Best fitness tracker 2022: top picks for all budgets

Goal tracking fitness wearables for every budget
best fitness trackers
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We're in a booming period for fitness trackers, with more choices than ever to suit every budget.

While smartwatches have certainly taken over, activity band style wearables are still immensely popular – and for good reason.

Fitness trackers are suited to smaller wrists, are generally less techy, easier to use and focused on helping you get healthy.

And many offer smartwatch features such as notifications and payments. So, it's fair to say the lines between the two have blurred.

We've tested every one of these top fitness trackers, so here are our recommendations:

Top picks

Best for style: Fitbit Luxe / Fitbit Charge 5 / Fitbit Inspire 3 – (from $99/£89)

We'd say the latest generation of Fitbit devices offers the best mix of top tracking features and wearability. While not exclusively for men or women, we'd say the thinness of the Fitbit Luxe will suit more women, while the wider Charge 5 is more masculine. For something in between, the Inspire 3 is a nice pickup - it's surprisingly uncompromising, despite its budget price tag.

Best for budget: Huawei Band 7 – ($49/£49)

The mix of tracking features on the Huawei Band 7 is truly fantastic, and, given its sub $50/£50 price tag, so easy to recommend. It's not perfect, but for those looking for a 360 look at their health, it's a powerful option.

Best for sleep tracking: Whoop 4.0 – (Free with a $30/£30pm subscription)

While the monthly subscription makes this an expensive option, Whoop 4.0 is an adept sleep tracker, and its Health Monitor is one of the best in the business. We love the screen-less design, so you can still wear your usual watch. The Oura 3 is also worthy of this title – although smart rings aren't to everyone's taste.

Key fitness tracker considerations:

Sleep tracking and SpO2

Fitness trackers are now about way more than just step tracking. Sleep tracking is a core metric, and one that if used well is woven throughout the insights offered, from stress to readiness to work out.

Accuracy is important, and, at Wareable, we benchmark sleep tracking against leading brands. Also, look out for features like blood oxygen monitoring. While most have the sensor, the best trackers use it to track conditions such as sleep apnea – and keep tabs on breathing rate.

Screen size

In the drive to make fitness trackers smaller, screen sizes shrunk – and that made them fiddly to use. Now, the big screens are back. That’s better for reading notifications and workout data – and better for seniors and anyone that struggles to read small text.

Swimming and water resistance

Fitness trackers can be great in the pool, and most have some kind of waterproofing for your time in the pool. However, if you want a decent analysis of your time in the pool, you’ll want to look at the Garmin Vivosmart 5.

GPS

If you’re a runner, then there’s only a handful of fitness trackers with dedicated GPS. Many will piggyback from a paired smartphone, but we’ve found that can hurt accuracy. Likewise, fitness trackers are increasingly adept at tracking gym workouts.

Fitbit Luxe

Price when reviewed: $149/£129 | Amazon, Fitbit

Best fitness tracker 2022: top picks for all budgets

Fitbit Luxe key considerations:

  • Feminine design
  • 0.76-inch display - 124x206 pixels & 326 PPI density
  • Connected GPS (paired smartphone)
  • 5ATM water resistant (50m)
  • 5+ day battery life

The Fitbit Luxe was launched in 2021 as an all-new Fitbit line, and it introduced a stainless steel case and color AMOLED display. It's designed to add a dose of luxury, and it succeeded. It's a huge visual step up from the Inspire 2 – and actually something you might want to wear.

It comes in white, black and orchid (pink) options and there's a special edition with a gold link bracelet. It's not exclusively for women, but men will probably want to opt for the Charge 5 or a Versa smartwatch.

In terms of features, there's nothing exclusive to Luxe, but it packs the key features from the Fitbit range.

There's a SpO2 sensor for blood oxygen (not found on Inspire 2), and it will keep tabs on stress using a daily stress score. That's on top of sleep, heart rate and steps, Active Zone Minutes (that track time spent in elevated heart rate) and 50-meter water resistance.

It has multiple sport tracking modes including yoga and swimming. There's no GPS onboard, but you can piggyback from your phone for run tracking.

Sleep tracking is top-notch (as it is across the Fitbit range) and the Luxe feeds the Health Metrics dashboard of heart rate variability, skin temperature and breathing rate, designed to give you an under-the-hood glimpse of your wellbeing. And what's more, the stress score has now rolled out beyond the Fitbit Sense, so you can keep tabs on mindfulness.

