The 10 Best Fitness Trackers of 2022

We’ve reviewed a host of fitness trackers, but here are ten of the best, collectively covering the needs of all athletes, from dedicated runners to those who just want to keep a step count or track their health stats.

Whatever your goals are, the best fitness trackers are good tools for getting more active, getting more sleep, and getting more insight into your overall health. They can help you track your progress and offer guidance on how hard you should be pushing yourself.

As exercise-oriented wearables, fitness trackers can measure your heart rate, read your blood oxygen levels, accompany you swimming and tell you if you’re well-rested. Some fitness trackers can be used to pay for groceries, play music, answer texts, and much more when you’re not working out.

With so many devices, choosing one of the best fitness trackers or fitness watches for your needs can be tricky. We put dozens to the test, spending hours on running, biking, swimming — even sleeping — to see which excel, and which couldn’t make it past the starting block.

We test and review dozens of models annually to help you find the best one for your needs and budget. When we evaluate fitness trackers, we take into account factors such as accuracy, battery life, ease of setup and use, features, price, specs, and style.

The 10 Best Fitness Trackers of 2022: Our recommendations

Best budget fitness trackerFitbit Charge 5 Advanced Fitness & Health TrackerView on Amazon
Best fitness tracker for weight lossFitbit Sense Advanced SmartwatchView on Amazon
Best fitness tracker for runningFitbit Versa 3 Health & Fitness SmartwatchView on Amazon
Best fitness tracker with heart rate monitorFitbit Charge 5View on Amazon
Best fitness tracker for iPhoneFitbit SenseView on Amazon
Best fitness tracker RedditGarmin Forerunner 255View on Amazon
Best fitness tracker with oxygen monitorXiaomi Mi Band 6 – Best valueView on Amazon
  1. Fitbit Charge 5 Advanced Fitness & Health Tracker

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Optimize your workout routine with a Daily Readiness Score that reveals if you’re ready to exercise or should focus on recovery (Requires Fitbit Premium membership)

Get a daily Stress Management Score showing your body’s response to stress and take steps to improve your levels with an on-wrist EDA sensor mindfulness session

With the Health Metrics dashboard, track SpO2, heart rate variability, skin temperature variation and more (Not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and should not be relied on for any medical purposes. It is intended to provide information that can help you manage your well-being)

See your real-time pace & distance without your phone using built-in GPS during outdoor activity, then see a map of your workout route in the Fitbit app

2. Fitbit Sense Advanced Smartwatch

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EDA Scan app detects electrodermal activity which may indicate your body’s response to stress and a built-in skin temperature sensor logs yours each night so you can see when it varies

Assess your heart for atrial fibrillation –a heart rhythm irregularity- and easily share results with your doctor (The Fitbit ECG app is only available in select countries. Not intended for use by people under 22 years old.

An on-wrist skin temperature sensor tracks yours each night so you can see how it varies. With our collection of clock faces, you can also see your nightly blood oxygen levels at a glance.

3. Fitbit Versa 3 Health & Fitness Smartwatch

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Receive a Daily Readiness Score that reveals if you’re ready to exercise or should focus on recovery (requires Fitbit Premium membership. Premium content recommendations are not available in all locales and may be in English only)

Run, bike, hike and more phone-free—and see your real-time pace & distance—with built-in GPS. Then check out your workout intensity map in the Fitbit app

Active Zone Minutes uses your resting heart rate to gauge exercise effort and gives you a buzz when you step up the intensity so you can make the most of your workouts.

4. Fitbit Charge 5

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The Fitbit Charge 5 is Fitbit’s latest tracker and has many exciting features usually reserved for more expensive devices, such as an ECG heart rate monitor. During testing, we found that the bright, always-on color touch screen is a massive improvement to that of the Fitbit Charge 4 — it is easy to read in bright sunlight and is great to use during a HIIT workout or on a hike, although we found the lack of physical buttons made it a little fiddly to navigate around when running.

The Fitbit Charge 5 also has Fitbit’s ‘Daily Readiness Score’ feature, which gives you an idea of how ready you are for a big workout, based on three different metrics — fitness fatigue (activity), heart rate variability (HRV), and recent sleep.

If you’re looking for a tracker that looks beautiful against your wrist, is easy to read in the bright sunlight, and has some impressive features for the price tag, this is a good buy. Also, if you’re using a Fitbit Charge 3 or older, the upgrade is worth it for the color screen alone. If you want to save money, the Fitbit Charge 4 was the best fitness tracker before the Charge 5 was released, and is likely to be on sale.

