Affiliate links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.
What's the best fitness tracker? We tested over 40 — Here's our top 8
Finding the best fitness tracker starts with four basic questions:
- Do you prefer a band or watch-style fitness tracker?
- What activities do you plan to track?
- Do you care about the brand or the platform?
- Are there any special features you need like SpO2 tracking, built-in GPS, or an ECG?
Once you know what features and activities matter the most to you, it’s much easier to pick the right fit. From bands to smartwatches, our team puts every wearable device we review through rigorous testing to ensure only the best options make it on our lists. We dive into everything from activity tracking to sleep tracking to daily use, particularly focusing on user experience, accuracy, and value. Keep reading to see our picks for the best fitness trackers you can buy in 2023.
The best basic fitness tracker is a smartwatch, the Fitbit Versa 3
It might seem a little strange that we picked a smartwatch as the best fitness tracker, but don’t let form factors fool you. In 2023, the biggest differences between a band-style fitness tracker and a fitness-focused smartwatch are size and battery life. Comfortable and sleek, the Fitbit Versa 3 feels like the best of both, occupying a middle ground between the Charge 5 and the pricier Sense. Sure, it’s a bit heavier than a tracker, but it’s never felt overly bulky or uncomfortable on our wrists. It’s also feature-packed.
In fact, there are only three sensors on the Sense that you won’t find here: ECG, EDA, and skin temperature. Our Fitbit Sense reviewer felt these three additions weren’t particularly accurate anyhow, so you might not be missing much. We also weren’t blown away by the kneecapped Sense 2. Finally, while the Versa 4 is now available, we don’t recommend the newest generation.
We were disappointed to find the new model doesn’t offer third-party app support, WiFi support, or Google Assistant. For now, we stand behind the Versa 3 as the best choice for a Fitbit device. Unfortunately, Fitbit seems to be weakening its smartwatch lineups in favor of the Pixel Watch, so these devices aren’t as powerful as they used to be in terms of smart features
As a tracker, however, the Fitbit Versa 3 remains a solid choice. Battery life is important for a fitness tracker, and that’s why it’s often hard to recommend a smartwatch. In our tests, the Versa 3 consistently got around three and a half days of use, including the use of sensors like the heart rate monitor and built-in GPS. For a watch, this is stellar and even beats out the Charge 5 by a small margin, which typically got around three days of battery life during our review period.
Fitbit has a reputation for accurate health tracking and the Versa 3 is no exception. Step counting, sleep tracking, and all other basics proved highly accurate when compared to competing devices and even a dedicated pedometer. The Fitbit Versa 3 even has one fitness tracking feature the Charge 5 actually abandoned: an altimeter. This allows for much more accurate elevation scores.
The Versa 3 is the perfect middle ground between band-style fitness trackers and full-fledged (expensive) smartwatches.
The device is also the first Versa model to feature built-in GPS which works flawlessly and is much better than the connected GPS results we got with older Fitbits. Even in areas where the GPS connection was a bit weaker due to obstructions, we found the tracker typically stuck to our exact route or very near it. Going under objects like a bridge would throw it off a little, but again, you’ll find that with many GPS-enabled fitness trackers.
One area where fitness trackers suffer is heart rate monitoring, but the Fitbit Versa 3 performs admirably here as well. Sure, a dedicated chest strap is always going to have the most accurate results, but the Versa 3 performed solidly in our tests. The only gripe is that it sometimes takes a while to register heart rate changes during intense workouts, and this was especially true when we first started using the watch. As it gathered more data on us, accuracy improved.
Sleep tracking remains a major strength for Fitbit. As with other Fitbits, you’ll be able to track light, deep, and REM sleep, but the Versa 3 also offers snore and noise dedication. Plus, the device can detect and analyze noises made during a sleep cycle via the built-in microphone. We found this useful as another metric to better understand sleep issues. Finally, with a Fitbit Premium account, users can access Sleep Profile, a unique tool that analyzes your sleep over the course of each month.
In short, as a fitness tracker, the Versa 3 is solid. As mentioned, it’s losing steam as a smartwatch. The device allows users to place and receive calls right from their watch, but you won’t find as many apps as you’ll get from Apple or Samsung. The Versa 3 does feature Google Assistant and Alexa support while Versa 4 users are left with only Alexa and no third-party app support. Unfortunately, Fitbit also dropped music storage support as well as a few popular community features in the Fitbit app. These changes definitely negatively impact the value of the Versa line and call into question the future of Fitbit smartwatches.
