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Best fitness tracker 2020: Our top picks compared

Eat, sleep, walk, repeat with these top activity bands
Best fitness trackers to buy 2020
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Fitness trackers are getting more powerful, and while the Fitbit Charge 3 is our current recommendation, it's not one-size fits all. There are some brilliant fitness trackers available for cheap prices – and more that offer technology like heart rate, detailed sleep tracking and even pulse ox which can detect serious disorders.

Most fitness trackers now incorporate heart rate tracking and most have some level of waterproofing too. But there's still huge variations in the quality of data you get – so choosing the right ecosystem is important. Fitbit and Garmin lead the way here.

But there's also price to consider. Fitness trackers generally aren't expensive and if you're just looking to make sure your getting enough steps every day, there's no need to spend over $40.

Make the right choice


Update: We updated this article in December 2020 to include the latest fitness trackers we've been testing - including the Whoop Strap 3.0 and details of incoming Withings devices from CES 2020.

Top pick: Fitbit Charge 3

Fitbit Charge 3

Fitbit Charge 3 features

  • Heart rate tracking
  • Sleep monitoring
  • Swim tracking
  • ConnectedGPS (phone required)
  • Fitbit Pay (available in Special Edition)
  • VO2 Max data and step tracking
  • SpO2 sensor
  • Guided breathing exercises
  • Works with iOS and Android
  • Price when reviewed: $149.99

The most complete fitness tracker on the market is the Fitbit Charge 3.

A total redesign of the previous generation, we now have a slimmer, refined look - and one that's much more comfortable to wear. If you want to mix up your look or feel, bands can be swapped out with ease, too.

The headline changes are the waterproof body, which makes it an option for swimmers, and the improved touchscreen, and you'll quietly be able to get an entire week of battery from the tracker.

Herat rate tracking is a given these days, but, still, the Charge 3 is one of the leading performers. You get continuous monitoring, resting heart rate measurements and VO2 Max calculations with Fitbit's Cardio Fitness Score.

And, though currently unused, it also comes with a relative SpO2 blood oxygen sensor. When Fitbit eventually rolls out a dedicated feature, this should allow Fitbit to identify sleep apnea.

There's no GPS – but the Charge 3 has ConnectedGPS, which means it will use your phone's signal for outdoor workouts.

Read our complete Fitbit Charge 3 review for more.


Best value: Xiaomi Mi Band 4

Best fitness tracker for value: Xiaomi Mi Band 4

Xiaomi Mi Band 4 features

  • Heart rate tracking
  • Waterproof and swim tracking
  • NFC for contactless payments
  • Step tracking
  • Sleep tracking
  • Music controls
  • Notification support
  • iOS and Android support
  • Price when reviewed: $39.99

We've put the Mi Band 4 to the test, and, after some notable changes in the features department, we see this as the best pick for those who want great value.

While it might look similar to its predecessor, there's an improved screen - now a bigger, 0.95-inch color AMOLED touchscreen display with 120 x 240 resolution - that makes it a much nicer place to view your data.

The Android and iOS-friendly fitness tracker does the basics like tracking steps and sleep automatically, but will also track activities like running and cycling with GPS help from your phone. The waterproof design allows for swimming workouts, too.

The price has jumped up ever so slightly from previous generation, but the latest Mi Band still represents excellent value for money if you want a fitness tracker that does the basics and more.

Read our complete Xiaomi Mi Band 4 review for more and make sure you check out the latest news on 2020's Xiaomi Mi Band 5.


Slim design: Fitbit Inspire HR

fitbit inspire hr

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's newest fitness tracker, the Inspire HR, is a great option for those who want something a little bit sleeker to track sleep with.

It boasts all the same sleep monitoring tech as the flagship Charge 3, only in a lighter and thinner body.

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.

Fitbit's Inspire range also offers a swim-proof design, step tracking, notifications 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, 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.


Deep insights: 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 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.

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

Read our complete Garmin Vivosmart 4 review for more.

Whoop Strap 3.0

Best fitness tracker 2020: Our top picks compared

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

A specialist 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.

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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.


