From Garmin to Fitbit, we’ve got the top picks to start tracking your health ASAP.

By Braelyn Wood
Updated January 31, 2020
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It may seem like everyone is wearing a fitness tracker these days—and it’s for good reason. The unobtrusive accessory gives a real-time glimpse into your overall physical health by tracking your daily activity, resting heart rate, estimated number of calories burned, and more. By putting your vitals at the tips of your fingers, this small addition to your lifestyle is an easy way to start taking control of your health

And if you assumed fitness trackers were only created for serious athletes, think again. Designed to be a useful tool for people of all ages, body types, and activity levels, a fitness tracker provides a loose picture of your body’s norms and can help determine when something is off or needs improvement. While you’ll definitely find models optimized for workouts— like the Polar Ignite and Suunto 3— there are plenty of pared-down options, too, that can simply help you gain a better understanding of your body’s day-to-day functions. Beyond your daily activity, most trackers also provide insights into other areas of your life, like your sleep patterns and monthly cycle.

RELATED: Considering a Fitbit? Here’s How to Choose the Best Ones for Your Needs

Of course, the diversity of functions shows just how broad the fitness tracker marketplace is. Alongside a wide range of brands selling different models—think Polar, Garmin, Fitbit, or Apple—there are a slew of customizable features available, too. While some trackers double as smart watches, others keep it extremely simple with the most basic functions and more streamlined designs. In other words, there’s a fitness tracker out there for everyone. 

Below, we’ve outlined the top picks for every budget, fitness level, and lifestyle to help you find the best fitness tracker for your needs. 

Best for Heart Health: Apple Watch Series 5

Amazon

While most fitness trackers monitor your heart rate, the latest model of Apple’s smart watch takes it to the next level by also tracking your heart rhythm with a single-lead electrocardiogram  (ECG). Built-in electrodes read your heart’s electrical signals to track heart health and warn wearers of any irregularities. The advanced technology in this watch can even sense falls and call emergency services if you don’t get up within a minute. Apple warns that it should never be relied on to determine medical emergencies, like heart attacks, but it’s still a useful tool if you want to get a better sense of your current cardiovascular health. And just like previous models of the Apple watch, you can set workout-specific goals and track your exercises—including cycling, yoga, and high-intensity interval training—which are auto-recognized by the watch. With other new features including period tracking and a built-in GPS, it’s no surprise this watch is a favorite of Health editors.

Available at amazon.com, $499 (was $529)

Best Watch: Garmin vívoactive 3

Amazon

This stylish watch with more than 1,300 5-star reviews won’t make you choose between smart functions and top-of-the-line fitness features: It merges the best of both worlds by putting apps, contactless payments, and messaging alongside top-of-the-line activity tracking. You’ll not only get a complete breakdown of your workout (think number of reps, sets, and even minutes spent recovering), but also an estimate of your VO2 max, which indicates how your body handles stress. Plus, you can even create your own customized workouts online for running, cycling, cardio, or strength training and load the personalized routines onto your watch.

Available at amazon.com, $150 (was $250)

Best for Women: Fitbit Versa 2 Health & Fitness Smartwatch

Amazon

When fitness trackers first came out, they often got bad raps for clunky and heavy designs, but Fitbit’s latest release is proof of how far they’ve come. This sleek watch not only tracks your heart rate, steps, and calories burned, but it also gives an insightful look into your sleep quality each night by tracking your light, deep, and REM sleep stages. But what really makes this watch a winner for women is the addition of period tracking, which lets you log cycles, record symptoms, and analyze trends that’ll eventually lead to you receiving a notification two days before your period even starts. Throw in a long-lasting battery life (up to 6 days) and built-in voice assistance by Amazon’s Alexa, and it’s no surprise this watch has already accumulated more than 1,600 5-star reviews

Available at amazon.com, $187 (was $200)

Best for Men: Suunto 3 Fitness Sports Watch

Amazon

Whether you consider yourself a runner, a swimmer, or anything in between, this fitness-focused watch has you covered with a lightweight, waterproof construction that’s built to track a wide range of activities. It not only allows you to create 7-day training plans for a wide range of workouts, but also offers exercise recommendations based on your current fitness level to help optimize your training. While the rugged design is slightly on the large size, the screen can be personalized to meet your preferences with options for a minimal clock face or a home screen that displays your fitness level, step count, and heart rate. Called a “terrific fitness watch” by one reviewer, it also boasts a 5-day battery life and mobile notifications.

