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Fitness trackers can count steps, monitor daily activities, measure sleep, track calorie burn, and offer health tips through an app.

This article lists 12 of the best fitness trackers available to buy online, discusses how useful they are for health, and answers some frequently asked questions.

A quick look at 12 of the best fitness trackers

The best fitness tracker depends on a person’s health goals, budget, and the specific fitness activities or health metrics they wish to track.

Different fitness trackers monitor a range of activities and metrics. These devices offer several benefits, including:

  • tracking activity, including calories burned
  • monitoring sleep
  • monitoring heart rate

Viewing these metrics may motivate people to make more healthy decisions. A fitness tracker may also help some individuals identify a previously unnoticed symptom or understand how their lifestyle affects their health.

Medical News Today includes reputable, well-received fitness trackers with a range of price points and features.

Additionally, MNT looks at some of the following:

  • Health claims: MNT includes companies that make no questionable health claims.
  • Trust: MNT includes companies that operate transparently regarding their products, services, and leadership. Also, those companies have certifications from reputable, third-party organizations where relevant.
  • Business standards: MNT will choose companies that follow safe and ethical business and marketing practices.
  • Reputation: MNT will choose companies with no warnings from governing bodies, unresolved lawsuits, and positive standings with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

The best fitness trackers measure many health metrics, including blood pressure and heart rate, and track a wide range of sports.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best for menstrual cycle insights: Apple Watch Series 8

  • Battery life: up to 18 hours
  • Tracked metrics: steps, distance, elevation, blood oxygen, irregular heartbeat notification, cycle tracking, sleep stages
  • GPS: has GPS and cellular GPS with an active mobile network connection
  • Waterproof rating: up to 50 meters (m)
  • Price: from $399

The Apple Watch Series 8 offers detailed insights into a person’s health.

It can offer female users information on their menstrual cycle through temperature data. It tracks a person’s temperature while they sleep, which Apple claims may indicate when a person has ovulated when combined with the watch’s Cycle Tracking feature. This may be useful for family planning or understanding menstrual cycles.

This makes the Apple Watch Series 8 suitable for people who have periods and those who would like insights to guide family planning.

It also offers detailed data on a person’s sleep cycles. According to Apple, the watch can tell a person how long they spend in each stage of the sleep cycle, including deep sleep.

It is also water resistant up to 50 meters. A person can wear this while swimming in shallow water or taking a shower.

It features an “Always-On” display that Apple claims is bright and easy to read. The screen extends to the very edge of the watch face, which aims to make typing, tapping, and swiping easy.

Other features include:

  • heart rate monitoring
  • blood oxygen monitoring
  • crash and fall detection
  • workout planners
  • guided walks, runs, and meditation
  • route planners

Best for cardio workouts: Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

  • Battery life: around 40 hours
  • Tracked metrics: ECG, sleep, blood oxygen, workouts, running,
  • GPS: yes
  • Waterproof rating: up to 50 m
  • Price: around $199

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 comes in two sizes and four colors. The smaller size has a 40-millimeter (mm) diameter watch face, and the larger size is 44 mm. The colors include black, green, silver, and pink gold.

It features a heart rate sensor, an ECG function, and cardio tracking. This means a person can understand their maximum capacity during cardio workouts, such as running.

This makes the Galaxy Watch 4 suitable for people who enjoy cardio exercise.

A person can also track their metrics during other workouts. A person can connect to live coaching sessions from the watch.

Other features include:

  • sleep tracking
  • 4G connectivity
  • smartphone features such as calling, texting, and streaming

Best for calorie tracking: Fitbit Charge 3

  • Battery life: up to 7 days
  • Tracked metrics: heart rate, running, swimming, cycling, yoga, sleep
  • GPS: connects to smartphone GPS
  • Waterproof rating: up to 50 m
  • Price: around $164

The Charge 3 offers 15 different exercise modes. People can track their activities, monitor their sleep habits, and get personalized fitness guidance.

The company claims it can track 15 different exercise modes. Some exercise modes include:

It is water-resistant and offers constant heart rate monitoring. Fitbit claims this can help people understand their daily calorie burn rate.

As such, this fitness tracker may be best suited to people who track calories as part of their fitness plan.

Best for guidance while exercising: Garmin Vivoactive 4

  • Battery life: up to 8 days
  • Tracked metrics: steps, heart rate, hydration, sleep, breathing, running, cycling, swimming
  • GPS: connects to smartphone GPS
  • Waterproof rating: up to 50 m
  • Price: around $349

Garmin says the Vivoactive 4 is waterproof, with 8-day battery life and sleep-tracking capabilities. It also has a color touchscreen and an intuitive interface.