The battery life isn't too shabby, either, and we easily got five days between charges in our review period.

It's a brilliant fitness tracker – and possibly our favorite – although it's a tad small for male wrists. The Charge 5 or Versa 3 are more masculine alternatives.

Read our full Fitbit Luxe review for more details.

Huawei Band 7

Price when reviewed: $49/£49 | Amazon, Huawei

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Huawei Band 7 key considerations:

  • 1.47 inch AMOLED, 194 x 368 pixels
  • 5 ATM water-resistant (50m)
  • 14 days for typical use
  • Connected GPS

The Huawei Band 7 looks great, feels great and the price is pretty great, too. It's hard to pick huge faults with a fitness tracker at this price that delivers so much.

You also get a larger display than you'll find on the likes of Xiaomi's trackers. That screen is a 1.47-inch AMOLED with a 194x368 resolution. So it's something of a smartwatch hybrid, with a super-low price tag.

The screen is bright, vibrant, colorful and nice and responsive to the touch. And the new version offers an always-on display option.

It's a shame that GPS isn't included (but you can use a paired smartphone for location tracking), especially given that Huawei has put this feature on its budget trackers previously. Heart rate performance is a mixed bag, too. In our review period, we found that quick rises in heart rate (up hills or spring finishes) were missed by the sensor.

But you still get 100+ workout modes, so pretty much every conceivable type of exercise is covered, and running has loads of extra metrics and analysis, including recovery and VO2 Max. However, the latter produced estimates way shy of our Garmin comparison devices.

Sleep tracking, stress tracking and SpO2 levels are all part of Band 7's deep look at fitness. We found sleep overestimated by comparison to rivals, but there's still plenty you can learn about your rest – and some excellent education in the app.

And it's essential to remember that, despite the criticisms, this is a sub $50/£50 tracker that offers plenty of ways to keep tabs on your health.

Read our Huawei Band 7 review.

Fitbit Charge 5

Price: $179/£169 | Amazon, Fitbit

Best fitness tracker 2022: top picks for all budgets

Fitbit Charge 5 key considerations:

  • 1.04-inch AMOLED color touchscreen (326ppi)
  • GPS
  • Seven-day battery life
  • 5ATM water resistance (50m)

The Fitbit Charge 5 ups the design ante over the Charge 4, with an aluminum case and AMOLED display making it the best-looking Fitbit Charge to date.

The Charge 5 screen size is 11% bigger than the Charge 4, and the device itself is 1mm taller but over 1mm thinner. It's still a chunky device although whether it's truly unisex at this price divides opinion. It might be too big for some women's tastes – but it's packed with sensors that make the Charge 5 a mini-health smartwatch in its own right.

Firstly, it brings ECG and the EDA stress sensor from the Fitbit Sense, the first time these have been seen on a fitness tracker form factor.

That joins GPS alongside the standard set of advanced sleep, stress score, Active Zones Minutes and all-day heart rate tracking.

There's skin temperature and the new Daily Readiness score, which assesses how well-rested you are before recommending workouts. Both of these are cleverly calculated from personal baselines, tailored to your personal physiological profile. It's a powerful ensemble of health features.

We've now had time to review the device - and, though we recommend it, it does come with caveats.

The GPS accuracy is problematic, undermining a huge part of its USP. And if you're not interested in ECG, then is it worth paying the extra cost to get dubious GPS accuracy? We'd certainly warn runners away.

It really comes down to two things: the design/form factor and the ECG. If neither of those things sways you, you might be better off with other members of the Fitbit range.

Read our full Fitbit Charge 5 review.

Fitbit Inspire 3

Price when reviewed: $99/£89 | Fitbit

Fitbit Inspire 3 key considerations:

  • 5ATM water resistance (50m)
  • Up to 10 days of battery life
  • Color touchscreen
  • SpO2 sensor
  • Connected GPS

The Inspire 3 has made some serious gains when compared to its predecessor. It's now much more colorful, thanks to some inspired bands and the improved display, with the grayscale screen on the Inspire 2 thankfully ditched, too.

Like the Luxe, it's more of a traditional fitness tracker in terms of size and features – and, despite it coming in a little cheaper than its Fitbit siblings, it's surprisingly powerful. 

It covers the basics - steps, distance and calories burned - and will also serve up inactivity alerts and continuously monitor heart rate throughout the day and the night.

However, now, with the addition of a SpO2 sensor, you also get access to blood oxygen saturation figures and, if you're a Fitbit Premium subscriber, you can see Estimated Oxygen Variation, too.