For now, the Fitbit Versa 3 is the best value from Fitbit and a fantastic basic fitness tracker. If you want something with a few smarts, a great price tag, and accurate fitness tracking features, look no further. Those turned off by the size might want to give the Fitbit Charge 5 a look. Conversely, if you are looking for a more advanced smartwatch experience from your tracker you might want to go with the Apple Watch Series 8 or the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6. Read on for more top fitness trackers, or check out our dedicated list of best Fitbit alternatives.
What makes it stand out
- The Fitbit companion app is stellar: Especially for those new to tracking, or for users who don’t want to get lost in the weeds, Fitbit’s app offers one of the most intuitive user experiences available while still delivering plenty of data.
- Value that can’t be beaten: The Sense has a bit more to offer, but it’s not worth the price hike. The Fitbit Versa 3 is a powerful device and a solid value buy.
- Your choice between two assistants: Most smartwatches and fitness trackers with voice assistant support stick to just one platform, but the Versa 3 allows you to pick from Google Assistant or Alexa during initial setup.
- Built-in GPS: The best fitness trackers make workouts easy to track. Built-in GPS makes the Versa 3 a more compelling pick for runners and cyclists.
Best of the rest: 7 other fitness trackers worth considering
For most users, we recommend the Fitbit Versa 3. However, it’s hard for just one device to fit all user types. Some might need more app support, while others need a few more bells and whistles. There are plenty of other great fitness trackers and watches worth checking out. Here’s the best of the rest:
Band-style fitness trackers:
- Fitbit Charge 5: The Fitbit Charge 5 brings welcome upgrades to the Charge line, including a brighter OLED display and updated sensors.
- Xiaomi Mi Band 7: For shoppers on a budget, the Mi Band 7 is the best cheap fitness tracker you can buy, thanks to its extremely low price point and solid fitness tracking.
- HUAWEI Band 7: The best Xiaomi Mi Band 7 alternative, the HUAWEI Band 7 offers a roomy form factor and all-day SpO2 monitoring, plus useful smart features.
Watch-style fitness trackers:
- Apple Watch Series 8: For iPhone users, the Apple Watch Series 8 is the best fitness-tracking smartwatch. It’s arguably the best smartwatch you can buy and has great workout capabilities.
- Garmin Venu 3: The Venu 3 has tons of sport modes, is highly accurate, and has useful extras like voice calling and nap detection. It’s one of the best fitness trackers available from Garmin.
- Garmin Forerunner 265: One of the first Forerunner devices to feature an OLED display, this smartwatch is a much-anticipated update to the series and a great pick for runners.
- Garmin vivomove Sport: Looking for a fitness tracker that doesn’t stand out at all? This sneaky hybrid watch could be the perfect fitness tracker for you.
Fitbit Charge 5 is an excellent fitness tracker … for most
The Fitbit Charge 5 is an excellent fitness tracker, though there are a few caveats that we first noted in our Charge 5 review. Namely, the device uses GPS-based tracking instead of the altimeter and has a $50 higher starting price than the Charge 4. The good news is that the Charge 5 is always on sale. Provided you can get it for the right price, the Charge 5 is absolutely worth picking up if you want an accurate, comfortable tracker with tons of improvements over its predecessor.
We particularly like the Charge 5’s display, which is a dramatic improvement from the line’s old monochrome display. The added real estate also makes it much easier to navigate. Despite the upgraded screen, Fitbit even managed to shrink the tracker compared to its predecessor. While the updated look and a nicer display were all well and good, it’s the fitness tricks in the Charge 5 that really win us over.
We also really appreciate the addition of onboard GPS, which we compared against a dedicated GPS tracker and found to be highly accurate. It is a battery guzzler, however, so be mindful. Luckily, connected GPS remains an option for times when you need to conserve battery life. Fitbit also added an EDA sensor for tracking stress which helps users identify patterns and make lifestyle adjustments.
Two of the Charge 5’s biggest features actually didn’t go live until after its initial launch: ECG and the Daily Readiness Score (DRS). ECGs are making their way into advanced smartwatches from Fitbit and Apple but they are rare in the fitness band world. The Charge 5’s ECG feature lets you use atrial fibrillation (AFib) monitoring, which helps you monitor heart health. As for the latter, the Daily Readiness Score takes all the data your tracker collects and turns it into actionable information. For example, during testing, the app noticed our reviewer didn’t get enough sleep the night before and told him to skip his usual workout. Conversely, on days he slept really well, it told him to push even harder the next day.
