear on on your wrist like a watch
  • Connects to and syncs with other devices
  • Gives you access to more features
Using a Fitness Tracker as a Smart Watch - WITH TEXT

Benefits of Using Fitness Tracker Apps

No matter what fitness tracker you buy, you can use that device with different apps. The top manufacturers offer apps of their own, but you’ll also find third-party options that you can download. You’ll find a number of benefits to using one of those apps.

  • Make working out fun: The biggest benefit is that these apps will make working out fun. You can download a game that lets you escape from zombies or hunt wild animals as you walk and run.
  • Get motivated: Many of the top apps provide you with challenges each day or week. When you complete a challenge, you get a badge that you can show off on your online profile. Those simple tasks and challenges can motivate you to do more every day.
  • Connect with others: The best apps will also let you connect with others. When you create an online profile, you can search through the system to find other people who live in your same area or those who have the same goals as you. You can chat with others online and find a community of people who will support you on your weight loss journey.
  • Share information: Some of the top apps also let you share information with your doctor. You can pick what you want to share and how you will share that content too.

Best Fitness Tracker Apps

Benefits of Using Fitness Tracker Apps

When most people think of fitness trackers, they think of Fitbit. The top model from this company is the Versa, which we also think is the best high-end model. Though the price might turn you off at first glance, this is a complete tracker that can do everything you want. It works 24/7 to monitor your activities in the middle of the day and to keep track of your heart rate and sleep patterns at night. The Versa comes with a battery that can last for up to four days or more too.

Best Fitness Tracker Review - Fitbit Versa
Fitbit Versa

Compatible with some of your favorite apps, this tracker makes it easy for you to take your favorite songs on a workout. You can upload your favorite playlists and access songs from other radio and music apps. While you need a WiFi connection to use some features, other features are available offline too. We like the waterproof design of this tracker, which you can use at depths of up to 50 meters. You can wear it in the shower or in the pool. The Versa also has more than 10 different built-in modes that let you record your workouts. It also has GPS tracking and will sync with your favorite device.

All-Day vs. Training Trackers

You might not realize that fitness trackers come in two different types. The first is an all-day tracker designed to track your movements and activities throughout the day. An all-day tracker is a more basic model. It will tell you how many steps you took and how often you went up and down the stairs or the number of steps you climbed. You can also view information relating to how long you exercised during the day and the total amount of time you spent at rest and with your heart rate elevated. An all-day tracker will also monitor your sleep habits and tell you how long you slept and how long you spent in a REM cycle.

A training tracker provides you with more information about your daily activities. You can view the exact route that you took or followed and see both how fast you walked or ran. It can tell you about any altitude changes and your heart rate too. Swimmers can use one of these trackers to see how many laps they swam and how quickly they completed those laps. Some of these trackers will even monitor your breathing and let you know when you need to step things up or take a short break.

When to Use a Training Tracker

  • You need to train for an upcoming marathon or another competitive event
  • You spend a lot of time skiing or cycling and need to keep track of altitude changes
  • You want or need more information about your daily habits
  • You have more money to spend on a fitness tracker
  • You care more about fitness tracking than sleep tracking
All-Day vs. Training Trackers

What Style is Right for You?

You might assume that all fitness trackers look exactly the same. Most of the models that you see people wearing on the streets today feature an electronic screen that sits on a wrist strap. You’ll wrap the strap around your wrist and tighten it in the same way you would a watch band. When choosing one of these models, you should measure your wrist to determine what size you need. Manufacturers offer both small and large options as well as extended sizes to fit larger hands. You can pick one with a strap in a color or a pattern that you like.

Trackers with a wristband are not your only option though. You’ll also find models that let you remove the electronic face from the strap and wear it in other ways. Some like the pendant designs that they can wear as necklaces. Once you remove the face, you can attach it to a chain or lanyard and wear it around your neck. Other designs will clip to your clothing. You can wear the tracker in your pocket or on your bag. These models are best for those who want to monitor and track their activities without wearing a tracker strapped to their wrists.

