So you’re here because you’re looking for the best fitness trackers on the market, right? Unsurprisingly, some people confuse fitness watches with smartwatches, but they are not quite the same thing. Simply, smartwatches are primarily an extension for your smartphone – allowing you to receive notifications and control apps from your wrist.
Fitness watches are different. Their primary purpose is to collect 24/7 health data and deliver this in a useful format. You can then use this data to monitor your health and set fitness goals. Although all fitness watches share a common goal, they are not created equally.
Fitness watches differ in terms of accuracy, design, and the types of activities they can track. They also range in price from £30 to £500+. This leaves most people feeling confused about which fitness tracker to choose.
Which Fitness Watch Should I Choose?
Fitness watches (or fitness trackers) fall into 3 main categories: basic, mid-range, and advanced/sport-specific:
Basic fitness watch
These simple fitness trackers are usually in the design of a thin wristband. They have a motion detector sensor (3-axis accelerometer) to track activities and calories. The better models also have connected GPS.
Mid-range fitness watch
In addition to the above, mid-range fitness trackers have an infrared sensor. This collects cardiovascular data such as heart rate (HR), heart rate variability (HRV), and respiration rate (RR). This means they can measure cardio fitness, stress, sleep duration, sleep quality, and predict Vo2 max.
Advanced/ sport–specific watch
These do everything already mentioned but with more accuracy. Certain watches are also tailored toward specific sports such as swimming or hiking. For example, some advanced fitness trackers use built-in GPs and a barometric altimeter to measure distance and elevation whilst hiking. Cheaper fitness trackers can only achieve if they tap into your phone’s GPS.
Before making your choice, you should consider what health data you are interested in measuring. Do you want to track one sport with absolute precision? Or are you quite happy to receive reasonably accurate data on a range of daily activities? Do you want to track your sleep quality and stress levels throughout the day? Or, are you simply interested in counting the steps you’ve walked and the calories you’ve burned?
Whatever your priorities are, here are 5 of the best fitness trackers to consider (1 basic, 1 mid-range and 3 advanced)!
1. Withings’ Steel HR
Withings Steel HR Sport monitors your sleep stages and shows you how your heart rate changed during the night.
This Withings device is more health-focused than previous models, making it more comfortable to use in bed. It’s thin and comfortable, and it features a gentle wake-up alarm, similar to Fitbit and Apple Watches.
Some customers have complained that the accuracy isn’t quite up to par with competitors, but it’s close. The data is provided in an easy-to-understand format, but the insights aren’t as comprehensive. This is a fantastic choice if you’re new to sleep monitoring or just want a rough idea without knowing about every toss and turn.
- Over 24 hours battery life
- Good fitness tracking
- No app store!
2. Fitbit Versa Lite Edition
At about $130, the Fitbit Versa (Lite Edition) is more expensive than the Withings Move, but it offers quite a lot more in terms of functionality because it has a heart-rate monitor, sleep tracking, 15 exercise modes and smartphone capabilities. The heart rate sensor will provide you with useful cardio insights and help you accurately track your sleep.
- This watch tracks heart rate data as well as movements, so it can provide more sophisticated cardio and sleep data than the Withings model.
- The watch is waterproof up to 50m so can be used for swimming
- Smartphone notifications
- Connected GPS
- The watch is quite informal so not necessarily suitable for a formal environment. Having said that, some people like the sporty and sleek look.
3. Garmin Vivosport 4
At around £125, the Garmin Vivosport 4 is more expensive, but it offers exceptional value for money. Not only does it have in-built GPS, but it also uses infrared technology to capture your heart rate, and a barometric altimeter to capture elevation.
If you enjoy hiking, biking or running outdoors, the Garmin Vivosport 4 will track your workouts with precision.
- Good quality hardware that will track your routes, elevation, heart rate, sleep and stress.
- You can receive smartphone notifications if you pair your phone with the device.
- In-built GPS for a great price.
- It’s not great at measuring gym workouts (stretches, weightlifting etc.)
- Though it is waterproof, it doesn’t track lengths in the pool.
4. Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro
It can be hard to find a fitness watch that is truly suitable for swimmers. Though many watches claim to be waterproof, swimming with the watch may run the battery down or cause other unexpected damage. Similarly, although many trackers can capture open swims, few can record lane swims in a pool.
The Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro is both reliably waterproof and can track lane swimming via the Speedo Swim App. It is a little more expensive than the watches already mentioned ($189.99) but worth the investment if you are a keen swimmer.
- Tracks swims effectively (it’s reliably waterproof), as well as other activities.
- Smartphone notifications
- Built-in GPS
- 4gb storage for music
- Battery life is 1-2 days – some comparable devices last up to 5 days.
- It has automatic activity tracking, but it sometimes struggles to detect stair climbing (this is an issue with quite a lot of fitness trackers).
5. Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
When it comes to data accuracy, Suunto watches are close to perfection. Suunto can be considered a trailblazer in this industry because they began making precision navigation watches for the army in the 1930s.
The watches aren’t cheap (this is $349.99) but they are certainly worth the investment. And if you haven’t heard of Sunnto, it’s probably because their products are quite specialist; the watches are typically aimed at athletes, but any sports enthusiast would benefit from this great piece of technology.
If you enjoy outdoorsy activities like running and hiking, you can rely on the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR to track your routes, elevation, heart rate and calories with extreme precision.
- Unrivalled precision and accuracy.
- Built-in GPS
- A built-in altimeter to accurately track elevation without the need for a smartphone (great for hill/mountain sports).
- A bit bulky and masculine for some people’s tastes.
6. Fitbit Charge 5
The Fitbit Charge 5 looks nothing like the Charge 4, which was a welcome change. Previously, when the 4 debuted, it was essentially the twin of the Charge 3.
It has built-in GPS, which allows you to map walks and runs without having to use your watch. Fitbit Pay allows you to make contactless payments. Plus, if you bring your smartphone close by, you can access Spotify playlists from your wrist. It also includes Active Zone Minutes.
The Fitbit Charge 4 doesn’t have a colour display, though the icons and menus are well-designed and easy to use. The best and biggest upgrade on the Charge 5 is a new always-on, colour touch screen.
If you’re looking for sleep monitoring, the weather forecast, or breathing exercises, they’re a few swipes away.
The new Charge 5 is a fitness tracker for all, slim, neat, and filled with features that cross the distance between fitness trackers and more serious running watches.
- Built-in GPS
- Fitbit Pay
- Spotify controls
- There is no colour screen
7. Amazfit Bip U Pro
With over 60 sports monitoring modes and a slew of health-related applications, the Amazfit Bip U Pro is a fantastic fitness tracker for the money. The built-in GPS and Alexa compatibility being the show-stopping features.
The main experience is the same as Bip U. The Bip U Pro is, without a doubt, the finest smartwatch inside this price range, with few competitors.
- GPS built-in
- Good range of fitness and monitoring features
- Sleep monitoring that is precise
- Issues with app syncing
- Alexa, in reality, is a little glitchy
8. Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6
The Mi Smart Band 6 is the newest addition to Xiaomi’s quickly growing line of fitness trackers. It’s pretty cheap and comes with a lot of functionality you’d expect to see on a far more costly product, such as a pulse oximeter for measuring blood oxygen saturation and all-day stress monitoring.
The screen is extremely bright and sensitive to even the softest of touches, which is critical for a screen this thin.
It’s a disappointment there’s to see no built-in GPS for keeping track of races, hikes, and bike rides. It works well enough by relying on your smartphone’s positioning system, but it means you can’t go out without it, which weighs some people down. Otherwise, if you want a lightweight tracker, this is bang on. It’s also probably the most affordable and popular fitness trackers for women.
- Very low cost
- Slim build
- Doesn’t automatically end monitoring after a workout
- Connected GPS is a pain for some people
9. Garmin Venu 2 Plus
The Garmin Venu 2 was good, but the Venu 2 Plus is better. It’s a brilliant all-around exercise tracker, with a bright monitor, long battery life, and a complete range of fitness tools. Although the Venu 2 Plus software and interface aren’t as extensive or powerful as the Apple Watch, it’s a great smartwatch for athletes. With storage for up to 650 songs and a full variety of navigational sensors for outdoor activities, it outperforms the similarly called Garmin Venu Sq in terms of both looks and features.