As you’d expect, other fitness features were as accurate as ever, especially sleep tracking and step counting. However, no product is going to be perfect. The Charge 5 has pretty poor battery life for a fitness tracker, with Fitbit’s own Versa 3 smartwatch offering very similar results in our experience. While three days of battery is great for a smartwatch, we expect more from a fitness band-style tracker. That said, if you are looking for the best fitness band you can buy, the Fitbit Charge 5 is one of the best Fitbit devices available and is very easy to recommend.
What makes it stand out
- That display is killer: While the Charge 4 introduced a much bigger display to Fitbit’s trackers, the Charge 5 takes this to the next level with a bright, colorful display that almost feels more like a smartwatch than a typical tracker.
- The Charge 5 is a band-style tracker with smartwatch-like smarts: From mobile payments to notifications, you’ll find a lot of basic smartwatch features on the Charge 5. While the device is still first and foremost a tracker, these additions are welcome.
- Fitbit’s powerful platform: Again, we can’t say enough about Fitbit’s companion app and tracking platform, especially for anyone new to fitness tracking. The Charge 5 offers a cheaper entry fee.
Xiaomi Mi Band 7 is the best cheap fitness tracker
The Mi Band 7 is one of many budget picks available, but we feel it’s the very best we’ve tested. The device packs in features you’d normally only find on a fitness tracker double or triple its price, including SpO2 monitoring and stress tracking. Even more impressive, our testing shows that many of these features are just as accurate as those found on expensive wearables from Garmin and Fitbit. This includes basics like step tracking and calorie counting and even more advanced features like heart rate monitoring.
In addition to a big bump in display size, the Mi Band 7 adds an always-on display so your stats are always available at a glance. It also offers continuous SpO2 monitoring which means the tracker could catch signs of sleep apnea, though you shouldn’t rely on it in lieu of a genuine medical assessment. We also found the device’s heart rate monitor to be incredibly accurate during resting and low-level activities as well as during workouts. It struggled a bit with weight-lifting workouts but that isn’t out of the ordinary for wrist-based wearables. Many budget trackers struggle to report accurate results at any activity level, even resting.
Aside from plenty of sensors, the Xiaomi Mi Band 7 also offers a truly mind-boggling number of workout modes and an easy-to-use interface. Xiaomi even added additional training metrics for the most popular activity modes. The tracker can now monitor training load, training effect, and recovery time, as well as VO2 max.
The app experience has also improved, though it’s a bit complicated. There are technically two apps you can use with the Mi Band 7. Zepp Life allows you to sync to Google Fit, while Mi Fitness supports Strava. There are a few other feature differences between the two apps we pointed out in our review, but both are fairly easy to use and navigate. On the other hand, smart features are limited on this device. Users won’t find a voice assistant, NFC support, or music storage.
The Mi Band 7 is an easy-to-recommend tracker for those looking for a basic but reliable way to get into better shape. For an option with even more features, Xiaomi also released the Mi Band 7 Pro. This model offers more of a smartwatch look with a rectangular 1.64-inch AMOLED display, plus built-in GPS and NFC payment support. While not quite as affordable as the base mode, we called the Pro model “a super-sized version of an already fantastic budget fitness tracker” in our Mi Band 7 Pro review. A Mi Band 8 has also launched in some regions but is not yet globally available.
What makes it stand out
- That price tag: The Mi Band 7 is a good fitness tracker, but what truly makes it stand out is the price tag. It’s at least $30-$40 cheaper than most trackers while offering a lot of the same features.
- Exceptional accuracy for the basics: While the Mi Band 7 struggles a bit with more advanced features, this is a very accurate tracker for the basics like steps and calories. It even handles oxygen level readings and stress tracking very well.
- Tons of features: Generally “entry-level” fitness trackers lack a lot of advanced sensors like SpO2 and heart rate monitoring. On the Mi Band 7, you’ll find just about every sensor other major fitness trackers offer. There’s even connected GPS, meaning you can link your tracker to your phone’s GPS for tracking your route.
HUAWEI Band 7 gives Xiaomi a run for its money
HUAWEI really surprised us with the HUAWEI Band 6 and the 7 builds on its predecessor’s success. Blurring the line between tracker and smartwatch, it sports a large 1.47-inch AMOLED display with ultra-narrow bezels. The Band also offers improved phone integration, including the ability to answer phone calls on the wrist as well as music and remote camera control and message quick reply. The device even features support for NFC payments.
