Your buying guide to the best fitness trackers in 2018
Fitness trackers are the best way to continuously monitor your daily activity, be it casual or professional. The perfect smartphone companion, a tracker helps measure activity throughout the day be it steps, swims, boxing, running or weights and allow you to view all the data on your smartphone.
The downside? There are tons of them. Way too many! Brands like Fitbit dominate the conversation, and while they are good, there are lots of trackers out there that do things different and sometimes better.
There are many types of fitness tracker, and the features affect the design and the price – the two things you are no doubt looking at right now.
Think what you want from an activity band. If you just want to count steps and not charge it very often, then you can go for a subtle band with no screen.
But if you want to run a marathon you’ll have to spend a little more for features like a display, GPS tracking and heart rate monitoring. Whether or not a band is waterproof and if you can swim with it is another thing to consider.
Some of these bands can GPS track by tethering to a phone as long as you don’t mind taking your phone on a run with you. And remember to check out the corresponding app for each tracker. The Fitbit app is very different from Samsung Health for example, and this might affect your buying decision.
If you are looking for a full-on smartwatch like the Fitbit Ionic or Apple Watch, check out our best smartwatches chart here.
How much should you spend? That depends on your preferred budget and what you need it for. You might only need to spend £60, but if a £150 tracker is more appropriate you’ll have to bite the bullet.
We’ve reviewed a whole host of fitness trackers, but here are the ten best that cover the needs of every kind of situation – so the band at number ten might actually be better for you than the one at number one.
1. Fitbit Charge 2
The Fitbit Charge 2 is rightly one of the most popular activity trackers available, with all the major fitness stats and a useful heart-rate monitor – all in a slim, minimal design (interchangeable) wristband that still boasts a large enough, clear display. It measures and monitors you through sleep to the walk to work, workout at the gym, everything in between, and then back to bed. It’s great for keep-fit, sports and gym enthusiasts, as well as the casual user interested in improving their overall fitness or losing weight. You can buy replacement straps in a variety of materials and colours. The Fitbit Charge 2 is an impressive all-rounder.
Read our Fitbit Charge 2 review.
2. Fitbit Versa
As fans of the larger, more expensive Ionic, we appreciate that for the Versa Fitbit hasn’t cut back many features to allow for the smaller watch size and much-cheaper price-tag. The lack of built-in GPS affects only the determined phone-free runner, and most of us run with our smartphone anyway so the Versa can use the GPS on the phone.
The new Female Health Tracking functions are helpful to 50% of the population, and it will be interesting to see what insights these bring to the Versa user and health professionals in general. With new apps being added all the time, Fitbit’s place in the smartwatch arena is setting it apart with its superior fitness, health and activity tracking features, and the Versa looks like it will win over more people to the Fitbit smartwatch world.
Read our Fitbit Versa review.
3. Moov Now
The Moov Now is one of the most interesting activity trackers we’ve tried. It puts workouts and coaching first and the basic activity and sleep tracking second, and that’s obvious, but not necessarily a bad thing. The voice coaching itself is motivating, but it’s the levels, achievements and personal bests that’ll keep you coming back for more. It’s a shame that the activity and sleep tracking is so limited, so if that’s what you’re looking for in an activity tracker you’ll want to look elsewhere, but for runners and cyclists of any level and for people who enjoy quick workouts at home, £59.99 will go a long way here.
Read our Moov Now review.
4. Misfit Ray
We’d recommend the Misfit Ray. It’s really good-looking and the choice of colours makes it even more stylish to suit each individual, haptic feedback is a real boon and it compares really well with rivals in the same price range. Battery life is excellent and the app is intuitive too. You’ll find that you’re motivated to get out there and get fit in no time.
Read our Misfit Ray review.
5. Xiaomi Mi Band 2
With a new OLED screen the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 offers better value than ever. We’d like to see better integration with third-party apps, but at this price the Mi Band 2 is impossible to fault.
Read our Xiaomi Mi Band 2 review.
6. Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro
The Gear Fit2 Pro is a solid choice if you want a slim GPS fitness tracker that works well on Android or iOS. It has more features and a vastly better screen than the similarly built Fitbit Charge 2, but costs £90 more.
Samsung has made a fitness tracker that costs more than rival products, but over £100 less than its smartwatches but packs in most of the same features.
It does try to do too many smartwatch things with a screen that doesn’t suit though. Buy it if you like the design, but if it’s not a deal breaker you can opt for something cheaper with the same basic GPS functionality.
Read our Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro review.
7. Misfit Shine 2
Overall, we’d recommend the Misfit Shine 2. It’s an all-rounder with some added perks including the haptic feedback for notifications and calls, which we’ve found enormously useful. Comparing it with rival Fitbit we think it’s been priced well, and not having to think about the battery life too often is a huge boon, meaning you’ll rarely have to take it off.
Read our Misfit Shine 2 review.
8. Fitbit Flex 2
The Fitbit Flex 2 is a chic and slim, lightweight wristband (with bangle and pendant accessories) that tracks and monitors your daily activity and sleep patterns. You can compete with Fitbit-using friends. The waterproof Fitbit Flex 2 will give you added motivation to walk or run (and even swim) that bit further, and keep an eye on your weight and fitness activities. If you prefer more stats right there on your wrist consider the Fitbit trackers with larger displays. It’s addictive and fun, and has the most accessories of any Fitbit – making it, of course, the most flexible Fitbit ever.
Read our Fitbit Flex 2 review.
9. Huawei Band 2 Pro
After an extensive review of price, features, design and performance, the Huawei Band 2 Pro is definitely a recommended purchase for anyone looking to stay healthy.
It’s packed with loads of features such as GPS fitness tracking, heart and oxygen data, messaging and calls, a relaxation aid and sleep tracking – with data stored, outlined and explained on the Huawei app.
The Huawei Band 2 Pro takes a holistic approach to health by targeting both mental and physical wellbeing.
For the reasonable price of £79.99 ($69.99 USD), users can monitor health, maintain or improve fitness goals, sleep better, relax and set personalized goals.
Read our Huawei Band 2 Pro review.
10. Fitbit Alta HR
The Alta HR lacks an altimeter for stair and hill climbing stats, but its 24/7 heart-rate monitor will help you get fitter, lose weight, and better monitor your sleep. You get the core Steps, Distance, Calories and Sleep measurements, and automatic exercise recognition functionality.
We love the Activity Reminder prompts which help you get more active during the day. Caller ID and the ability to read texts on your wrist are also big plus points. You’ll hardly know you’re wearing the Alta HR as it’s so comfortable and lightweight.
It’s worth the extra £30 over the standard Alta for both its heart-rate monitor and watch-like strap buckle.
Read our Fitbit Alta HR review.
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