5. Fitbit Sense

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The Fitbit Sense is the company’s top-shelf smartwatch with more advanced health and wellness features than the Versa line. During our testing, we found that the Fitbit Sense helped us gain a better overall view of our overall health.

Not only does the Fitbit Sense have an FDA-approved ECG sensor and blood oxygen reading, but it also has the ability to measure electrodermal activity and skin temperature, too.

As one of the best fitness trackers, the Sense works with both iOS and Android, and comes with onboard GPS, a native app store, Alexa and more. No longer is Fitbit just a brand with products for tracking our steps: Fitbit devices like the Fitbit Sense make for excellent smartwatches, too.

6.Garmin Forerunner 255

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Garmin makes the best sports watches you can buy, and the Forerunner 255 is one of our favorites. The newly launched mid-range Garmin running watch has onboard music storage (if you choose the music version), allowing you to leave your smartphone at home when you head out on the run. It also calculates your V02 max score and offers a recovery advisor to let you know how long to rest between runs.

During testing, we were impressed with the lightness of this watch and how easy it was to use on the run. We appreciated that the Forerunner 255 includes triathlon and multisport modes, allowing you to track all of your training in one session. The 255 also comes in 42mm and 46mm; we tested the smaller watch and found it extremely neat and lightweight on the wrist. Like many of the other best Garmins, you can also download Garmin’s training plans onto the watch, helping you run and race smarter.

The Forerunner 255 saw Garmin add some of its more premium features to the mid-range watch, but if you’re on a budget, now is a good time to invest in the Garmin Forerunner 245 which is likely to be heavily discounted following the launch of the Forerunner 255. If you’re looking for a bargain, this is a fantastic watch to shop for.

7. Xiaomi Mi Band 6 – Best value

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Pros

  • Good battery
  • Solid performance
  • Colour display

Cons

  • Strap build quality
  • Sluggish raise-to-wake
  • Unreliable syncing

Xiaomi’s latest budget fitness tracker isn’t only affordable; it packs in a range of features from basic step counting and heart-rate monitoring, sleeps tracking, and app notifications, plus new features such as bloody oxygen tracking that take the fight to fully-fledged smartwatches like the Apple Watch.

On top of the 30+ workout modes supported, five now come with automatic workout detection, and Band 6 is rated for swimming and other water-based activities.

The underwhelming quality of the TPU bands is somewhat at odds with the tracker itself, but an expansive new 1.5in AMOLED touchscreen makes for a more premium and insightful user experience.

8.HUAWEI Sport Bracelet

advantage

  • Two-week battery life
  • Good looking color screen

shortcoming

  • GPS can be slow to lock
  • No breathing exercises

This is one of the best fitness trackers you can buy if you’re on a strict budget, costing around the same as the Garmin Vivosport 4 below, and it has impressive specs considering how much it costs. The Huawei Band 3 Pro comes with GPS, making it a good choice for outdoor activities, and it is also suitable for use in the pool thanks to its water-resistant design and dedicated swimming mode.

In our tests, we found the color display easily readable even in direct sunlight, allowing you to check your workout stats at a glance, and the heart rate monitor proved accurate, giving results comparable with a much more expensive dedicated sports watch (something that’s incredibly helpful for interval training).

The GPS could be quicker at locking on (Garmin devices perform better in our experience, no doubt due to the company’s long investment in location tracking), but once it established a connection, it proved accurate even in built-up areas. If you’re looking for an affordable entry-level device for your first foray into the world of fitness tracking, the Band 3 Pro should be on your shortlist.

9.Docooler Honor Band 5

advantage

  • Accurate sleep tracking
  • Cheaper than a Fitbit

shortcoming

  • Notifications temperamental
  • Screen sometimes unresponsive

The Honor Band 5 is one of the cheapest fitness trackers you can buy and still manages to deliver an impressive set of features to monitor your everyday health and well-being. One of the most useful features is sleep tracking, which not only monitors your sleep stages throughout the night, as many fitness trackers do but also gives you practical advice to maximize your sleep time.

This step tracker produced almost identical results to a more expensive Fitbit device, and there are dedicated workout modes for walking, running, cycling, cross-training, rowing, and swimming. You won’t receive as much data as you would from a Garmin device, but you’ll see your time, distance, speed and heart rate stats clearly presented in the mobile app once you’re done.

