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steps, sleep and HR monitoring wearables

Fitness trackers are getting more powerful, and while the Fitbit Charge 4 is our new best fitness tracker, the new Mi Band 5 is now a great budget alternative.

There are some brilliant fitness trackers available for cheap prices – and more that offer technology like heart rate monitoring, detailed sleep tracking and even waterproof for swimming.

But there’s still huge variations in the quality of data you get – so choosing the right fitness tracker app is just as important as what goes on your wrist. Fitbit trackers and Garmin watches lead the way here.

But there’s also price to consider. Fitness trackers generally aren’t expensive and if you’re just looking to make sure your getting enough steps every day, there’s no need to spend over $40.

Update: This article was renewed in August 2020 with our Mi Band 5 review verdict.

Make the right choice

Best fitness tracker 2020

The pick of the top fitness trackers from our reviews and testing.

Fitbit Charge 4

Fitbit Charge 4 on wrist in our review

Fitbit Charge 4 features

  • Steps, heart rate and sleep tracking
  • GPS built in
  • Blood oxygen tracking
  • 7 day battery life
  • Fitbit Pay
  • Notifications
  • Spotify controller
  • VO2 Max tracking
  • Workout tracking modes
  • Price when reviewed: $149.99
  • Fitbit Charge 4 product page

Listen up: the Fitbit Charge 4 isn’t just the most powerful Fitbit tracker we’ve seen to date, but one of the most powerful fitness trackers full stop.

It’s a weakened field now that smartwatches are getting all the attention, but if you look at the sensors, data and features of the Charge 4, it’s way more advanced than the likes of Samsung and Xiaomi have managed.

GPS is the big new addition, offering accurate tracking of runs and cycles from the wrist, and the Charge 4 also has an SpO2 sensor for blood oxygen, will monitor VO2 Max, resting heart rate, and boasts Fitbit’s brilliant sleep tracking smarts as well. For a wrist band – this is pretty unique right now.

It’s swim-proof with 5ATM water resistance, and will track and tag data from 20 sports, from HIIT and yoga to general workouts (although just basic calorie, HR and duration data).

It’s a device for HIIT class go-ers, park runners and those who want to keep a real eye on the details of their health. If you’re just a 10,000 steps a day person, you’ll probably get annoyed with the Charge 4 giving you poor scores for Active Zone Minutes, which is its new metric that rewards users for getting heart rate into higher zones.

Likewise, committed runners and sweaters will find the Charge 4 undercooks in terms of analysis of workouts.

But if you keep a close eye on you health, and you’re absolutely certain a smartwatch isn’t for you, this is the best fitness tracker available today.

Price when reviewed: $149.95

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Charge 4 review

Xiaomi Mi Band 5

Best value fitness tracker



Best Value tracker - Xiaomi Mi Band 5


Xiaomi Mi Band 5 features


The all-new Mi Band 5 ups the anti with a larger 1.1-inch screen, while retaining the traditional feel of the budget band.

But some may feel that this cheaper option isn’t quite so affordable.

The latest offering comes in at $44.99, which is way more than the bargain price tag of its predecessors.

However, you do get a lot. 11 sports modes, connected GPS (via your smartphone) and a heart rate monitor used for 27/7 tracking, stress monitoring and keeping tabs on your activity via the PAI score.

PAI stands for Personal Activity Intelligence, and rates your weekly effort out of 100. The more you get your heart beating, be it on a brisk walk or HIIT class, the more points you get. It’s easy to understand, and effectively.

Sleep is now tracked better than before, and you can turn on REM tracking and personalised insights, although we found that the nightly sleep score was way more generous when compared to gold-standard, rival sleep tracking devices from Fitbit and Withings.

However, as a basic tracker that doubles up for smartwatch notifications, the Mi Band 5 is still one of the best on the market, and comfortably less than $50.

If you want a great overview of your activity the Mi Band 5 comes recommended. However, the Fitbit Inspire HR is a far better sleep tracker, and if you really want top quality health data, you’ll need to pay out for the Charge 4.

Read our full Mi Smart Band 5 review.