What Style is Right for You

Compatible With Your OS

The top two operating systems used by people today are Apple and Android systems. Apple designed its iOS as an alternative to the traditional systems used by other manufacturers. If you have an iPhone and want to keep track of your activities, you’ll want to make sure that you buy a tracker that is compatible with Apple devices. Those systems make it easier for you to sync data and share information across devices. Some of the more popular models will even let you access your iTunes account from the device. This lets you listen to music as you workout. You can even create your own playlists that you listen to when doing different types of exercises. Some models are compatible with Android operating systems and will let you listen to music and access files that you saved on other synced devices.

It’s important that you pick the right model because trackers will only work with one operating system or the other. If you buy the wrong type and take it out of the packaging, the manufacturer may not give you a full refund. Some companies will accept the return but charge a restocking fee. If you use one OS on a daily basis, you need a tracker that is compatible with that system.

WARNING:

Very few fitness trackers today are compatible with Windows operating systems. Microsoft announced that it would no longer offer support for Windows phones in 2018. If you still use a Windows phone, you’ll need an older tracker that is compatible with that OS.

Compatible With Your OS

One of the best fitness trackers we found is the A370 from Polar, which does a good job of tracking your activities as you rest and get active. Polar made a name for itself with its line of heart rate monitors. It took that same technology and put it inside this tracker. It does a great job of tracking your heart rate at every moment of the day. When you look down, you’ll see a large number staring back at you, which is your current heart rate. Many shoppers like the touchscreen that is easy to use, but some found that design a little confusing the first time they used the tracker.

Best Fitness Tracker Review - Polar A370 Fitness Tracker
Polar A370 Fitness Tracker

The A370 syncs with your cell phone and uses GPS information to show the route you followed as well as how far you walked and how fast you moved. You can also sync it with your phone to view email and text message alerts on the tracker. As you sleep, the A370 will monitor your sleep patterns and keep track of how well you slept and how long it took you to fall asleep. This model is compatible with most devices and fitness apps and has a waterproof design.

How Accurate is the Tracker?

Pedometers are small fitness trackers that only track the number of steps that you take. The main problem with this type of device is that it cannot distinguish between steps and other types of movements. If you wear a pedometer and shift in your seat while working on the computer, it can detect those movements as steps. The total number of steps that you see counted at the end of the day won’t be as accurate as you want.

It is very important that the tracker you buy has a high accuracy rating. The best models will use different information to determine when you walked up a set of stairs and when you took a few steps. It will also identify when you get up and walk instead of simple detecting you moving in your seat as a new activity. The best models are also more accurate in regards to the sleep details recorded. They can track your breathing and your movements to determine when you fell asleep and when you entered each of the different sleep cycles. You should also look at how accurate the data is in regards to sharing info too. The top trackers will share the exact data recorded with other devices.

How Accurate is the Tracker

Expert Tip:

If you want to keep track of your heart rate or another specific type of information, you should look for a tracker designed for that purpose. A heart rate tracker will sit closer to your heart and monitor your rate throughout the day.

How Long Does the Battery Last?

No matter how much you love your cell phone, you probably don’t like how long it takes to charge. Most of the top phones can last for a day or more when you don’t use them. Their batteries may last for just a few hours or less when making phone calls or playing games though. When shopping for a fitness tracker, you need to see how long the battery will last between charges to make sure that you can use that device regularly. The batteries found on cheaper models may only last for a day or less. You’ll need to charge that tracker at least once every 24 hours. Some of the more expensive models come with a battery that can last for a full week or longer. We even found some trackers that will last for a full month before the battery needs charging.

You should also consider how long it takes to charge the battery and how you will charge it. Though some come with a charger you can plug into a wall outlet, others have a USB port that you can plug any compatible charger into. The longer that it takes for the tracker to charge, the less tracking it can do.

What Features Will Wear Down a Fitness Tracker Battery Faster?

How Long Does the Battery Last - WITH TEXT

Waterproof vs. Splash-Proof

Whether you prefer calmer activities such as yoga or you like racing down the street as your heart rate rises, you need to look for fitness trackers that are either waterproof or sweat-proof. The cheapest models that we found are sweat-proof. This means that the sweat that comes off your body will not damage the device. These trackers are suitable for those who spend more time indoors than outside and those who don’t mind taking one off before hopping in the shower.

