FITNESS

Best Fitness Tracker: Staying Fit in the Long Run

Best fitness trackers
Jerry Mueller
Written by Jerry Mueller

Everyone’s trying to find a new and efficient way to stay healthy, but this is not the only use the best fitness trackers have. As an outdoor enthusiast, you know that you need to train ahead if you actually want to make it alive out of those great adventures. A difficult slope or that ridge you dream of conquering won’t give up easily.

That’s why you need to make sure you are in the best shape you can be.

And here’s where technology comes to help under the form of fitness trackers. They offer a plethora of features that will help you keep in touch with your fitness level. The best part is that they are so light that you won’t even feel you’re wearing them! So if you’re interested in keeping track of your vitals on your own time, you might want to consider these handy little devices.

Fitness trackers

Now, because we know how difficult it is to choose when it comes to new technologies, let us show you what’s out there, the features they offer, and how to find one that fits your lifestyle and level of activity.

Product nameWeightDimensionsDefining FeaturePrice
Fitbit Flex Wireless Wristband0.3 ounces0.6 x 0.4 x 8.2 inchesMulti-Device SyncCheck price on Amazon
Garmin vivofit 21 ounce8.3 x 0.83 x 0.42 inchesBacklit ScreenCheck price on Amazon
Misfit Shine5.6 ounces5.2 x 2 x 5.9 inchesDiscrete AppearanceCheck price on Amazon
Withings Pulse O24.2 ounces5.9 x 4.9 x 1.1 inchesReward SystemCheck price on Amazon
UP 24 by Jawbone0.8 ounces6.6 x 2.5 x 2.1 inchesTeam LeaderboardCheck price on Amazon
Runtastic Orbit9.6 ounces0.4 x 0.4 x 0.4 inchesLight SensitivityCheck price on Amazon
Polar Loop 4 ounces0.51 x 7.87 x 0.59 inchesGreat AccuracyCheck price on Amazon
Sony Mobile Waterproof IP68 Smartband3.52 ounces8.27 x 7.48 x 5.12 inchesVoice CommandCheck price on Amazon
Nike+ Fuelband SE10 ouncesDependent on sizePhysical Data ProcessingCheck price on Amazon
Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch2.7 ouncesDependent on sizeGPS TrackerCheck price on Amazon

Things to consider before buying

Fitness trackers vary wildly in model and function. Some have extra features that seem useful but are not really necessary. You should focus on the most important features:

Waterproof

People often associate fitness trackers with exercises that involve running—because they think that all these trackers really do is count your steps. That’s one of the most basic features, but fitness trackers today are actually capable of so much more. They will record your physical condition even if the exercise you prefer has nothing to do with running.

Waterproof fitness tracker

If you’re a swimmer, you’d be glad to know that there are fitness trackers capable of helping you reach your swimming goal, too. Just make sure that it’s waterproof. Remember that waterproof and water-resistant are two very different things. A water-resistant fitness tracker cannot be taken for a swim—it’s only good for withstanding trickles of water or sweat.

Display Screen

You might think that the display screen is something that every fitness tracker today has, but that’s not actually the case. With some trackers, you’ll only be able to see the data recorded once you’ve connected them to another device—such as a laptop. Trackers with a built-in display screen will cost quite a bit more, but they’re often worth it.

Battery Life

There are 2 options when it comes to battery life with fitness trackers. The first one is rechargeable battery and the second one is watch battery. Rechargeable batteries often last for 5 days, whereas a watch battery can usually last for 6 months or even 1 year before you’d need to replace it with a new one.

Which one is the best for you depends on your personal preference. Watch batteries are more convenient, since you don’t have to charge it, but if you’re environmentally-conscious, you might prefer the rechargeable battery.

App Simplicity

Fitness trackers record, process, and then display your data in conjunction with an app. These apps range from ones that are very simple in design to ones with complicated user interface.

Latest fitness trackers

If you’d like to be more thorough, you might not mind sorting through the arrays of information available on the complicated app, but simple is usually the best. Remember to check first whether the device is compatible with Apple, Android, or both.

Heart Rate Tracking

You can randomly pluck a fitness tracker off of the shelves and still be certain that it incorporates a function to track your heart rate. The main difference lies in how they do it. Some only give you a guesstimate based on the calorie you’ve burned. Others give a detailed analysis on how your heart rate while you’re asleep differs from your heart rate while you are awake.

