There is an activity tracker for you no matter what you are doing, whether it's skiing in the backcountry or jumping on a trampoline in the backyard.
Like every piece of equipment you wear daily, the fitness tracker is incredibly personal to you. It would be best if you had them to be comfortable and attractive, but they must also fit your lifestyle, when and how you prefer to exercise, and what time of day you prefer. Are you a cyclist, a rower, or a strength trainer? Can you run on trails for hours, or do you need a reminder to get up every hour or so?
Now is the perfect time to find a robust, sophisticated tool to optimize your workouts or jumpstart your routine, no matter your fitness goals. Over the years, we've tested dozens of products to bring you these top picks. In addition, don't forget to check out our guides on the best fitness watch and run gear while at it.
Updated September 2022: The new Apple Watches have been added to the list.
I have always preferred Fitbit's trackers over the ones offered by other manufacturers, including the Apple Watch, even though Fitbit faces stiff competition from other manufacturers. I think they hit the perfect spot between attractiveness, affordability, accessibility, and ease of use. It's ideal for anyone who isn't an ultra-marathoner or a semi-pro powerlifter trying to set a personal record in weightlifting.
The Charge series of laptops has consistently ranked at the top of our rankings, and we recommend the Charge 5 (8/10, WIRED Recommends). A new phone version was introduced last year with smoother lines, a bright AMOLED screen, and almost all types of sensors. With both onboard and connected GPS so that You can track your workouts without a hitch, the Charge 5 can quickly pair to Android phones and works the same way as the Apple Watch does with iPhones. As part of Fitbit's new Heart Rhythm Notifications feature, the FDA has also approved Fitbit's latest device for detecting atrial fibrillation. One of the most significant downsides of Fitbit's Premium subscription is that it will still cost you $10 a month or $80 a year if you want to access most of the best features that Fitbit offers. You might also be deterred by the fact that Fitbit is now owned by Google, which might put you off. The hardware is generally less expensive than other products on this list and is easier to use than many.
When choosing the right fitness tracker, you must consider both the proprietary software and the hardware it's running on.
Fitbit's app is straightforward, but I also like Garmin's Connect, one of the most comprehensive digital health apps I've come across.
It is easy to integrate Strava with the application if you discover that you like running, for example. In contrast to Fitbit, Garmin does not require a premium subscription to access its best features.
Since it doesn't look sporty, Garmin's entry-level smartwatch is my favorite for someone who wants to get their first fitness tracker, especially as it isn't sporty, which is why it's my top pick. The watch comes in various colors and has the look and feel of an analog watch. It is as simple as swiping along the bottom half of the touchscreen to log your activities and check your notifications. It is not just possible to track workouts but also to monitor your sleep and heart rate. It is also possible to check a few other of Garmin's proprietary algorithms, such as how prepared you are for the day and tracking your workouts. Regardless, it is essential to note that most people buy a Garmin because it is GPS-enabled, in contrast to the Vivomove Sport, which uses only the phone's built-in GPS. Check out our guide to the Best Garmin Watches for more Garmin suggestions.
Many people hold on to their Apple Watches for years, and with good reason, as it is the best fitness tracker for iPhone users. You would be best off getting one of the latest Series 8 models if you want to get one. Even though we are still testing this year's Series 8, it comes with new body temperature sensors to monitor menstrual cycles. A new safety feature is also included in this model, such as a crash detection system. The Series 8 has a robust accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, GPS, microphone, and GPS data collection system that can detect an accident if it is involved in a severe car accident. The device will also warn emergency services if the user does not respond within ten seconds after the detected crash.
In addition to these new features, WatchOS 9 has many other health and fitness features, like better workout views, more detailed running metrics, medication logging, and sleep-tracking capabilities. It should be noted that the new Apple Watch SE comes with the latest S8 chip and will include Crash Detection, but it does not feature wrist-based body temperature sensing, nor does it include older features such as blood oxygen or ECG apps.