It's no longer a basic tracker, and, coupled with Fitbit's sleep excellent sleep tracking, you're in line to receive a really full experience on the Inspire 3. 

Exercise is still where this model falls down slightly, due to the small display size and lack of live feedback as a result, but, in fairness, it's still more than enough for the odd bit of tracking. Just keep in mind that you'll still have to track runs and outdoor workouts via Connected GPS, as well, which means taking your phone with you.

Like its predecessor, you'll also still be able to receive phone notifications from compatible Android and iPhone devices. This means that you can see incoming calls, texts and calendar appointments.

All in all, the Inspire 3 offers a superb mix of tracking basics, backed up by an app that remains as user-friendly as ever. We think it's an outstanding option for beginners.

Read our Fitbit Inspire 3 review for our full impressions on battery life and more.

Garmin Vivosmart 5

Price when reviewed: $149/£129 | Amazon, Garmin

Best fitness tracker 2022: top picks for all budgets

Garmin Vivosmart 5 key considerations:

  • 88 x 154 monochrome OLED
  • 5ATM water resistance
  • Seven-day battery life
  • Connected GPS support

The Vivosmart 5 boasts a bigger screen than its predecessor, upping the resolution to 88 x 154 and making it easier to read and interact with.

However, four years after the Vivosmart 4, we think it's fair to have expected a color screen and something a little more user-friendly. Fitbit has certainly advanced with its Charge, Inspire and Luxe ranges, but Garmin has not.

However, in terms of health features, it's still a major player. It offers deep data, with blood oxygen, energy and stress tracking all part of the mix. The 'Body Battery' energy monitoring will give you a better insight into how well-prepared you are for your next workout, too.

We've been critical of some elements of Garmin's health tracking, though, and it should make many of these features more prescriptive in guiding training and lifestyle. By and large, the onus is on users to discover and interpret the data without guidance.

But the Garmin Vivosmart 5 performed well in our tests in terms of heart rate and connected GPS accuracy – and it's a solid choice at a decent price.

Read our complete Garmin Vivosmart 5 review.

Withings ScanWatch

Price when reviewed: $279/£279 | Amazon, Withings

Best fitness tracker 2022: top picks for all budgets

Withings ScanWatch key considerations:

  • Automatic exercise detection and Connected GPS
  • 30-day battery life
  • 5ATM
  • OLED inset display

We previously resisted putting the ScanWatch on our best list, given the lack of FDA approval meant that it was been prohibited from going on sale in the US. But that's changed.

Available in 38mm and 42mm size options, the ScanWatch is built with premium stainless steel with a small AMOLED display at the top of the watch face to show off your tracking stats notifications and heart rate data.

It uses connected GPS to track outdoor activities like running, offers VO2 Max estimations and automatically recognizes activities, which we found pretty reliable in our testing.

On the health front, you're getting an ECG sensor that can look for arrhythmia, so low or high heart rates. There's also a SpO2 sensor to measure blood oxygen levels and can monitor for breathing disturbances during sleep, which will be useful when it's cleared to detect signs of the disorder sleep apnea.

Its sleep tracking and heart rate features are some of the best in the business, and the ScanWatch is an amazing example of putting powerful sensors into something that's discreet and non-techy.

Data is stored and synced to the impressive Withings Health Mate app and you can get up to 30 days of battery life depending on what features you have enabled.

If you're looking for a hybrid that looks like a lovely watch and shines with its fitness tracking and innovative health features, the ScanWatch should be right up your street.

Read more in our Withings ScanWatch review.

Whoop Strap 4.0

Free with $30/£30 subscription | Whoop

Best fitness tracker 2022: top picks for all budgets

Whoop Strap 4.0 key considerations:

  • Screen tech: N/A
  • 10m (for 2 hours)
  • Five-day battery life
  • Connected GPS

The best fitness tracker for hardcore gym-goers and trainers, the Whoop Strap 4.0 is more than just an activity band.

The band itself doesn't have a screen, and the fabric strap dominated the design. It's muted, and unobtrusive, and you can wear a watch (or smartwatch) on the other wrist without looking like a nerd.

Whoop doesn't track steps and doesn't care about calorie burn. It's not even that good at tracking workouts themselves. It's laser-focused on the effects of workouts on your body, how much you recover and the quality of your rest – and how ready you are to do it all over again.