Users can access a wide range of preselected workouts to suit their fitness goals and ability level. It includes over 20 sports apps. It helps people complete exercises safely with animations showing users how to correctly complete an exercise, such as lifting weights.

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 also has a responsive screen and a wide range of functions, including smartphone functions.

It comes in six colors and two sizes: 40 mm and 45 mm.

This watch may suit people who would like guidance while exercising to ensure they are completing exercises in the proper form.

Best for smaller budgets: Amazfit Band 5

  • Battery life: 15 days
  • Tracked metrics: blood oxygen level, heart rate monitoring and warnings, stress, and breathing exercises, sleep, menstrual cycles, 11 sports
  • GPS: connects to smartphone GPS
  • Waterproof rating: up to 50 m
  • Price: around $39.99

This fitness tracker comes with PAITM, a proprietary professional health assessment system. According to the company website, it provides a single, easy-to-understand numerical score that offers insight into their daily exercise and general health measurements.

It comes with a built-in connection to Alexa. It offers incoming call notifications, camera control, and customizable watch faces.

The unit’s 11 different sports modes track distance, speed, heart rate, calories burned, and more while a person:

At under $50, this is the most affordable fitness tracker in this article, making it very suitable for people working with smaller budgets.

Best for running: Garmin Forerunner 245

  • Battery life: up to 7 days
  • Tracked metrics: heart rate, distance, pace, intervals, VO2 max, pulse sensor, training status, training effects, training load, recovery time, advanced running metrics
  • GPS: yes
  • Waterproof rating: up to 50 meters (m)
  • Price: around $299

This fitness tracker is specifically defined to help runners improve their performance. One of the features is called “Garmin coach,” which includes free training plans a person can sync to this watch.

Additional features help runners understand how hard they are training, the impact of their training, and how they can adjust their training and rest to optimize their results.

These running-specific features make this watch suitable for people whose main form of exercise is running.

Safety and tracking features alert emergency contacts and locate the user.

This watch comes in five colors.

Best for athletes: Polar Vantage M2

  • Battery life: up to 40 hours
  • Tracked metrics: steps, cardio, and muscle training loads, energy consumption, running, swimming, sleep
  • GPS: yes
  • Waterproof rating: up to 30 m
  • Price: around $299.95

The company website states that this fitness tracker provides users with data on their effort and performance during workouts.

Many workouts are available, plus 130 different sports profiles. Users can adapt to these workouts to meet their individual needs and goals.

Other features include:

  • FuelWise, for a personalized approach to hydration and nutrition
  • cardio, strength, or mobility workouts with real-time guidance
  • push notifications
  • music controls
  • weather forecast

It comes in three colors.

This watch may be suitable for athletes looking to gain useful data on their fitness.

Best fitness tracking ring: Oura Ring

  • Battery life: up to 7 days
  • Tracked metrics: heart rate, temperature, activity, recovery, stress, sleep, blood oxidation
  • GPS: connects to smartphone GPS
  • Waterproof rating: up to 100 m
  • Price: around $349, plus a $30 monthly membership

This fitness tracker is a ring rather than a watch. This makes it more discreet than fitness watches.

It is available in eight different sizes and five shades of non-allergenic titanium. The company describes this ring as lightweight and comfortable for 24/7 use.

The ring is about the width of a wedding band and uses LED and infrared sensors to collect readings for reports.

A purchase includes 6 months of membership. Membership gives a person access to the following:

  • daily in-depth sleep analysis
  • live heart rate monitoring
  • personalized health recommendations
  • skin temperature readings

This fitness tracker ring may be suitable for people who prefer a more discreet fitness tracker than a watch.

Best screenless fitness tracker: Whoop 4.0

  • Battery life: up to 4–5 days
  • Tracked metrics: heart rate, blood oxygen, skin temperature, sleep cycles, training, and recovery
  • GPS: available through the Whoop app
  • Waterproof rating: up to 10 m
  • Price: monthly memberships from $20–30, upfront costs of $300 or $480

The Whoop 4.0 fitness tracker looks like a fabric wristband. It does not have a screen and has a lightweight and soft design. A person can choose from a wide range of colors and patterns for the band, select different sliders, or upgrade to include precious metal plating.

The wristband uses LEDs and photodiode sensors to gather information on a person’s heart rate, blood oxygen, skin temperature, and more.

It also features an alarm that wakes a person up by vibrating at a suitable time based on a person’s current sleep stage.

