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The Best Fitness Trackers Will Help You Become the Best Version of Yourself

SPY logo SPY 1/22/2021 Jonathan Knoder
a man wearing a uniform © Courtesy of Fitbit

Fitness trackers have come a long way in helping people live healthier lives. They give you that little extra push when you need it most. Real-time information on how you are progressing towards your fitness goals keeps you engaged in your fitness. Likewise, help form your community, whether between groups of co-workers, friends or your family, makes achieving fitness goals easier than ever. Fitness trackers do wonders for motivating and enabling people to be the healthiest version of themselves.

Fitness trackers are more advanced than ever. Once touted as convenient way to see how many steps you take throughout the day, today’s fitness trackers can measure your distance when you run, how long you need to recover before your next workout and even keep you connected to your phone without having your phone on you. As you begin to take your health and fitness more serious, here are some things you should look for in a fitness tracker:

  • Multiple activity and exercise tracking modes
  • GPS
  • Recovery and sleep tracking
  • Ability to store and play music
  • Phone notifications

Keep in mind, if you’re the active type that likes to workout in a variety of different ways — basketball, tennis, trail running, etc. — you’ll want a watch that has the ability to track more than just running, biking and swimming. And if you’re seriously training for a major physical event such as a marathon, GPS is a must in order to track your distance. While most trackers can use the GPS on your phone, if you’re running that long of a distance, you will more than likely want to leave your phone behind.

When you’re truly ready to ditch your phone during physical activities, get a fitness tracker that can store music as well as receive your phone’s notifications. This way, you can stay connected in case of emergencies, even while you’re getting your workout in.

The best fitness trackers are more than just step counters, they’re  tools to help you stay active, stay healthy and change your life for the better. When you’re ready to reach your fitness goals, check out our recommendations for the best fitness trackers below. And If you have a little soon-to-be athlete in the family, there are also fitness trackers for them at the bottom of our recommendations.

  

1. Fitbit Versa 3

BEST FITBIT

The Fitbit Versa 3 is a supercharged fitness tracker that provides insights on your overall wellness as well as helps track your fitness goals. Heart rate, step counter are a given, but the Versa 3 can store and play music and podcasts from Deezer, Pandora and Spotify while you work out, so you can ditch your phone. Beyond fitness, the Versa 3 looks after your overall wellness with a sleep stage tracker and sleep score and provides guided breathing exercises. It’s like a life-couch on your wrist.

a close up of a helmet: Fitbit Versa 3 fitness tracker © Provided by SPY Fitbit Versa 3 fitness tracker Buy: Fitbit Versa 3 $228.95   

2. Apple Watch Series 6

BEST FOR APPLE USERS

The Apple Watch has always been one of the best all-around smartwatches, but with the addition of blood oxygen monitoring, an altimiter and an improved accelerometer and gyroscope, the Apple Watch Series 6 continues to add the key features required to be one of the best fitness trackers. It can play music, track your activities and still keep you connected to the world when you need to answer calls or texts. But when you really want to get in a full workout, the waterproof watch can even track your activity when you’re in the pool. Just because it’s the most stylish fitness tracker doesn’t mean it can’t go hard with you.

a close up of a watch: Apple Watch Series 6 Fitness Tracker © Provided by SPY Apple Watch Series 6 Fitness Tracker Buy: Apple Watch Series 6 $339.00   

3. Wyze Band

BASIC AND AFFORDABLE TRACKER

For those on a budget who don’t mind having basic tracking features, the Wyze Band fits the bill. Heart rate is tracked at all times as well and calories and distance. It can also track when you go running, but that’s about it for activities. If you have other Wyze products such as smart lighting and plugs, you can control those from the Wyze Band, too. Perhaps the best part, this fitness tracker is only $30, making it one of the most affordable around.

icon: Wyze Band fitness tracker © Provided by SPY Wyze Band fitness tracker Buy: Wyze Band $29.98   

4. Coros Apex

GREAT FOR BEGINNING FITNESS

This watch-plus-app combo can be handy for those who want a ton of workout insights, but might not know where to start. Based on your desired activity level and fitness goals, it creates daily fitness goals for you and provides a handful of valuable fitness metrics such as target rate zones, Vo2 max, and suggested recovery times. Plus, it can log and track roughly 20 different activity types. It does lack a touchscreen and doesn’t have the sharpest display, but it’s a great watch for someone looking to start getting into fitness.

a close up of a watch: Coros Apex fitness tracker © Provided by SPY Coros Apex fitness tracker Buy: Coros Apex   

