Over the last year, if your usual fitness routine has fallen by the wayside you have plenty of company. With gyms shuttered for months across the country, unless you were lucky enough to have a sweet home gym setup, doing yoga in front of your laptop simply wasn’t as appealing as downward dogging in your favorite studio, led by a teacher IRL. Now that summer is just around the corner and we’re finally starting to emerge from our quarantine cocoons, many of us are ramping up our fitness efforts. One of the best tools to accomplish that with is a fitness tracker.
Whether you opt for a band or a smartwatch, the best fitness trackers will remind you to work up a sweat, track your activity level and monitor your workouts. Essentially, they’re like personal trainers in your pocket — or on your wrist. Some go the extra mile (pun intended) with features like smartphone notifications, heart rate monitoring, stress and respiration tracking, and blood-oxygen level sensors. Make the most of your tracker by finding one that suits your lifestyle and workouts best. To help you do just that, we’ve rounded up the best fitness trackers in every category.
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1. Fitbit Charge 4
When you think about what you need from a fitness tracker, the Fitbit Charge 4 checks off all the boxes. It has a 24/7 heart rate so you can track your resting heart rate and more accurately measure calorie burn; it lets you track workouts in real-time with more than 20 exercise modes; and it’s waterproof, so you can take it for a swim or in the shower. The built-in GPS lets you see your distance and pace during runs, hikes, swimming and more, and you can even see your heart-rate changes in the workout intensity map. It works when you’re asleep, tracking your sleep stages and showing you the quality of your snoozes. Plus, you can control the Spotify app from your wrist to manage your playlist, as well as get calls, texts and app notifications. It syncs with both iPhone and Android devices, and the battery lasts up to seven days. That long list of perks is what makes it the best fitness tracker.
2. Letsfit Smart Watch
You can still get all the basics you need with the waterproof Letsfit Smart Watch, making it the best fitness tracker that’s more budget friendly. Like its pricier counterparts, it has features like music control and stress training to help you monitor your health and fitness, along with staples like measuring your steps, mileage, calories torched and sleep quality. The 1.3-inch touchscreen is intuitive and easy to use, and displays all of your data. It connects with Android smartphones so you can receive and read texts and notifications.
3. Garmin Forerunner 235
BEST FOR RUNNERS
Sure, all of the best fitness trackers work for runners, but for those who are truly dedicated, it’s worth it to get a fitness tracker designed specifically for the sport. This GPS running watch allows you to customize both the watch and your training. The display type is visible even outdoors in the bright sun, so you can check your heart rate and other stats like laps and times. You can also receive emails, texts, call alerts, calendar reminders and more from your compatible smartphone on the fitness tracker. Plus, it also tracks walking, yoga and a few other activities.
4. Coros APEX Premium Multisport GPS Watch
BEST FOR CROSS TRAINING
For those who love to mix up their workouts with everything from running to cycling, swimming, cardio, strength and water sports, this is the best fitness tracker for you. It has a mode for practically every type of movement, including interval, structured, triathlon and strength training, with training programs and plans created by COROS athletes and coaches. Best of all, all of those plans are free on coros.com. Made with a stainless steel bezel and a sapphire glass screen to stand up to the toughest workouts, it comes with an optical heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope and thermometer with 24/7 heart rate monitoring, sleep, step and calorie tracking.
5. Apple Watch Series 6
BEST APPLE FITNESS TRACKER
Apple is known for making one of the best fitness trackers with their Apple Watch and the Series 6 is no exception. It covers all the bases and a whole lot more. It has a faster charging time than ever before, blood-oxygen monitoring, and it’s even integrated with Fitness+, Apple’s new on-demand fitness streaming service that will link your workout with the watch, iPhone and Apple TV. You can check your heart rhythm with the ECG app and monitor your zzz’s with the sleep app. Plus, the smart Always-On Retina display is 2.5x brighter outdoors so you can always read it.
6. SAMSUNG Galaxy Watch Active
BEST FOR SAMSUNG GALAXY PHONE OWNERS
Non-iPhone users might be sad they can’t maximize all the perks of the Apple Watch, but Samsung smartphone owners are in luck with the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, which happens to cost half as much. It also syncs with your phone to stream your playlist, get notifications and much more, all from your wrist. It automatically recognizes six exercises and can track 39 more, plus it analyzes your sleep and heart health.
7. Garmin Vivoactive 4
BEST FOR STRESS MANAGEMENT
These are stressful times, so we could all use a little help managing that. In addition to tracking your workouts, the Garmin Vivoactive 4 delivers insights about your stress levels, along with breathing, energy, hydration and sleep, making it one of the best fitness trackers for managing stress. There are more than 20 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps — including yoga, running, swimming and more — to see your workout progress. You can download music straight to your watch and personalize it with thousands of free watch faces, apps and widgets.
8. Polar Grit X
BEST FOR OUTDOOR SPORTS
When most of your sweat sessions are in the great outdoors, such as hiking and running, this is the best fitness tracker for you. It takes rugged sports seriously with its range of outdoor-specific features. It has military-grade durability, with the ability to withstand extreme temperatures, drop, humidity and water resistance up to 100 meters. In addition to built-in GPS, it has a compass and altimeter and can help you plan multi-day routes to safely explore new ground. To help you meet your goals, its automatic Hill Splitter tells you how you performed on the ascent and descent sections of your route determined by your speed, distance and altitude data.
9. Fitbit Inspire 2
BEST FOR BEGINNERS
Those who are new to the fitness tracker world don’t need all the bells and whistles, and the Fitbit Inspire 2 has everything required to get going with healthier habits. Boasting an easy-to-use touchscreen, it’ll monitor your activity and heart rate all day, sending you alerts when you hit your goals, and also give you a Sleep Score. It has more than 20 workout modes, many which start tracking automatically, to make it user friendly. The Fitbit app collects all of your data, so you can see your progress and set new goals.
10. Amazon Halo
Feel like you spend your entire life staring at screens? Then this is the best fitness tracker for you. It comes with a free membership for six months and then auto-renews at $3.99 per month plus tax. The membership includes sleep and activity tracking, body composition measurements, tone of voice analysis to improve your communication and more, along with programs like at-home workouts, guided meditations, sleep sounds and others to keep your mind and body healthy from experts such as Lifesum, SWEAT and Headspace.