As you’d expect from a budget fitness tracker, there’s no onboard GPS for monitoring your location during outdoor cardio workouts. We also found that its screen was sometimes a little laggy compared to higher-end devices, not responding quite so quickly to taps and swipes, but at this price, it’s hard to complain.

10.Fitbit Inspire 2 Health & Fitness Tracker

advantage

  • Sleek design
  • Particularly easy to use
  • Over a week battery life

shortcoming

  • No onboard GPS
  • Monochrome display

If you’re aiming to develop healthier habits and want a device that will give you a gentle nudge to get there, the Fitbit Inspire 2 could be the best fitness tracker for you. It’s not overly complex but has all the essential features to keep you moving and motivated and is extremely simple to use.

It’s controlled entirely through its responsive touchscreen and single side button and will monitor your activity and heart rate all day (with alerts when you hit your goals). There are over 20 workout modes, and several will start tracking automatically when the fitness tracker detects that you’ve begun exercising.

All your data is collected in the extremely user-friendly Fitbit app, where you can see patterns over time, set new targets and (if you subscribe to Fitbit Premium) find a whole library of video workouts to follow at home. There’s no color screen or onboard GPS for mapping out runs, but the Inspire 2 is a pleasure to use and ideal for beginners.

How to choose the best fitness tracker for you

When buying a fitness tracker, you should first evaluate your needs. What do you want to track? If you’re only using it at the gym to count your steps and heart rate, a more straightforward, less expensive fitness tracker will suit you fine.

If you plan to do more outdoor activities, such as running or biking, you may want a fitness tracker with built-in GPS to more accurately see where you’re going and where you went. Dedicated runners and athletes will also want to check out our best GPS watches page.

If you plan to use the fitness tracker for swimming, you’ll want to make sure it’s not only waterproof but can also track your laps in the pool.

Many of the best smartwatches also have fitness-tracking capabilities and additional features such as responding to text messages and paying for purchases. But there are trade-offs. However, smartwatches tend to be more expensive and have shorter battery life than dedicated fitness trackers.

How we test the best fitness trackers

For each new fitness tracker, we evaluate its hardware design and comfort; you need to be able to wear the device all day, and we’ve found that some larger trackers don’t fit well on smaller wrists. If the device has a touchscreen, we look to see how readable it is, especially in bright sunlight. We also examine how easy it is to navigate the fitness trackers’ menus; you don’t want to dig through multiple screens to change your music if you’re out running.

When applicable, we also evaluate steps such as step counting and sleep monitoring, distance calculations, and GPS and heart rate accuracy. And, we see how well a manufacturer’s battery life claims hold up in real-world testing.

Finally, we test how well a device pairs with its companion app and evaluate the experience of using the two together. We also look to see what features the device’s app supports, such as coaching and diet tracking, and if it can sync data with third-party apps like MyFitnessPal.

Best Fitness Tracker Selection Guide for 2022

Advantages and Disadvantages to Using a Fitness Tracker

Advantages:

Accountability

A fitness tracker helps you exercise every day whether just walking, jogging or working out. You are more committed to get your steps in or complete your workout sessions.

Motivation

A fitness tracker gives a visual of your progress and accomplishments each day. Seeing your progress is good motivation to improve more and more each day.

Healthy eating

It is important to eat a healthy diet while you exercise. By keeping track of your food and water intake helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Set goals

Set goals for yourself to accomplish each day. For example, 10,000 steps a day. It is a great feeling to know you are capable of achieving anything you set your mind to.

Tracks sleep

A fitness tracker has the ability to track your sleep patterns, how deep or light you sleep, how long you slept, and each time you woke up. Recognizing your sleep patterns can allow you to have a good night’s sleep and improve your mood the next day.

Stay Connected

There are some fitness trackers that include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This allows you to receive incoming calls, text messages, or emails without looking at your phone. It is a great way to stay connected without always being close to your phone.

Monitors Heart Rate

Most fitness trackers have the ability to monitor your heart rate by measuring your pulse. This allows you to reach your target heart rate with each workout. The maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age. During moderate physical activities, you’re target heart rate is about 50-70% of the maximum heart rate and with vigorous workouts it should be about 70-85% of the maximum heart rate. The fitness tracker can detect changes that may occur to your heart rate.

Disadvantages:

Expensive

Fitness trackers can be expensive to buy. If you don’t use it, you could have spent your money on something more useful.