You can now make and receive phone calls from your wrist, as well as access your phone’s voice assistant, with the Garmin Venu 2, one of the top smartwatches on the market in 2022.
Even if you’re not working out, this all-purpose smartwatch has a lot to offer thanks to this smart innovation. In all other ways, this is a superb sports-focused watch, however, there is just one case size available. That and the lack of wireless charging are minor gripes, but if you’re looking for a smartwatch that you can wear 24 hours a day, we heartily recommend the Venu 2 Plus.
- AMOLED display with vibrant colours
- Wide range of fitness features
- Support for offline music
- The design is a little bland
- App selection is limited compared to Apple
10. Fitbit Luxe
Fitbit released the Fitbit Luxe earlier this year. It’s another new slimline exercise tracker with a stainless steel casing, AMOLED touchscreen, and SpO2 sensor.
In terms of design, it looks close to the Fitbit Inspire in terms of style. The Luxe, on the other hand, has a smart stainless steel case rather than a polymer one.
The Fitbit Luxe, like the Fitbit Versa 3 and Sense, all share an AMOLED display, which can help increase battery life over the Inspire 2’s PMOLED display. The Luxe lasts about 5 days between charges.
In terms of exercise tracking, the Luxe can measure pulse rate, breathing rate, and sleep – and, unlike the Inspire 2, it has a SpO2 tracker, as well as skin temperature estimates at night, using its existing sensors.
Fitbit’s Smart Track functionality, which starts exercise monitoring if you forget to activate it manually, is included in the device. Also, it’ll have some basic smart features like notifications and social media, like it’s other Fitbit siblings.
Overall, it is slightly less expensive than Garmin’s latest alternative, the Lily and it’s one of the best-looking Fitbit for women.
- A brand new approach to design from Fitbit
- Lacks Fitbit Pay
11. Garmin Forerunner 55
The new Garmin Forerunner 55 is a low-cost running watch with useful added features that meets all of the essential requirements for starting runners.
For a long time, the Forerunner watch was the best budget running watch available. When the Forerunner 35 and 45 were first released, this was definitely the case.
At just under $200, the Forerunner 55, on the other hand, has stiff competition, costing nearly the same as the superb Coros Pace 2. To counter Coros’ threat, Garmin has put several essential capabilities from its higher-priced running watches into the 55, as well as improving the battery life to 20 hours of GPS usage (from 13). The battery life is also fantastic when you aren’t utilising the GPS.
- A brand new approach to design from Fitbit
- Not as sophisticated as other Garmins (but this is expected from the cost)
12. Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 was well worth the wait because it exceeds the prior edition in many ways.
Compared to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, the 4 is slimmer, lighter, and more stylish than its predecessor. It’s also an excellent workout partner, with a variety of workout forms, the majority of which are automatically triggered. There’s also a heart rate monitor, VO2 Max measurements, and fall detection, as well as GPS, water resistance, sleep and stress tracking, and a heart rate monitor.
Blood pressure monitoring and an electrocardiogram was finally included in the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, and that remains in its successor.
Wear OS and Tizen are both present in the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 4’s software, which mixes the two to provide a new look and feel for the wearable. Fits well, has a long battery life, and is ergonomically designed. The Galaxy Watch 4 is an innovative update of Samsung’s most popular smartwatch, despite some compatibility difficulties.
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- Basic but beautiful
- ECG is en route
- Bold, bright OLED screen
- Lack of third party apps
- Single day battery life is a let down
13. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Only 6 months after the first edition, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 was released. It also adds a few features that the original Galaxy Watch Active lacked.
Samsung’s Active range of devices is designed to be smaller than the Galaxy Watch, making them more ideal for fitness enthusiasts. What causes it to be slimmer? On the Galaxy Watch, the bezel has been eliminated.
Instead, the company has included a digital rotating bezel that can be rotated to access numerous features. Despite the lack of a bezel’s tactile sense, customers found the functionality to be satisfactory.
If you’re searching for a more athletic smartwatch, this one is a good choice because it’s comfortable to wear when working out. It contains a heart rate monitor and will track specific exercises for you automatically. There’s also GPS and inbuilt storage, so you can load up your gadget with music and listen to it with Bluetooth headphones. You may also use Spotify on Tizen by downloading the app.