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 metres) waterproof
  • Works with Android and iOS
  • Displays notifications
  • Price when reviewed: $89.99

The Samsung Galaxy Fit isn't a direct replacement for the older Gear Fit2 Pro, but, if you're looking for a fitness tracker that's nicer to wear and tracks your pool time, 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's no music player controls, payment features or Bixby support, but that's not all 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 more on par with what our Garmin watch recorded. Using it in the pool in general is fine and its slim design means it's nice and unobtrusive.

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.


Samsung Galaxy Fit e

Samsung Galaxy Fit e

Samsung Galaxy Fit e key features

  • Works with Android phones and iPhones
  • Tracks steps and sleep
  • Auto workout tracking for walking, running, dynamic workout
  • Displays notifications
  • Includes heart rate sensor
  • 6-7 days battery life (typical usage)
  • 5ATM (up to 50 metres) waterproof rating
  • Price when reviewed: $35

You don't need to spend big to get a big name tracker: the Samsung Galaxy Fit e offers an entry into the world of fitness tracking for less than $40.

It's still waterproof to 50 meters, which isn't the best on test, but should be good enough for most for reviewing your fitness tracking data.

In terms of tracking, the Galaxy Fit e keeps things simple. You get step counting, sleep tracking and it will also automatically detect running, walking and other workouts. It's not the most accurate, but if you're just looking to get credit for your workouts on your calorie and step goals it does the job.

There's a heart rate sensor to help record that calorie burn and it will last a respectable 6-7 days between charges.

Yes accuracy of biometrics isn't world beating, the Fit e offers excellent value for money. And when you consider its peers are devices from Xiaomi and Honor, you're getting a far better build and app experience.

Check out our full Samsung Galaxy Fit e review.


Great design: Withings Steel HR Sport

Best fitness tracker

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 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's even more powerful devices incoming in 2020.

Read our complete Withings Steel HR Sport review for more.


Low cost: Honor Band 5

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

We may prefer the design and fit the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 provides, but the Honor Band 5 is the best option for those who just want the most affordable fitness tracker.

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, even, 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.


Built-in GPS: Garmin Vivosport

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

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.



This article was first published in August 2014. However, we update it frequently to reflect the newest fitness trackers, making sure that we've tested the latest and greatest devices available to buy.


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5 comments

  • dd1122·

    Having bought the Charge 3, I would like to share with this site that it is by far the worst tracker I have ever owned. The step counts is grossly inaccurate. Counting significantly more steps than I actually take. Counting steps while I am sitting at my desk. Not just a couple we are talking hundreds. Also, when exercising once your wrist starts sweating if you are exercising intensely the HR stops working. I have 30 minute workouts on my fit bit where 10 minutes of my heartrate weren't tracked. Just shows blank on the dash board. Asking fitbit for support has been a disaster, completely unresponsive, sent me in circles with suggestions or pages to read on their site to trouble shoot. If tracking your heartrate during exercise and accurate step count are important to you, then this tracker is not for you. Its a total waste of money.


  • wBoop·

    Dear Editor/Writer.

    Are you guys being paid to review the Fitbit Charge 3? How can every major site give it flawless reviews when it's accuracy when it comes to HR, Steptracking and Calorie tracking is highly inaccurate? Do you just assume that the stats shown on the tracker is accurate and base the review of the features? I was gonna buy a Fitbit Charge 3, but after reading a dozen threads it is clear that none of the things it is surpose to track is accurate.

  • mel-knows·

    Hi. I'm interested to buy my first fitness tracker. Can u help me choose. My workout routine are swimming and walking. Which is better huawie band 3, shine or moove ?thanks!

    • m.sawh·

      Hey,

      If you like swimming, the most accurate of those three is the Moov, but it doesn't have a display of course. The Huawei Band 3 tracks swimming too, but we had mixed results with accuracy. You could also consider something like the Vivosmart 4 or the Inspire HR.

  • Cywryn·

    How is FitBit still "leading the way" in 2019 when their customer service is literally THE worst. After paying the ridiculous price of $250 for the Ionic, the screen cracked after only 6 months and the cause? Bumping my belt! When I called the company for a replacement under the warranty, they confirmed that the watch should NOT crack under so little pressure but instead of honoring their warranty they implied that I was lying about how the screen cracked. Then to add insult to injury they offered me 20% off to buy a new one. Obviously I will be choosing a different company for my next smart watch.