Best fitness tracker 2021: top picks for all budgets

Goal tracking fitness wearables for every budget
Best fitness trackers to buy 2021
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

It's a boom time for fitness trackers, and there are more choices to suit every wallet.

While smartwatches have certainly taken over, activity bands style wearables are still immensely popular. And for good reason – they're suited to smaller wrists, generally less techy and easier to use.

So what can a fitness tracker do? Think step counting, measuring calorie burn, heart rate monitoring, detailed sleep tracking, swimming, stress tracking, sports and workout modes. And some of the best fitness trackers even pack in GPS.

Read on for our top picks.

Update: This article was amended in October 2021.

Quick look:

  • Best fitness tracker for men: Fitbit Charge 5
  • Best fitness tracker for women: Fitbit Luxe
  • Best budget fitness tracker: Xiaomi Mi Band 6
  • Best for swimming: Samsung Galaxy Fit

How to buy a fitness tracker

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 analyse your data are the really clever bit – not just the sensors themselves.

"This means that Fitbit trackers and Garmin watches 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."

Best fitness tracker 2021

The pick of the top fitness trackers from our reviews and testing.

Fitbit Luxe

Fitbit Luxe

Fitbit Luxe key features

  • 0.76-inch AMOLED display
  • 124x206 pixels & 326 PPI density
  • Heart rate monitor/SpO2
  • Stainless steel case: white/black/orchid
  • Connected GPS (paired smartphone)
  • Stress tracking
  • Sleep monitoring
  • HRV, skin temperature, breathing rate
  • Sports tracking modes
  • Price when reviewed: $149.95

There's a new Fitbit in town, and while it doesn't add much in terms of new hardware features, it brings some much-needed style to the party.

The Fitbit Luxe introduces a stainless steel case and a color AMOLED display, both of which is a huge visual step up from the Charge 4 and 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 gold link bracelet. It's not exclusively for women, but men will probably want to opt for the Charge 4 or the Sense smartwatch.

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

There's an 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 zones) and 50 meter water resistance. It has multiple sport tracking modes including yoga and swimming. There's no GPS onboard, like the Charge 4, but you can piggy back 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 tracking 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 5 days between charges in our review period.

It retails for $149.99 – which is the same as a standard Charge 4. For most people the loss of GPS is worth the large step up in case materials, quality and aesthetics.

Yes, it costs three times that of a Xiaomi or Amazfit, but with this mix of top quality app and materials – this may be a winning combo.

Read our full Fitbit Luxe review.

Fitbit Charge 5

Best fitness tracker 2021: top picks for all budgets

Fitbit Charge 5 key features

  • AMOLED display
  • Stainless steel case (black, silver, gold)
  • GPS
  • Heart rate and SpO2
  • Stress management
  • EDA sensor
  • ECG
  • 20 workout modes
  • 7 day battery life
  • Sleep tracking
  • Price: $179.99

The Charge 5 ups the design ante over the Charge 4, with an aluminum case and AMOLED display making it the best-looking Fitbit tracker 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 chunky device and certainly unisex. It might be too big for some women's tastes – but it's packed with sensors that makes the Charge 5 a mini-smartwatch in its own right.

It brings ECGm (not yet live) 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.

Best fitness tracker 2021: top picks for all budgets

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 recommending it does come with caveats.

The GPS accuracy is problematic, which undermines a huge part of its USP. And if you're not interested in ECG, then is it worth paying more for? The Fitbit Charge 5 has risen to $179.99/£169.99 – and given that cheaper Fitbits use Connected GPS, this isn't a feature worth paying extra for here.

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

Read our full Fitbit Charge 5 review.

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

Xiaomi Mi Band 6

Xiaomi Mi Band 6 key features

  • Steps, heart rate and sleep tracking
  • Blood oxygen tracking
  • 14 day battery life (7 days in testing)
  • Notifications
  • 30 workout tracking modes
  • 1.56-inch AMOLED display
  • Price: $59.99

The Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 has now been launched, and it's one of the biggest overhauls of the budget fitness band in years. The screen size has been upped 50%, with a great-looking 1.56-inch AMOLED display now on board.