5. Fitbit Sense

OVERALL WELLNESS TRACKING

The Fitbit Sense is equally as insightful for your overall wellness as your fitness. With features like stress blood oxygen level tracking, sleep tracking and a built-in electrocardiogram (EKG), the data on your overall health are abundant. For fitness, all the usual suspects are there: heart rate zones, calories, steps and goal-based workouts. And the bright always-on display makes it easy to see, even during the brightest parts of the day.

icon: Fitbit Sense fitness tracker © Provided by SPY Fitbit Sense fitness tracker   

6. Garmin Fenix 6 Series

BEST GARMIN

No matter the activity, the Fenix 6 will likely track it. Not only does it have some of the most accurate step and heart rate counters, but Garmin is also one of the best GPS makers on the planet, so the precision of your run or hike tracking will be unrivaled among the best fitness trackers. It’s also waterproof, so you can get your low-impact swim on. And for a premium, high-performance watch like this, we definitely think it’s worth it to spring for the Fenix 6 Pro over the standard Fenix 6, as it will give you access to topo maps on the screen and allow you to sync and music to wireless earbuds from services such as Spotify and Amazon.

a close up of a device: fitbit alternatives garmin fenix © Provided by SPY fitbit alternatives garmin fenix Buy: Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Smartwatch $639.45   

7. Suunto 7

BEST SUUNTO

Sure, it’s expensive, but the Suunto 7 is neck and neck with the Garmin Fenix 6 when it comes to multisport activity tracking prowess. It has over 70 different sports modes and a lengthy two-day battery life. Go swimming, golfing, biking, running — it tracks it all. It even has NFC wallet capabilities thanks to Google Pay. On top of all of that, this fitness tracker simply looks great. It also runs Google’s Wear OS, which means that you get access to Google’s entire suite of smartwatch features. If you can do without a few of the advanced features of the Fenix 6, this is not just a more-affordable alternative, but one of the best fitness trackers you can buy.

a close up of a watch: best fitness trackers © Provided by SPY best fitness trackers Buy: Suunto 7   

8. Garmin Venu Sq

GARMIN WELLNESS TRACKER

There are over 20 pre-loaded activities this fitness watch can track as well as planned workout sessions to help guide you to your fitness goals. Other insights such as hydration, respiration tracking, and sleep monitoring look after your overall wellness and go beyond basic activity tracking functionality. Music storage would have rounded this fitness tracker out nicely, but even without it, there’s a lot of fitness and wellness power packed in. Plus, it looks great, too.

a close up of a watch: Garmin Venu Sq fitness tracker © Provided by SPY Garmin Venu Sq fitness tracker Buy: Garmin Venu Sq $199.61   

9. Apple Watch SE

BUDGET APPLE WATCH

The Apple Watch SE takes the best of the Apple Watch Series 5, adds some of the upgraded features in the Series 6 and throws it all in the body of the Series 4 at a far more affordable price. While it may not track your blood oxygen levels or work with Apple’s ECG app, it can handle virtually anything else you throw at it. It’s also a great option for kids and older family members since Family Setup now lets one person configure and manage multiple Apple Watches from a single phone. But to use that feature, and to get the most out of the emergency and safety features, you’re going to need the LTE version, which costs and extra $50.

a close up of a phone: Apple Watch SE Fitness Tracker © Provided by SPY Apple Watch SE Fitness Tracker Buy: Apple Watch SE $269.99   

10. Fitbit Versa 2

FITBIT RUNNER-UP

With 15 exercise modes, along with an accurate pedometer and health stats, the Fitbit Versa 2 is a premium, yet affordable option. Store music right on the watch so you can ditch your phone when you work out or go for a run. And if you need a little help to get your workout going, the on-screen workout guide can assist you in doing the exercise properly. On top of all that, this watch even has Alexa functionality for hands-free use.

icon: Fitbit Versa 2 Smartwatch best tech gadgets of 2019 © Provided by SPY Fitbit Versa 2 Smartwatch best tech gadgets of 2019 Buy: Fitbit Versa 2 $170.50   

11. Garmin Vivofit 4

ONE-YEAR BATTERY LIFE

Without the need to recharge the battery and with waterproofing, you really won’t ever need to take this fitness tracker off your wrist. It’s lightweight, small and comfortable. And it tracks your steps, distance, calories as well as monitors your sleeping habits. The always-on display is bright and easy to see. You can sync all of your data to the Garmin Connect app and track your progress as you work towards your fitness goals.

a hand holding a cell phone: Garmin Vivofit 4 fitness tracker © Provided by SPY Garmin Vivofit 4 fitness tracker Buy: Garmin Vivofit 4 $72.99     

12. Honor Band 5

SUPER BUDGET FITNESS TRACKER

With the Honor Band 5, you can track running indoors and outdoors, swimming, indoor cycling, rowing and cross-training. Your insights are limited to time, distance heart rate and a few others. You can also customize your screen to one of eight different watch-faces as well as receive your phone’s messages and notifications. We know it’s not the most comprehensive, but for those looking for something basic and affordable, it does the trick.

