Best fitness tracker 2019: Pick the perfect fitness band or watch

Eat, sleep, walk, repeat with these top activity bands

If you're looking for a top fitness tracker – be it an activity band or fitness watch – the choice can be baffling.

Fitness trackers these days offer advanced sleep monitoring insights, 24/7 heart rate and, of course, step tracking for your 10,000 per day too.

Read this: Best smartwatches to buy right now

In 2019, it's Fitbit that's leading the way still - with its new Fitbit Inspire HR offering a brilliant mix of features and price, as well as the Fitbit Charge 3 for advanced metrics.

But it's not got the whole market wrapped up. Xiaomi is now a huge player, and offers all the features you'd want for tiny price tags – albeit without the polished experience you get from the Fitbit app.

Today's best fitness tracker deals

Garmin Vivomove HR - Save $30
Garmin Vivomove HR - Save $30
Amazon
$169.99
Fitbit Versa Lite - Save $30
Fitbit Versa Lite - Save $30
Amazon
$129.95
Xiaomi Mi Band 4 - Save $23.54
Xiaomi Mi Band 4 - Save $23.54
Amazon
$46.45
Fitbit Charge 3 - Save $15.96
Fitbit Charge 3 - Save $15.96
Amazon
$133.99

And Garmin also has some tidy trackers of its own – and Garmin Connect is a very powerful fitness ecosystem that continues to improve with every update rolled out.

We've compiled our top fitness tracker picks that you should consider now. Any questions? Let us know in the comments section.

The best fitness tracker 2019

Amazon: Fitbit Charge 3
Amazon: Fitbit Charge 3

The Charge 3 proves Fitbit is still top of the game. It's a well-rounded device that looks the part, boasts a SpO2 heart rate sensor, a waterproof design for swim tracking.

It also showcases the very best of Fitbit's extensive fitness tracking features, and brand new sleep functionality including Sleep Score and Sleep Stages.

You get a large screen, the ability to track a range of workouts, and while it doesn't have dedicated GPS, you can fudge things by connecting to your smartphone for outdoor workouts.

And then there's smartphone notifications too – so you get some smartwatch features for your money.

The best budget fitness tracker

Amazon: Xiaomi Mi Band 4
Amazon: Xiaomi Mi Band 4

Xiaomi manages to squeeze in even more into its fourth generation wearable, while at the same time keeping the price-tag below $49.99.

There's a colour touchscreen display, swim tracking, automatic activity tracking, payment support and smartphone notification support.

The best for runners

Amazon: Garmin Vivosport
Amazon: Garmin Vivosport

The Vivosport offers a great fitness tracking experience with run tracking extras on top. The built-in GPS is the headline feature here, giving you the ability to track running and cycling sessions without having to piggyback off your phone.

The best tracker for the gym

Amazon: Garmin Vivosmart 4
Amazon: Garmin Vivosmart 4

The Vivosmart 4 is Garmin’s first fitness tracker to offer a pulse oxygen sensor and also marks the debut of Garmin’s Body Battery feature, which measures your body reserves and tells you how much energy you have left, based on a collection of metrics.

The best waterproof fitness tracker

Amazon: Moov Now
Amazon: Moov Now

An oldie but certainly still a goodie - the Moov Now is waterproof to 30m and offers feedback on your stroke type, rate, distance and efficiency, as well as lap times and an overall indicator of your pool stamina.

What is the best fitness tracker?

Fitbit Charge 3

Buy now: Amazon / fitbit.com | $134.99

Best fitness tracker 2019

The Fitbit Charge 3 won Fitness Tracker of the Year at the 2018 Wareable Tech Awards.

The Charge 3 is a total redesign of the older generation, sporting a slimmer, more Versa-inspired look. You can even easily switch to different kind of bands.

Read this: Fitbit Charge 3 tips and tricks

The slimmer design and new bands help make the Charge 3 much more comfortable, which will be a boon to your wrist while you're sleeping.

Not only that, but Fitbit has added waterproofing for swimming (with swim tracking), a touchscreen display and week-long battery life. Plus, it's the debut of Fitbit's new fitness tracker operating system.