Available at amazon.com, $184 (was $229)

Best for Kids: Garmin Vívofit Junior 2

Amazon

If you’re trying to stay active as a family, Garmin delivers the perfect fitness tracker for kids with a simple band that tracks your child’s step count, sleep, and daily activity levels. Available in child-friendly designs—including Disney Princess, Star Wars, and Marvel-themed options—the tracker encourages kids to stay active by unlocking adventures and prizes in a corresponding app (available on Apple, Android, or Amazon Fire devices). You can also send alerts and set task timers to keep your little ones on top of their daily chores or tasks, like practicing the piano or brushing their teeth. Naturally, parents call it “the perfect incentive for good behavior” and praise the waterproof construction and year-long battery life.

Available at amazon.com, $70 (was $80)

Best for Swimming: Polar Ignite Waterproof Watch

Amazon

Tracking laps in the pool just got easier with Polar’s stellar swim tracking capabilities—this watch can detect your swimming style while also keeping track of your heart rate, distance, pace, strokes, and rest times. Unlike other supposed “waterproof” designs, the Ignite has no limitations and is fully waterproof, so you can take control of your fitness both in and out of the water— a win for many reviewers who swim regularly and call it an “awesome sports watch.” Beyond swimming, it also has a built-in GPS that’s ideal for outdoor workouts and an innovative sleep analysis feature. 

Available at amazon.com, from $180

Best Budget Tracker: Letsfit Smart Watch

Amazon

This affordable option proves you don’t need to empty your wallet for a watch that monitors your heart rate, physical activity, and calories burned. It retails for less than $50, but has a large touch screen, offers guided breathing sessions, and allows smartphone notifications to keep you connected. Unfortunately, the design isn’t waterproof enough to track your swims or wear through a shower—but it more than makes up for it with a 10-day battery life and period tracking. In fact, one of the 648 5-star reviewers confirmed it’s a “steal for the price.”

Available at amazon.com, $34 (was $45)

Best With Blood Pressure Monitor: Fitfort Fitness Tracker

Amazon

You won’t find a blood pressure monitor in most fitness trackers, but this budget-friendly find is a welcome exception. Along with the ability to track your steps and pulse, it gives accurate blood pressure readings that many reviewers say comes within points of readings completed with medical-grade blood pressure cuffs. You’ll have to make a few adjustments to get a more accurate number—including a tighter band fit and a few calibrations—but this important feature gives you real-time insights into a vital part of your health and turns this otherwise typical tracker into a rare find.

Available at amazon.com, $30

Best Under $100: Fitbit Inspire HR

Amazon

With more than 7,700 reviews on Amazon alone, the Inspire HR is one of Fitbit’s most popular devices. Best described as a fitness tracker with a few smart watch features, the Inspire offers typical Fitbit functions like activity and step tracking, call and text alerts, up to five days of battery life, and a swim-proof design, along with more impressive specs like 24/7 heart rate tracking, real-time pace and distance tracking through your phone’s GPS, and more than 15 goal-based exercise modes. You’ll also gain access to Fitbit’s free app, where you can connect with friends and compete in challenges. The Inspire HR is available in two sizes and a handful of color options.

Available at amazon.com, $95 (was $100)

Best Under $50: Letscom Fitness Tracker

Amazon

You can peruse the more than 6,689 positive Amazon reviews to see why people are obsessed with this affordable tracker, but we can give the highlights: It has a week-long battery life, connects to your phone’s GPS for better pace and distance tracking, records all-day activity (think steps, calories burned, active minutes, and sleep status), and gives you pre-selected notifications from your smartphone. To top it off, the popular tracker costs less than $30 and comes in 8 different colorways.

Available at amazon.com, $26 (was $28)

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