It boasts a 1.2-inch 360 x 360-pixel resolution display that, while little on paper, is large enough to engage with and programmes appear great on it.
In comparison to other popular smartwatches, the Active 2 is a bargain. Despite a minor increase in price. If you’re searching for a small watch that can be used for both exercise and everyday use, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a great choice.
- Awesome design
- Digital rotating bezel
- No ECG or fall detection
- Bixby experience is lacking
14. Garmin Epix Gen 2
For the first time since 2015, Garmin has upgraded its Epix smartwatch. It’s been seven years since it was originally made available to the public. An always-on OLED display has been replaced by transflective screens in this new Epix 2 model.
Contrary to popular belief, there are significant changes between the Garmin Fenix 7 and the Garmin Epix Gen 2. When it comes to choosing one of these high-end sports watches, it might be difficult to choose which one is best for your needs.
If the Fenix 7 Pro and Venu 2 could be combined, you’d get the Epix 2.. In contrast to the eight Fenix variants in various sizes, there is just one Epix 2 model, each with a different combination of solar charging and an extra-tough sapphire crystal covering the front face. Additional water resistance of at least 100 metres.
In contrast, the Epix watch has a big edge over the Fenix watches in this area. In other words, a brilliant, high-resolution AMOLED always-on display that really stands out when it comes to maps, charts, and graphics. Compared to the memory-in-pixel (MiP) displays used in Fenix 7 watches, the Epix display is more colourful, but it drains the battery more quickly, necessitating more frequent charging.
If you’re using your smartwatch, you can expect to receive 16 days of battery life (though, note, only 6 days if using the always-on feature). When using the battery-saving mode, you can get up to 21 days of use out of a single charge. The watch can be used in a variety of ways, and the best response is that it all depends on how and for how long you plan to use it.
The Fenix 7 or the Epix Gen 2?
When it comes to features, the Epix 2 is nearly identical to the Fenix 7, with five physical buttons, touchscreens and Real-Time Stamina, among others. The greatest difference between the two ranges is the absence of the new LED flashlight and the inability to use solar charging on the Epix. In terms of battery life, Garmin says the Epix can last up to 16 days on a single charge, and up to six days with the display always on.
On both ranges of smartwatches, Garmin Pay, music storage, and safety features are included. Health monitoring activities such as sleep tracking and heart rate monitoring are included in the standard Garmin health features.
Garmin’s finest GPS smartwatches, the Fenix 7 series, come at a premium price. As a premium multisport GPS watch from Garmin, the Epix 2 is priced similarly to the Fenix models.
Sapphire black or white titanium, sapphire black titanium with a chestnut leather band, or slate steel are the only alternatives available in the colour palette.
The pros are that the AMOLED display is awe-inspiring. The use of a touchscreen device is welcomed. The battery life is excellent too. However, the drawback is the astonishing cost.
For a more detailed comparison of the Fenix 7 versus the Epix 2, head here.
14. Garmin Instinct 2
The durable shell and dual-screen display with great contrast of the original Instinct are improved upon with the Garmin Instinct 2, which also adds new capabilities that make the gadget more pleasurable to use.
The watch is now thinner, more customizable, and equipped with cutting-edge fitness training capabilities and customised activity ideas, in addition to a 40mm case size option. Although the mapping isn’t the finest, the device’s lengthy battery life more than makes up for it.
- It’s possible to choose from a number of sizes
- Although their size has decreased, it remains an excellent training aids that goes above and beyond the fundamentals of a sportswatch
- Longer battery life than we’ve ever seen in GPS tracking devices
- Lack of clarity on the screen may make it difficult to follow the routes
Remember, your ideal fitness watch should be practical and useful but not overloaded with unnecessary features. That’s why it’s so important to know what you are looking for in a fitness tracker before parting with your cash. Hopefully, the information in this article will guide you towards the best value fitness watch for you.
Last Updated on March 11, 2022
Emma brings over a decade of freelance copy and content writing experience and is our Editor, Social Media Manager, and regular contributor. Specializing in long-form content such as blogs, articles, lead magnets, and white papers, Emma also provides businesses with email marketing, website copy, and landing pages.