Whoop assigns a sleep quality score based on the duration of your sleep measured against your prescribed ‘sleep need’, as well as your time spent in the various sleep stages such as REM and Slow Wave Sleep.

It will also factor in data on sleep conditions, such as whether you had any caffeinated or alcoholic drinks, worked on a screened device or shared your bed.

This is all used to advise you when to train, and when to take a day off. This is presented with a single Strain number and a recovery percentage.

Increasingly, this kind of insight is being done by rivals such as Fitbit, with its new Daily Readiness Score and the Health Metrics Dashboard – which is essentially Whoop for normal people.

But it costs a lot. There's a $24/£24 per month subscription – contracted for a year – but you get the Whoop Strap for free.

You can pay less, with an $18/£18 per month subscription, if you sign up for 18 months – but you need to front up (an insane) £324. That's for a wearable with no screen - essentially a heart rate monitor in a black case.

The problem for Whoop is that Fitbit is now doing most of its core metrics and analysis at a fraction of the price. That makes it hard to recommend for anyone bar those immensely invested in their fitness and recovery. But there's a great wearable in here.

Read our Whoop 4.0 review.

Oura Ring 3

$299 with $6.99 a month subscription | Oura

Best fitness tracker 2022: top picks for all budgets

Oura Ring 3 key considerations:

  • Screen tech: N/A
  • 100m water resistance
  • 4-7 days battery life
  • Connected GPS

The Oura Ring 3 is a fitness tracker that monitors you discreetly and offers some of the best sleep support along with an easy-to-understand app to make the best use of its surprising array of features.

It's a smart ring that looks and feels like a normal ring, with a light titanium frame and a waterproof rating that means you can wear it comfortably day and night and when you jump in the shower or go for a swim.

It manages to pack in optical and infrared sensors that are capable of measuring heart rate continuously, as well as body temperature and respiratory rate data. Blood oxygen data is also used to interpret how ready your body is ready for exercise, and, of course, when your body needs rest.

We found features like continuous heart rate monitoring and sleep monitoring up with the best in terms of reliability, and that information is clearly communicated in the companion app.

While we weren't struck down with an illness while using the new Oura, the health monitoring features are well set up to raise the alarm if something isn't quite right.

Not all of the promised features by Oura are in place currently, though - and that includes exercise tracking, which is arguably Oura's weakest point as a platform.

There's more good than bad here, however, so, if you're looking for a tracker that monitors sleep reliably and helps you better understand your recovery and daily readiness to take on a tough day, this is one of the best we've tried.

Read our Oura Ring 3 review.

Xiaomi Smart Band 7

Price: $69/£39 | Amazon, Xiaomi

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Xiaomi Mi Band 7 key considerations:

  • 14-day battery life (7 days in testing)
  • 1.62-inch AMOLED display
  • Connected GPS
  • 5ATM (50m)

The Xiaomi Smart Band 7 heralds a new era for the budget fitness tracker – which now aims higher with more health and fitness features to keep pace with the likes of Fitbit, Garmin and Apple.

The look and feel of the Mi Band 7 have stayed in line with the classic Xiaomi Mi Band design – but the screen has grown, and the band features a 1.67-inch AMOLED display, up from the 1.56-inch on the previous generation.

A big change is that the screen can now be always-on, so it won't turn off when you're not interacting with it. The amount of tracked workouts has also been increased from 30 to over 120 – with some tracking of movement (jumping etc) within activities.

Post-workout recovery advice includes Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption estimates, as well as VO2 Max, Training load, Recovery duration and Training effect of each workout – which means Xiaomi is edging into Garmin territory.

Swimming tracking has also been boosted, and the Mi Band 7 will recognize four swimming styles, as well as tracking snorkeling.

But there are issues. The Smart Band 7 doesn't quite produce the levels of accuracy required to make assumptions for VO2 Max and training analysis – and it doesn't have GPS built-in, either. Yes, you can connect via your phone, but we found accuracy to be lacking at times. Our VO2 Max estimates were wildly out – and everything really falls apart from there.

In short, the Mi Smart Band 7 is still a proficient budget fitness tracker but still struggles to do the heavy algorithmic work of premium rivals. But the price has now risen higher than any Mi Band before it – and that makes it harder to recommend.

Read our full Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 7 review.