The amount of tracked sports has increased to 30, and there's now an SpO2 sensor for the tracking of blood oxygen. As well as spot checks, sleep oxygen levels are now reported alongside the full suite of sleep stages including REM. It's a hugely powerful tracker, although it still lacks GPS, which gives the Fitbit Charge 4 an advantage.

In terms of price, it's increased in the US and will go on sale for $59.99 – and this does challenge the notion of this being a top budget option when the Amazfit Band 5 is available for less.

The EU and UK price has remained the same as the Mi Band 5 at £39.99, which feels like good value.

We've fully tested the device, and while it's not a huge step up from the Mi Band 5, the bigger screen and SpO2 make it a top tracker for 2021.

Sleep tracking is a highlight with loads of data about sleep stages and sleep quality – and the SpO2 sensor is used to good effect here for calculating sleep breathing, which can be a sign of sleep apnea. However, we did feel that although sleep duration was more accurate than other budget trackers, sleep scores were calculated too generously.

Battery life is also upped to 14 days, although we found "normal use" in our testing to average about seven days, which is not too shabby.

Gripes remain about heart rate accuracy and the fiddly clasp, and the cheap strap, which makes it hard to get a snug fit and can easily be dislodged. What's more, the Mi app is difficult to navigate and doesn't offer the same analysis of health data as the likes of Fitbit or Amazfit.

But for those that have a more passing interest in their health data, the Xiaomi Mi Band offers great value – like it always has done.

Read our full Mi Band 6 review

Fitbit Inspire 2

Fitbit Inspire 2

Fitbit Inspire 2 key specs

  • Works with Android and iPhone
  • Tracks steps, distance, calorie burn
  • Sleep monitoring
  • Optical heart rate monitor
  • Automatic activity recognition
  • 20 exercise modes
  • Swim tracking up to 5m
  • Smartphone notifications
  • Up to 10 days battery life
  • Price when reviewed: $99

The Inspire 2 is a more traditional fitness tracker in terms of size, price and features – but it's surprisingly powerful and only a few key features short of the Fitbit Charge 4.

It covers the basics, tracking steps, distance, calories burned and serving up inactivity alerts and it will also continuously monitor heart rate through the day and the night.

Fitbit's sleep tracking is excellent and you get the full experience here on the Inspire 2. You can still see a break down of sleep stages including the important REM ones.

Fitbit has added support for its new Active Zone Minutes feature, which is designed to hit target heart rate zones each week. That also joins the ability to train with heart rate zones and check your cardio fitness level inside the Fitbit app.

And you can track runs and outdoor workouts via Connected GPS, if you take your phone with you – which many people will do anyway.

To complete the setup of health and fitness features, you'll also have support for menstrual health tracking and guided breathing exercises to help keep you calm.

While it's certainly no Versa or Ionic, Fitbit does manage to squeeze in a couple of smartwatch-style features into the Inspire 2.

Like its predecessor, you'll be able to receive phone notifications from compatible Android phones and iPhones. This means that you can see incoming calls, texts and calendar appointments. If you own an Android phone, you can send quick replies when your phone is nearby.

The Inspire 2 offers a good mix of tracking basics, backed up by an app that remains as user-friendly as ever. The problem is that the competition is getting better at the extras the Inspire offers, such as sports tracking and smartwatch features.

Read our Fitbit Inspire 2 review for more details.

Huawei Band 6

Best fitness tracker 2021: top picks for all budgets

Huawei Band 6 key specs

  • 1.47 inch AMOLED
  • 194 x 368 pixels
  • 5 ATM water-resistant
  • 14 days for typical use
  • 96 workout modes
  • HR and SpO2
  • Stress tracking
  • Price when reviewed: $44.99

The Huawei Band 6 looks great, feels great to wear and the price is pretty great too. It's hard to pick huge faults with a fitness tracker this cheap that delivers so much.

You also get a larger display than what you'll find on Samsung and Xiaomi's trackers. That screen is a 1.47-inch AMOLED with a 194 x 368 resolution, matching what you get on the Honor Band 6. So it's something of a smartwatch hybrid, with a super-low price tag.
The display is bright, vibrant, colorful and nice and responsive to touch. Though it doesn't offer an always-on mode, and the raise to wake isn't always as responsive as we'd like it to be.