Herat rate tracking is a given these days, and the Charge 3 is one of the leaders. You get 24/7 tracking, dedicated measures of resting heart rate and – unlike lesser Fitbit devices – VO2 Max calculations from outdoor workouts.

That's not all. The Charge 3 also comes with a relative SpO2 blood oxygen sensor. In the long term, this will hopefully let Fitbit identify conditions like sleep apnea.

There's no GPS – but the Charge 3 has Connected GPS, which means it will piggy-back your phone's signal for outdoor workouts.

The big thing for the Charge 3, though, is that it's the best option for sleep tracking. It blows away all its rivals as improved heart rate technology can take a look at your deep, light and REM sleep - thanks to Sleep Stages and Sleep Score features.

Sleep Insights will also compare your data to other Fitbit users in your age and gender. Sleep Schedules will let you set alarms and nudge you so that you don't get into any bad habits as well.

  • Sleep Stages via heart rate
  • Swim tracking
  • 24/7 heart rate
  • Fitbit Pay (available in Special Edition)
  • VO2 Max data and step tracking
  • SpO2 sensor
  • Guided breathing exercises
  • iOS and Android

Read our Fitbit Charge 3 review in full

Amazon: Fitbit Charge 3
Amazon: Fitbit Charge 3

Best budget fitness tracker

Xiaomi Mi Band 4

Buy now: Amazon | $40

Best fitness tracker 2019: Pick the perfect fitness band or watch

We've put the new Mi Band to the test and with some notable changes in the features department, we think this is the one you should now be considering if you don't want to spend big.

While it might look similar to its predecessor, there's a big change in the screen department where you're now getting 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. There's now also a microphone to enable voice control (on Chinese models only) and the waterproof design now unlocks swim tracking in the pool. Though our experience with the swim tracking wasn't great.

The Android and iOS-friendly fitness tracker does the basics like tracking steps and sleep automatically really well but will also track activities like running and cycling with connected GPS support. Away from fitness, you'll get contactless payment support (in some models), notifications and new music controls.

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

  • HR tracking
  • Waterproof and swim tracking
  • NFC for payments
  • Steps, sleep
  • Music controls
  • Incoming call alerts
  • iOS and Android

Read our Xiaomi Mi Band 4 review in full

Xiaomi Mi Band 4
Xiaomi Mi Band 4

Best waterproof fitness tracker for swimming

Samsung Galaxy Fit

Buy now: Amazon | $99.99 |

Best Samsung smartwatch: Helping you find the perfect Samsung wearable

The Samsung Galaxy Fit isn't a direct replacement for the Gear Fit2 Pro, but if you're looking for a fitness tracker that's nicer to wear and tracks your pool time, the Fit (the one in white) 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.

  • 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

Read our Samsung Galaxy Fit review in full

Samsung Galaxy Fit
Samsung Galaxy Fit

Best fitness tracker for sleep monitoring

Fitbit Inspire HR

Buy now: Amazon| $99.95

Best fitness tracker 2019

It may not look as good as the now-retired Alta HR, but Fitbit's latest fitness tracker, the Inspire HR, is a great option for those who want something a little bit sleeker to track sleep with.

Essential reading: Fitbit Inspire HR v Inspire

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.

As this is essentially replacing the Alta family, it's not just the design that's been tweaked. Fitbit's Inspire range offers a swim-proof design, step tracking, notifications and automatic workout tracking.

On the HR, you're also getting some added features, including 24/7 heart rate tracking, Guided Breathing, Connected GPS and goal-based exercise modes.

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

  • Sleep tracking
  • 24/7 heart rate monitor
  • Step tracking
  • Customisable bands
  • Smartphone notifications
  • Swim-proof/swim tracking
  • Automatic exercise detection
  • Guided breathing
  • Connected GPS
  • iOS and Android

Read our Fitbit Inspire HR review in full

Amazon: Fitbit Inspire HR
Amazon: Fitbit Inspire HR


Best fitness tracker with heart rate monitoring

Withings Steel HR Sport

Buy now: Amazon| $195.05

Best fitness tracker

The Withings Steel HR Sport is the company's first hybrid smartwatch since co-founder Éric Carreel bought back the company he sold to Nokia.