Battery

Most trackers have limited battery life. When charging your device, you will not be able to keep track of your steps or workouts.

Accuracy

Some trackers do not provide 100% accurate metrics/information that may be shown on the device. Some of that information is just an estimate. Try not to fully rely on these devices.

What is a fitness tracker?

A fitness tracker (typically a wristband) monitors your heart rate, the number of steps you take each day, and how long you spend working out. Most fitness trackers have several dedicated modes for recording different forms of exercise, and some also have GPS for tracking your location during runs, walks,, and bike rides. Most fitness trackers also monitor how long you sleep and each sleep stage.

All this data is sent to an app on your smartphone, where you can track changes over time. Most apps give you virtual ‘awards’ for achieving particular goals, such as taking 10,000 steps daily or going to bed on time.

Can fitness trackers measure blood pressure

Right now there’s only one mainstream consumer wearable that has true standalone blood pressure monitoring, the Huawei Watch D. And it is not widely available.

Samsung has offered blood pressure readings in its top watches since 2020’s Galaxy Watch 3. However, the feature is only unlocked in certain countries/markets, and is much more limited than the Huawei Watch D’s version.

Where the Huawei Watch D adopts the method used by blood pressure cuffs with a specialist strap that inflates, the Galaxy Watch uses the heart rate reader on the back to evaluate pulse transit time. Fitbit(opens in new tab) is researching a similar method, using pulse arrival time.

However, such methods that do not demand bespoke hardware do need to be regularly recalibrated using a traditional blood pressure cuff. Samsung says results should be taken with one every four weeks, for example.

Rumors of a blood pressure feature for Apple Watches have circulated for a while, but the latest report suggests we won’t see it released until 2024. However, you can use an Apple Watch to log blood pressure readings taken elsewhere, in the Apple Health app. Apple sells Withings’s BPM Connect smart blood pressure cuff at the Apple Store.

Blood pressure via a wearable? It’s not quite there yet. And as the Huawei Watch D is expensive, hard to get hold of, and something we have not tested, you are better off with a more traditional cuff-style design for now.

Why is GPS important in fitness trackers

GPS is arguably the most powerful tool for fitness trackers. It’s why runners, keen walkers and cyclists should make sure their next fitness tracker has it.

GPS triangulates your position with the help of satellites. One of these satellite arrays is called “GPS”, but today’s best watches also support others like GLONASS and Galileo. Each of these satellite arrays is maintained by a different country, or set of countries.

By tracking your location, fitness trackers can produce maps of your runs, hikes and rides. These make historical records much more useful, so you can actually remember which workout an entry refers to.

Accurate distance data is also important because it affects so many other readings. If the recorded distance is too low, the tracker will think you are slower than you are. And this in turn could affect fitness metrics like VO2 Max. It works the other way around too, of course — too long a recorded distance and the tracker will say you are faster than you really are.

We always recommend a full GPS watch to runners in particular, but there is a second type of GPS. It’s Connected GPS. This is where the tracker does not have its own GPS chip, but can take GPS data from your phone, over Bluetooth.

Many cheaper trackers without GPS have Connected GPS. And if you plan on running with your phone anyway, to listen to music or podcasts, it’s a decent stand-in.

With no GPS at all, your tracker has to extrapolate distance using its motion sensors. It can count your strides and evaluate the pace of them to differentiate between running and walking. This can work pretty well with a good algorithm running behind the scenes, but GPS is better. And considering how cheap Connected GPS wearables get, we don’t recommend entirely non-GPS watches to many folks these days.

Why do you need a fitness tracker?

It can be tough to break old habits and develop new ones, and a fitness tracker can help give you the encouragement you need. Tracking the number of steps, you take each day and aiming for a particular target might be simple. Still, it can push you to make simple changes (like getting off the bus a stop earlier or walking short distances rather than driving), which can make a significant difference over time.

What makes a good fitness tracker?

A good fitness tracker is one that you’ll wear every day and will help you build up a complete picture of your health. With that knowledge, you can start making minor tweaks to help you sleep better, lower your resting heart rate, improve your fitness, and generally feel better.

How we test

When we test fitness trackers, we wear them all day and night to see how much data they gather, how accurate this data is, and how comfortable they are to live with. Do they get in the way while you’re writing, feel awkward while trying to sleep, or get itchy at the end of the day?