Fitbit Inspire HR

Best slimline fitness tracker

fitbit inspire hr showing home screen

Fitbit Inspire HR features

  • Sleep tracking
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Step tracking
  • Notification support
  • Swim tracking
  • Automatic exercise detection
  • Connected GPS
  • iOS and Android support
  • Price when reviewed: $99.99
  • Fitbit Inspire HR product page

Fitbit’s newest fitness tracker, the Inspire HR, is a great option for those who want something a little bit sleeker. The unit itself is easily swappable into third-party Fitbit Inspire bands, of which there’s plenty of cheap options online – and can even be clipped to the body if you don’t want to wear it on the wrist.

The Inspire HR boasts all the same sleep monitoring tech as the flagship Charge 3, only in a lighter and thinner body. It still has a basic screen, so you can see the time and progress towards your goals. It will also buzz to notify you of messages or calls.

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. You also will get the Sleep Score measurement, too.

Fitbit’s Inspire range also offers a swim-proof design, step tracking and automatic workout tracking.

It’s not just advanced sleep metrics available on the Inspire HR, either, with the heart rate monitor giving you round-the-clock coverage for reporting of resting heart rate, as well as the Guided Breathing feature.

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

Read our complete Fitbit Inspire HR review for more.


Garmin Vivosmart 4


Best tracker for fitness fans


Best tracker for gym workouts: Garmin Vivosmart 4


Garmin Vivosmart 4 features


The Vivosmart 4 is slimmer, sleeker and even better equipped for the gym than its predecessor. It’s the best fitness tracker for those looking for deep data, with blood oxygen, energy and stress tracking all part of the mix.

It includes a heart rate monitor, VO2 Max testing (which is a great metric for those who like HIIT and CrossFit clases), and automatic exercise detection, so you won’t miss out if you forget to start tracking a session.

The ‘body battery’ energy monitoring will give you a better insight into how well prepared you are for your next workout, too.

The Vivosmart 4 also packs in Garmin’s Move IQ software and rep counting for those who like to lift weights, while the addition of the pulse oximeter sensor means it’s even able to help detect sleep apnea.

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.

Read our complete Garmin Vivosmart 4 review for more.

Whoop Strap 3.0

Best for the gym/HIIT

Whoop Strap 3.0

Whoop Strap 3.0 key specs

  • Works with iOS and Android
  • Requires subscription ($30 a month)
  • Tracks heart rate 24/7
  • Measures HRV and ambient temperature
  • Tracks sleep automatically
  • Broadcast heart rate to third-party apps
  • 5 days battery life
  • Price when reviewed: $25 a month subscription
  • Whoop Strap 3.0 product page

The best fitness tracker for hardcore gym-goers and trainers, the Whoop Strap 3.0 is more than just an activity band. When you’re in the gym it can be placed anywhere on the arm – from bicep to wrist – to accurately track heart rate during sessions.

But it’s more than just a gym tracker. It focuses on recovery by keeping tabs on advanced biometrics such as heart rate, heart rate variability and sleep.

Between workouts, Whoop tracks heart rate variability – the variation in time between each heart beat – and your 24/7 heart rate.

These two heart rate metrics are used alongside the Whoop’s excellent sleep tracking, as this is the period when your body recovers from the intensities of exercise.

You’re assigned a sleep quality score based on the duration of your sleep measured against your prescribed ‘sleep need’, as well as your time spent in the various sleep stages such as REM and Slow Wave Sleep (often referred to as ‘Deep’ sleep).

It will also factor in data on sleep conditions, such as whether you had any caffeinated or alcoholic drinks, worked on a screened device or shared your bed.

This is all used to advise you when to train, and when to take a day off. This is presented with a single number – Strain Score.

Of course, this isn’t a band for those looking to take a few more daily steps (it doesn’t actually track steps at all) – but for seasoned gym-goers it’s the best option on offer.

But it costs. There’s a $25 per month subscription, with a minimum term of six months – but you get the Whoop Strap 3.0 for free.

You can pay less – with $21 subscriptions available if you sign up for 18 months and put some cash up front.

Read our full Whoop Strap 3.0 review.


