Best Fitness Trackers for 2021

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Whether you are a fitness expert or a novice, using a fitness tracker is a great way to enhance your workouts. These devices give you critical feedback that you can use to track your progress and plan your future workout routines.

Nowadays, fitness trackers are expanding beyond tracking workouts. They also monitor other factors that influence your health, such as sleep and general activity. Such features only increase the usefulness of these helpful gadgets.

The challenge in choosing the best watch relates to the fact that these devices come with many features. As such, it can be hard to find the right fitness tracker for you. But, knowing how to evaluate these common features is your first step.

Read on to see how a fitness tracker can help you bring your exercise goals to the next level.

What to Look for in a Fitness Tracker

It is hard to know where to start when shopping for a fitness tracker. To help you out, here are a few of the most important factors that you should consider before making a purchase.

Sleep Tracking

Fitness is all about activity and exercise. But what many people don’t realize is that sleep is just as important as how you spend your waking hours. Without proper sleep, you won’t be getting the most out of your exercise. A good night’s sleep is what allows your body to recover fully.

Many fitness trackers can now track your sleep as well. At times, these trackers can monitor both the quantity and the quality of your sleep, which will help you know if you are getting enough rest each night. Doing so will prepare you to take on your next workout challenge.

Heart Rate Monitor

One of the strongest metrics for fitness tracking is heart rate. Your heart rate indicates the level of exertion you reach during your workout.

It is helpful to have a fitness tracker that can monitor your heart rate. This eliminates the guesswork and allows you to know exactly how hard you are working. Fortunately, heart rate monitors are a very common feature of many fitness trackers.

GPS Navigation

GPS navigation capabilities are becoming increasingly common in fitness trackers. This feature is especially useful for those who like to run or bike for long distances.

When a fitness tracker includes GPS, it does more than help you find your way. The feature also allows you to plan your route and save your favorite paths for future workouts.

App Compatibility

Many fitness trackers come with an associated smartphone application. This allows for a more expansive user interface, making it easier for you to interact with your exercise statistics.

However, it is important to know that some of these apps require you to have your phone with you during your workout. This could be an issue for those who like to be as unencumbered as possible when they exercise.

Conversely, these apps can make your fitness tracking easier and more fun. Some apps will come with an automatic syncing function so that you don’t need to enter each workout manually. This capability is convenient as it can save you a lot of time.

Activity Tracking

It is important to recognize the difference between exercise and an active lifestyle. Both are essential to good health. But here is the distinction:

  • Exercise: A pre-planned workout meant to improve fitness in specific ways
  • Active lifestyle: A person’s general level of activity throughout a day, including how often they are up and moving versus how often they are sitting or resting

Exercise helps us reach our fitness goals for strength, endurance, and flexibility. Our level of activity contributes to our general wellbeing.

Failing to have an active lifestyle can be detrimental even if you work out regularly. Since both are so important, it is helpful to have a fitness tracker that monitors exercise and activity levels.

A fitness tracker with this capability will track how often you are sitting, standing, or walking. Plus, it can give you reminders to be more active in case you spend long hours in a sedentary state.

Our Top Picks

So, what are the best fitness trackers available? If you’re looking for a high-quality piece of technology to enhance your wellbeing, here are our eight favorite trackers.

Garmin Forerunner 245

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Garmin Forerunner 245 Music, GPS Running Smartwatch with Music and Advanced Dynamics, Black
  • GPS running smartwatch with music advanced training features, Lens Material:Corning Gorilla Glass 3, Bezel Material: fiber-reinforced polymer, Strap material:silicone
  • Sync with music streaming services, such as Spotify, to easily store and play your favorite songs right from your watch
  • Evaluates your current training status to indicate if you’re undertraining or overdoing it; Offers additional performance monitoring features
  • Get free adaptive training plans from Garmin coach, or create your own custom workouts on our Garmin connect online fitness community
  • Provides advanced running dynamics, including ground contact time balance, stride length, vertical ratio and more (When used with Running Dynamics Pod or HRM Run or HRM Tri monitors (sold separately))

The Garmin Forerunner 245 has just about everything you could want in a fitness tracker and more. This product is a great option for cyclists, runners, and any other kind of athlete.

