The 7 Best Fitness Trackers for Women, According to Wellness Experts
Modern technology is so ingrained in our everyday activities, we don't even realize it. Your phone gives you directions to your next meeting and Alexa reminds you to call your sister on her birthday. Similarly, the best fitness trackers for women provide information we need to lead healthy lives, whether that's displaying our heart rate during workouts or offering insight into our sleep patterns.
Fitness trackers are proven to increase the amount of time you exercise and boost your motivation to get active. "Many trackers remind you to move throughout the day, which is an essential part of both physical and mental wellness," says Sarah Faske, a certified nutrition coach and personal trainer in Waxhaw, North Carolina. "Women who are in tune with their bodies throughout the month are better equipped to make health-conscious decisions."
If you're looking to step up your fitness game, improve your overall health, or both, a wearable fitness tracker is a great solution. But with so many different options on the market, how do you know which one is right for you? After consulting the experts at Garage Gym Reviews, who test hundreds of fitness products using a 14-point methodology, here is Health's list of the seven best fitness trackers for women.
Best Overall: Apple Watch Series 6
Stylish and functional, the Apple Watch Series 6 is a smart watch that keeps you up to date on just about everything, from phone calls and calendar invites to daily activity levels and menstrual cycle tracking. It may not have the highest overall score on this list, but its tech capabilities—including an ECG app that detects irregularities in your heartbeat and a built-in GPS to map your routes—make it our top pick for women specifically.
The Apple watch scored perfectly among Garage Gym testers for aesthetics: It offers a ton of variety, including sporty designs, stainless steel cases, and leather bands. Reviewers also gave it a 5 out of 5 in the community category since it allows you to work toward daily health goals with friends and family who also have the watch.
The Series 6 is one of the pricier trackers and, unsurprisingly, it's only compatible with other iOS devices. The battery life is also a little lackluster—a single charge only lasts for up to 18 hours.
Score: 4.2 out of 5
Key Features: Built-in GPS, potentially life-saving ECG app, water-resistant up to 50 meters
Workout Profiles: 15, plus the ability to add custom workouts
Battery Life: Up to 18 hours
Best for Stress Management: Garmin Vivosmart 4
The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is a savvy, budget-friendly solution if you're looking for advanced sleep and heart rate monitoring capabilities. Using your heart rate variability, the Vivosmart gives you a stress score between 0 and 100. If the device detects a stressed state, it buzzes, encouraging you to engage in a minutes-long breathing exercise.
"Stress management is a vital part of overall wellness," says Faske, who has helped countless women adopt better health habits. "Women who are stressed are more likely to experience trouble sleeping and make poor decisions about their diet."
Garage Gym testers love the sleep tracker function, which identifies just how much (or how little) shuteye you're getting. The Vivosmart also scored high for value—it costs $130—but its lack of GPS and, at times, difficult-to-read watch face knocked its overall score down a bit.
Score: 4.5 out of 5
Key Features: Stress tracking, all-day heart rate monitoring
Workout Profiles: 7 preset workout modes
Battery Life: Up to 7 days
Best for Athletes: Whoop Strap 3.0
The Whoop Strap 3.0 is reviewers' favorite fitness tracker for athletes because it can identify more than 80 types of exercise, ranging from running and swimming to rock climbing and cross country skiing.
If you're a fan of metrics, you'll love the Whoop app. The device hones in on three major areas: sleep, recovery, and strain. It tells you whether you're ready to hit a hard workout or if you need more rest, and it generates performance reports to help you optimize your fitness plan. There is also a "sleep coach" function that recommends bedtimes and wake up times depending on each day's activities.
The band itself has no face display—instead, all the data is uploaded to your smart device—but the strap does come in multiple colors and can be charged without leaving your wrist thanks to the slide-on battery pack. Whoop operates as a subscription service, so the Strap 3.0 is "free" with the purchase of a six-month membership.
Score: 4.1 out of 5
Key Features: In-depth sleep analysis, recovery suggestions
Workout Profiles: 81 workout modes
Battery Life: Up to 5 days
Best for Beginners: Fitbit Charge 4
Fitbit is known for producing high-quality fitness trackers that are easy to use. The Charge 4 features a touchscreen display and companion app that's designed to guide you through your fitness journey. If you haven't moved in awhile, notifications will prompt you to be active and the default 10,000 steps a day target motivates users to meet their goals, which are customizable.
The brand also counts Active Zone Minutes, which is based on the American Heart Association's recommendation that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. "It's incredibly motivating to see right there on your wrist the progress you make toward step counts and active minutes," says Garage Gym Reviews tester Kate Meier. "And on days when you aren't as active, the reminders to move are helpful nudges."
The Charge 4 offers built-in GPS and a free three-month trial of Fitbit Premium. One downside: The narrow display in grayscale can be difficult to read.
