Best fitness tracker 2020: Steps, sleep and heart rate monitoring activity bands

Goal tracking fitness wearables for every budget
Best fitness trackers to buy 2020
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Fitness trackers are getting more sensor-packed, powerful and affordable all the time. And while the Fitbit Charge 4 still is our top fitness tracker, there are now some great budget trackers, such as the Xiaomi Mi Band 5, that offer a range of great features at a low price point.

The best fitness trackers offer more cutting-edge technology and features than ever before; think heart rate monitoring, detailed sleep tracking, waterproof for swimming, stress tracking, sports and workout modes and, of course, step counting.

But there are still huge variations in the quality of data you get – so choosing the right fitness tracker app is just as important as what goes on your wrist. Fitbit trackers and Garmin watches lead the way here, but the ever-expanding range from Chinese brands such as Amazfit, Xiaomi and Huawei are also now major contenders.

Whether you're looking for basic everyday activity tracking, or you're after something a bit more in-depth in terms of sports and health monitoring, there's a fitness tracker out there for you.

Read on for our pick of the best fitness tracking wearables you can buy right now.

Update: This article was updated in November 2020 to include some great new fitness trackers such as the Fitbit Inspire 2, Amazfit Band 5 and the Samsung Galaxy Fit 2.

Black Friday discount top picks

Fitbit Charge 4
Fitbit Charge 4
$50 saving
Amazfit Band 5
Amazfit Band 5
40% saving
Garmin Vivoactive 4S
Garmin Vivoactive 4S
$101 discount
Fitbit Versa 2
Fitbit Versa 2
28% off

Make the right choice

Best fitness tracker 2020

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

Fitbit Charge 4

Fitbit Charge 4 on wrist in our review

Fitbit Charge 4 features

  • Steps, heart rate and sleep tracking
  • GPS built in
  • Blood oxygen tracking
  • 7-day battery life
  • Fitbit Pay
  • Notifications
  • Spotify controller
  • VO2 Max tracking
  • Workout tracking modes
  • Price when reviewed: $149.99
  • Fitbit Charge 4 product page

Listen up: the Fitbit Charge 4 isn't just the most powerful Fitbit tracker we've seen to date, but one of the most powerful fitness trackers, full stop.

It's a weakened field now that smartwatches are getting all the attention, but if you look at the sensors, data and features of the Charge 4, it's way more advanced than the likes of Samsung and Xiaomi have managed.

GPS is the big new addition, offering accurate tracking of runs and cycles from the wrist, and the Charge 4 also has an SpO2 sensor for blood oxygen, will monitor VO2 Max and resting heart rate, and boasts Fitbit's brilliant sleep tracking smarts as well. For a wrist band – this is pretty unique right now.

It's swim-proof with 5ATM water resistance, and will track and tag data from 20 sports, from HIIT and yoga to general workouts (although just basic calorie, HR and duration data).

It's a device for HIIT class go-ers, park runners and those who want to keep a real eye on the details of their health. If you're just a 10,000 steps a day person, you'll probably get annoyed with the Charge 4 giving you poor scores for Active Zone Minutes, which is its new metric that rewards users for getting heart rate into higher zones.

Likewise, committed runners and sweaters will find the Charge 4 undercooks in terms of analysis of workouts.

But if you keep a close eye on your health, and you're absolutely certain a smartwatch isn't for you, this is the best fitness tracker available today.

Price when reviewed: $149.95

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Charge 4 review

Xiaomi Mi Band 5

Best value fitness tracker

Best Value tracker - Xiaomi Mi Band 5

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 features

  • Heart rate tracking
  • Waterproof and swim tracking
  • 11 sports profiles
  • Step tracking
  • Sleep tracking including REM
  • Music controls
  • Notification support
  • iOS and Android support
  • Price when reviewed: $44.99
  • Xiaomi Mi Band 5 product page

The all-new Mi Band 5 ups the ante with a larger 1.1-inch screen, while retaining the traditional feel of the budget band.

But some may feel that this cheaper option isn't quite so affordable.

The latest offering comes in at $44.99, which is way more than the bargain price tag of its predecessors.

However, you do get a lot. 11 sports modes, connected GPS (via your smartphone) plus a heart rate monitor used for 27/7 tracking, stress monitoring and keeping tabs on your activity via the PAI score.

PAI stands for Personal Activity Intelligence, and rates your weekly effort out of 100. The more you get your heart beating, be it on a brisk walk or HIIT class, the more points you get. It's easy to understand, and effective.

Sleep is now tracked better than before, and you can turn on REM tracking and personalised insights, although we found that the nightly sleep score was far more generous when compared to gold-standard, rival sleep tracking devices from Fitbit and Withings.

However, as a basic tracker that doubles up for smartwatch notifications, the Mi Band 5 is still one of the best on the market, and comfortably less than $50.

If you want a great overview of your activity the Mi Band 5 comes recommended. However, the Fitbit Inspire HR is a far better sleep tracker, and if you really want top quality health data, you'll need to pay out for the Charge 4.

Read our full Mi Smart Band 5 review.

