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The best fitness trackers for kids: Fitbit, Garmin, and more (March 2022)
Fitness trackers encourage kids to stay active by making fitness more fun. They also help parents keep tabs on just how much a child is moving. But how do you choose the right one for your child? We rounded up the best fitness trackers for kids.
See also: The best fitness trackers you can buy
Buying the right fitness tracker for your kids
It’s easy for kids (and adults!) to get caught up in television, video games, and other sedentary forms of entertainment. To help, fitness trackers essentially gamify exercise, making an active lifestyle more exciting while keeping health and wellness top of mind. When shopping for a device for your child, there are several key points to consider.
- The basics: At the very least, you’ll want to find a device that counts your child’s steps, tracks their activity and encourages them to get moving. Many also offer sleep tracking which can be very useful for parents.
- Entertainment: The best fitness trackers for kids are the ones they are excited to wear. Look for playful features like animated watch faces or goal-setting tools that feel like games. These will keep your little one’s interest piqued and keep their activity goals on track.
- Kid-friendly design: It’s not surprising that children’s trackers come in a rainbow of fun, colorful designs. Think also about the interface and whether it is easy to navigate for your child’s age range. Finally, pay attention to durability.
- Advanced features: Fitness trackers are more capable than ever. Consider looking for an option with heart rate or SpO2 monitoring as well as other advanced features that can offer deeper insight.
The best fitness trackers for kids
- Fitbit Ace 3: is the best fitness tracker for kids. This is a durable, smart-looking watch with all the features you might need, including sleep tracking.
- Garmin vivofit Jr. 3: has a wide range of features and boasts several branded straps.
- Fitbit Charge 5: is good for older kids. It packs more advanced fitness tracking smarts, a mature design, and a few additions over the Charge 4. It’s an excellent tracker for adults, too.
- Fitbit Inspire 2: is also a great tracker for teens and an excellent value proposition for new users, especially thanks to its Fitbit Premium incentive.
- Nabi Compete: is a competition-centric band that lets kids compare their scores. It’s ideal for larger households.
Fitbit Ace 3: The best fitness tracker for kids
Fitbit is one of the most well-known and reliable wearables brands on the market. The Fitbit Ace 3 is the company’s third fitness tracker for kids and can track your child’s steps, sleep, and activity. It also provides move reminders as well as incentives for reaching custom goals.
The Ace 3 isn’t a huge step up from the cheaper Fitbit Ace 2, but it does pack a new Do Not Disturb mode as well as 20 new monochrome clock faces and a spruced-up design. The Ace 3 also offers a longer battery life than its predecessor and water resistance up to 50 meters. It is available in two colorways, Black/Sport Red and Cosmic Blue/ASTRO Green, and lists at about $80.
Read more about the Fitbit Ace 3 in our list of the best Fitbit trackers and smartwatches.
Garmin vivofit Jr. 3: The best customizable fitness tracker for kids
The successor to Garmin’s Vivofit Jr. 2 fitness tracker, the vivofit Jr. 3 has a lot going for it. Kids get a full-color screen, year-long battery life (replaceable), water resistance for swimming, and more. Perhaps most exciting though, are the bands with branded artwork, including several from Disney including Marvel and Star Wars.
The vivofit Jr. 3 also comes with its own mobile app. Kids can take part in missions with both the fitness tracker and app to achieve the goal of getting 60 minutes of activity every day. Parents can use the app to keep track of their kids’ activities and set up chores for their children to complete.
Read more: The best Garmin watches you can buy
Fitbit Charge 5: The best fitness tracker for teens
The Fitbit Charge 5 is the company’s most complete fitness tracker yet, and we already loved the Charge 4. It’s the perfect device for older kids looking for a more mature health tracker. It also boasts a bright AMOLED color display that’s sure to catch attention.
Like the Charge 4, the Charge 5 packs a continuous heart rate monitor, an SpO2 sensor, and Fitbit’s usual daily metric tracking smarts. Its excellent sleep tracking and lengthy battery life are especially helpful for overnight monitoring. Additionally, the Charge 5 introduces an EDA sensor to track stress, an ECG for heart health analysis, and a new Daily Readiness Score for kids interested in understanding their body’s post-activity recovery pattern.
It is, however, one of the pricier fitness trackers for kids on the market. The Charge 5 is listed at nearly $180 but keep an eye out for sales and you can usually find one for considerably less.
Check out our full review to learn more about the Fitbit Charge 5.
Fitbit Inspire 2: The best value-for-money Fitbit for older kids
The Inspire 2 wasn’t made with younger kids in mind and it’s not as impressive as the Charge 5, but it’s arguably a better bet in terms of value. It’s a relatively affordable fitness tracker that comes with a free year-long subscription to Fitbit Premium for new users. This service, which includes guided workouts and health tracking data, almost pays for the device itself.
Features on the Inspire 2 itself include a heart rate sensor, sleep tracking, and menstrual cycle tracking. Adding to the Inspire 2’s utility is an IP68 rating and a lengthy 10-day battery life. The device also includes calorie counting and weight management tools. Talk to your kids about using these tools in a healthy and safe way.
Check out our full review to learn more about the Fitbit Inspire 2.
Q: Is fitness tracking safe for kids?
A: At best, fitness trackers can help kids stay active and grow their interest in healthy habits. At worst though, fitness trackers can lead to an unsafe obsession with calorie counting and weight loss. Monitor your child’s use and talk to them about healthy decision-making to ensure your purchase does not become harmful.
Q: What is the best Fitbit for each age group?
A: Fitbit has a very impressive stable of smartwatch and tracker options for users of all ages. For more information about choosing the best model for your child, check out our complete guide to the best Fitbit options for kids.
Q: Should I purchase my child a smartwatch or a fitness tracker?
A: Most smartwatches include a full suite of fitness tracking tools, so the decision comes down to whether your child needs smartwatch features. Read our guide to the best smartwatches for kids to learn more about the options you may want to consider.