If one of the questions you ask yourself most often is “how to choose the best fitness tracker”, this article is made just for you!
How do you know which Activity Tracker has the features you want at a price you can offer and you won’t feel like you have a brick on your wrist?
If you’re starting your search, here are some tips to help you decide which fitness tracker is right for you.
How to choose the best fitness tracker?
1. Start with the price
Depending on the features you want, your new fitness tracker might be convenient, or it might end up taking you back a bit. (Yes, we watched a smartwatch approaching quadruple digits for 30 seconds before our consciousness brought us back to reality.)
You should still be cautious about buying anything that’s cheap. Most low-cost fitness trackers are just that: cheap. Even the cheaper models of brands known as Fitbit won’t have a full display, so you must switch to the application to get all the details on your latest workout.
2. Decide the features
Narrow your search by deciding what features you need. If your primary goal is to follow your steps as you walk through the neighborhood, you probably won’t need a heart rate monitor or GPS.
But if you’re using your tracker to keep track of your calories burned, heart rate and mileage as you ride your mountain bike, you’ll need both a heart rate monitor and GPS.
And if you will wear your tracker while swimming in the pool, you’ll want to pay attention to waterproofness. And make sure you choose the model you prefer for swimming.
3. Look at the bracelet
If you are lucky enough to have medium-sized wrists, the fit of the bracelet is not a problem for you. But if your wrists are thinner or thicker, you will need to pay attention to the bands that come with the fitness trackers.
Brands like Fitbit typically offer fitness trackers in original sizes ranging from small/medium to large. Others offer adjustable bands that offer a comfortable fit for wrists of all sizes.
Another thing to note on the bracelets is the style of the strap. Is this a traditional watch strap with a buckle? Or “button” together? The button style sometimes seems less secure, especially when we’re in the gym facing the three-point lines and empty lifts.
Fortunately, most fitness trackers have the option of replacing the strap. This allows you to update the material, color and fit if you wish. We all agree that we have choices.
4. Consider the style
How about a fitness tracker that looks like a fitness tracker? Or would you prefer something that looks like a traditional watch?
Fitness trackers are available in all shapes and sizes, so you can choose between simple or fancy, modern or traditional, as you like.
If you are looking for a smartwatch that can fool a colleague into believing it is a real watch, we are impressed with the design of the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active. If you are looking for something simple, the Fitbit Inspire and Fitbit Inspire HR are subtle and simple.
5. Don’t forget the apps
Our favorite fitness tracker app is Fitbit, hands down. It’s easy to use and offers a full range of features. It also has menstrual cycle monitoring, which we’ve never seen in any other fitness tracker app.
The Fitbit app also integrates well with many popular third party apps for a more robust tracking system that meets your needs. Here are some of our favorites:
Top 5 health and wellness apps
How do fitness trackers work?
Each fitness tracker works slightly differently, but some sensors and technologies are relatively common to all, such as altimeters, accelerometers and optical sensors. Here are some technologies you might trip over if you sneak into your fitness watch.
- 3-Axis Accelerometer – Measures your movements in every direction and helps you track those steps.
- Gyroscope – This allows you to read your orientation and rotation as you move. Now it’s time to do some squats!
- Altimeter – Whether you are following your mountain hike or climbing stairs during your work break, this keeps track of your altitude.
- Optical sensors – These shine light into your capillaries to measure how quickly or slowly your blood is pumped to give you an idea of your current heart rate.
- Actigraphy – Ever wonder how activity trackers monitor your sleep? Ichthyography identifies your sleep patterns by tracking your activity and rest cycles, then gives you an idea of how much you twisted and turned last night.
- GPS – The GPS receiver collects data from different satellites to calculate your position as a set of coordinates. This allows you to track your terrain and distance after a run or day on the slopes.
Not all fitness trackers are created equal for the accuracy of their sensors. Mostly, actigraphy is not as accurate as measuring the sleep cycle in the lab, and optical sensors are not as accurate as bio-impedance sensors for monitoring heart rate.
What are the best fitness watches for large wrists?
When buying a fitness tracker, it is important to keep the size in mind. Thankfully, most of the straps can be adjusted to fit your wrist with no problems. If you have a large wrist circumference, you will want to keep an eye on the options that work for you.
From our list of 10 top fitness trackers, here’s what we recommend for large wrists:
3 Best Fitness Trackers For Large Wrists
- Fitbit Charge 3 – The large band fits comfortably on larger wrists ranging from 7.1 to 8.7″ in circumference.
- Fitbit Versa 2 – While the Versa couldn’t be more different from the Charge 3, it can also fit wrists from 7.1 to 8.7″.
- Garmin Forerunner 245 – Not the largest tracker on the market, but it can still accommodate wrists from 5 to 8″.
What are the best fitness trackers for small wrists?
If you have a delicate wrist, it can be even more challenging to find the right size. The last thing you want is for your tracker to slide around during the day.
So what should you do? We think these activity trackers fit like a glove, look:
3 Best Fitness Trackers For Small Wrists
- GarminVivosmart 4 – The small to medium range can fit small wrists up to 4.8″ and large wrists up to 7.4″. Now, this is impressive.
- Fitbit Inspire – This tracker is lightweight and compact. Did we say it can fit wrists measuring between 5.5″ and 7.1″
- Fitbit Inspire HR – Not surprisingly, the enhanced version of the Inspire with heart rate monitoring can also fit wrists from 5.5 to 7.1″.
Now that you’ve found your perfect fitness tracker match, you’re one step closer to achieve your fitness goals.