Data

Fitness trackers are basically mini data-processors. You should consider how it tracks your data, where it stores your data, and how easy it is for you to sift through the available data. Most people prefer fitness trackers that knows how to store and display only the most relevant data while keeping the rest of it in the background.

Best products on today’s market

Taking all of the aforementioned factors into consideration, the products that we recommend are:

Fitbit Flex Wireless WristbandFitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband

Price: Approximately $80

Weight: 0.3 ounces

Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches

Specific features: Many color options; made from versatile rubber; can be synced wirelessly to other devices; also works as a silent alarm

Best use: Daily physical fitness tracking

The Fitbit Flex Wireless Wristband is the first on our list on the best fitness trackers currently available on today’s market because it is a highly popular choice. Thanks to the fact that it’s available in a wide range of color options, and coupled with its sleek, all-purpose look, the Fitbit is a versatile choice that suits just about everybody.

Not only is the Fitbit stylish, it is also a fitness tracker that’s equipped with some very neat functions. As you run, this tracker will use blinking LED lights to keep you updated on how much further you still need to go before you’d reach your goal. Even if you’ve decided that you’ve had enough for the day, the Fitbit does not go to sleep as you do. It will keep tracking your physical condition throughout the night.

One important point of consideration when you’re trying to decide which fitness tracker would be a good value for money is battery life. When it comes to Fitbit Flex, the battery lasts for 5 consecutive days. It’s rechargeable, so it’s more environmentally-friendly

The Fitbit does not only have a durable battery; the product itself is also amazingly durable. Unfortunately, it’s not meant to be taken for a swim. It’s water-resistant, but not waterproof. Even if you forget that little detail and end up ruining your Fitbit, however, there’s no need to worry about losing all your hard-earned data. This tracker can be synced with all kinds of devices.

PROS:

  • Long battery life
  • Wireless sync function
  • LED lights indicator
  • Wide range of color options
  • Works through the night

CONS:

  • Not waterproof
  • Complaints about the original charger cord being a loose fit

Related:  This is not the norm, but there have been some complaints about the Fitbit’s charger cord. The loose fit makes some customers worry that their tracker is not being charged properly and that it may ruin their battery. Worry not, because this Fitbit Flex Charger Replacement Cord offers a quick solution.

Check the price on Amazon

Garmin vivofit 2Garmin vivofit 2 Activity Tracker

Price: Approximately $70

Weight: 1 ounce

Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.83 x 0.42 inches

Specific features: Many color options; backlit screen; smart functions; guaranteed battery life

Best use: Great for night runners, also for those that need external motivation to exercise

The Garmin vivofit 2 Activity Tracker is a tracking device that will keep you company like a loyal partner no matter when you decide to get some exercise—even in the ungodly hours of the morning. With its backlit screen, you’d be able to keep track of your stats even if the moon is the only source of light around.

If you’re worried about how this feature might hurt the tracker’s battery life, you’d be glad to know that this smart device automatically turns the screen off and works in the background when you’re not looking at it. You’re guaranteed to have a long, satisfying year with this device’s current battery before you might need to replace it with a new one.

Garmin vivovit redefines what it means for a fitness tracing device to be smart. It’s practically an AI in its own right—automatically creating backup for your personal records by syncing itself to the devices in your home, learning your activity patterns so it’d be able to better suggest a suitable regime for you, and alerting you that you need to exercise if you’ve been sitting around too long.

PROS:

  • Smart device with many automatic features
  • Backlit screen makes it possible to run through the night
  • 1 year guaranteed battery life

CONS:

  • Can be overly sensitive to movement. May record steps when all you do is move your hand
  • Only has audio alerts, cannot be set to vibrate

Related: You should protect this tracker’s screen with this ArmorSuit MilitaryShield – Garmin vivovit 2 Screen Protector. Garmin vivovit 2’s screen is durable enough on its own, but the same logic as smartphones apply—good devices need a layer of extra protection.