Honor Band 5 fitness tracker © Provided by SPY Honor Band 5 fitness tracker Buy: Honor Band 5 $36.99   

13. Polar Grit X

BEST FOR MOUNTAIN ACTIVITIES

If a walk in the park isn’t your idea of fitness, but more the type for hard hikes and trail runs in the mountains, this fitness tracker is your speed.  It’s built with military-grade durability to withstand extreme temperatures and punishment, and it’s water-resistant up to 100 meters. It also tracks hill ascents and descents so you can see the vertical feet you cover. Plus, it reminds you when it’s time to refuel after burning a lot of calories. When outside is your gym, the Polar Grit X is a great choice as your fitness tracker.

a close up of a watch: Polar Grit X Fitness trackers © Provided by SPY Polar Grit X Fitness trackers Buy: Polar Grit X $409.95   

14. Whoop Strap 3.0

GREAT FOR SLEEP TRACKING

The Whoop Strap 3.0 forgoes the display to provide state-of-the-art technology geared towards performance tracking. While it can track standard things such as steps or heart rate, the Whoop is really geared towards providing insights on the intensity of your workouts, as well as recovery-based metrics like sleep. This helps to ensure you aren’t doing more damage than good by working out too much. If you don’t mind using your phone to see all of your stats, Whoop Strap will keep you in peak form.

a close up of a phone: fitbit alternatives whoop strap © Provided by SPY fitbit alternatives whoop strap   

15. Fitbit Ionic

FITBIT SMARTWATCH WITH GPS

The Fitbit Ionic has been out longer than most of the fitness trackers on this list, but it’s still a solid choice for serious athletes. You can even leave your phone behind with on-board music playing and built-in GPS to track those long runs, bike rides and swims. While we recommend going with the Fitbit Versa 2 — it’s newer, has a better design and has support for Alexa — the Fitbit Ionic is still a great option if you need GPS tracking.

Fitbit Ionic Smartwatch Fitness Tracker © Provided by SPY Fitbit Ionic Smartwatch Fitness Tracker Buy: Fitbit Ionic $189.99   

16. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

GREAT FOR ANDROID USERS

This is a great looking fitness tracker that can store music, so you can ditch your phone when you exercise. And if you forget to set the Galaxy Watch Active 2 to track your run before you take off, this watch still keeps tabs on it in the background, so you don’t need to worry about missing stats. It also works seamlessly with your Android phone to keep you connected even when you’re at the gym.

a close up of a watch: best android smartwatches © Provided by SPY best android smartwatches Buy: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 $136.72   

17. Xiaomi Mi Band 5

BUDGET ALTERNATIVE

Even though this is considered a budget fitness tracker, it does have quite a few features and fitness tracking capabilities. For starters, it can track up to 11 different workouts which include running, swimming and even yoga. You can expect about 14 days of impressive battery life on a single charge and a display that has over 100 different watch faces to choose from. If you’re way serious about your health, look elsewhere, but this isn’t a bad place to start to obtain your new fitness goals this year.

Xiaomi Mi Band 5 Fitness Tracker © Provided by SPY Xiaomi Mi Band 5 Fitness Tracker Buy: Xiaomi Mi Band 5   

18. Garmin Vivosmart 4

GREAT VALUE

With a similar shape of the first iterations of fitness trackers, the Vivosmart 4 sports a slim profile and a mini screen that displays all your important health stats, but that’s not all the Vivosmart is capable of. It keeps track of your blood oxygen levels, and even your REM sleep. It packs a lot of data into one of the best fitness trackers under 100 dollars.

a close up of a device: fitbit alternatives © Provided by SPY fitbit alternatives Buy: Garmin Vivosmart 4 $99.99   

19. Fitbit Charge 4

ALSO GREAT

Now with built-in GPS, you can leave the phone behind when you want to go for a long run or bike ride, and still track your distance. The Charge 4 also has NFC wallet capabilities built right into the device, so you can make purchases without reaching for your wallet. Although you can’t download music to your Charge 4, you can now control your Spotify right from the fitness tracker. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

a close up of a device: best fitness trackers © Provided by SPY best fitness trackers Buy: Fitbit Charge 4 $130.99   