It's a shame that GPS isn't included, when Huawei has put this feature on its budget trackers previously. Heart rate performance is a mixed bag too if that's a feature you care a lot about.

But you still get 96 workout modes, so pretty much every conceivable type of exercise is covered.

It excels at tracking fitness and also offers some well executed smartwatch features wrapped up with a high quality display. It's a little pricier than a Mi Band 6, but don't we'd say it's worth paying a little more for the larger screen.

Outside of steps and sleep, there's a big focus on heart rate – and a set of features way above the Band 6's meagre price tag. You can also track stress through heart rate variability measurements, showing you on the Band when stress has been high, low and current stress level.

If you want to measure blood oxygen levels, you can do that that here too, though doing it 24/7 has a clear impact on battery life.

In short, the Huawei Band 6 comes highly recommended.

Read our Huawei Band 6 review.

Whoop Strap 3.0

Whoop Strap 3.0

Whoop Strap 3.0 key specs

  • Works with iOS and Android
  • Requires subscription ($30 a month)
  • Tracks heart rate 24/7
  • Measures HRV and ambient temperature
  • Tracks sleep automatically
  • Broadcast heart rate to third-party apps
  • 5 days battery life
  • Price when reviewed: $25 a month subscription

The best fitness tracker for hardcore gym-goers and trainers, the Whoop Strap 3.0 is more than just an activity band. When you're in the gym it can be placed anywhere on the arm – from bicep to wrist – to accurately track heart rate during sessions.

But it's more than just a gym tracker. It focuses on recovery by keeping tabs on heart rate and sleep. Between workouts, Whoop tracks heart rate variability, which can reveal how rested and recovered your body is by measuring the time between heart beats. This is used alongside the Whoop’s excellent sleep tracking, too estimate how your body has recovered from your last workout.

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 (often referred to as ‘Deep’ 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 number: the Strain Score.

Of course, this isn't a band for those looking to take a few more daily steps (it doesn't actually track steps at all), but for seasoned gym-goers it's the best option on offer.

But it costs. There's a $25 per month subscription, with a minimum term of six months – but you get the Whoop Strap 3.0 for free.

You can pay less, with $21 subscriptions available if you sign up for 18 months and put some cash up front.

Read our full Whoop Strap 3.0 review.

Best cheap fitness trackers below $50

Amazfit Band 5

amazfit band 5 with alexa

Amazfit Band 5 features

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • Tracks steps and sleep
  • Auto workout tracking
  • Displays notifications and music controls
  • Amazon Alexa on board
  • Tracks swimming
  • Includes heart rate monitor
  • 15 days battery life (typical usage)
  • 5ATM waterproof rating
  • Price when reviewed: $49.99

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, 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 an 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 read 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 to get up to two weeks 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.

Samsung Galaxy Fit 2

Price when reviewed: $59.99

samsung gear fit 2

Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 key features

  • Works with Android phones and iPhones
  • Tracks steps, sleep and stress
  • Auto workout tracking for walking, running, dynamic workout
  • Displays notifications
  • Includes heart rate sensor
  • 15 days battery life (typical usage)
  • 5ATM (up to 50 metres) waterproof rating
  • Price when reviewed: $59.99

Although the MSRP sits above our $50 limit, the Fit 2 is easily findable for less – making it a good budget choice.

The Fit 2 boasts a 1.1-inch AMOLED screen partnered up with a band that's slimmer and sits more snug than its predecessor.

It has sensors on board to count steps, monitor sleep and can keep tabs on your stress using the optical heart rate monitor. There's automated workout support for activities including running, elliptical and indoor rowing although we did have accuracy issues. And what's more, while it's fit to be worn in the pool, it won't track your activity in the water, which is disappointing.

On that AMOLED display, you can take control of your music, view notifications and send quick replies if you're an Android phone owner. There's also a big collection of watch faces to pick from.

Battery life is up there with Xiaomi and Amazfit's trackers at around a week. So if you're a fan of Samsung's hardware and companion app, it's another solid option to consider.