Check the price on Amazon

Misfit ShineMisfit Shine – Activity and Sleep Monitor

Price: Approximately $70

Weight: 5.6 ounces

Dimensions: 5.2 x 2 x 5.9 inches

Specific features: Many color options; battery that lasts 6 months with no charging; LED lights; discrete watch-like appearance

Best use: Great for people who want to be discreet about using a fitness tracker

If you are a fan of the simple look, you’ll love the Misfit Shine – Activity and Sleep Monitor. Its watch-like design is specifically created to appeal to those of you who might not want others to know that you’re trying to get back in shape with the help of a fitness tracker. Misfit Shine comes equipped with blinking LED lights that alert you to your progress, but in line with its camouflaged appearance, the lights are just bright enough to alert you without attracting unneeded attention.

A fitness tracker is something you’d take with you on rigorous training sessions and physical exercises. It simply won’t do for the tracker to run out of battery during your exercise. This is not a cause for concern with Misfit Shine. The battery for this tracker is quite versatile. It’s not guaranteed, but the general consensus is that it’ll last for about 6 months before you may need to replace it. That’s quite an impressive feat, considering it’s active all-day, working even as you sleep.

PROS:

  • Discrete appearance
  • Reasonable battery life

CONS:

  • A bit expensive for its simple features
  • Doesn’t have a good device syncing system

Related: If you’ve tried on and fallen in love with the Misfit Shine, then you should purchase this Panasonic CR2032 Lithium 3 Volt Battery. The batteries are cheaper when bought in bulk.

Check the price on Amazon

Withings Pulse O2Withings Pulse O2 Tracker

Price: Approximately $100

Weight: 4.2 ounces

Dimensions: 5.9 x 4.9 x 1.1 inches

Specific features: Implements a reward-system for motivation; works through the night to monitor your condition; multi-device sync through Bluetooth

Best use: Great for people who need incentives to motivate themselves to exercise

If you prioritize functionality over external attractiveness, then you may consider Withings Pulse Activity 02 Tracker as the best fitness tracker currently available on the market. It only comes in 2 color options—black and blue—but its range of functions is not quite so limited.

Withings Pulse keeps track of your personal record and calculates the best activity level for you. With this device’s help, you’d be able to gradually increase your workload. This makes it easier to keep yourself motivated. It even works tirelessly through the night. As you sleep, it does everything it can to keep you healthy—mainly by monitoring your physical condition. You’ll need to take care of this device just as much as it takes care of you, though, because it’s neither sweat-proof nor waterproof.

PROS:

  • Works through the night
  • Monitors your condition and gradually adjusts your activity level
  • Has motivation systems in place, such as awarding you with badges of honor

CONS:

  • Only 2 color options
  • Not sweat-proof
  • Not waterproof
  • Rather expensive

Related: If you wish to monitor your blood pressure too on top of everything else that Withings Pulse keeps track of for you, this Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor for Apple and Android will make a good addition.

Check the price on Amazon

UP 24 by JawboneUP 24 by Jawbone

Price: Approximately $30

Weight: 0.8 ounces

Dimensions: 6.6 x 2.5 x 2.1 inches

Specific features: Allows for friendly competition with friends and families; simple bracelet-like design; monitors many physical indicators

Best use: Great for the competitive soul out there that needs to win to stay motivated

One of the most difficult things about keeping yourself in shape is the implementation of strict discipline over the long haul. In case you need extra motivation to keep yourself in the game, then the team leaderboard feature that UP 24 by Jawbone offers can be the perfect solution. It’s always fun to connect with friends and families and compete with them over which one of you is in the best shape.

If you’re looking for a simple but useful tracking device that can motivate you by way of friendly competitions, then look no further. Comparing sleep cycle, food intake, and how much calorie you burn everyday with your friends and families has never been easier.

PROS:

  • Team leaderboard feature serves as a great motivation
  • Monitors a wide range of physical indicators
  • Simple, bracelet-like design
  • Affordable

CONS:

  • Not very durable

Related: The cap at the end of the UP 24 by Jawbone is a very important feature, but it comes loose rather easily, and thanks to its small size, it’s very easy to lose. Simply purchase these Replacement End Caps Covers for Jawbone UP 24 and it’ll be good as new.