20. Garmin Forerunner 35

OLDIE BUT GOODIE

This fitness tracker is a bit older, but it’s one of the most popular among Amazon users, boasting a 4.5 star approval rating out of almost 4,000 reviews. It allows you to control your music from your watch, so you don’t have to fumble with your phone while you exercise. And all of your workout data will automatically download to your phone when you use the Garmin App. It’s not a bad choice, especially if you want to save some dough.

a close up of a watch: fitbit alternative © Provided by SPY fitbit alternative Buy: Garmin Forerunner 35 $111.37   

21. Fitbit Versa Lite

ALSO GREAT

It’s pretty much the Versa 2 minus a few features. You are still able to utilize the 15 exercise modes and sleep tracking to recover properly. Plus, it still has the great looking style and display of the Versa 2. You will be giving up on-board music, floors climbed and Amazon-Alexa capabilities going with the Lite version, but you’ll save $40 for those omissions.

icon: Fitbit Versa Lite Fitness Tracker © Provided by SPY Fitbit Versa Lite Fitness Tracker Buy: Fitbit Versa Lite $240.00   

22. Samsung Galaxy Fit

FITBIT-STYLE ANDROID

Spend more time doing your favorite activities with the Samsung Galaxy Fit. It has about a week’s worth of battery life on a single charge. And don’t fret if you forget to select the activity you are doing, the Galaxy Fit is smart enough to recognize the movements and track the activity in the background automatically. Plus, if you’re an Android user, you’ll appreciate the seamless relationship between your Android phone and the Samsung Galaxy Fit.

Samsung Galaxy Fit © Provided by SPY Samsung Galaxy Fit   

23. Fitbit Inspire 2

BEST UNDER $100

Among the best fitness trackers under $100, the Fitbit Inspire 2 is the most feature-packed of the bunch. In addition to tracking heart rate, steps, sleep and calories burned, the Inspire 2 also provides minute-by-minute activity tracking and supports Active Zone Minutes, which urges you to spend a certain amount of time at different heart rates each day. It also comes in a compact, unassuming package for those who don’t want the visible heft of a smartwatch.

Fitbit Inspire 2 Fitness Tracker © Provided by SPY Fitbit Inspire 2 Fitness Tracker   

24. Amazfit BIP

BEST BATTERY LIFE

For under $100, the Amazfit BIP boasts some incredible features, including battery life that can go almost a month on a single charge. And when it comes time to finally charge, it only takes a couple hours. For fitness, it tracks steps, distance (it features GPS), sleep monitoring and heart rate. It’s water-resistant, not waterproof, so swimming is out of the question. It’s a little off the beaten path, but an affordable option that is worth considering.

amazfit bit watch amazon © Provided by SPY amazfit bit watch amazon Buy: Amazfit BIP $119.99   

25. Polar A370

HONORABLE MENTION

With a vibrant screen that’s a little wider than your average Fitbit-style fitness tracker, your health information is clearly displayed and easy to view. While it has accurate heart-rate monitoring, steps and sleep-tracking information, it doesn’t feature built-in GPS, so you’ll need to keep your phone on you for location and mapping information. Beyond that, it’s a reliable tracker with accurate health stats.

Polar A370 Fitness Tracker © Provided by SPY Polar A370 Fitness Tracker Buy: Polar A370 $191.99   

26. Fitbit Ace 2

FITBIT FOR KIDS

Sometimes your kid needs a reminder that there is more to life than iPads and video games. The Fitbit Ace 2 reminds your kid to get up and move around after periods of inactivity. It also tracks their steps and sleep. And since it’s waterproof, the kiddo can jump in the shower, tub or pool without ruining it. The home screen is also customizable so kids can make it their own. It’s not only one of the best fitness trackers for kids, it’s also a fun way to remind your kid that being outside was the O.G. fun activity.

icon: best fitbit © Provided by SPY best fitbit Buy: Fitbit Ace 2 $68.62   

27. Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2

ALSO GREAT FOR KIDS

Got a kid that wants a fitness tracker that actually stands out? Then the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 will be right up their alley. It tracks their daily activities and steps, as well as reminds them to be active or do their homework (you’ll probably want to install that reminder for them). This is an affordable way to give your kids that little extra reminder to be active and responsible.

Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 Fitness Tracker © Provided by SPY Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 Fitness Tracker Buy: Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 $48.99   
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