Buying Guide for Best Fitness Trackers

You can track your activity and well-being with a fitness tracker, which is a small, convenient device. There are a number of fitness trackers designed expressly for fitness tracking that can help you make positive lifestyle changes, whether you are looking for a walking counter, a sleep tracker, or a versatile smartwatch.

Tracking features and designs vary between fitness trackers. Others vibrate when you have accomplished a goal or need to move around. Some have a display screen for seeing your activity. It’s also important to think about logging your measurements: common measurements are heart rate, sleep patterns, steps, and distance.

Owning and using a fitness tracker will not make you fitter, but it will help you track how you’re doing overall.

How Does It Look?

The fitness tracker has evolved into a fashionable fashion item. Fitbits are available. Many are available in a variety of colors. Display screens are available in some places, but not in others. Choosing a fitness band that goes well with your work attire is important if you plan to wear it all day at work.

Models with display screens

A common fitness tracker has a display screen. There are many that resemble wristwatches. Due to their convenience and comfort, these trackers are more popular than exercising with a smartphone.

How Does It Fit?

There are a lot of trackers that fit around the wrist; many of them are wearable. Other options exist, however, including clip-on trackers for collars or pockets. The units may be attached to shoes or ankles via clip-on designs, as well. Match the type of exercise you enjoy with the type of shoe you wear.

Where Does It Work?

You can use most fitness trackers in any exercise environment. It shouldn’t matter whether it’s cold or hot. You will need a tracker that is waterproof if you want to use it for swimming. Water submersion is not an option for all fitness trackers.

Features of Fitness Trackers

Now that you know how a fitness tracker device works, you will understand how a smartphone app works. Your movement is tracked by a tracker. A mobile app determines whether or not you’re meeting your goals after pairing with the wearable device. Some fitness trackers record interesting information about your movement, such as —

  • Steps: Measuring this type of information is often the simplest. It can be used to see how much you move throughout the day.
  • Heart rate: Most fitness trackers can be used to track heart rate during exercise and at rest as well. You can measure fitness improvement by checking your resting heart rate.
  • Sleep: The overall health of your body will be affected if you do not sleep well. Sleep tracking is available on some fitness trackers. The night movement test gives you insight into the quality of your sleep.
  • Overall workouts: It will not be as effective for tracking some workouts unless a fitness tracker has a GPS chip built in. In order to determine how far you traveled while running or biking, for instance, you need GPS capability. Fitness trackers’ apps are helpful in this regard, since they can track a wide range of workouts.
  • Sports apps: You can choose to track specific sports like golfing or biking with trackers, such as the Garmin vivoactive.

How Does A Fitness Tracker Work?

Many internal components in fitness trackers are responsible for providing the data above.

Motion sensing

The motion-sensing components in fitness trackers are responsible for most of the data collection. The following is an example of how a motion-sensing fitness tracker monitors your sleep: a three-axis accelerometer and a gyroscope detect your movements. By using these technologies, the tracker can measure how frequently and how forcefully you move your wrists while sleeping. You’ll then be able to determine if you’re moving enough during the night to cause you to have a hard time sleeping.

GPS

For runners and cyclists, wearing a fitness tracker with a GPS unit makes sense. When you run or ride in a rural area, this feature allows the unit to measure your distance.

Optical sensors

Some fitness trackers, especially high-end ones, are equipped with optical sensors such as heart rate sensors. It also acts as a heart rate monitor since it shines a light onto your skin to determine your pulse. Blood flow through capillaries is measured.

Bioimpedance sensors

In some fitness trackers, tiny electrodes are placed against your skin, rather than optical sensors. A heart rate monitor can then be incorporated into the tracker. Bioimpedance fitness trackers are likely to give more accurate readings than optical ones.

Measuring altitude

Altimeters, which measure the altitude, are included in some midrange and high-end fitness trackers. Distance runners who train in the mountains can benefit from this measurement. The altimeter can also be used to determine how high you climbed if you climb stairs as part of your workout.

Temperature sensor

A temperature sensor is often included with high-end fitness trackers. When you are exercising hard, you may overheat, so measure your body temperature.

Working With The App

Many fitness trackers are so simple that they cannot analyze the results of your exercise on their own. Rather than showing you your activity data, these units use an app. Prior to selecting a fitness tracker, you should check out the app. If it has all the features you need, make sure it has them. You should check that the app works on your Android or iOS device before buying it. Some apps support only one operating system.

At various points during the day, the fitness tracker will connect to the app wirelessly. The data collected by the fitness tracker will then be uploaded.

Real-time data tracking

The devices are becoming more sophisticated, and some of them provide data tracking in “real time.” For example, a tracker with built-in GPS may present pace and distance statistics without having to sync with your phone’s app. Running watches with this feature are usually priced above $100, and note that not all devices offer this feature.

Your favorite exercise types should be tracked by the app. In the case of swimmers, the app can measure your distance and time your laps. Runners may find it useful to make notes about the weather they encountered during runs.

It’s important that your fitness tracker sends as much data as possible about your favorite exercise to the app. Entering your own information should not take a lot of time. In the end, that’s why fitness trackers exist: to measure and record your activities.