Thankfully, it still one of the best hybrids for keeping track of your fitness.

As far as the device itself goes, the key thing here is the accuracy of the heart rate monitor, which in our testing was a top performer.

It's designed for 24/7 wear, and will take a reading from your wrist every minute. But the fact that it's combined into such a beautifully designed watch, and still manages 25 days of battery life, is a huge boon for Withings.

The swim tracking isn't quite a world-beater, but the addition of connected GPS, does now mean you can now more accurately track runs with the help of your smartphone.

The Withings Health ecosystem is pretty robust, too, though not up to Fitbit levels.

But, in short, the Withings Steel HR is a superb fitness tracker that gets the thumbs up from Wareable.

  • Automatic exercise detection
  • Continuous heart rate monitoring
  • Dedicated run and swim tracking
  • 25 day battery life
  • iOS and Android

Read our Withings Steel HR Sport review in full

Amazon: Withings Steel HR Sport
Amazon: Withings Steel HR Sport

Best tracker for HIIT, Crossfit & weights

Garmin Vivosmart 4

Buy now: Amazon| $129.99

Best fitness tracker

The Vivosmart 3's successor is slimmer, sleeker and clearly even better equipped for the gym.

It includes an onboard heart rate monitor for 24/7 bpm data, VO2 Max testing (which is a great metric for those who like HIIT classes such as Crossfit), and automatic exercise detection, so you won't miss out if you forget to start tracking a session.

For those who really push things hard, the heart rate variability (HRV) stress scores are a great metric so you know when to take a rest.

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

While the addition of a pulse oximeter sensor makes the fitness tracker for more serious health monitoring like helping to detect sleep apnea.

The Vivosmart 4 also packs in Garmin's Move IQ software and rep counting for those who like to lift weights, and is one of the few trackers to include these metrics.

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.

  • Automatic exercise detection
  • VO2 Max
  • Rep counting for gym exercises
  • Heart rate variability based stress scores
  • iOS and Android

Read our Garmin Vivosmart 4 review in full

Amazon: Garmin Vivosmart 4
Amazon: Garmin Vivosmart 4

Best fitness tracker watch/hybrid

Garmin Vivomove HR

Buy now: Amazon | $194.95

Best fitness tracker

Another previous Wareable Tech Award winner, the Garmin Vivomove HR is a powerful fitness tracker hidden inside a decent-looking analogue watch.

While it doesn't quite manage to look as classically designed as the Withings Steel HR Sport, the hidden screen works harder on the Garmin, and smart notifications are much easier to read.

In terms of tracking the heart rate monitor rules the roost, offering 24/7 tracking, a focus on stress via heart rate variability (HRV) and resting heart rate tracking.

You can also track runs (albeit without GPS), strength training and open sessions, which will appeal to gym goers.

Plus, everyone can get behind the 14 days of battery life, and 5ATM (up to 50m) water resistance, which make it a winner in our eyes.

  • 24/7 heart rate
  • Hidden screen
  • Stress tracking
  • 50m water resistance
  • Tracks gym workouts
  • 14-day battery
  • iOS and Android

Read our Garmin Vivomove HR review in full

Amazon: Garmin Vivomove HR
Amazon: Garmin Vivomove HR


Best kids' fitness tracker

Fitbit Ace 2

Buy now: Amazon | $69.95

Best fitness tracker 2019: Pick the perfect fitness band or watch

Yes, children now have fitness trackers too – and the Fitbit Ace 2 is the company's second generation device that makes some welcome changes to make it a better fit for smaller wrists.

Now designed for ages 6 and above, Fitbit has opted for more colorful band options and has gone swimproof so you can take it out for a swim. A nice touch is that when your little one gets too old for the cartoony UI, they can slip the tracker into one of the Fitbit Inspire bands and update the UI too.

Tracking features are largely the same as the first Ace, letting you track steps and active minutes (10 minutes of moderate movement). There's also sleep tracking and the ability to set alarms and reminders to keep active during the day. You can still take fellow Fitbit-owning friends on in step challenges and there's now new animated clock faces and goal celebrations to motivate you to keep tracking for longer.