Waterproof models are more expensive but well worth the price. These trackers have a face with a seal around the edges that stops any moisture from getting inside. Not only are they resistant to the sweat that can pour off your body during an intense workout, but they are also safe to use when wearing around water.

The main reason you need a waterproof fitness tracker is that you want the product to last longer. If you accidentally get caught outside in the middle of a storm during your job, you want to know that the tracker will keep working. Those that are not waterproof can suffer some serious damage due to rain. You may need to replace the tracker or pay for a costly repair.

What Can You Wear a Waterproof Fitness Tracker?

  • Outdoors in the rain
  • When skiing or enjoying other winter activities in the snow
  • As you shower or bathe
  • When doing dishes and cleaning around the house
Waterproof vs. Splash-Proof - WITH TEXT

If you have a GPS unit made by Garmin in the car that you love, you’ll also love the Vivosport from the same company, which is one of the best fitness trackers for 2018. We like that this model comes in several different colors that you can match to your workout gear or anything else you want to match. The exterior of the band uses a deep black color, while the inside features a brighter pop of color. This model has a large and bright screen on the front that provides you with some basic information such as the current time and date. You can cycle through the available settings to view other content on that screen.

Best Fitness Tracker Review Garmin Vivosport Smart Activity Tracker
Garmin Vivosport Smart Activity Tracker

Garmin includes a number of fitness tools that you can use to monitor your daily activities. You can use those same tools to monitor yourself as you sleep and to analyze that data the next day. As an all-day tracker, the Vivosport does a good job of picking up on any stressful situations and other problems that you encounter throughout the day. It helps you analyze how your body responded to those situations too. We like the slimmer design of this model also.

Internal Storage

We highly recommend looking for a tracker that has built-in storage, especially if you like listening to music. You can read the product description to see how much storage the device has. Though most models have some internal storage, the amount of available space can vary quite a bit based on what apps come already loaded. For example, you might purchase a tracker that comes with an app designed by the manufacturer that takes up more than half of its internal storage. By the time that you download a few other apps that you want to try, you may not have enough memory to record your activities.

The amount of internal storage available is also important in regards to how often you want to clear the device. If you want to train for a marathon, you probably want to track your time and distance over the course of several weeks. This helps you see how you improved over time. If the tracker has limited storage space though, you may need to send that data to your phone and clear the device every few days. It’s often helpful to look at fitness trackers that have a slot for added storage too, especially if you want to carry playlists with you.

Internal Storage - WITH TEXT

Benefits of More Storage

  • Provides space for future updates
  • Gives you more room for playlists and songs
  • Lets you download and try out new apps
  • Runs faster

Benefits of GPS Tracking

A large number of fitness trackers today come with built-in GPS. You can connect the device to your phone and view information about your most recent run or workout on your phone. We recommend looking at some of the other benefits of a tracker with built-in GPS.

  • Let others track you: The biggest reason to use a tracker with built-in GPS is that it will let your loved ones track your activities. This is especially important for those who workout on their own. If you fall down and hurt yourself, others can find your location and track you down.
  • Find new routes: You can also use that GPS to find new routes around your hometown. If you follow the same path every day, you might feel bored and even decide to take a break from working out. You can use the GPS to find new routes nearby when you’re at home or on vacation.
  • Track progress and changes: Many shoppers like trackers with built-in GPS because they can also track any of their progress and any changes that they go through. An accurate GPS feature will let you know your current altitude and where you are in the world. You can also see how far you are from your starting point.

What Can You Do With an Internet Connection?

  • Download new apps and games
  • Listen to music that you stream through the tracker
  • Update the device quickly
  • Connect to your phone or computer
  • Send information to other devices
Benefits of GPS Tracking - WITH TEXT

How Much Health Tracking Will the Device Do?

