Activity tracker, you’ve probably noticed that there is a considerable number of options available in the market. Many known companies tend to dominate the conversation, but many other fitness tracker brands are also in the race.
Many not-so-known brands have followers, and some activity trackers get consistently high marks. That’s great news for consumers which means that there are options for all budget types.
But the decision to pick from the seemingly endless possibilities has enlarged out of proportion. Do you go with a big name and choose a Fitbit? How do you select a model if you’ve determined your budget? Fortunately, we’ve got answers.
This Activity Tracker Buying Guide will give the basics of fitness trackers, including features, apps, and tracking functions. We’ll give you a breakdown of our favourites at accessible price points and for particular features. You can buy the activity trackers online too.
Price is one of the critical categories of fitness trackers. You can spend anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand depending on your budget and the features you wish for. It’s good to save to get the device you want, if that’s a possibility for you, and if you genuinely see yourself getting a lot of use out of the invention. Now, let’s get take a look at the best activity trackers you can get for more budget-friendly prices.
Thanks to its sleek layout, long battery life, and multiple fitness-related features, the Apple Watch Series 6 brings the top spot as the best fitness tracker in the market. In expansion to recording your daily activity metrics and crazes using the Fitness app, the device scans your blood oxygen levels, heart rhythm, and sleep cycles. In addition, the watch carries a GPS independent of the phone for following your steps, route, speed, distance, and more. The timepiece is also water-resistant up to 164 feet (50 meters) and brags a large, crisp display for effortless readability. The added benefit is creating calls and sending texts from the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch Series 6 delivers up to 18 hours of battery life per charge, which the company shares takes into account regular use, such as limiting the time, swiping into apps, and even exerting for 60 minutes while listening to music. The main disadvantage of the Apple Watch is that its sleep tracking feature isn’t as precise or robust as other trackers.
Vivosmart 4 features a built-in pulse sensor with sleep monitoring, daily stress tracking, and preloaded activities. It stands out from others for having a wrist-based pulse ox sensor, which measures your blood oxygen saturation levels during the day and while you’re sleeping at night. In addition, the device can attach to your smartphone’s GPS for recording outdoor activities. The Vivosmart 4 is also reasonably affordable and available in four colors. Plus, you can choose to accept calls, texts, and other messages directly on your device. The Vivosmart’s battery lasts up to 7 days on a full charge.
The Polar Vantage M is perfect for cyclists seeking a sports watch that’s thin, lightweight, and less expensive than its contenders. The watch boasts over 130 sports profiles available to download, involving one tailored to cycling. In addition to measuring your heart rate, the clock keeps tabs on your speed, distance traveled, the time elapsed, calories burned, and changes in altitude as you ride. Other notable features include V?O? max tracking, constant heart rate monitoring, personalized training programs, and guided breathing exercises. It also boasts a long battery life of up to 30 hours per charge when employed in training mode. In addition, when paired with the Flow app, you can obtain text and phone notifications on your tracker, though you can also employ the “do not disturb” setting while riding.
Water-resistant up to 50 meters, this smartwatch is one of the few alternatives in the market that provides constant heart rate monitoring while you swim. Swimmers will also enjoy the device’s automatic stroke recognition and pace monitoring. In addition, the device delivers valuable insights into your performance by calculating your SWOLF score — a measure of your efficiency based on how long it brings you to swim a certain number of strokes. The device is compatible with Android and iOS smartphones and functions well with fitness and nutrition apps such as Map My Run and MyFitnessPal. You can also receive text and phone notifications and respond with preset responses. The Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro presents built-in music storage and GPS. However, as it doesn’t follow the elevation or number of stairs climbed, it’s not the best opportunity for hikers. The battery can last up to 15 days from a single charge, though that’s with minimal service.
Featuring GPS navigation, advanced performance analytics, and smartphone connectivity, the Garmin Forerunner 245 is a perfect choice for runners. This top-notch fitness tracker delivers feedback on your current training rank and shows custom workouts and adaptive training plans to ramp up your run. It also uses a wrist sensor to follow your heart rate, blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), and V?O? max — a benchmark of cardiorespiratory fitness. The device may also help you improve your form by providing detailed information on your stride length, balance, cadence, and vertical oscillation — the amount that your torso moves up and down with each step. The battery lasts up to 7 days, but that’s with minimal use. With music, GPS, and wrist monitoring conducting simultaneously, you can anticipate it to last closer to 6 hours.