Fitbit has also ensured the tracker is 100% compliant with all child privacy laws, if you're concerned about how it handles that data. Battery life is around five days, though the new animated watch faces can give that a knock.

If you're after a fitness tracker for kids a little younger, the Garmin Vivofit jr 2 is aimed at kids aged 4 and above and has done some fun things to motivate kids to keep moving. But for our top pick, the Ace 2 currently gets our vote.

  • Swim-proof
  • Suitable for kids 6 and older
  • Step tracking, sleep tracking
  • Call notifications
  • iOS, Android and Windows

Read our Fitbit Ace 2 review in full

Fitbit Ace 2
Fitbit Ace 2

Best fitness tracker with GPS for runners

Garmin Vivosport

Buy now: Amazon | $119.97

Best fitness tracker

The Garmin Vivosport is a fitness tracker with GPS and heart rate tracking built-in.

You can place the band into running and cycling mode to get a GPS tracked workout – 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), which means it will survive a dip in the pool.

It 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 Vivosport is one of the best options out there.

  • Built-in GPS
  • Heart rate
  • Sports modes
  • Advanced heart metrics
  • Seven days of battery life
  • Notifications
  • iOS and Android

Read our Garmin Vivosport review in full

Amazon: Garmin Vivosport
Amazon: Garmin Vivosport


Today's best fitness tracker deals

Garmin Vivomove HR - Save $30
Garmin Vivomove HR - Save $30
Amazon
$169.99
Fitbit Versa Lite - Save $30
Fitbit Versa Lite - Save $30
Amazon
$129.95
Xiaomi Mi Band 4 - Save $23.54
Xiaomi Mi Band 4 - Save $23.54
Amazon
$46.45
Fitbit Charge 3 - Save $15.96
Fitbit Charge 3 - Save $15.96
Amazon
$133.99


What do you think?

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23 comments

  • Ianps22·

    Hi,

    Has any review been made with the Huami Amazfit Cor? The price is great ($50), but I just don't know how reliable the swimming tracking is...

    Thanks!

    • j.stables·

      We're working on it, bear with us

  • j.stables·

    It's a big bulky band and no GPS on a Polar is a bit silly.

  • j.stables·

    Fitbit Flex 2

  • temper·

    i have to disagree in parts for the moov now (using it for about 3 years). While it does a nice job in swim tracking, has a good price, great battery life and collects nice data there is a big downside - in fact in my opinion moov got worse over time.But still - in that price range i am not sure about an alternative that offers similar. Anyways: critic - go:

    For tracking only and watching it afterwards in the app its fine - but it has some flaws and misses some essentials.

    What i mean by that?

    a) The app can only use the internal memory - no sd card or similar - so each workout it gets bigger and you can only delete workouts to go against that. Depending on your phone this can suck

    b) you can't export shit part 1: Only the most recent workout is automatically synced (for an unknown time period) after you finished. If that doesn't work - you're screwed. No possibility to sync per hand when that fails.

    c) you can't export shit part 2: You can only sync distance, time, gpx data for biking and running, for swimming only distance and time is synced.

    None of the other data of the so called coach is available outside your small mobile screen.

    They offer their own heart rate solution. Export or sync that data? Not possible.

    d) Speaking of smart coach and their new and shiny heart rate tracker. Ever driven up a hill in first gear with your heart rate maxing? Smart Coach still tells you to "shift to an easier gear". Fucking wannabe smart that is.

    e) Customer support. Another thing i am looking for when buying a new wearable i learned here: do they have a forum for feedback/discussion with other users?

    Moov had one (uservoice)- but killed it from one day to the other - replacing it with a simple answer collection. No discussion possible there. Sucks. Polar did something similar btw (forum.polar.fi). While its ok to say "we got no manpower to give support" - a feedback possibility and to exchange with other users is essential for me. Why drop the chance of feedback and community support? Dumb.

    f) updates: it seems to get buggier with each update. If you look at the blog - they now are all-so-happy to announce the app in other languages then english.

    Worst. Translation. Ever.

    I can only speak for my language - but

    3. there are several typos in the app. This is so bad that it for sure has for sure never seen the eye of a native speaker or anyone nearly able to understand it.