You may want a device that does more than just track your steps and daily activities. A fitness tracker that also acts as a health tracker will give you more information about your general health that you can share with your doctor. Some devices come are compatible with smart scales, which are handy for those who weigh themselves daily. You can step on the scale to weigh yourself and have the scale send your current weight to your tracker. The tracker will keep track of your weight and let you know how it changes and fluctuates on a daily basis. You can also see how much weight you lost as you worked out.

Health trackers can also monitor your blood pressure. This is a handy feature if you have a history of high blood pressure or a family history of that condition. The tracker will let you know your average daily blood pressure readings and when your blood pressure runs too high or too low. This can help you decide when to take a break from your workout and when to push yourself harder. Health trackers can also monitor your heart rate and pulse and give you information about other biological functions.

Who Should Use a Health Tracker?

  • Anyone who wants to get in shape and lose some weight
  • Those concerned with specific health conditions and problems
  • Patients who want to share accurate health information with their doctors
  • Shoppers who want to track their fitness and health information
How Much Health Tracking Will the Device Do

The best fitness tracker for those who want to look their best is this Bellabeat model, which looks more like a piece of jewelry than an electronic device. This model has a gorgeous design with a piece of metal in a leaf design wrapped around the tracker itself. You can choose from both classic and trendy designs that incorporate elements such as rose gold. That leaf functions like a clip and lets you wear the tracker on your pocket or waistband. You can also wear it as a bracelet or necklace, though some women wished it was a little longer.

Best Fitness Tracker Review Bellabeat Leaf Urban Smart Jewelry Health Tracker
Bellabeat Leaf Urban Smart Jewelry Health Tracker

As a fitness tracker, this model does everything you want. It comes with an app designed by Bellabeat that you can download to your phone or tablet. That app makes the tracker compatible with both Android and Apple devices. You can view your step count, how many hours you slept, the amount of time it tracked you and even how much time the battery has left. This tracker has a hypoallergenic design that is safe for most skin types. As it comes with a coin cell battery, you can use the tracker daily without recharging it. That battery will last for up to six full months.

Your Display Options

When you’re on you on your bike and cycling to work, you don’t want to glance at your wrist and see a bunch of random codes staring back at you. If you buy the wrong type of fitness tracker though, this is an issue that you’ll face on a regular basis. The top trackers on the market feature one of two face types.

The most common face type is one that shows you exactly what you need and want to know. When you look down, you can view the current time and see how many calories you burned throughout the day. To adjust and change the information that you see, you can access the settings via the buttons on the side of the tracker. This lets you select what you want the tracker to count or keep track of and show you.

Some of the more popular fitness trackers feature a face that shows you a few numbers next to or beneath some symbols. Those symbols correspond to different features and settings. You may need to check the instructional manual to make sure that you know what each symbol means. Shoppers looking for a more convenient and easy to use tracker often pick those with the first type of face.

Tips for Making Sure the Coffee Dissolves

  • Add a small amount of hot water to the cup and stir vigorously until you see the granules dissolve
  • Slowly add more water, a few teaspoons at a time
  • Try mixing any sugar or powdered creamer that you want to use with the coffee before adding the water
  • Scrape the spoon or stirrer across the bottom and around the sides to get any granules clinging to the cup
Your Display Options

What Basic Features Should You Consider?

  • Step counter: Regardless of which fitness tracker you choose, you should make sure you select one that acts as a pedometer. Though some models use GPS to see where you went during the day, others have an accelerometer that physically counts each step that you take. The best trackers will count steps you make on level ground and when you do up and down steps.
  • Calorie counter: We strongly recommend models that count calories too. Instead of counting the calories that you eat every day, these trackers will count the calories that you burned. You may want to look for a model that lets you input your current weight and height. The device will then determine your body mass index and use that to figure out how many calories you burned.
  • Distance traveled: Trackers that tell you how many miles you walked or how much distance you covered in a day can come in quite handy. These trackers are especially popular with men and women who want to walk more a little each day. Not only can you see how far you walked in a day, but you can keep track of how much more you added to that average figure with each passing day.