This high-quality activity tracker is a favorite among fitness enthusiasts with built-in GPS, continuous heart rate monitoring, and over 20 exercise modes. Fitbit Charge 4 presents several unique features, including Activity Zone Minutes, which alert you when you achieve your target heart rate and permit you to set weekly activity goals. You can also monitor various health metrics, like your breathing rate, temperature, SpO2 (also known as oxygen saturation) levels, menstrual cycle, heart rate variability, and daily stress management score. In addition, you can sport the device at night to track your sleep. The app supplies a sleep score for a quick snapshot of your overall sleep quality in the morning. Fitbit Charge 4 can be synced with your smartphone, allowing you to accept calls, texts, and calendar notifications on the wrist. The battery should last up to 7 days for every charge.
Omron HeartGuide features a remarkable inflatable cuff inside the wristband to monitor your blood pressure level. The data from the cuff is synced with an app named HeartAdvisor, which delivers detailed insights into your readings and follows your levels over time. In addition, the device observes your activity level, sleep patterns, and calories burned. You can also obtain notifications from your phone, including incoming calls, emails, texts, and calendar events. Of course, the battery life relies on how often you measure your blood pressure levels, though the company expresses that most users can expect to charge their device 2–3 times per week.
The Vivoactive 3 delivers integrated GPS tracking, constant heart rate monitoring, and built-in music storage. It also contains 15 preloaded sports apps for tracking activities like running, cycling, yoga, swimming, and more. It also allows you to watch your fitness level by scanning your V?O? max. What makes it particularly demanding to weightlifters is the ability to create custom workouts for most strength-training activities, including squats, bench presses, rows, etc. The watch is even lightweight, considering just 1.4 ounces (39.7 grams), and features a slim structure, making it comfy to wear whether you’re at the gym or out on the run. In addition, the Garmin Vivoactive delivers a battery life of up to 7 days in the smartwatch way and 13 hours in GPS mode when it’s fully charged.
How to Shop for a Activity Tracker
Merely plugging in “fitness trackers” to a search engine produces mind-boggling results. The reality is what you want and need. Before you get started, and you must need to ask yourself things like heart rate monitoring or GPS, and what types of activities you usually do and want to monitor. Here are some of the first things to consider while beginning the search.
Style: The wrist activity tracker is the most popular. If you want to wear something around wrist all the time, it’s should be worth it to look for. You can get activity trackers that are rings or necklaces you can even find trackers that just clip on to your clothing.
Design: If you do wish to have a wrist activity tracker, you should check out great style options available for you. Several devices look great. They can be customized too with changeable bands. Some widgets have a low profile and don’t look like a flashy activity tracker. Another thing to check is: do you want a smartwatch, which will focus less on fitness and more on keeping you connected. Many new models are hybrids of activity trackers and smartwatches, which means you have more options to look into.
Comfort: Keep comfort in mind! You’ll mostly want to wear it 24/7, so it should be comfortable to sleep in and wear with sleeve lengths and so on. Some bulky activity trackers are very uncomfortable for those with smaller wrists or for people who wear long sleeves. Try devices which have long-term wear features.
Display: The display is an integral part of your activity tracker, and it’s well worth to check out the style and functionality of the devices you’re interested in. Displays have a range of options and specs, including:
- Touch screen
- Side buttons
- Colour or black and white
- Visibility in various light conditions
Size of screen: In addition to the looks of the display, it’s essential to find one that has an intuitive interface. It is not good to spend the money on a fancy tracker and then struggle while using it. Some devices have a steep learning curve but still are useable once you get to know it, but others are buggy, touchy, or overly-complicated and only not worth it. User experience is critical in your enjoyment of your device – otherwise, it will probably end up in a drawer sooner rather than later.
Features of Activity Tracker
The features of fitness trackers include things like heart rate monitors and activity & sleep tracking and which we’ll cover next. The features of activity trackers usually make or break the decision for you. It’s a good idea to establish early on in the search just what you want out of activity tracker. It plays a vital role to improve your health, training, or addressing weight or sleep issues, the data and tracking that accompanies it should be relatively high on your list.