In many other ways, the HUAWEI Band 7 is very similar to the Mi Band 7 — and that’s a compliment. Users will find all-day SpO2 monitoring, sleep tracking, 96 workout modes, menstrual tracking, and more. Though we haven’t yet tested the device in-house, we were quite impressed with the accuracy of the Band 6, and the Band 7 is said to improve the user experience even further.
We tested the sleep tracking function on the HUAWEI Band 6 against a variety of devices, including the Fitbit Sense and Garmin Forerunner 245 Music. The results were spot on. In other words, if sleep tracking is something important to you it’s important to note we found the previous generation HUAWEI Band to be more accurate at this than the Mi Band 7.
Above all, HUAWEI’s Band 7 is affordable. The device is currently available to US shoppers for less than $70 from third-party retailers, including Amazon. You can grab the budget device in four colors: black, green, pink, and red. It is water resistant up to 50 meters and boasts up to two weeks of battery life between charges.
What makes it stand out
- Beautiful full-color display: HUAWEI added a vibrant and large display to its tracker line well before Fitbit followed suit. The display here looks great and is shockingly good for a watch at this price.
- Accurate sleep tracking: If you’re interested in sleep tracking, you’ll be happy to know that HUAWEI has a solid reputation for accuracy in overnight data.
- Tons of workout modes: There are over 96 workout modes on this tracker. This is a lot for even more expensive trackers making the device one of the best fitness trackers for anyone on a budget.
Apple Watch Series 8 is the best tracker for iPhone users
Apple Watches aren’t for Android users, because there’s literally no way to use them on one. If you’re coming from an iPhone, there’s much to love about the Apple Watch Series 8. While you won’t find monumental changes from the Series 7, Apple lives up to its reputation by staying consistent. Like the Series 7, the Series 8 features a large display more resistant to cracks and damage than older generations. We loved how big and bright it was in our testing as the device offers plenty of room for tapping into exciting features. As always, the device tracks all the basics including steps, calories, distance, floors climbed, resting and active heart rate, sleep, VO2 max, blood oxygen saturation, sinus rhythm, and more.
However, the Series 8 features more fitness metrics and health tools than ever. Users can now tap into more display options in the Workouts app, manage medications, and track sleep stages thanks to watchOS 9. Though the software update rolled back to older devices as well, only the newest lineup offers a temperature sensor for deeper insights and more detailed cycle tracking. It also features a powerful heart rate sensor and impressive GPS accuracy. In our testing, we were happy to find a notable improvement over the last generation. Out of the box, the Series 7 would only sporadically record the heart rate during workouts for us. This isn’t the case with the Series 8 which performed accurately throughout our review.
Out of all the devices we’ve tested we have found Apple’s UI to be the very easiest to navigate. Pulling up apps for tracking runs and other activities is much more intuitive here than on a device like the Fitbit Versa 3. The Apple Watch also remains the best platform for third-party app support. As a result, just about every major health service has an app for this watch. Outside of the wellness sphere, you’ll also find the Apple Watch 8 has plenty of other apps for all your favorite music services, messaging, and more. Finally, the Series 8 offers more safety features, including Crash Detection, which will alert emergency services if you are ever in an accident.
If you want a smartwatch that has accurate tracking and tons of third-party app support, the Apple Watch Series 8 is a no-brainer. Looking to save some money? The Apple Watch SE 2 drops a few sensors, but it is still a great fitness tracker. Looking to splurge? The Apple Watch Ultra offers a similar experience on a much more durable device. Don’t have an iPhone and looking for something just as feature-packed? If you care about app support, you might want to consider the Galaxy Watch 6 series. If you simply want accurate and advanced tracking features, get the Venu 3.
What makes it stand out
- King of the apps: If you want third-party support, you can’t do better. Apple has worked hard to bring in tons of partners. In addition to the 40-plus apps built in, the App Store is loaded with additional tools.
- ECG support works perfectly: Apple is one of few brands with an FDA-approved ECG monitor. If this is an important health metric to you, you’ll want the Apple Watch.
- Gorgeous and durable design: The Apple Watch design is iconic at this point. It looks great and it turns heads. If you care about something that is not only beautiful but highly durable, look no further.