Types of Alarms to Consider

  • Activity alarm: An activity alarm keeps track of your movements and how active you are each day. When it detects a resting heart rate for an extended period of time, the alarm will beep to tell you that you need to get up and move.
  • Medication alert: A medication alert is a built-in feature that lets you set up an alarm to go off at a specific time each day or multiple times a day. This serves as a quick reminder that you should take a vitamin or a prescription medication.
  • Alarm clock: You'll also find models that come with a built-in alarm clock too. These trackers let you choose when and how you want to wake up. You can choose between a loud alarm or a silent vibration alert.
What Basic Features Should You Consider

Reasons to Use WiFi Enabled Fitness Trackers

  • Analyze data: The biggest reason to choose a WiFi enabled fitness tracker is that it will analyze your data. Once you choose to upload your data to the web, the included app will help you compare your fitness levels to the data shared and submitted by other users.
  • View comprehensive data: When you use a tracker with an upload feature that lets you view your information online, you can view the comprehensive data that helps you draw conclusions and view results over multiple days. You can actually see how many calories you burned over the course of a week and which days you slept the best or worked out the hardest.
  • Fast and easy sharing: If you want to use any of the fitness apps we mentioned in an above section or one that you found on your own, you’ll want to choose a tracker with WiFi capabilities. This makes it much easier to share information the tracker registered with those apps. You can also share data and sync the tracker to any smart devices such as a scale or phone.
  • Track goals: You can also use the tracker to maintain and reach your goals. Most of the top apps allow you to enter any goals that you have and to set challenges for yourself. You can view your daily data to see how close you came to meeting those goals.

Weight Loss and Fitness Goal Ideas

  • Getting back down to your college or high school weight
  • Fitting into a new size smaller than what you currently wear
  • Losing enough weight to fit into your favorite old jeans
  • Getting down to a healthy BMI range
  • Losing just 10% of your current body weight
Reasons to Use WiFi Enabled Fitness Trackers

Screen vs. No Screen

Though shoppers assume that all fitness trackers come with a screen, this actually isn’t true. Some manufacturers realized that customers usually carry their cell phones with them and designed trackers that they can use on their phone. Let’s say that you love jogging every morning but carry your phone to listen to music. You can actually buy a fitness tracker that you download to your phone. Unlike basic apps that only keep track of your steps and/or calories, these trackers work in the same way that those you wear on your wrist do. You can use one when exercising inside or out and when sleeping at night. As long as your phone has a charge, you can view all the information available via the tracker app.

Trackers that run on your phone are not as accurate as standalone models are. If you decide that you want one you can wear on your wrist or as a necklace, you’ll want to consider the design of the screen. Most shoppers prefer a brighter LED or OLED screen that they can view when it’s darker outside. You may want to consider a touchscreen display too. While these can break more easily, a touchscreen is easier to navigate through.

Screen Features You Should Consider

  • The brightness of the screen and whether you can adjust the brightness
  • Touchscreen or manual buttons
  • Colors shown on the screen
  • Waterproof face
  • Scratch-resistant face
Screen vs. No Screen - WITH TEXT

Fitness Trackers and Apps: What to Consider

  • OS compatibility: The first thing you should consider is whether the app is compatible with your primary device. As long as you have an iOS or Android operating system, you’re fine. You don’t need to worry about the app not working when you update that OS.
  • Ease of use: We recommend that you read customer reviews to find out how easily you can use that app. You want one that you can turn on and off throughout the day and an app that gives you instant access to your data. If the app frequently needs updates or is difficult to use, you may want to consider different trackers.
  • Internet options: Many people have an easier time losing weight and simply finding time to exercise when they workout with others. That is why we encourage our readers to look for tracker apps that have an internet option. You can log in and find people to connect to who also want to lose weight. Those online friends can motivate and challenge you along the way.
  • Extras: Many shoppers also like fitness trackers that have apps that provide them with extras such as games and challenges. As the challenges change from day to day and week to week, you’ll find ways to use the tracker and stay motivated without feeling bored.