We also tested them with various workouts, including indoor cycling (to test the accuracy and responsiveness of each device’s heart rate monitor) and running (to check GPS accuracy, where appropriate). We compare the results to those gathered using a reliable high-end sports watch – and sometimes we’re pleasantly surprised.

What is the difference between a tracker and a smartwatch?

What’s the difference between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker? A fitness tracker is designed to keep track of your health and exercise. A smartwatch keeps track of your fitness and is connected by delivering notifications and updates on your wrist. There is a lot of overlap between the two.

Are there any fitness trackers that don’t require apps?

HUYVMAY Fitness Tracker Pedometer Watch No App No Phone Required, USB Charge 1 Hour for 20 Days Use, IP68 Waterproof Watch with Alarm Clock Timer Distance Calorie Step Tracker for Kids and Women.

Why don’t we need a fitness tracker?

TRACKERS MAY NOT BE ENTIRELY ACCURATE

Plus, no tracker can measure your metabolic rate or the number of calories you burn when you’re not moving, which is also a factor in accurately measuring calorie data. For the love of all things healthy, don’t eat a Hot Fudge Sundae every afternoon for a snack!

Is there a smartwatch that works without a phone?

Smartwatches with eSim cards, integrated WiFi, and GPS have become a perfect alternative to a smartphone. Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, Huawei, and others have rolled out standalone smartwatches. These support eSIM cards and have powerful microprocessors, so you don’t need a phone to enjoy a smartwatch.

How do I connect my fitness tracker to my phone?

Are fitness trackers bad for your health?

In 2020, a National Institutes of Health-funded study found that these devices can affect users’ peace of mind by triggering psychological issues, such as heightened anxiety.

Are cheap smartwatches worth it?

The best cheap smartwatches can help you stay connected without spending too much on something you wear on your wrist. As with the best smartwatches, these budget models offer such features as smartphone notifications and some fitness tracking capabilities, such as GPS and heart rate monitors.

Do fitness trackers cause radiation?

Many of these rumors are sourced because wearable fitness trackers emit electric and magnetic fields (EMF) radiation. This may sound dangerous, but as far as modern science can tell – it’s no cause for concern.

Are fitness trackers worth it?

A fitness tracker may help. Studies show that consistently using a fitness tracker—a device that tracks your movement, such as a traditional pedometer, another device, or a smartphone app—can increase your daily steps by more than a mile, especially if you establish a heart-smart daily goal.

Can a fitness tracker be used without a smartphone?

Can I use a fitness tracker without a smartphone? Yes. Many fitness trackers can be used independently from a smartphone. Commonly, smartphones and mobile devices have helpful functions for monitoring exercises and configuring settings.

What is the difference between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch?

A fitness tracker is designed to keep track of your health and exercise. A smartwatch keeps track of your fitness too, but it also keeps you connected by delivering notifications and updates on your wrist. There is a lot of overlap between the two.

Why do you need GPS on a fitness tracker?

A fitness tracker uses GPS to track workouts over distances, such as for running, cycling, walking or swimming. GPS is more accurate for measuring distance than a simple step counter. Having GPS capability in a fitness tracker provides data about your level of performance, helping you track your improvement over time.

How long do fitness trackers last?

Good quality fitness trackers should last up to 5 years. This may vary based on the price of the fitness tracker, how often you use it, and the quality of the product.

How long does it take to charge a fitness tracker?

about three to four hours

You can connect your FuelBand either directly, or via the provided USB cable, to the USB port on your computer. 3. It takes about three to four hours for the battery to fully charge.

How do fitness trackers work?

Most measure motion through three-axis accelerometer sensors – measuring the acceleration, frequency, duration, intensity and patterns of your movement. Other wearables use an optical heart rate monitor: tiny LEDs illuminate your capillaries and the changing light refraction can be used to calculate your pulse.

“Fitness trackers can also measure the distance you run or cycle via GPS, which is built into the watch,” adds Anderson. “The system works by measuring the time it takes for signals to be received from satellites. It frequently pings your location, then measures the distance between each ping.” Trackers with GPS can also be used for navigation, and even work in the sea. “If a fitness watch offers the option of outdoor swimming, the GPS signal is likely to be boosted to enable the device to track accurately.”

About De Hua

De Hua is a former New Yorker who now lives at the beach. She received a double B.A. in International Relations and Marketing from The College of William & Mary and an M.A. in Interactive Journalism from American University. De Hua has been published in The Washington Post, New York Daily News, Cosmopolitan, Women's Health, The Bump, and Yahoo, among others.

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