Check the price on Amazon

Runtastic OrbitRuntastic Orbit Fitness and Sleep Tracker

Price: Approximately $50

Weight: 9.6 ounces

Dimensions: 0.4 x 0.4 x 0.4 inches

Specific features: Sensitivity to light; can be clipped onto a pocket; waterproof; compatible with Apple and Android; many color choices

Best use: Great for those who don’t like to wear a tracker on their wrist

The Runtastic Orbit fitness and sleep tracker is a versatile device that takes your convenience into consideration. This device is waterproof, but in case you are worried about staining it or ruining it with your sweat, all you have to do is take it off of your wrist and clip it onto a pocket.

It’s very simple design-wise and comes with a wide range of color options. It also comes equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, rechargeable battery, a great physical monitoring system, and sensitivity to light so it’ll be able to tell on its own whether you’re asleep or not. It’s an all-rounder that offers you the holy trinity of design, durability, and functionality.

PROS:

  • Is convenient to wear. Can be clipped onto a pocket
  • Can automatically tell when you’re sleeping

CONS:

  • Relatively short battery life
  • Heavy

Related: In case you’d like to monitor your heart rate more closely, then this Runtastic Heart Rate Combo Monitor works well in conjunction with the Runtastic Orbit.

Check the price on Amazon

Polar Loop Activity TrackerPolar Loop Activity Tracker

Price: Approximately $70

Weight: 4 ounces

Dimensions: 0.51 x 7.87 x 0.59 inches

Specific features: Great accuracy; retro display; LED lights; rechargeable battery; waterproof

Best use: Great for those who wish to get their records as accurate as possible

Many fitness trackers today are so concerned about achieving a sleek, modern look that they forget how much more straightforward a retro pixelated look can be. The Polar Loop Activity Tracker incorporates that classic user interface in an otherwise modern design, creating a combination that really works.

This tracker has great functionality. It will stay on throughout the night to keep track of your sleep cycle. On top of that, it is also considered one of the most dependable fitness trackers available today thanks to its amazing accuracy. Few fitness trackers available on the market today are as accurate as the Polar Loop.

PROS:

  • Classic pixelated design
  • Great accuracy
  • Waterproof

CONS:

  • 5 days of battery life may decrease over prolonged usage
  • No vibration alert

Related: If you decide that the Polar Loop is the fitness tracker you want to use long-term, you should consider purchasing this Polar Loop Cable just for extra precaution.

Check the price on Amazon

Sony Mobile Waterproof IP68 SmartbandSony Mobile Waterproof IP68 Smartband

Price: Approximately $100

Weight: 3.52 ounces

Dimensions: 8.27 x 7.48 x 5.12 inches

Specific features: Takes voice commands; moonlights as a mobile phone; has a microphone for loudspeaker feature; waterproof

Best use: Great for people with a busy lifestyle

The Sony Mobile Waterproof IP68 Smartband is a revolutionary cross between a fitness tracker and a mobile phone. As the modern lifestyle gets more and more demanding, time becomes more of a luxury that many people can’t afford to waste. If you can’t leave your phone behind while you’re exercising lest you miss an important phone call but you don’t like having to wrestle with your pocket every time the phone rings either, this Sony Smartband offers a convenient solution.

The microphone this device comes equipped with is a lifesaver. It’s not just useful for answering calls—it also allows you to control the device via voice command. You can even tell it to take notes. This is a great feature for some people that like to run to get the creative juices flowing.

PROS:

  • Voice command
  • Also works as a phone
  • Allows you to take notes while on the run

CONS:

  • On the expensive side
  • No back light

Related: No one would let their mobile phone go without a screen protection. Since the Sony Smartband acts as the replacement for a phone while you’re running, you should do the same for this device by purchasing this SmartBand Protector LiQuidSkin Coverage.

Check the price on Amazon

Nike+ Fuelband SENike+ Fuelband SE Fitness Tracker

Price: Approximately $60

Weight: 10 ounces

Dimensions: Dependent on size

Specific features: Bluetooth connectivity to iPhone and iPod Touch; color options; data processing; comes with a charging cord

Best use: Great for those who want a more comprehensive report on their physical condition

Nike+ Fuelband SE fitness tracker is the supercomputer of fitness trackers. Everything about it is designed to give you an easier time recording, processing, and even viewing your data. It does not only record your physical condition—it also processes the data in order to give you a report on your overall performance. It’s like a mini personal trainer.