Accessories

Heart rate monitor: Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap

Compatible with Polar watches, Garmin wearables, and Apple watches, this heart rate sensor provides high accuracy. The best way to improve accuracy while doing cardio is by using this accessory.

Rebounder: Stamina Mini Trampoline

This affordable rebounder can keep you active no matter the weather and help you reach your goals. The kids can also use it since it’s an affordable and fun accessory.

Price

Least expensive (up to $50)

As low as $15 can be found for fitness trackers. The models will not generate a lot of data with these basic formulas. The cheapest activity trackers may also provide calories burned and steps taken information, and some even include sleep tracking. Fitness trackers usually do not have touchscreen displays on their watch faces; they use LED lights as the indicators instead. The touchscreen might not be as intuitive as a higher-end model, and it may also be a bit more finicky.

In spite of the fact that swimming-resistant fitness trackers are often advertised at bargain prices, it is difficult to rely on this assertion in each instance. You may find this useful if you want basic statistics from an inexpensive fitness tracker. If, however, you plan to use your new device for tracking swim data, we recommend at least upgrading to the midrange pricing tier.

Exceptions include Xiaomi Mi bands, which are among the best fitness trackers on a budget of less than $50. The Mi Fit app must be used, and not everyone is happy with the band’s cardio capabilities.

Mid-range ($50 to $100)

Cheap fitness trackers can’t measure more than basic statistics like steps taken, calories burned, and some other aspects of sleep (sleep tracking), and they can’t do it as reliably or easily as midrange fitness trackers. Fitbit’s Inspire HR, which has been around since 2019 and garnered many fans, is a good example of a tried-and-true fitness tracker in this price range.

Most expensive (up to $500)

As you move into the $100+ category, design and fitness features improve dramatically. Fitness trackers can be used to monitor our daily activity, and we can make sure our goals are aligned with our habits. These are the best fitness trackers. For those looking for precision in terms of blood oxygen saturation, resting and active heart rate monitoring, swimming tracking, and more, this is the best deal.

Contactless payments from the wrist are also available in this price tier.

In this price range, you’re more likely to find smartwatches with features such as cellular connectivity, built-in virtual assistants (such as Alexa) and the ability to stream music through media services like Spotify. Check out this smartwatch/fitness tracker combination if you want the best.

Tips

Monitoring heart rate is made even more convenient with some products. A number of Apple Watch Series trackers have an ECG app that can measure heart rate. The app can check for indications of atrial fibrillation, a health condition that can result in serious health issues like strokes.

With some products, you can earn points for exercising. A Fitbit product, for example, tracks Active Zone Minutes, a state in which your heart rate is elevated, sometimes referred to as the fat-burning zone. Spending time in the fat-burning zone gives you one point. Earn 2 points per minute by pushing yourself into the cardio zone.

Buyers should be aware that some products do not include GPS but instead offer “connected GPS”. If your product boasts a built-in GPS, you will need to carry your phone (Android, iPhone, etc.) with you at all times. Manufacturers save on manufacturing costs with connected GPS, but many consumers consider it a burden.

Fitbit Premium, for example, may offer a free trial. There are a few cool extras that come with Fitbit Premium, such as guided workouts and health monitoring. The extra cost, however, would be preferred by consumers. It might be necessary to make your first payment right away to test the subscription features. Fitbit’s Inspire 2 includes a free trial period.

Smartwatches can be used to make payments for some fitness trackers. A Fitbit may be compatible with Fitbit Pay, for instance. Ensure your bank is compatible with Fitbit Pay before you use it. The Fitbit Charge 4 allows you to make contactless payments, among other features. You may also be able to use Apple Pay if you own a tracker from the Apple Watch series.

Make note of whether the battery life of the product is long. The average battery lasts between seven and ten days nowadays, though some products offer ten-day batteries. Your battery can be extended by solar charging.

Third parties are a great option for you if you enjoy working with them. Fitness trackers are not associated with third-party apps. The cost of some is free, while others are not. Read the fine print to make sure they will work with your device, including iOS.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. My fitness goals are very important to me. How can I know if my exercise routine is working if my fitness tracker doesn’t tell me?

A. Exercise routine cannot be measured by fitness trackers because they are not sophisticated. The majority of them permit you to monitor your heart rate and see how much time you spent moving. You can gauge the success of an exercise program by pairing a tracking device with a suitable app. The Fitbit app, for example, is an excellent place to start if you have a Fitbit. The Fitbit app can be downloaded for free to an Android or iPhone device.

The technology alone cannot achieve the goal of health tracking. Your physician should be informed of your fitness goals and data to ensure the best results.

Q. Do fitness trackers accurately report calories burned?

A. Your model will determine whether you can change it. A basic, inexpensive model that doesn’t have many features will often not be accurate enough to track calorie burn. An exercise tracker’s ability to measure calorie burn is usually dependent on how many statistics it collects and measures.

Q. What are the biggest benefits of a fitness tracker?

Setting and achieving simple goals is easier with a fitness tracker. For example, you might want to walk 8,000 steps per day. Almost all trackers allow you to see how close you are each day to reaching your goals.

A. Fitness tracker and a smartphone app that specializes in the running are probably necessary if you’re training for a half marathon, for example. GPS is included in the latest Fitbit Versa models to help you with this.

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