We applaud Samsung for taking the original Galaxy Fit, streamlining the look and bringing the price point down to make it much better value for money. However, accuracy issues mean that you could be better off with an Amazfit or Xiaomi tracker.

For more in-depth info have a read of our Galaxy Fit 2 review.

Realme Band

Realme Band

Realme Band key features and specs

  • Works with Android only
  • Available in black, yellow and green
  • Weighs 20g
  • 10 days battery (7-10 days battery life with heart rate monitor)
  • 0.96-inch touchscreen display
  • IP68 water resistance rating
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Tracks cricket, yoga, running, walking, hiking, climbing, cycling and spinning
  • Price when reviewed: $34.99

The Realme Band debuted in India as a super budget option – and at $34.99 it’s one of the most affordable trackers you’ll find.

The screen and build is certainly less premium than the likes of Samsung, although better than Fitbit’s – and you get a week of battery life too.

It does all the basics and a bit more. Step tracking, sleep monitoring and even workouts – with running, walking, trail hiking, mountain hiking, climbing, cycling, spinning, fitness and cricket. Naturally there’s no GPS at this price, nor can it borrow your smartphone's.

We found step tracking to be generally accurate, and sleep tracking reliably showed time spent in bed, but data on sleep quality and actual time asleep varied hugely from our control devices.

We liked the water drinking and move reminders, and we actually found the heart rate monitor to be generally pretty accurate.

However, it didn’t perform well as a smartwatch alternative. Not only is this Android only, notifications were really hard to read.

All in all, the Realme Band is a capable budget fitness tracker for Android users, but for a small amount extra you should opt for the Xiaomi or Amazfit and enjoy a far better experience.

Best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming

Samsung Galaxy Fit

Best waterproof fitness tracker: Samsung Galaxy Fit

Samsung Galaxy Fit features

  • 0.95-inch AMOLED touchscreen display
  • Tracks steps/automatic sleep monitoring
  • Accelerometer-based workout tracking
  • Includes heart rate monitor
  • 5ATM (up to 50 meters) waterproof
  • Works with Android and iOS
  • Displays notifications
  • Price when reviewed: $89.99

If you're looking for the best fitness tracker for swimming, the Fit gets our vote.

Sitting below the Fit2 Pro, the $99.99 Fit does all the basics including step counting and distance covered, and also offers strong sleep monitoring features too.

You also get smartwatch features like notification support and the ability to switch out watch faces on the gorgeous 0.95-inch AMOLED touchscreen display. There are no music player controls, payment features or Bixby support, but that's not surprising considering the price.

On the swim tracking front, you're relying on the onboard motion sensors to monitor pool time.

Accuracy-wise, we found it served up data on par with what our Garmin sports watch recorded, which is impressive given the sub $100 price. What's more, its slim design means it's nice and unobtrusive in the pool.

For battery life, you can expect around the seven-day mark depending on usage. If you want a slim, comfortable tracker with decent swim tracking skills, this is definitely one to consider.

Read our complete Samsung Galaxy Fit review for more.

Garmin Vivosmart 4

Best tracker for gym workouts: Garmin Vivosmart 4

Garmin Vivosmart 4 features

  • Heart rate monitor
  • Step tracking
  • Automatic exercise detection
  • VO2 Max
  • Rep counting for gym exercises
  • Heart rate variability for stress scores
  • iOS and Android support
  • Price when reviewed: $89.99

The Vivosmart 4 is slimmer, sleeker and even better equipped for the gym than its predecessor. It's the best fitness tracker for those looking for deep data, with blood oxygen, energy and stress tracking all part of the mix.

It includes a heart rate monitor, VO2 Max testing (which is a great metric for those who like HIIT and CrossFit clases), and automatic exercise detection, so you won't miss out if you forget to start tracking a session.

The 'body battery' energy monitoring will give you a better insight into how well prepared you are for your next workout, too.

The Vivosmart 4 also packs in Garmin's Move IQ software and rep counting for those who like to lift weights, while the addition of the pulse oximeter sensor means it's even able to help detect sleep apnea.

And the decent accelerometer-based run tracking slightly makes up for the missing GPS support, if you're not too bothered about pinpoint accuracy.