It comes with a host of features, including GPS navigation and performance analytics, and it offers in-depth evaluations of everything from your running form to your level of excretion.

The Forerunner 245 also syncs with the most popular music streaming services, allowing you to listen to your favorite playlists wherever your workout takes you. Along with this, the Forerunner has unique safety features. For instance, it can detect when a dangerous incident may have occurred.

With those features and a seven-day battery life, it is hard to go wrong with this fitness tracker.

Pros:

  • Plenty of features
  • Syncs with music streaming apps
  • Safety tracking features
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • Features can be challenging to set up
  • Display can malfunction

Fitbit Charge 4

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Fitbit Charge 4 Fitness and Activity Tracker with Built-in GPS, Heart Rate, Sleep & Swim Tracking, Black/Black, One Size (S &L Bands Included)
  • Use built-in GPS to see your pace and distance on screen during outdoor runs, rides, hikes and more and see a workout intensity map in the app that shows your heart rate changes along your route
  • With Active Zone Minutes, feel a buzz when you reach your target heart rate zones during exercise, and celebrate when you earn extra minutes outside of exercise.Operating temperature: -20° to 60° C
  • Use 24x7 heart rate to track resting heart rate & better measure calorie burn. Syncing to mobile devices requires Bluetooth LE and internet connection. Syncs with Mac OS X 12.2 and up, iPhone 5S and later, iPad 5 gen. and later, Android 7.0 and later
  • See your SpO2 nightly average and range on wrist, and view trends over the past week in the Fitbit app (SpO2 is not available in all markets. The SpO2 feature is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition or for any other medical purpose)
  • Track your skin temperature each night to see how it varies from your personal baseline (Not available in all markets. Only available in the Fitbit app and only displays variation. Not intended for medical purposes)

Fitbit is one of the leading brands on the fitness tracker market. The Charge 4 is one of their newest and most impressive models.

This fitness tracker has a sleek design and plenty of helpful fitness tracking features. It also comes in a single size with additional straps if you have larger wrists.

When you are working out, the Fitbit Charge 4 gives you real-time data. For example, you can set a target heart rate at the beginning of your workout. The Charge 4 will buzz to alert you when your heart rate has entered your desired range.

You can also use one of the many modes included with this tracker to customize your workout. It will give detailed feedback based on the exact type of workout you are doing.

Pros:

  • Target heart rate notifications
  • Sleep tracking
  • Different exercise modes
  • Activity tracking

Cons:

  • GPS can be inaccurate
  • Band can become loose

Garmin Vivosmart 4

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Garmin Vivosmart 4, Activity and Fitness Tracker w/ Pulse Ox and Heart Rate Monitor, Black
  • Slim, smart activity tracker blends fashionable design with stylish metal accents and a bright, easy to read display
  • Includes advanced sleep monitoring with REM sleep and can gauge blood oxygen saturation levels during the night with the wrist based Pulse Ox sensor. (Not a medical device and not intended for use in the diagnosis or monitoring of any medical condition)
  • Fitness and health monitoring tools include estimated wrist based heart rate, all day stress tracking, Relaxation breathing timer, Vo2 Max, body battery energy monitor and more
  • Features dedicated activity timers for walks, runs, strength training, yoga, pool swims and others; Lens material: Polycarbonate. Strap material: Silicone
  • Get vibration alerts for All notifications, including calls, text messages and more (text replies available for Android device users). Display resolution: 48 x 128 pixels

The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is a fitness tracker for those who like a minimal design. It is sleek, attractive, and lightweight. Best of all, it performs well too.

This tracker monitors your heart rate but goes a few steps beyond that and includes a state-of-the-art sleep monitoring and a pulse oximeter.

It can also keep track of some other important fitness metrics. For instance, if you want to know your blood oxygen saturation level of your Vo2 Max, this may be the tracker for you.

Even though it is small, the display for this screen is simple and legible. You’ll find that you can use it to receive and read notifications from your paired mobile devices.