Samsung Galaxy Fit

Best fitness tracker for swimming

Best waterproof fitness tracker: Samsung Galaxy Fit

Samsung Galaxy Fit features

If you’re looking for the best fitness tracker for swimming, the Fit 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 on par with what our Garmin sports watch recorded, which is impressive given the sub $100 price. What’s more, its slim design means it’s nice and unobtrusive in the pool.

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.

Read our complete Samsung Galaxy Fit review for more.

Fitbit Versa 2

Best smartwatch for fitness tracking

Best fitness tracking smartwatch – fitbit versa

Fitbit Versa 2 key features

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • 5-7 days battery
  • 24/7 activity tracking
  • Automatic sleep monitoring
  • Swim tracking
  • Amazon Alexa smart assistant
  • Apps and customizable watch faces
  • Fitbit Pay
  • Price when reviewed: $199.95
  • Fitbit Versa 2 product page

The Fitbit Versa 2 is the best fitness tracking smartwatch with a thin, light build. It’s got all the features of the Fitbit Charge 3, but in a slimline, smartwatch format – and you get Alexa on the wrist as well.

It offers much of the same fitness and sports tracking features you’d expect from the Fitbit ecosystem, though there’s no built-in GPS. If you want to track runs and rides, you’ll need to take your smartphone with you, and the watch can piggyback your phone’s data.

While the smartwatch is one of many to now offer improved sleep metrics, including Fitbit Sleep Score which is now out of beta. There’s also the SpO2 sensor, which will leverage big new biometrics in the future (we’re promised). Female Health Tracking is available as well.

Battery is still a huge selling point here. You can five or six days on a single charge, which means less hassle on weekends away, and around three days with the screen turned on full-time.

Read our Fitbit Versa 2 review

Amazfit GTS

Best for simple metrics and GPS

Amazfit GTS

Key features

  • iOS and Android
  • 1.65″ AMOLED, resolution 348 x 442, 341ppi
  • GPS
  • 20mm strap
  • 43.25 x 36.25 x 9.4mm
  • Optical heart rate sensor
  • Waterproof up to 50 metres
  • 5+ days of battery
  • Price when reviewed: $149.99
  • Amazfit GTS product page

The Amazfit GTS may be a budget smartwatch – but it’s a powerful fitness tracker with some hidden smarts that make it well worth a look.

For those looking for fitness tracking smarts, the GTS uses PAI score – a single number derived from all your weekly health and fitness activity. It’s not been dreamed up by Amazfit, it was actually developed by MIO invented the heart rate tech found on pretty much all wearables, and has resulted from one of the biggest clinical studies every undertaken.

The watch itself has a slightly plastic and cheap-looking build, but that’s less evident on the wrist. It’s not eye-catching – no-one asks about it, and if they do, they assume it’s an Apple Watch.

However, there’s an always-on display and you’re looking at around a week of battery with all the advanced features turned on. It’s water resistant to 50m and supports open water and pool swimming.

And the GTS is an absolute fitness and health powerhouse. The GPS is accurate, as is the heart rate unless you’re doing HIIT. The data insights within the app are top quality, with loads of data to review post workout. There’s Strava integration too, so your data isn’t stuck within the app.

The app is well designed and health focused. The fitness tracking is spot on, and a special mention to the sleep monitoring which is right up there with Fitbit’s. Accurate graphs, wakeups properly recorded, and a sleep score feature.

Samsung Galaxy Fit e

Best basic fitness tracker

Samsung Galaxy Fit e

Samsung Galaxy Fit e key features

  • Works with Android phones and iPhones
  • Tracks steps and sleep
  • Auto workout tracking for walking, running, dynamic workout
  • Displays notifications
  • Includes heart rate sensor
  • 6-7 days battery life (typical usage)
  • 5ATM (up to 50 metres) waterproof rating
  • Price when reviewed: $35
  • Samsung Galaxy Fit e product page

You don’t need to spend big to get a big name tracker: the Samsung Galaxy Fit e offers an entry into the world of fitness tracking for less than $40.

It’s still waterproof to 50 meters, which isn’t the best on test, but should be good enough for most for reviewing your fitness tracking data.

In terms of tracking, the Galaxy Fit e keeps things simple. You get step counting, sleep tracking and it will also automatically detect running, walking and other workouts. It’s not the most accurate, but if you’re just looking to get credit for your workouts on your calorie and step goals it does the job.

