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Fitness trackers include a wide range of products. Some merely count steps, while others monitor daily activities, measure sleep, track calorie burn, and offer health tips through an app.

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The best fitness tracker depends on a person’s health goals and 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.

The best fitness trackers measure many health metrics, including blood pressure and heart rate.

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

Apple Watch Series 6

The latest Apple Watch offers several functions, including:

  • sleep monitoring
  • fall detection
  • access to emergency support
  • fitness tracking
  • heart rate monitoring
  • an activity ring that monitors daily movement patterns

Unlike earlier versions of the Watch, updated versions do not need a phone to work. The Apple Watch Series 6 is also waterproof.

Below are some of the main features of the Apple Watch Series 6.

Battery lifeUp to 18 hours
Tracked metricsBlood oxygen
Electrocardiogram (EKG)
Irregular heartbeat notification
Steps, distance, elevation
Workout selection, including hiking, yoga, and cycling
Sleep
GPSYes, both GPS and cellular GPS with an active mobile network connection
Waterproof rating50 meters (m), suitable for shallow swimming

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 looks more like a traditional watch and offers features that include a blood pressure monitor. This function makes it a suitable option for those with heart disease who wish to track their blood pressure throughout the day.

Users can get an EKG reading to assess heart electrical activity, sleep patterns, and daily activity levels. The battery lasts longer than a day, while the watch is water-resistant.

Below are several main features of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.

Battery life3–4 days
Tracked metricsEKG
Steps, distance, elevation
Workout selection, including hiking, yoga, and cycling
Meditation
Stress
Sleep
GPSYes
Waterproof ratingWater-resistant up to 50 m

Fitbit Charge 3

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

It is water-resistant and offers constant heart rate monitoring. However, it lacks blood pressure measurement.

Below are some of the main features of the Fitbit Charge 3.

Battery lifeUp to 7 days
Tracked metricsStep count
Activities, including running, cycling, swimming, and yoga
Sleep
Calories
Heart rate
GPSConnects to smartphone GPS
Waterproof ratingUp to 50 m, swim-proof

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Garmin says that the Vivoactive 4 is waterproof, with an 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.

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

The table below lists some of the main features of this model.

Battery lifeUp to 8 days
Tracked metricsStep count
Heart rate
Hydration
Sleep
Breathing
Activity tracking, including running, cycling, and swimming
GPSYes, with smartphone apps
Waterproof rating50 m, suitable for shallow swimming

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, while 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 in females with this condition, nighttime waking predicted changes in lung function. A sleep tracker was able to monitor these changes, making it a useful tool for daily asthma self-management.

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

People who are 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 both cause unexplained weight loss.

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.