Score: 4.4 out of 5
Key Features: Built-in GPS, water-resistant up to 50 meters, tracks Active Zone Minutes
Workout Profiles: 20+ workout modes
Battery Life: Up to 7 days
Best for Runners: Garmin Forerunner 245
Garmin is synonymous with running. For decades, the brand has developed cutting-edge devices to track pace, distance, and more. The Forerunner 245 is a popular model because of its advanced features and middle-of-the-road price point. The tracker has an ultra-lightweight design and sweat-resistant silicone wristband for easier wear. It also comes with built-in GPS.
The brand didn't just stick to the basics for this one. The Forerunner 245 provides a virtual running coach and tools that detect your form and give advice to correct it if it's off. The watch also has a safety alert system that will send your location to emergency contacts if you feel unsafe or if it senses that an incident occurred.
Testers noted that the 245 lacks an altimeter, so runners interested in tracking their altitude will need to upgrade to the Forerunner 945 (which is double the price). The battery lasts up to seven days, but it drains quickly when features like the GPS are in use.
Score: 4.3 out of 5
Key Features: Virtual running coach, form correction tools
Workout Profiles: 12+ options
Battery Life: Up to 7 days
Most Versatile: Fitbit Inspire 2
The Fitbit Inspire 2 has a super-sleek design that can be worn on your wrist or as a clip-on. "Sometimes, working out with a watch on just isn't convenient," says Meier, who's a CrossFit coach. "Clipping it on means I'm not distracted by looking at my wrist and I can just focus on my exercise."
The Fitbit app offers advanced health fitness tracking, including sleep and menstrual cycle monitoring, as well as the option to log your food intake. With the purchase of an Inspire 2, you also get a free year of Fitbit Premium, which unlocks more than 200 workouts and 15 guided programs for sleep and stress management.
At $100, this tracker is on the cheaper side, which means you won't get perks like built-in GPS.
Score: 4.5 out of 5
Key Features: Can be worn as a watch or clip-on, tracks sleep, activity, and food
Workout Profiles: 20+ activity modes
Battery Life: Up to 10 days
Best Budget-Friendly: Xiaomi Mi Band 5
Not everyone needs or wants an expensive fitness tracker, and Xiaomi's Mi Band 5 offers many of the same features as other devices on this list for less than $40 on Amazon. Combine that with free shipping (for Amazon Prime members only), and you've got quite a deal.
The Mi Band 5 is a notable improvement over its predecessor, the Mi Band 4, thanks to additions such as wellness tracking, stress management, and magnetic charging that lasts up to 14 days. It also has a full-color touchscreen display with customizable faces so you can choose which metrics you want to see.
However, Garage Gym reviewers weren't thrilled with the band's material and noted that the technology isn't always reliable.
Score: 4.2 out of 5
Key Features: Magnetic charging, step counter, heart rate and sleep monitoring
Workout Profiles: 11 sport modes
Battery Life: Up to 14 days
Finding the Best Fitness Tracker
As the saying goes, "Women are not small men." We have specific needs when it comes to health and wellness. Here are some of the factors to consider when shopping for an activity tracker.
Menstrual Cycle Monitoring
A growing number of fitness trackers now help users stay on top of their menstrual cycles. "Cycle tracking is much more than when you can expect a period; it can also clue you into fertility windows," says Meier. "You have the ability to note certain symptoms, which could help you spot irregularities and potential health issues."
Trackers that incorporate stress monitoring tools offer important reminders to slow down during the day. Some even have breathing and meditative exercises for you to complete. "If you notice stress trends, it may be a sign you should take time away from high-intensity exercise to avoid underperforming as well as overloading your body," says Faske.
For such small devices, fitness trackers come with a wide range of tech capabilities. You'll have difficulty finding one that doesn't track heart rate, step goals, and calories burned. Other common features include:
- Sleep monitoring
- Built-in GPS
- iPhone and Android connectivity
- Music apps
- Blood oxygen level tracking
- Advanced heart rate monitoring
Women need a fitness tracker that can keep up with their lifestyle, which is why devices with long battery lives are so popular. However, it's important to note that while many trackers boast about having multi-day battery lives, the use of cellular data or GPS tends to drain the charge much faster. If you're exclusively using the device to track workouts or monitor your sleep, a 12-hour battery life should suffice.
If you want a device that doubles as your personal trainer, then go for one that's loaded with guided fitness plans and workout classes. Many trackers can be customized to align with your personal exercise goals and limitations.
Garage Gym Reviews's Testing Process
Every single one of the fitness trackers featured in this article was tested at the Garage Gym Reviews lab in Springfield, Missouri. The team reviews equipment using a 14-point testing methodology to come up with a weighted score out of 5.
For fitness trackers, testers looked at battery life, tech capabilities, aesthetics, adjustability, and durability. They also dug into brand operations to evaluate warranties, return policies, and customer service.
Katie Simpson is an editor and lifestyle writer for Garage Gym Reviews.