There’s a heart rate sensor to help record that calorie burn and it will last a respectable 6-7 days between charges.

Yes accuracy of biometrics isn’t world beating, the Fit e offers excellent value for money. And when you consider its peers are devices from Xiaomi and Honor, you’re getting a far better build and app experience.

Check out our full Samsung Galaxy Fit e review.


Withings Steel HR Sport


Best fitness tracking watch


Withings Steel HR Sport


Withings Steel HR Sport features


We’re desperate to include the Withings Move ECG here, but it’s still short of FDA approval which is holding up the ECG hybrid smartwatch’s release outside of Europe. And until the Withings ScanWatch comes out, that leaves us with the Withings Steel HR Sport.

A gorgeous-looking hybrid smartwatch, don’t be fooled into thinking this is style over substance: the Withings Steel HR Sport is a hugely powerful fitness and wellness device masquerading as an analogue watch.

The key thing here is the accuracy of the heart rate monitor, which, in our testing, was a top performer.

It’s designed for continuous wear, and will take a reading from your wrist every minute. However, the fact that it’s combined into such a beautifully designed tracker-watch hybrid, and still manages 25 days of battery life, is a huge boon for Withings.

Swim tracking is also present, as well as GPS connection over the phone, meaning you can now more accurately track runs with the help of your smartphone.

In short, the Withings Steel HR is a superb fitness tracker – but there’s even more powerful devices incoming in 2020.

Read our complete Withings Steel HR Sport review for more.

Honor Band 5

Best cheap fitness tracker

Best cheap fitness tracker: Honor Band 5

Honor Band 5 features

  • Heart rate monitor
  • Water resistance
  • Step tracking
  • Sleep monitoring
  • Tracks ten exercises
  • SpO2 monitor
  • Phone notifications
  • 14-day battery life
  • iOS and Android support
  • Price when reviewed: $35
  • Honor Band 5 product page

We may prefer the design and fit the Xiaomi Mi Band 4 provides, but the Honor Band 5 is the best fitness tracker for those who want to pay as little as possible.

And, surprisingly, despite its low price, you get plenty of features that aren’t standard on more expensive options, such as a crisp 0.95-inch AMOLED color display (offering 240 x 120 pixel resolution) and a SpO2 sensor.

It doesn’t stop there, either. For more basic monitoring, there’s a heart rate sensor, automatic sleep tracking support and the ability to track a range of different exercises. That includes swimming, with waterproofing up to 50 meters.

Perhaps best of all, though, is the two-week battery life, letting your tracker remain connected to your wrist for an extremely long time between charges (and also your iOS or Android device, as both are compatible).

Read our complete Honor Band 5 review for more.

Garmin Vivosport

Best fitness tracker for runners

Best fitness tracker for running: Garmin Vivosport

Garmin Vivosport features

  • Built-in GPS
  • Heart rate
  • Sports modes
  • Advanced heart metrics
  • Seven days of battery life
  • Notification support
  • iOS and Android
  • Price when reviewed: $119.99 | Garmin Vivosport product page

The Garmin Vivosport is one of the few fitness trackers featuring both GPS and a heart rate monitor, and this alone makes it the best option for runners and those who enjoy outdoor workouts.

You can place the band into running and cycling mode to get a GPS tracked workout, with 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), though, which means it will survive a dip in the pool, as well as workouts in the great outdoors.

Despite being a couple of years old, it also 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 Garmin Vivosport is one of the best options out there.

Read our complete Garmin Vivosport review for more.

Incoming fitness trackers 2020

Oppo Band

ETA: TBC | $28

oppo band

Oppo devices are still to get a global release, but its fitness tracker is one to watch, The Oppo Band screen is a 1.1-inch AMOLED colour display, with a 126×294 resolution. What’s more, it also boasts an SpO2 sensor, which compliments the heart rate monitor on the back – has 14 days of battery. You get 12 sports tracking modes and it’s 50 meters.

This article was first published in August 2014. However, we update it frequently to reflect the newest fitness trackers, making sure that we’ve tested the latest and greatest devices available to buy.

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