Pros:

  • Lightweight design
  • Pulse oximeter
  • Sleep tracking
  • Stress/relaxation monitoring

Cons:

  • Pulse oximeter can malfunction
  • Limited syncing capabilities

Polar Vantage M

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POLAR VANTAGE M –Advanced Running & Multisport Watch with GPS and Wrist-based Heart Rate (Lightweight Design & Latest Technology), White, Small
  • ULTRA-LONG BATTERY LIFE: Up to 30 hours of training time with GPS active. As a durable and waterproof watch, Vantage M stands up to your toughest training and grueling races.
  • POLAR PRECISION PRIME SENSOR FUSION TECHNOLOGY: Accurate optical HR monitoring for 130+ sports including swimming and cycling. Automatically sync training data to Strava, TrainingPeaks, and more.
  • TRAINING LOAD PRO & RECOVERY PRO: The Vantage M is the ultimate fitness and biking activity tracker; separating cardio, muscle and perceived load. Get a comprehensive view of how training sessions strain your body. Follow your recovery level and get insights into your sleep to avoid overtraining or injuries
  • PERSONALIZE WITH YOUR OWN STYLE: With customizable fitness band options, tailor your lightweight Vantage M with replaceable wrist bands of multiple colors.
  • MORE THAN A SWIM/BIKE/RUN WATCH: Together with the whole Polar ecosystem, Polar Vantage M forms a complete training solution for a pro athlete’s training.

When it comes to accuracy, the Polar Vantage M is one of the best fitness tracker options. This device includes some of the most precise heart rate monitoring you can find.

The Polar Vantage M also has a lightweight design, which ensures it won’t annoy you during your workout. Plus, you can replace the straps as well to try different style options.

This tracker ranks high for reliability, which comes in two forms. First, this tracker is durable, meaning you won’t need to worry about it breaking even during your most strenuous exercises. Second, it has an exceptionally long battery life.

The Vantage M can switch modes based on your workout and gives you an indication of your overall output. While it is somewhat expensive, the price may be worth it.

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Different exercise modes
  • Replaceable wristband
  • Great durability

Cons:

  • Can be inaccurate in some modes
  • Complicated charging mechanism

Wyze Band

WYZE Band Fitness Tracker with Alexa Built-in, Activity Tracker Watch with Heart Rate Monitor, Smart Fitness Band with Step Counter, Calorie Counter, Pedometer Water Resistant, Black
  • [Activity Watch Built in Alexa]: WYZE Band is the first band in its class that has Amazon Alexa built-in. It has a dual-microphone array that helps Alexa hear you better. Control your smart devices, set alarms, or do just about anything else you do every day with Alexa. It only listens when you long-press the home button for enhanced privacy.
  • [Fitness Tracker Watch]: WYZE Band has many practical tools like Weather display, Alarm, Stopwatch, Sedentary Reminder, Find My Phone, Find Band, etc. Lightweight and comfortable. Customization watch face. A very good gift for your friends and family members to keep health.
  • [Heart Rate & Sleep Monitoring]: WYZE Band goes beyond your daily step counter. It gives you 24/7 heart rate tracking for up to 10 days, on a single charge. It monitors your sleep patterns and sleep quality. It has a run mode that lets you see your distance, pace, and total run time. Go get your 10,000 steps.
  • [Control Your Smart Home]: A shortcut to control your Wyze ecosystem. Wyze Band can control many non-Wyze smart home products. Configure rules in the Alexa app and you can have Wyze Band controlling your smart TV, running your nighttime routine, and even fetching your favorite playlist.
  • [Smart Notifications & 5ATM Water-resistant]: Get all your notifications right on your wrist. Stay on top of your latest texts, phone calls, SNS SMS and more (including Facebook, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter). Never miss important messages when swimming or showering.

One of the main issues when it comes to finding the right fitness tracker is the price. With the Wyze Band, that is no longer an issue. This tracker has all of the essential functions you need and costs a fraction of what some competitors are asking.

The Wyze Band can track your sleep and your heart rate. It will also keep track of your daily step goals.

For those who like to swim, this is a great option. Along with the primary features, the Wyze Band is also water-resistant, which means you won’t need to worry about damage in case you get it wet.

One of the more impressive aspects of this device is the touch screen that has great image quality, especially for a fitness tracker.