The Garmin Venu 3 is a great workout watch for every niche
The Garmin Venu 3 might be Garmin’s premium smartwatch, but it’s also one of the best fitness trackers. While most fitness trackers are great for running and other common activities, the Venu 3 covers a huge range of activities. These include common ones like running and cycling, plus more niche subjects like bouldering and golfing. Additionally, there is also a ton of variety in the sport modes and animated workouts available, including support for yoga, pilates, and HITT. For mental health, the device also adds guided meditation.
We also really love Garmin’s Health Snapshot feature, which was first introduced with the Venu 2. The device takes a two-minute recording of your health stats including heart rate, heart rate variability, blood oxygen levels, respiration rate, and stress, and posts the results in the Garmin Connect app. From there, you can share your stats with your healthcare provider or a caretaker. At this time, the Venu 3 doesn’t offer the same FDA-approved ECG app found on its predecessor for recording on-demand readings and monitoring for signs of AFib. The necessary hardware is present, but Garmin has not yet enabled the feature. Once it’s approved, it will make the device an even more powerful health companion.
The rest of the core health fitness features are as accurate as you’d expect from one of Garmin’s best watches. The Venu 3 features multi-band GNSS as well as the company’s latest Gen 5 Elevate optical heart rate sensor. It also boasts Garmin’s top training tools including Body Battery, Recovery Time, Workout Benefit, Perceived Exertion, Garmin Coach, and more. On the sleep tracking front, the device is packed with data points to help users build better bedtime habits. It’s also the first Garmin device to provide automatic nap detection.
Overall, the Garmin Venu 3 is one of the best fitness trackers available and a great pick from a trusted brand. It’s pricey, but it also brings key smartwatch features to the table, such as mobile payments, voice calling, and voice assistant support. The device is also available in two different case sizes so users can find the perfect fit for their wrists..
What makes it stand out
- The ability to make calls. While a growing number of smartwatches have call and messaging functionality, it’s still not all that commonplace.
- Assistant support isn’t limited to one platform. Most trackers and watches have built-in assistants, but the Garmin Venu 3 uses the phone in your pocket. This means you can choose between Bixby, Assistant, Siri, and others.
- Industry-leading fitness tracking features. Garmin is one of the leaders in fitness features and as a result, there are tons of activity modes. There’s support for a wide range of sports including golf, swimming, strength training, and much more
Garmin Forerunner 265 is one of the best fitness trackers for hardcore runners
The Garmin Forerunner 265 is easily one of the most impressive running watches we’ve ever used and a welcome upgrade to its already powerful predecessor. There are many reasons we adored the watch, but let’s start with the form factor. The most apparent upgrade on this model is its OLED touchscreen display. It’s bright, responsive, and paired with a colorful UI refresh.
We also applaud Garmin’s decision to offer the watch in two different sizes, a 265 and 265S, with the same retail price. We saw this in the 255 series as well but now both sizes also feature music storage as standard rather than as an upcharge. The 265S features a 1.3-inch display with 416 x 416 resolution. The 265S has a 1.1-inch display with 360 x 360 resolution. During our review of the smaller model, we hit around 4 days of usage with the always-on display enabled. In smartwatch mode, the device can last about 2 weeks.
The Forerunner 255 added NFC support, Morning Report, and an upgraded heart rate sensor to the mid-range lineup. All of these features return in the Forerunner 265 series and the sensor accuracy is simply fantastic. We clocked highly reliable stats throughout our review period including heart rate data, sleep tracking, and of course, GPS tracking. The newest model also adds Training Readiness, a popular Garmin metric for dedicated athletes, a great tool to see at this price point. Training Readiness helps users determine how prepared they are for workouts based on factors like HRV, sleep, and more.
The price of the Forerunner 265 did jump considerably compared to its predecessor, inching the device out of “affordable” territory. However, $449 is rather reasonable considering the features you’ll find on board. Unless you’re really serious about running, there are other watches out there that might be cheaper or better suited. Still, running buffs will absolutely want to consider picking up the Garmin Forerunner 265. If budget isn’t a consideration, we were also very impressed by the Garmin Forerunner 965.
What makes it stand out
- Options for different wrist sizes: The Forerunner 265 is available in a 46mm model as well as a 42mm 265S model so everyone can get the perfect fit. Both are the same price and offer music storage.
- Training Readiness is a useful addition: For dedicated athletes prepping for the next big race, Training Readiness is a coveted tool from the Garmin ecosystem.