Read our complete Garmin Vivosmart 4 review for extra information.

Huawei Band 4 Pro

huawei band pro 4

Huawei Band 4 Pro key features

  • Works with Android phones and iPhones
  • AMOLED touchscreen display
  • Built-in GPS
  • Heart rate monitor
  • SpO2 sensor
  • 5ATM (up to 50 metres) waterproof rating
  • Swim tracking
  • 5-day battery life (typical usage)
  • 7 hours GPS battery life
  • Price when reviewed: $57.99

The Huawei Band 4 Pro is the only budget tracker on our list that has built-in GPS to make it a useful running and cycling companion.

The feature-packed tracker features a 0.95-inch AMOLED screen with access to Huawei's watch store to pick out different watch faces to show off on it.

Features-wise, it will count your steps and monitor sleep with a heart rate monitor to power exercise insights like training effect and daily monitoring. There's an SpO sensor to measure blood oxygen levels and you do have that built-in GPS to better track outdoor activities without your phone.

On the smartwatch front, you can view notifications, control music playback and remotely control your smartphone camera. Add in some pretty solid battery life and you have a cheap fitness tracker that should have appeal to anyone looking for some serious sports features packed into a slim band.

Best fitness tracker watches

Withings Steel HR Sport

Withings Steel HR Sport

Withings Steel HR Sport features

  • Automatic exercise detection
  • Continuous heart rate monitoring
  • Dedicated run and swim tracking
  • Sleep tracking
  • 25-day battery life
  • iOS and Android support
  • Price when reviewed: $199.99

We're desperate to include the Withings ScanWatch here, but it's still short of FDA approval which is holding up the ECG hybrid smartwatch's release outside of Europe. If you're in Europe – definitely check that device out.

So that leaves us the Steel HR Sport for those in the US. A gorgeous-looking hybrid smartwatch, don't be fooled into thinking this is style over substance: the Withings Steel HR Sport is a hugely powerful fitness and wellness device masquerading as an analogue watch.

The key thing here is the accuracy of the heart rate monitor, which, in our testing, was a top performer.

It's designed for continuous wear, and will take a reading from your wrist every minute. However, the fact that it's combined into such a beautifully designed tracker-watch hybrid, and still manages 25 days of battery life, is a huge boon for Withings.

Swim tracking is also present, as well as GPS connection over the phone, meaning you can now more accurately track runs with the help of your smartphone.

In short, the Withings Steel HR is a superb fitness tracker – but there are even more powerful devices incoming.

Read our complete Withings Steel HR Sport review for more.

Apple Watch SE

Best fitness tracker 2021: Steps, sleep and heart rate monitoring activity bands

Apple Watch SE key features

  • iOS only
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Automatic exercise detection
  • VO2 Max
  • Move, Exercise and Stand goals
  • Native sleep tracking
  • Single day battery life
  • Price when reviewed: $279.99

When it comes to fitness tracking, the Apple Watch is one of the best in the business – and that’s because it does things differently to nearly every other fitness tracking watch.

The Apple Watch rings have now become synonymous with the experience, with three tracking goals a core experience of the watch.

The Move goal is calorie based, which makes way more sense than steps as it’s inherently personalized to your individual levels. However, you can see your step count underneath.

The Exercise goal tracks those crucial activity minutes to get you the WHO recommended 150 mins a week.

And finally, the Stand goal ensures you’ve got up and moved every hour.

The rings fill up as you progress towards your goals, and you can challenge any Apple Watch owning friend to a ring challenge, which awards points for progress over a week.

It’s incredibly motivating – much more than many trackers on this list with their simple 10,000 steps.

Of course, the Apple Watch does way more than goal tracking. It’s a great workout tracker with GPS, swim tracking, heart rate, a new focus on VO2 Max and now there’s the Apple Fitness+ service which is completely integrated with the Apple Watch and the rings.

There are downsides. Sleep tracking is basic (good third party apps are available) and the single day battery life is a pain if you choose to wear it all night. Then there’s the fact it’s iOS only – and the $279 price tag means it’s not for everybody.

Read our full Apple Watch SE review.