* Get the tracker that fits your lifestyle
* Find a model that’s stylish and functional
* Pair with your smartphone to track progress and measure goals
Best Fitness Trackers
Editor’s Choice: Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch
Bottom Line: Less expensive than the Apple Watch and way better for the fitness fanatic who prefers simplicity. Oh, and you don’t need an iPhone to use it. Android users rejoice!
Editor’s Notes: There’s no GPS, but it automatically recognizes when you’ve gotten up to work out. It also has a built-in heart rate monitor so no need to wrestle with an annoying chest strap.
Best Value: Fitbit Flex 2
Bottom Line: The slim profile doesn’t look overly athletic, and you don’t have to take the watch off during that recovery bubble bath post-run.
Editor’s Notes: It’s relatively basic, but in this case, less is more. A quick double tap will alert you to whether you need an extra sweat session. Bonus: you can turn off move reminders—which may get repetitive—to help conserve battery life.
Buying Guide for Fitness Trackers
No, a fitness tracker isn’t going to transform you overnight, and it won’t do the work for you. However, it can provide you with a little insight into your movement habits. It might also give you the extra nudge you need to keep getting off the couch every day and motivate you to smash any goals you set for yourself.
So, what are the things you should look for when browsing fitness trackers? First, figure out how much you want to track. Are you obsessed with numbers? Go for something with a screen that provides you with live feedback. If you just want a gentle nudge to get moving, a simpler model will do. If you’re forgetful or swim a lot, opt for a device that’s waterproof or water resistant.
Most trackers will, at the very least, count your steps. For more insight, some options can even track sleep. You’ll get a chart that shows you how you tossed and turned while having that recurring nightmare.
If you’re a runner, you should go with a tracker that’s GPS enabled. Some trackers with heart rate let you know how hard you’re working using proprietary algorithms. You’ll be able to tell if that grueling workout actually stressed your body.
Above all else, make sure it’s a device you’ll want to wear every day. A tracker that sits on your nightstand is useless, after all.
Q. My step number is lower than expected. How can I get more steps in?
A. Use your new device to your advantage. Pay attention to move reminders. Walk your dog more. Walk everywhere. Short errands to nearby stores can be done on foot. Get up and move every once in a while at work. When going out with friends, suggest activities that are active such as hiking. Use the stairs whenever possible and don’t choose the closest parking spot if you have to drive somewhere.
Q. Why do I need a fitness tracker? I’m sure I move enough every day.
A. You’d be surprised. Most of us probably move way less than we think. Think about all the hours of Netflix you’ve watched. Still think you move enough? A tracker can provide you with insight and some extra motivation to get sweaty. It’s hard to ignore the little computer on your wrist when it’s telling you that you’re being lazy.
Q. Did I really burn 500 calories on my 15-minute walk to work?
A. Unfortunately, it’s best to err on the side of caution. The downside of fitness trackers is that they tend to be widely inaccurate when it comes to calorie counts. Be careful not to overestimate your daily calorie burn.
This guide is brought to you by BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review website that reviews and tests products purchased with their own funds in order to provide consumers with completely unbiased advice.