- The gold standard in heart rate monitoring: Let’s be honest, most trackers struggle for truly accurate heart tracking. The Elevate sensor in the 265 is one of the few monitors that can yield nearly as accurate results as you’d get from a chest strap.
Garmin vivomove Sport is the perfect hybrid for the incognito fitness buff
Like everything from Garmin, the vivomove Sport offers the full gamut of fitness tracking. Where it stands out is how it houses them. During our Garmin vivomove Sport review, we fell in love with the device’s form factor, particularly its spy-tech “hidden” display. This isn’t a device for users who want to broadcast their gym regimen. Instead, with real ticking hands, this hybrid watch feels like a classic analog accessory. The aesthetic is completely appropriate for a fancy meal or a night out. Meanwhile, just a double-tap away, it hides an accurate fitness tracker with some of Garmin’s top tools.
Navigating the tiny display on the vivomove Sport takes a little getting used to, but we got the hang of it after just a few hours of digging in. The device records all the basics you’d expect from a tracker plus sleep data, 24/7 heart rate, and stress data. It also offers Garmin’s Body Battery and all-day stress monitoring. Unfortunately, you won’t find a sleep score, which we would have loved to see. You won’t find built-in GPS here either, though you do get connected GPS. Connected GPS isn’t ideal for runs or rides as it necessitates pocketing your phone, but it’s a minor gripe. We were also pretty excited to see a heart rate monitor in a hybrid like this. Overall it works fairly well, though it’s not nearly as accurate as you’d find on a more traditional fitness tracker.
Battery life with hybrids can often stretch pretty far, and the vivomove Sport performs solidly here. In our tests, we were able to get around five days of battery life for the hybrid features. After that, the watch would go into an analog-only mode. This mode lets us use the device as a standard watch for about one more day.
The Garmin vivomove Sport is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a stylish tracker that blends in wherever you take it. Metallic accents elevate the device while comfortable silicone bands make it durable enough for a sweaty workout. It never felt out of place no matter where we wore it, including a formal holiday meal, ziplining, hiking, and multiple gym sessions. Thanks to multi-day battery life, we rarely had a reason to take it off to charge either.
The vivomove Sport is a very good basic tracker. Anyone hoping for even more advanced results probably isn’t shopping for a hybrid anyway. The relatively approachable retail price of $179 also makes any of the device’s nuances easier to swallow. In short, we think it’s the best fitness tracker for a more subtle look.
What makes it stand out
- A stylish workout companion: The vivomove Sport is a very good-looking device. It offers a classic look for users that move seamlessly between the office and the gym.
- We can’t say enough about the display: The device isn’t just good-looking, it’s clever. This type of “hidden” display isn’t new to Garmin but it has never been done better than on this device.
- Garmin’s reputation proceeds it: Even though this isn’t a dedicated fitness tracker, it is (as the name implies) a capable sports companion. Garmin is known for accurate fitness tracking and the company’s Body Battery feature makes this an attractive pick.
What to look for in a good fitness tracker
For those new to fitness trackers, you might not be completely sure where to get started. To choose the right device, consider the following:
Your style of workout matters
What do you plan to use your device for? Do you want a tracker that can do it all or a watch that’s more specialized? If you’re a swimmer or a diver, you’ll want a water-resistant device that can handle certain depths. Likewise, runners need step tracking and GPS with accuracy they count on.
Form over function, or vice versa
Will you want to use the tracker long-term if you find it uncomfortable? Is comfort less important than simply looking good? That’s important to figure out too. Some of the best fitness trackers work really well but may be too bulky or just not particularly aesthetically pleasing. Others are designed with style in mind, but sacrifice features.
How smart do you want your fitness tracker to be?
Some fitness trackers and smartwatches offer advanced features. These included everything from stress tracking to music controls, third-party app support to voice calling or assistant support, and much more. If you want everything and the kitchen sink, a smartwatch is probably the right choice for you, or something that crosses the line between a traditional fitness band and a fitness watch — like the Charge 5.
What features do you really need, versus “nice to haves?”
Maybe you’re just buying a fitness tracker to broadly “get into better shape.” In most cases, you can probably do just fine with a basic tracker. On the other hand, it doesn’t hurt to get a watch with extras. Consider the value of tools such as a heart rate monitor, GPS, or SpO2 tracking when searching for the best fitness tracker for you personally.