Pros:

  • Step goal tracking
  • High-quality touch screen
  • App notifications
  • Water-resistant

Cons:

  • Heart rate monitoring can be inaccurate
  • Screen can fail to turn on automatically

Fitbit Ace 2

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Fitbit Ace 2 Activity Tracker for Kids, 1 Count
  • Steps & active minutes tracking lets kids skip, jump & move their way to a healthier life
  • Kids earn virtual badges and fun on-screen celebrations when they reach their goals.Operating temperature: 14° to 113° F
  • Bring on the pool party cannonballs or lunchtime spills. Ace 2 is swim proof (water resistant to 50 meters)
  • Kids spend less time charging & more time moving with up to 5 days of battery (varies with use and other factors; animated clock faces require more frequent charging)
  • Pair ace 2 to a child account to access a limited kid view. Kids can also challenge their friends to step competitions & send each other messages or cheers in app

The Fitbit Ace 2 stands out from the other trackers on this list for one important reason. Unlike the others, this one is intended for children.

Fitness is important at any age. So, why not get a device that will get your kids interested in exercise like never before? After all, it is never too early to begin building healthy habits like working out and remaining active.

There are many special features that make this a great device for children. First, this tracker is interactive and includes fun congratulatory notifications when your child meets their fitness goal.

The Fitbit Ace 2 also has features that allow it to survive during your kid’s favorite activities, such as the high water resistance. So, whether they are on the playground or in the pool, your children can enjoy using this watch with little concern for it breaking.

Pros:

  • Interactive games for kids
  • Long battery life
  • Water-resistant
  • Bedtime reminders and silent alarms

Cons:

  • Limited durability
  • Limited device compatibility

Apple Watch Series 6

Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS, 40mm) - Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Sport Band
  • GPS model lets you take calls and reply to texts from your wrist
  • Measure your blood oxygen with an all-new sensor and app
  • Check your heart rhythm with the ECG app
  • The Always-On Retina display is 2.5x brighter outdoors when your wrist is down
  • S6 SiP is up to 20% faster than Series 5

Apple watches are some of the most popular devices for fitness tracking. But, they tend to be many of the most expensive options as well. The Apple Watch Series 6 is no exception to either of those rules.

However, the high cost may be justified when you consider all the features this tacker has. These include GPS, blood oxygen monitoring, and 5G compatibility.

You won’t have any issue viewing the display because the Apple Watch Series 6 screen is always on. When in sunlight, the display becomes brighter so that you can still read it easily.

For your convenience, you can answer phone calls and text messages using this device. Other fitness trackers require you to perform these tasks using your phone. Just remember that this watch is only compatible with iPhones.

Pros:

  • Bright display
  • Blood oxygen monitoring
  • GPS navigation
  • Ability to reply to texts on the device

Cons:

  • Music syncing errors are common
  • Only compatible with iPhones

Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro

Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro Smartwatch Fitness Band (Small), Liquid Black, SM-R365NZKNXAR – US Version with Warranty
  • Water resistant up to fifty meters, now you can own the pool, run in the rain and recover in the shower;Dust resistant
  • Power through intervals to the beat of your favorite tracks with music storage on your Gear Fit2 Pro
  • Boost every session with fitness apps powered by Under Armour. Count every mile on Map MyRun, and stay on top of your nutrition with MyFitnessPal. Water Resistant : IP68
  • Get a more accurate view of your performance and all day calorie burn with continuous heart rate monitoring

With this device, you will have no issue pairing with different devices and apps because the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro works with both Android and Apple products. Additionally, this tracker can connect to several apps, including MyFitnessPal.

This tracker is another great option for swimmers as this device is water-resistant up to 50 meters. To add to its longevity, it is also dust resistant.

Unlike some other trackers, the heart rate monitor for this device is not limited to your workouts. Instead, it runs continuously, giving you important feedback about your level of exertion throughout the day.

The Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro tracks your calories burned and is useful as a nutrition tracking device. You can also enjoy music as you exercise. Rather than relying on other apps, you can store songs in the Gear Fit2 Pro itself.

Pros:

  • Water-resistant
  • Continuous heart rate monitoring
  • Broad device compatibility
  • Music storage

Cons:

  • Limited customer support
  • Cannot respond to a text using the device

Conclusion

Choosing the best fitness tracker is all about personal preference. Now that you know some of the common features that these devices offer, you can select one based on your lifestyle and preferred form of exercise. With careful planning, you can find a fitness tracker that meets your needs and helps you reach your fitness goals.

Last update on 2021-11-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API