People choose a monthly, annual, or bi-annual membership, which gives access to personalized insights, coaching, and reports – plus the wristband itself.

To buy the Whoop 4.0, a person can choose from three membership plans, a monthly plan, a 12-month plan, or a 24-month plan.

The 12- and 24-month plans have an upfront cost of $300 and $480, respectively. Alternatively, a person can pay a $30 monthly fee.

This watch may be suitable for people who want a screenless fitness tracker.

Best for outdoor sports: Apple Watch Ultra

  • Battery life: up to 60 hours
  • Tracked metrics: heart rate, running form, track detection, depth gauge, temperature, sleep, ECG, blood oxygen, heart health, crash, and fall detection
  • GPS: yes
  • Waterproof rating: up to 100 m
  • Price: around $799

This watch is made of titanium and is designed for use outdoors.

It has three specialized bands for different sports, such as hiking, running, and diving. It also includes an orienteering option for compass users, an 86-decibel siren for emergencies, and a depth gauge, which provides up to 40 meters of underwater measurements.

Apple states that a large display lets a user see six different metrics at once, and it describes the watch as its brightest screen. It also has a night-mode feature to make seeing the screen easy in low-light conditions.

Other details include raised buttons to make the watch easier to use while wearing gloves.

It can also operate in extreme temperatures.

This watch may be best suited to those who enjoy outdoor sports.

Best for monitoring blood pressure: Omron HeartGuideTM

  • Battery life: 500 cycles or 8 times a day
  • Tracked metrics: blood pressure, steps, distance, calories burned, sleep
  • GPS: no
  • Waterproof rating: not specified
  • Price: around $499

The manufacturer describes this fitness tracker as the first clinically accurate, wearable blood monitor. It states it is registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a medical device.

It is available in medium and large sizes.

This fitness tracker takes blood pressure readings using an inflatable cuff and miniaturized oscillometric measurements.

When used simultaneously with its associated app, this fitness tracker can help a person measure and learn how to manage their blood pressure.

The app stores data so a person can understand how their lifestyle affects their blood pressure fluctuation over the day.

This tracker best suits people who need to track their blood pressure fluctuations.

Best for swimming: Garmin Swim 2

  • Battery life: up to 7 days
  • Tracked metrics: heart rate, distance, pace, stroke count, and SWOLF
  • GPS: yes
  • Waterproof rating: up to 50 m
  • Price: around $249.99

The Garmin Swim 2 is for swimmers. People can use it in pools or open water.

It collects key data swimmers can use to track and improve their performance, such as SWOLF or swimming efficiency. This analyzes a person’s swimming stroke and length to estimate their swimming efficiency.

It has an “Auto Rest” feature to help users build regular breaks into their sessions.

It also provides coaching tips, such as:

  • pacing alerts
  • logging drills
  • alerts to slow down or speed up

The device tracks stress, energy, and general fitness activity when a swimmer is out of the water.

The table below compares each fitness tracker in this article for battery life, price, and more.

Battery lifeTracked metricsGPSWaterproof ratingPrice
Apple Watch Series 8up to 18 hours• steps
• distance
• elevation
• blood oxygen
• irregular heartbeat
• ECG
• cycle tracking
• sleep stages
yesup to 50 mfrom $399
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4around 40 hours• ECG
• sleep
• blood oxygen
• workouts
• running
yesup to 50 maround $199
Fitbit Charge 3up to 7 days• heart rate
• running
• swimming
• cycling
• yoga
• sleep
connects to smartphone GPSup to 50 maround $164
Garmin Vivoactive 4up to 8 days• steps
• heart rate
• hydration
• sleep
• breathing
• running
• cycling
• swimming
connects to smartphone GPSup to 50 maround $349
Amazfit Band 515 days• blood oxygen
• heart rate monitoring and warnings
• stress monitoring
• breathing exercises
• sleep
• menstrual cycles
• 11 sports
connects to smartphone GPSup to 50 maround $39.99
Garmin Forerunner 245up to 7 days• heart rate
• distance
• pace
• intervals
• VO2 max
• pulse sensor
• training status
• training effects
• training load
• recovery time
• advanced running metrics
yesup to 50 maround $299
Polar Vantage M2up to 40 hours• step count
• cardio
• muscle training loads
• energy • consumption
• running
• swimming
• sleep
yesup to 30 maround $299.95
Oura Ringup to 7 days• heart rate
• temperature
• activity
• recovery
• stress
• sleep
• blood oxidation
connects to smartphone GPSup to 100 maround $349, plus a $30 monthly membership
Whoop 4.0up to 4-5 days• heart rate
• blood oxygen
• skin temperature
• sleep cycles
• training
recovery
available through the Whoop appup to 10 mmonthly memberships from $20–30, upfront costs of $300 or $480
Apple Watch Ultraup to 60 hours on• heart rate
• running form
• track detection
• depth gauge
• temperature
• sleep
• ECG
• blood oxygen
• heart health
• crash and fall detection
yesup to 100 maround $799
Omron HeartGuideTM500 cycles or 8 times a day
• blood pressure
• steps
• distance
• calories burned
• sleep
nonot statedaround $499
Garmin Swim 2up to 7 days• heart rate
• distance
• pace
• stroke count
• SWOLF
yesup to 50 maround $249.99