Features for serious health concerns
If you’re interested in the best fitness trackers for monitoring serious health concerns, you’ll want to spring for extra features. Relevant options include sensors for monitoring blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and other important metrics.
How crucial is the battery life on your fitness tracker?
If you plan to use this for long hikes or situations where battery life is a concern, you’ll want something that can last days if not weeks. Meanwhile, if you want smarts, you’ll have to settle for something that needs more frequent charging. The best fitness tracker is the one that aligns with your fitness habits.
Will it work with your current device and what’s the app like?
Not all devices in this list work with both Android and iOS phones. The Apple Watch only works with iPhones, for example. Some watches will offer different features or a better experience depending on your paired device. Unless noted in the descriptions below, all the recommendations in this list are compatible with both major smartphone platforms. However, don’t overlook the device’s companion app itself. For example, the Mi Band 7 is a great fitness tracker in terms of hardware, but the app experience isn’t nearly as robust as you’ll find from Garmin or Fitbit.
What’s your budget?
What you spend on your new tracker is up to your personal budget. The Fitbit Charge 5 rings up higher than some cheaper trackers because it’s a higher-quality device. Meanwhile, springing for a fitness-tracking smartwatch will set you back even further. However, it may be worth the investment for a well-rounded experience. On the other hand, if you have a low budget and aren’t sold on how much you’ll use a fitness tracker, we absolutely recommend a budget option.
Why you should trust us & how we test
Android Authority has a long history with wearable devices, spanning back at least as far as the Pebble in 2013. Since then, we’ve reviewed hundreds of wearables and learned a lot along the way. Our team of dedicated health and fitness experts tests dozens of new wearables and fitness trackers every year. Only the very best make it onto recommendation lists like the one you are reading. How do we determine what’s worthy? When testing we have two main focuses in mind: user experience and accuracy. To that end, we start by utilizing the device as a daily driver:
- We wear the product 24/7, (except for charging time), to evaluate its day-to-day performance, capabilities, and comfort.
- We note everything from strap materials and display brightness to navigation and battery life.
- We tap into as many features as possible, leaving no stone unturned.
- We set alarms, chat with voice assistants, fire off texts, follow breathing exercises, sweat through workouts, and much more.
- We test sleep tracking accuracy and wear the watch to bed, comparing its data to other products well-regarded for their sleep analysis.
- We test SpO2 sensors against other wearables or a pulse oximeter.
- For heart rate monitoring, we equip chest straps to test the device’s accuracy and push the sensor through interval training workouts.
- We also test GPS accuracy on outdoor runs and rides wearing the device, along with a notably accurate GPS device, to see how the review unit performs.
- When possible, we strap on a comparable device from the current market to analyze how the review subject stands up to similarly-priced competition.
- We dig into the companion app. We look to see how the data is organized and analyzed and evaluate the ease of use.
There is a ton of variety in smartwatches and trackers, and reviewing each product is quite nuanced. A Garmin Fenix 7 Pro review looks a lot different from a Xiaomi Mi Band review, for example. So, we also determine the wearable’s place in the market in terms of form factor, target audience, and budget. Then, we check to see if the device is missing anything important that users might expect to see. Finally, we verify that it lives up to its brand’s (measurable) claims.
You can trust that our experts put every device through its paces. Typically, our review period lasts about a week. However, we sometimes extend it to weeks or months for especially feature-packed devices. We also revisit watches and trackers regularly to ensure they still hold up over time.
Compatibility is always device-specific but all of the options on this list are compatible with iPhones. Similarly, all of the devices are also compatible with Android devices except for the Apple Watch.
For the sake of this article, we refer to devices with big displays that prioritize apps and notifications as smartwatches. Devices with small displays that look more like a traditional fitness band we refer to as fitness trackers. In reality, many smartwatches have fitness tracking tools, and many fitness trackers have smartwatch features.
The answer to this varies. Typically no tracker is going to be as good as higher-grade medical equipment like chest straps and monitors. However, some brands come closer than others. Fitbit, Garmin, and Apple are three brands known for their accuracy.
Garmin and Fitbit devices are each best suited for different users. Garmin offers a data-heavy experience for serious athletes while Fitbit is a great option for more casual tracking. Read more about the differences between these two industry leaders in our Garmin vs Fitbit comparison guide to find out which company offers the best fitness tracker for you.
Smart water bottles are a different kind of fitness tracker that helps you monitor your hydration habits. Check out our favorite pick, the HidrateSpark Pro Lite, for more details.