Fitbit Inspire HR

Best slimline fitness tracker

fitbit inspire hr showing home screen

Fitbit Inspire HR features

  • Sleep tracking
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Step tracking
  • Notification support
  • Swim tracking
  • Automatic exercise detection
  • Connected GPS
  • iOS and Android support
  • Price when reviewed: $99.99
  • Fitbit Inspire HR product page

Fitbit's newest fitness tracker, the Inspire HR, is a great option for those who want something a little bit sleeker. The unit itself is easily swappable into third-party Fitbit Inspire bands, of which there are plenty of cheap options online – and can even be clipped to the body if you don't want to wear it on the wrist.

The Inspire HR boasts all the same sleep monitoring tech as the flagship Charge 3, only in a lighter and thinner body. It still has a basic screen, so you can see the time and progress towards your goals. It will also buzz to notify you of messages or calls.

And though it also comes in a regular equivalent, you'll need the Inspire HR if you want to receive Fitbit's Sleep Stages – the feature that brings light, deep, awake and REM insights from your night's sleep. You get the Sleep Score measurement, too.

Fitbit's Inspire range also offers a swimproof design, step tracking and automatic workout tracking.

It's not just advanced sleep metrics available on the Inspire HR, either, with the heart rate monitor giving you round-the-clock coverage for reporting of resting heart rate, as well as the Guided Breathing feature.

It takes all of the Fitbit fitness tracker basics and puts it on a device with a touchscreen display – one that can go the distance, too, with around five days of battery life.

Read our complete Fitbit Inspire HR review for more.

Garmin Vivosmart 4

Best tracker for fitness fans

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
  • Garmin Vivosmart 4 product page

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.

Amazfit Band 5

Alexa built-in

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
  • Amazfit 5 product page

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 trackers from Fitbit and Samsung.

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, which you don't get on its Xiaomi-twin. It also 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 is the band that really delivers.

Check out our full Amazfit Band 5 review.

Whoop Strap 3.0

Best for the gym/HIIT

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
  • Whoop Strap 3.0 product page

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 advanced biometrics such as heart rate, heart rate variability and sleep.

Between workouts, Whoop tracks heart rate variability – the variation in time between each heart beat – and your 24/7 heart rate.

These two heart rate metrics are used alongside the Whoop’s excellent sleep tracking, as this is the period when your body recovers from the intensities of exercise.

You’re assigned 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 – 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.

Fitbit Inspire 2

The cheapest Fitbit on offer

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
  • Fitbit Inspire 2 product page

The Inspire 2 is built for fitness tracking and it's fair to say you're getting plenty in the way of tracking your movements in the day and recovery at night.

It covers the basics, tracking steps, distance, calories burned and serving up inactivity alerts. It will also continuously monitor heart rate through the day and the night. You can still see a break down of sleep stages including the important REM one.

Fitbit is adding 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.

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.

Samsung Galaxy Fit

Best fitness tracker for swimming

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
  • Samsung Galaxy Fit product page

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.

Withings Steel HR Sport

Best fitness tracking watch

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
  • Withings Steel HR Sport product page

We're desperate to include the Withings Move ECG here, but it's still short of FDA approval which is holding up the ECG hybrid smartwatch's release outside of Europe. And until the Withings ScanWatch comes out, that leaves us with the Withings Steel HR Sport.

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.

Honor Band 5

Great cheap fitness tracker

Best cheap fitness tracker: Honor Band 5

Honor Band 5 features

  • Heart rate monitor
  • Water resistance
  • Step tracking
  • Sleep monitoring
  • Tracks ten exercises
  • SpO2 monitor
  • Phone notifications
  • 14-day battery life
  • iOS and Android support
  • Price when reviewed: $35
  • Honor Band 5 product page

We may prefer the design and fit the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 provides, but the Honor Band 5 is the best fitness tracker for those who want to pay as little as possible.

And, surprisingly, despite its low price, you get plenty of features that aren't standard on more expensive options, such as a crisp 0.95-inch AMOLED color display (offering 240 x 120 pixel resolution) and a SpO2 sensor.

It doesn't stop there, either. For more basic monitoring, there's a heart rate sensor, automatic sleep tracking support and the ability to track a range of different exercises. That includes swimming, with waterproofing up to 50 meters.

Perhaps best of all, though, is the two-week battery life, letting your tracker remain connected to your wrist for an extremely long time between charges (and also your iOS or Android device, as both are compatible).

Read our complete Honor Band 5 review for more.

Garmin Vivosport

Best fitness tracker for runners

Best fitness tracker for running: Garmin Vivosport

Garmin Vivosport features

  • Built-in GPS
  • Heart rate
  • Sports modes
  • Advanced heart metrics
  • Seven days of battery life
  • Notification support
  • iOS and Android
  • Price when reviewed: $119.99 | Garmin Vivosport product page

The Garmin Vivosport is one of the few fitness trackers featuring both GPS and a heart rate monitor, and this alone makes it the best option for runners and those who enjoy outdoor workouts.

You can place the band into running and cycling mode to get a GPS tracked workout, with the only downside being the difficulty in reading live stats on the tiny 72 x 144 monochrome screen.

It's water resistant to 5ATM (up to 50m), though, which means it will survive a dip in the pool, as well as workouts in the great outdoors.

Despite being a couple of years old, it also features the same rich mix of heart rate enabled metrics, including heart rate variability stress scores, resting heart rate, VO2 Max and fitness age estimates.

Essentially, if you like running and gym work, but are looking for a band over a dedicated GPS running watch, the Garmin Vivosport is one of the best options out there.

Read our complete Garmin Vivosport review for more.