People who use fitness trackers should note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate these devices. Their readings are not always reliable, and the metrics they track are not necessarily the most significant measures of fitness or health.

Before trying a fitness tracker to monitor health, a person may wish to speak with a doctor to discuss specific metrics and the best options for tracking them.

In some cases, fitness trackers may help individuals manage certain health conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular health, asthma, and sleep disorders.

Diabetes

A fitness tracker cannot detect diabetes, but it may help those with a confirmed diagnosis manage their symptoms, follow an appropriate diet, and maintain physical activity levels. People with diabetes who lose weight may experience fewer symptoms, so these trackers could be beneficial and motivating.

Learn more about diabetes.

Cardiovascular health

A fitness tracker that monitors heart rate may detect heart arrhythmia. Some fitness trackers can also monitor blood pressure. This feature could be particularly helpful for pregnant people and those with high blood pressure.

Learn more about cardiovascular disease.

Breathing disorders

Some fitness trackers that record sleep behavior may help monitor certain conditions, such as asthma.

In a 2020 study, the authors noted that nighttime waking is important in understanding the severity of a person’s asthma. Involving 43 females, the study used a sleep tracker to monitor asthma symptoms. It found that fitness trackers can help predict if a person’s asthma is worsening by analyzing data on nighttime waking and sleep disruption.

Learn more about asthma.

Sleep disorders

Some fitness trackers keep track of nighttime waking, which can help a person detect sleep disorders and understand their energy levels better. In some individuals, frequent night waking may be a sign of sleep apnea or, in other cases, gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Learn more about GERD.

Weight management

People hoping to achieve moderate body weight, whether through weight loss or gain, may find fitness trackers helpful. They may help a person maintain a certain weight in the long term, as many devices monitor the number of calories that individuals burn through exercise and measure other factors important for weight management.

People not trying to gain or lose weight may not usually monitor their weight. However, a fitness tracker that measures activity levels may support a diagnosis of some conditions, such as cancer or type 1 diabetes, which can cause unexplained weight loss.

A person should consider the following factors when buying a fitness tracker:

  • Price: Prices vary a lot between fitness trackers. Some models are affordable at under $50, while others cost around $800. Additionally, some trackers come with monthly subscriptions that people should factor into their budget. People should choose a fitness tracker that offers them the features they need for a price that suits their budget.
  • Metrics: A person should consider the range of sports and health metrics their chosen tracker measures. Some fitness trackers specifically track certain sports, while others offer a wide range of sports modes.
  • Battery life: Depending on the features a person uses, the battery life between fitness trackers can vary. People should consider how often they will use their fitness tracker and how many features they will use.

Below, we answer some of the top frequently asked questions about fitness trackers.

Which fitness trackers are most accurate?

The accuracy of a fitness tracker depends on a range of factors, including the algorithm it uses, the type of tracker and sensor it uses, and limitations in its design, energy consumption, and processing.

Overall, there is a lack of scientific research into the accuracy of these devices. A person should not use a fitness tracker to replace the advice of a doctor or other healthcare professional.

What is the best alternative to Fitbit?

There are many alternatives to Fitbit. Garmin, Apple, and Samsung, all manufacture fitness trackers across a wide range of price points that have many features that Fitbit offers.

A person should consider their budget, the trackers they would find useful, and the battery life of a fitness tracker before making a purchase.

Are fitness trackers worth it?

Fitness trackers can help people manage their weight, count calories, and gain insight into their exercise, training, sleep, and menstrual cycles.

Fitness trackers can also be affordable, and many models track specific sports.

They can be a valuable investment if a person regularly wants to track and monitor their health and fitness.

There is no perfect fitness tracker. Instead, the most suitable fitness tracking device depends on a person’s overall health and the metrics they are interested in monitoring.

Once individuals have the data they seek, they may use this information to discuss health conditions and symptoms with a medical professional.