- Activity Tracking: Activity tracking is, of course, the most crucial part of a fitness tracker. Most will track steps first and foremost, and you have more options too. If you’re looking for trackers that differentiate between different activities and track various movements, you’ll have to pay particular attention to the different trackers’ abilities. A few things to understand regarding activity tracking:
- Without GPS, your steps, distance, and other walking/running/cycling data might not be completely accurate.
- Not all trackers count flights of stairs, make sure it has an altimeter and will log that info.
- If the tracker doesn’t measure heart rate, the “calories burned” count will only be an estimate based on steps and movement.
- If you are a swimmer, make sure the device is both waterproof and capable of tracking swimming.
- The best advice we have is to make sure the tracker you’re eyeing can track the activities you want it to. Whether you want it to follow reps, your golf game, or rowing, typically these are called multisports activity trackers.
- Sleep Tracking: Most wearable fitness trackers track sleep. They can be very different in accuracy and quality. If sleep tracking is important to you in your fitness tracker, it’s worth researching devices that are the best and most accurate. Some know when you fall asleep, while others require to press a button while going to bed. Some are pretty accurate, but some have to be updated through the app to have accurate data about sleep or wake up. The best sleep tracking should be able to determine sleep stages by studying heart rate and movements while the hours you sleep.
- GPS: GPS is a significant factor for future activity tracker owners. It can be convenient for runners. You can track routes, try out new directions, and get more advanced data about runs or cycling. There are two options/types for GPS in activity trackers.
- Built-in GPS: Comes equipped with GPS
- Linked GPS: Pairs with your smartphone to extract GPS data
- Having built-in GPS means you don’t have to take the phone with you. If you need a GPS, it will cost you. Activity trackers with GPS capabilities require significantly more – specially built-in GPS. They have a shorter battery span. If you are shopping for a GPS-equipped activity device, be sure to check for the above two features and consider the battery life. This is very important if you are a long-distance or trail runner who requires a GPS device that will last entire run.
- Heart Rate Monitoring: While many activity trackers now come standard with HR, you should check both the accuracy of the monitor and the data that you collect from it. Heart rate monitoring depends on optical sensors read the blood pulses in veins, but heart rate monitoring like sleep tracking – can be bit touchy. Do remember that information shouldn’t take the place of a visit to the doctor, nor should you use your data to make any considerable lifestyle changes without a piece of medical advice.
- App: Having a fitness tracker means interacting with an app, so it’s a good idea to know what the app is like before you commit. Fitbit is considered to be the best in activity tracker apps because it gets consistently good reviews and offers regular updates. The app you’ll like will be subjective, but going through user reviews is a good move before you buy.
- Waterproof vs Water-Resistant: Having a waterproof device might be necessary for you, in which case it’s good to understand what names like “waterproof” or “water-resistant” actually mean. This designation matters if you intend to shower, swim, or run in the rain with the fitness tracker. No device is entirely waterproof. Devices might have the level of water resistance, and the device’s specs should tell you exactly how resistant it is. Usually, an ATM rating helps to measure, so you’ll see trackers listed as something like “5 ATM,” but it may be explained in meters: “water-resistant to 50 meters.” Those ratings are precisely the same. Higher numbers are always better when it comes to water ratings.1 ATM/10 Meters: Splash/rain resistant
- 3 ATM/30 Meters: Splash/rain resistant; quick shower okay
- 5 ATM/50 Meters: Splash/rain resistant; showering and accidental submersion okay; light, surface swimming okay
- 10 ATM/100 Meters: Splash/rain resistant; fine for showering and swimming
- Battery + Charging: Devices with GPS will usually have a much shorter battery life, and you’ll require to charge it much more frequently. Many fitness trackers last 4-5 days with a single charge. Others need standard CR2032 batteries and only have to be changed every few months. Consider charging time while making a decision.
- Notifications: When it comes to notifications on the device, there are two kinds you might consider: smart notifications from your phone (texts, missed calls, apps, etc.) and inactivity notifications or alarms. Many of today’s fitness trackers blur the line between smartwatch and fitness tracker, so plenty of devices can keep you connected. Inactivity reminders or silent alarms can be beneficial to help you stay on track. Some devices that offer notifications of these kinds will let you set alerts to remind to be somewhere, to take medications, or to get moving at various intervals.
With the above information in your hand, you can now decide more appropriately about your activity tracker.