Not just data processing, the Nike+ Fuelband is also created with user convenience in mind. Capable of syncing to your iPhone or iPod Touch via Bluetooth, this device will make keeping track of your progress while exercising easier than ever.

PROS:

  • Capable of comprehensive data processing
  • Sets milestones and goals to motivate you
  • Connects to iPhone and iPod Touch

CONS:

  • Only water-resistant, not waterproof
  • Short battery life
  • Heavy

Related: Since the Nike+ Fuelband is designed for data processing, you’d need a trustworthy cable cord to facilitate data transfer. This device arrives with a prepackaged one, but you should consider purchasing TenCloud Replacement Cable for Nike+ Fuelband SE as a precaution.

Check the price on Amazon

Fitbit Surge Fitness SuperwatchFitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch

Price: Approximately $200

Weight: 2.7 ounces

Dimensions: Dependent on size

Specific features: GPS; also works as a phone; wireless syncing to other devices; allows you to control music

Best use: A multipurpose device. Great for pretty much everything

Looking for a multipurpose device that will keep you on the grid no matter where your feet decide to take you? Look no further than Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch. This premium device is on the expensive side, but the price is fair for the wide range of features that it offers. It’s one of the few fitness trackers that actually comes with a GPS, so you’ll never have to worry about getting lost even if you feel like going a bit further during your running session.

The Fitbit Surge Superwatch only comes in 1 color, so it might not be the perfect choice for those who want to look stylish while wearing their tracker. However, if you prioritize functionality, this device is top of the line. It really does not leave much to be desired. It monitors your sleep and can sync wirelessly to other devices. You can even answer calls with it.

PROS:

  • Also works as a phone
  • Has a GPS system installed

CONS:

  • Expensive
  • Only comes in 1 color

Related: You should consider equipping this device with a layer of screen protection by using this ArmorSuit MilitaryShield for Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch. You don’t want to risk scratching the screen since this device is rather expensive.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

That concludes the list of recommended fitness trackers we think would be a worthy purchase for you. We’ve narrowed down your options so you’d be able to choose the best fitness tracker based on your priority and preferences. Do you think functionality is the most important factor? Or do you believe that a fitness tracker has to be worn in style?

There is no one-size-fits-all fitness tracker. In the end, it all depends on your individual inclination. Just remember that the main purpose of this device is to help you get healthier.

Fitness Tracker features

Which fitness tracker do you think will make the best health-promoting device? Do you think there’s another product out there that deserves to be in this list? Tell us in the comments section below. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Mueller
Jerry Mueller

Jerry ‘Boy Scout’ Mueller spends 99% of his time camping or teaching others how to live in the wild. He became an Eagle Scout which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division when he was 17 and after that he still lives the scout life. Jerry always plans neatly every trip, takes leadership very seriously and if you listen to his tips and stories, you can learn tons of useful things.

  • Elliot Giles

    The Sony SmartBand. I have had this watch for a little over 6 months now and I wear it every day. I like the display, battery life, and quality. Everything works well, calling, finding lost phone(saved my phone once), reading message, time+dates, and weather. Of course you need screen protector to avoid scratches (I’ve applied since first day since the screen display gets marks easily) I also got many compliments wearing it.

  • Mark Foster

    The Sony Mobile Waterproof IP68 SmartBand is indeed a handsome watch. It’s also a great tool that provides invaluable information for a camper. It’s a stunning combination of function and design. Thanks for dropping by Elliot!

  • Jerry Mueller

    The Sony Mobile Waterproof IP68 SmartBand is indeed a handsome watch. It’s also a great tool that provides invaluable information for a camper. It’s a stunning combination of function and design. Thanks for dropping by Elliot!

  • Carl Thompson

    I have to choose the Nike+ FuelBand. It has a long battery life, I went about 6 days before I had to charge it up again. The LED is bright and I can see it during the day. You can customize your setting and which order you want them in. And last but not least, the links stay on well, I was worried they would become loose after some use but they stay pretty well put. So comfortable!

    • Jerry Mueller

      Hi Carl and thanks for your valuable opinion about the Nike+FuelBand. My friends swear that this brand is awesome and the more I hear similar experiences with the watch, I’m pleased that I included it in the best fitness tracker. You can also try the Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch with added GPS. Tell me what you think about it next time.

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