Amazfit Band 5

Price when reviewed: $49/£45 | Amazon, Amazfit

Best fitness tracker 2022: top picks for all budgets

Amazfit Band 5 key considerations:

  • 1.1-inch, 126 x 294 resolution, AMOLED display
  • Connected GPS
  • 15 days battery life (typical usage)
  • 5ATM waterproof rating

If you think that Amazfit's tracker looks familiar, that's because it's essentially the Xiaomi Mi Band 5, with a few extra features thrown in.

Design-wise, it's a polycarbonate tracker matched up with a TPU plastic band, which houses a superb 1.1-inch, 126 x 294 resolution, AMOLED display. That's a higher resolution than you'll find on most wristbands.

In terms of fitness tracking, it does steps and distance, and also continuously monitors your heart rate. There's also sleep monitoring on offer and you've got connected GPS to piggyback off of your smartphone to track your runs.

The Amazfit Band 5 also boasts a SpO2 sensor and features a superior heart rate sensor to offer improved accuracy.

There are also more smartwatch features than on the Mi Band 5 with the addition of Amazon's Alexa, though answers to queries will be displayed as opposed to reading out for you. That's along with notification support, music controls, the ability to remotely take smartphone photos and a nice collection of watch faces.

Even with those extra features, you can still get up to two weeks of battery life, likely closer to 7-10 days if you use all of its features regularly every day.

For its mix of fitness tracking and smartwatch features along with that great screen and battery life, the Amazfit Band 5 delivers.

Check out our full Amazfit Band 5 review.

Honor Band 6

Price when reviewed: $59/£40 | Amazon

Best fitness tracker 2022: top picks for all budgets

Honor Band 6 key considerations:

  • 1.47-inch, AMOLED touchscreen
  • 10-14 days battery
  • 5ATM waterproof rating
  • Connected GPS

If the Honor Band 6 looks familiar, that's because it shares a lot of design resemblance with Huawei's Band 7 also listed here. Huawei used to own Honor, but that's not the case anymore. You do still get a lot of the Huawei software influence here still, and, for the price, the Band 6 is really a top budget tracker.

It's got a nice, bright, responsive AMOLED screen that offers good visibility indoors and outdoors and it's a comfortable tracker to wear day and night. The 5ATM waterproof rating does mean it's one you can take for a swim too.

It's capable of tracking daily activity like steps and automatically monitoring sleep and we found it helps up for accuracy on both fronts. It also includes guided breathing exercises to give it a more mindful monitoring appeal.

You can track sports, though you'll need to rely on using your phone's GPS to get the most accurate tracking outdoors. It didn't shine out on runs but did perform well for pool swims and was reliable for indoor workouts like rowing.

For general wellness, the heart rate sensor accuracy is a bit hit and miss based on our testing, though blood oxygen readings were in line with our dedicated pulse oximeter.

It handles smartwatch basics like notification support and music controls (Android only) well and you're getting up to a week of battery life even when more power-hungry features are in use.

If you can live without the built-in GPS, this is a great-looking fitness tracker that delivers where it matters most.

Read our Honor Band 6 review.

What does a fitness tracker do?

When you think of a fitness tracker, think of step counting, measuring calorie burn, heart rate monitoring, detailed sleep tracking, keeping tabs on stress and core wellbeing metrics – as well as plenty of workout modes for things like running and swimming. Some of the best fitness trackers even pack in GPS for tracking runs, and can even save your life with an ECG sensor.

A word from our expert

James Stables, Wareable editor

"Choosing the right fitness tracker app is just as important as what goes on your wrist. After all, the algorithms that measure and analyze your data are the really clever bit – not just the sensors themselves.

"This means that Fitbit trackers and Garmin devices usually offer a better experience with more reliable and interesting insights. However, they cost more because you're paying for the research and development of the software, as well as the hardware. If you want to make changes to your lifestyle, a compelling app is a great motivator.

"But if you just want one eye on your step count, core heart vitals and hours of sleep, the ever-expanding range from Chinese brands such as Amazfit, Xiaomi and Huawei are now major contenders."


James Stables

By

James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, and worked on Windows: The Official Magazine until becoming editor of What Laptop Magazine. As an editor of technology media titles, James launched Windows 8: The Official Magazine, and TechRadar's iPad magazine edition .tech.

After these launches, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies.

He has provided expert comments to a host of sources and has appeared on BBC News and Sky News to talk about smartwatch releases

James also appeared as an expert on Channel News Asia's documentary on wearable tech.

He has also spoken about wearables at a range of events, and hosts a monthly wearable technology event called Wearables London.

And James has also moderated wearable tech panels at Web Summit, IFA, and The Wearable Technology Show.


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