There was a time when I was convinced that no running watch would ever be able to match a Garmin. As a runner, my opinion of running shoes has changed dramatically since trying the Coros Pace 2 (8/10, WIRED Recommends), which has now become my favorite running shoe. I found the watch to be unbelievably light, and the battery lasted for weeks between charges, a feature you won't find on any other look on this list. Besides integrating with Strava for mapping your runs and rides, the application also uses the same multi-system satellite positioning system used by Garmin to determine the route you will take while running.
However, it has a primary LCD screen, and EVOLab, the company's analytics platform, is still in its infancy, so it will only be able to compete with Garmin's Connect sometime soon. In my experience, the tracking accuracy could be better; We scored a few external passes incorrectly. However, Coros also offers many small, useful features at an affordable price, such as a locking screen and a simple two-button operation system.
★ Another exciting option is Garmin's Forerunner series, which represents an ionic running watch series, and this year's iteration includes a solar recharging feature that improves the battery life drastically. With a price tag of $560, the Forerunner 955 Solar is a premium running watch designed for experienced, dedicated runners and triathletes. Still, it is costly and quite extensive on my wrist, which makes it a little challenging to wear. With this model, you can get a couple of weeks of battery life out of the Forerunner 55 ($200), but you won't get two weeks out of one charge.
There are two high-end adventure watches released by Garmin this year: The Epix ($1,000) and a new version called Fenix 7S Sapphire Solar (8/10, WIRED Recommends), which is the latest update to the Fenix series of watches. In contrast to the Epix, the Fenix has a screen that has a memory-in-pixel format (MIP), which is a retina display with a 47mm case and a large, brilliant AMOLED display. Despite this, the Epix's issue is enormous, and the production consumes a lot of battery life. It would be better to go with the Fenix instead.
Compared to last year's iteration, this year's version features a much-improved battery life with solar charging. I was able to get two weeks out of one charge, even during a cloudy Oregon winter. The fact that it was equipped with multiple GPS systems meant that it could pinpoint my exact location quickly and accurately, even in the rain and under cover of trees, with incredible precision and speed. The device can record every biometric you can think of for every sport you can imagine. The maps on the MIP still look great and are very detailed. Is there a downside to this? Even though it is still quite pricey, it goes on sale pretty often, especially when it comes to earlier versions.
This year, Apple introduced a new Apple Watch: the Ultra, designed primarily for endurance athletes who want a rugged sports watch. It might seem like the 2.5-day battery life is mediocre, but here is a secret that few runners, cyclists, skiers, or snowboarders are willing to admit: Not everyone is Jenny Graham. Many of us enjoy a day out after a long day at work before heading home after a long day at work to have a delicious pork shoulder roast and a hot shower at the end of the day after having a long day at work.
We have yet to test the Apple Watch Ultra, but it is probably the best outdoor watch for you if you own an iPhone and can access an outlet.
It has been certified according to the MIL-STD-810H standard for military equipment, ensuring that it will not die if it becomes too hot, cold, or dusty during prolonged use. This watch is built with aerospace-grade titanium and has a sapphire crystal display that is flat and easy to read. The look has various navigation features, such as a hybrid analog-digital compass. Backtrack allows you to find your way back to the trail in case you lose your way, and Waypoints will enable you to set up a specific location to track. Three built-in microphones with wind-reduction algorithms will allow you to take work calls while running, and it has a precision dual-frequency GPS for accurate running stats. Only a few people have the time to run the Pacific Crest Trail for a month and a half. The next best thing to getting an Ultra might be to get an Ultra Ultra.
There are several reasons why the Withings ScanWatch (8/10, WIRED Recommends) sets itself apart from the competition. Several other trackers, such as the Apple Watch Series 8, can detect atrial fibrillation and measure blood oxygen levels by using a SpO2 sensor in the wristband. Before selling the ScanWatch in the US, the company obtained approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to sell the device in the country. The swatch has a much longer battery life than most other trackers on this list and can last up to a month without recharging. It is optional to have a subscription to use the Health Mate app to access all its features.