Tips for Creating an Online App Profile

  • Include a current photo that lets you see any progress that you make
  • Be honest about your current weight
  • Create honest goals that you hope to achieve
  • Search for other profiles from people who live in the same area as you
  • Update your profile as your hopes and goals change
Fitness Trackers and Apps What to Consider

Automatic vs. Manual Syncing and Tracking

The biggest benefit of using a fitness tracker is that it will track your activities every day. While you might think that the device instantly goes to work as soon as you get out of bed in the morning, not all trackers work in the same way. We recommend deciding ahead of time whether you need one that will manually or automatically track your activities. Manual tracking is best for those who don’t want to wear the device every day. You can wear and use one as an ordinary watch on your rest days and then let it track your activities the next day. These models let you decide what you want to track and monitor and what features you want to turn off too. Those that automatically track you will come on and start working as soon as they detect any movement on your part.

You’ll need to decide how you want to sync your records and data too. Those that do this automatically will require that you sync the tracker to your phone or another device first. At the end of the day, it will send information to that device. You will also find models that let you manually share information with your devices.

Benefits of Automatic Tracking and Syncing

  • Gives you a more convenient way to transfer data
  • Allows you to share info with devices that others own, including your doctors and loved ones
  • Lets you decide what information you want to share
  • You can easily sync your tracker with any compatible devices
  • Helps you view all the comprehensive health and fitness information that the device tracks
Automatic vs. Manual Syncing and Tracking - WITH TEXT

Other Features to Consider

  • Color/Pattern: You may want to consider the color of the fitness tracker, especially if you support a local team or wear the same workout gear on a daily basis. Manufacturers now offer these trackers in a range of colors and some fun and unique patterns too.
  • Social media connectivity: If you love sharing your progress with friends and family, you might consider a fitness tracker with a social media connectivity feature. As long as you log into your account with the right email or username and password, you can share details about your workout online. You have the opportunity to pick what information you want to share too.
  • Other options: We encourage our readers to take a look at some of the similar gadgets that are now available, including smartwatches and running watches. A smartwatch can replace the cell phone and fitness tracker that you usually carry and wear. It lets you read emails and respond to texts, and you can often make and receive phone calls too. Running watches are similar to fitness trackers but designed specifically for runners. These watches let you see how far you ran, how fast you moved, the number of calories you burned and the path that you followed.

What Can You Sync to a Fitness Tracker?

  • Virtual calendars and appointment books
  • Cell phones
  • Tablets
  • Computers
  • Music players
Other Features to Consider - WITH TEXT

How Much Does a Fitness Tracker Cost?

Now that you know the top features of fitness trackers and how to pick one, you probably want to know how much you should pay. The cost of these trackers can range from right around $20 to more than $200. Our top choice is a highly affordable model that will fit any budget. Retailing for around $30, it lets you monitor your nighttime habits and keep track of your daytime activities. The main issue with cheaper models is that they are not always accurate. You may find that the tracker counts more steps than you actually take because you have a longer gait.

Fitness trackers in the $50 to $100 price range are best for those who want more accurate devices that they can connect to other electronics. Those in the $100 to $200 price range are often a little more stylish. The Versa from Fitbit is a good example of a tracker that has a great look but will provide you with all the fitness information that you need.

We also found some models that retail for $200 to $300 or more. These models look more like smartwatches and are best for serious athletes. You can typically get a fitness tracker with all the features you want at a lower price.

Average Prices of Fitness Trackers

How Much Does a Fitness Tracker Cost - WITH TEXT

Frequently Asked Questions

A: Experts typically recommend that you take at least 10,000 steps daily, especially if you want to lose weight. The number that you take can vary based on your fitness level though. You should use the tracker to see how many steps you usually take and then work on slowly increasing that number every day.

A: Fitness trackers are not magic devices. These gadgets can only use the information that you shared and are only accurate if you share accurate info. If you tell the tracker exactly how much you weigh and your exact height, it will do a better job of showing how many calories you burned based on your fitness level and BMI. You’ll still want to track the calories you consume though.

A: As we told you in a section above, fitness trackers have a number of benefits over a pedometer. A basic pedometer simply tells you how many steps you took, though some will give you a calorie count too. Fitness trackers can remind you to workout, tell you about appointments in your calendar and even keep track of your sleep patterns and habits.

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