    2. when doing a workout the stats moov tells you every km/mile sounds something alone the lines of: "can't find underline stats error underline. You error error this error underline...".

    So mainly: not usable during the workout. Its like that for the last 2 updates now (and yes i gave them feedback - which leads to my top 1).

    1. The language change is not optional and can't be changed in the settings. So the workaround i got as reply to my feedback was:" you have to change your language in your phone settings." So we'll just change our entire phone language because a single app has a shitty translation? Sounds about right.

    I get why the the wareble office can love that thing - but it's more like hate love - and no understanding for a lot of decisions of the guys behind the moov.

    BTW - you should open a forum here ;) - so people can discuss their experience with trackers, watches etc.

    When looking for a buy you mostly don't see stuff like "is there a discussion/feedback/support forum available", "do they listen to user feedback", how updates are handled, if you can export your data etc.

  • vasanthi·

    Can anyone please suggest models that, in addition to tracking steps, heartrate etc can also show time; in short a fitness tracker cum watch ?

    • c.allison·

      Hi Vasanthi. Fitness trackers like the Fitbit Alta HR, Fitbit Charge 2 and Garmin Vivosport will all track your steps and heart rate, as well as give you the time. If you're looking for more of a watch-style design that can still track heart rate and steps, we'd recommend checking out the Nokia Steel HR.

  • Creepy·

    My Charge 2 fails to maintain a charge after 18 months of use. The best Fitbit can do is offer me 25% off on a new one. Their customer support has gone downhill.

  • Amity·

    I have a Fitbit Charge 2 HR, and haven't had any problems with it. I've had it over 18 months.
    My question is this, my husband works in heavy equipment for 12.5 hours. He wants a fitness tracker, but doesn't want the bumpiness to track as steps. He wants to track his heart rate and his sleep, and will start going to the gym and wants to track that too. Is there a best option for his situation?

  • fb_1859756817·

    There are many feature rich smart bands from likes of Xiaomi and Honor with less than 1/3rd of the prices of above mentioned bands. They are stylish, durable and budget friendly. I bought Honor band 3 ($ 32.55) which includes 24*7 hr monitor, sleep, step detector, alarm, notifications and reading, caller ID and rejection, swimming, cycling, work out plans, fitness analysis, gps connection to smart phone, and more...... Then why spend that much amount for smart bands of Fitbit and Gramins!!!...

    • Maraudermick·

      Yeah, I agree!

      Had a fitbit once; never did work!. POS. Wasted $100. on it, plus months trying to get it to work.

      Thanks for the Honor band 3 info. I'll check it out.

  • Reluctantrunner·

    what would you recommend? Ideally not a wrist strap ( ? something that would work round ankle or bra strap or clip onto clothing). Hospital workers not allowed wrist straps.

    I want easy to use device as most important thing. Not necessary to download info or use with phone. I want a rep timer for running intervals, to measure speed and distance. To use with bike too. Steps for the rest of the day. Sleep info would be nice but not deal breaker, calories burned too. Looking for cheap and cheerful. Not bothered by looks or branding

  • kazz·

    Hi just wondering what you would recommend that has a timer function as well as counting reps to help at the gym eg: 90 second timer which then tracks how many reps you do in that time? Is that even a feature?!?

    Thanks!

  • HeartTrackr·

    Hey!!

    Thanks for sharing this amazing blog post. You have shared the huge information. Keep sharing!!

  • pgeordon·

    Why do you not have reviews for people with visual difficulties?

  • MewMew·

    What would be your suggestion for a vibrating tracker? I need a watch or tracker that I can set a timer on easily and quickly multiple times a day. We use timers at my job all day to time patients and I am hard of hearing and cannot hear the beeping of the kitchen timers they use. I will end up wearing the kitchen timer anyways so I might as well wear a tracker or watch.

    Thanks!

  • annajolie·

    I'm very interested in fitness tracker. I used to read on techwhiff. Now, I want to choose a fitnness tracker. I find information are interesting and useful.

  • annajolie·

    I found Fitbit Versa's review on techwhiff and I found that Fitbit Versa provides users with applications that have detailed sleep functions. That is one of the advantages of the Fitbit Versa. This app will be great if the actual hardware will track and sync properly.

  • 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.