Having to work all day in front of a computer, I used to be quite lazy. But with the current wave of fitness trackers and similar products I got quite addicted not only to test all the latest releases, but also to improve my overall health, sleep and fitness level. While doing this, I got a quite good understanding of all the options available in the market, so this is my review of the best fitness tracker.
Today, there are so many options out there, that the first step in picking the best fitness tracker should be deciding what you want to measure. Ask yourself a few questions:
- What do you want to monitor? Your heart rate? How much do you walk? How well do you sleep?
- Do you want to use it for sport?
- If you go to a local gym, many of the top gym chains will provide activity and heart rate tracking capacity on their fitness equipment anyway (you may not need one)
- Which sports do you want to be able to use it?
- Do you want a lot of detailed information or simply ‘how far’ and ‘how long’?
- What is your budget?
By answering all these questions you will be able to get a much detailed picture of what you need, because if even you wanted to splurge, there is no ‘fits all’ fitness tracker.
Best low cost fitness and sport tracker
Garmin FR15 – For all sport addicts, Garmin has been releasing high quality products for a few years now, and FR15 is one more product along this line. If you like to run a couple of times per week and do not need a lot of information regarding your run, this is your best option in the market right now. The built in GPS allows you to precisely track you run, giving you distance, pace, rhythm, etc (the how far and how fast). It can also be paired with a heart rate monitor (sold separately) to improve your race tracking. Used every day as a normal watch, it will also count your steps and allow you to set daily goals.
Best high end fitness tracker
Garmin FR620 – This is probably the most advanced sport watch (for running) available in the market today. It packs WiFi (for real time tracking when paired with a smartphone) to ANT+ or Bluetooth. While (of course) it has all the usual features (distance, pace, rhythm, etc) I love the fact it allows you to preconfigure workouts (it will beep for you to increase your cadence for example) and that it analyses your running efficiency.
Best multisport fitness tracker
Garmin FR920XT – this is a beast: Garmin have put in the FR920XT all the best features from their product line. It has live tracking of your course, it can track you while swimming, it analyses your running dynamics, it monitors your daily activity and also tracks your sleep. If you cycle, this unit can also connect to any ANT+ sensor for information display. This is probably the most feature rich product available in the market. For me the only downside is that for monitoring your heart rate it requires a chest band or an additional bracelet with an optical unit. With the FR920XT your training and lifestyle will for sure never be the same!
Best overall fitness tracker (not sport):
Fitbit Charge HR – This will not work for sport, but if you are not a sport addict, this will be your best option. The Fitbit Charge HR tracks your steps, but it also has an altimeter to gauge the elevation you climb and includes an hearth rate monitor. All these sensors together really give an accurate picture of your caloric burn, which is probably the most important metric. It pairs smoothly with an App where you can enter additional information, giving you a really detailed picture of your overall fitness level.
Best fitness tracker that is also a smartwatch:
Moto 360 – This a sleek smartwatch with the power of Google Now. It tracks all the basics: steps, calories burnt, distance, etc. But, unlikely other smartwatches, it also constantly monitors your heart rate! All this while displaying your phone notifications. On the downside, and similar to all smartwatches, the battery only lasts for one day. Of course there are other high end options, but at $150 it seats at a really nice price point taking into account all the functions it has. Note: it requires an Android powered mobile phone.
Best low cost fitness tracker:
Xiaomi Mi Band – at 10/15 bucks it does not do a lot, but what it does, it does it very well. It accurately tracks your steps and sleep rhythm. In addition it can wake you up gently when you are in light sleep phase. I loved the fact that the battery also lasted for more than one month with a single charge. At this price point, it is a no brainer. An updated version is due anytime soon, so check back this article for any future updates. Note: it requires an Android powered mobile phone with Bluetooth 4.0.
I hope that now you will be able to make a much more informed buying decision!
“Michael B. is a fan of quick hacks to everyday health and lifestyle problems. You can read more of his health and lifestyle inforation at listwellness.com”