It's important to note that most fitness trackers appear like fitness trackers, but the ScanWatch looks like a regular analog watch instead of a fitness tracker. If you want to avoid advertising that you are counting how many hours you sleep every night, this is the perfect fitness tracker to refrain from broadcasting your sleep habits to the world. Simon Hill, a contributor to WIRED, gives it the highest praise possible, noting that he still wears it even after nine months of wearing it.
Although Garmin fashion watches have been around for quite some time, they have always been a bit wonky compared to their sporty counterparts. In my experience, this stylish wearable turned on not reliably when I twisted my wrist toward my face, nor did the touchscreen respond reliably when I was trying to start an activity when I twisted my wrist toward my face.
This stylish wearable did not turn on when I twisted my wrist toward my face, nor did the touchscreen work reliably when I tried to start an activity when I twisted my wrist toward my face. Undoubtedly, the Sport version of the Garmin Lily is one of the most beautiful watches on the market. Despite its small size, the 34-mm case is still large enough to see incoming notifications and track activities with a simple swipe and a screen tap.
The estimated battery life of five days is significantly reduced when tracking your sleep using an overnight pulse oximeter to turn that feature off.
★ There is also another alternative: Fitbit released the Luxe ($130) last year. During my review of this product, I found it to be one of the best daily step trackers on the market. It has a beautiful AMOLED display and comfortable accessories and comes with Fitbit's user-friendly app. Despite this, I found the bezel and the touchscreen a bit wonky when tracking activities.
Samsung's new Galaxy Watch5 (7/10, WIRED Recommends) is the most comfortable Wear OS smartwatch on the market. This watch is available in both 40-mm and 44-mm sizes. As part of Wear OS 3, you'll get turn-by-turn navigation from Google Maps, Google Assistant, Samsung's health features, including SpO2 measurement, workout detection, sleep tracking, and an electrocardiogram, as well as the latest version of Wear OS. In addition to checking notifications and responding to them, it is also an excellent tool for responding.
Only expect to be able to go for a few days on a single charge, just like with the Apple Watch. Julian Chokkattu, review editor of WIRED, says that he usually had to charge the device after a day and a half of use. It is a pity, but this watch is only compatible with Android phones, and ECG tracking is only available on Samsung smartphones (as well as blood pressure monitoring, but it is not available in the US yet, either). Consider the Galaxy Watch5 Pro ($500), which has better battery life, GPX support, and is made of more durable materials if you want a more oversized watch. Alternatively, if you want to save some money, you can pick up last year's model of the Galaxy Watch4, which is still a great watch even after a year.
Out of all these watches, the one that I chose to take on a two-week beach adventure that I was going on was the Instinct 2 Solar (9/10, WIRED Recommends). As one of Garmin's most popular backcountry watches, it combines a chunky, technical aesthetic (and fun colors! ) with backcountry capabilities. As a result, it's one of their most popular backcountry watches. As far as Instinct 2 is concerned, you get all the advantages of Garmin's satellite navigation, a long-lasting battery, and the ability to track numerous sport-specific metrics.
As you might expect, Instinct 2 features a higher-resolution display and a more minor 40-mm size case. Due to its smaller size fits much more comfortably around my wrist and under my jacket sleeve, and its high-resolution display makes it easier to read. In addition, the battery lasted a mind-blowing 21 days, tracking multiple activities each day, which is impressive in and of itself. In addition, you will find a wide variety of colors and styles available for you to choose from when it comes to your order. It should be noted that the Surf Edition is compatible with the hugely popular surf forecasting company Surfline, for example. You can view tide data as well as track your surfing activity. (It has the best colors as well.)
Apart from our top picks, we also liked a few other watches that we liked a lot.
It is common for me to test the best fitness watch trackers regularly. Some of them are duds.
Amazfit PowerBuds Pro ($120): Having earbuds that can be used as fitness trackers and earphones is an intriguing concept, particularly since they have a similar look and feel to the Apple AirPods Pro. Even though I don't particularly like Zepp OS, the utility of their earbuds is also limited since you don't wear them constantly (at least, I don't).
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