We round up the best fitness trackers that you can buy right now, to monitor your daily steps, exercise sessions and other activities.
Good intentions are just that without motivation – especially when it comes to fitness. That is why fitness trackers have taken the world by storm. They are cheaper than a gym and kinder than a trainer, yet stay with you 24-hours a day to keep you motivated.
Now fitness trackers and GPS smartwatches have begun to merge, to create devices that not only track daily activity, but also accurately measure training. Some even offer training plans to keep you motivated towards your goals and can operate independently of your iPhone or Android smartphone.
The end result is a fitter you. Assuming, of course, you put in the work. So which are the best options out there right now? Do you need to spend a lot for all the high-end extras like GPS, heart rate and body composition? Here’s our favourite fitness trackers right now, to suit a range of budgets.
Be sure to check out our round-up of the best budget fitness trackers too, in case your budget is somewhat limited.
Fitbit Charge 2
The Fitbit Charge 2 is a fitness tracker in the true sense – it uses motion sensors alone rather than GPS for activity monitoring. That said, it does go beyond step, sleep and activity tracking thanks to a built-in heart rate monitor.
Those beats per minute can be seen at a glance on the OLED display, ideal for training. Meanwhile the Charge 2 will keep going for five days before you need to plug it in, features a comfortable strap and costs £130.
Nokia Steel HR
Fitness tracking isn’t all about having the most sensors and data – it can be about style, too. That is why the Nokia Steel HR has made our list of favourite trackers for 2018. This analogue watch has been designed to look good while still monitoring your daily activities. All for a respectable price of under £200.
The Steel HR is able to measure steps taken and displays that number using an analogue hand on a dial set in behind the clock hands. Of course, it will also connect to your smartphone so all data it has gathered can be seen in the app for a clearer picture of your progress over time.
Plus a digital OLED section of the display offers alerts and shows your heart rate. Despite this constant monitoring, the Steel HR boasts a hefty 25 day battery life.
Apple Watch Series 3
If you want style and smarts to go with your fitness tracking, check out the Apple Watch Series 3. This is one of the most expensive devices in this round-up, but you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Sure, if you’ve already got the Series 2 smartwatch, there’s no real reason to upgrade. However, for owners of the original Apple Watch and anyone who’s yet to make the jump to smartwatches, you can’t go wrong.
As well as the premium design work, we love the built-in GPS and cellular support. The heart rate tracking can even detect any abnormalities, to potentially save lives. It’s just a shame that the battery life isn’t great; you’ll need to charge it pretty much every night.
Garmin Vivosmart HR+
This is a serious one-stop-shop wearable in the shape of a fitness tracker. Despite its slender build, the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ includes heart rate monitoring, activity tracking and even GPS for proper run tracking minus a phone.
The battery should keep going for a week and all your data can be analysed from the Garmin Connect app. Water resistance to 50 metres makes short work of showers but the lack of swim tracking is a bit of a waste here – still, something for a future update perhaps? It will track sleep though, making it a decent all rounder and reasonably priced at £170.
If you want to really focus on changing your body by using a fitness tracker, the TomTom Touch is the one for you. This slender wrist wearable uniquely offers body composition sensors that are able to determine your body’s fat and muscle percentages.
It will still track activity using motion sensors but rather than simply showing steps, calories, distance and sleep, you can actually see the effect it all has on your body.
You will need to spend £130 for the privilege of owning the TomTom Touch, but if that actually changes your health it is money well spent, right?
Samsung Gear Fit 2
Samsung has been making wearables for years and its screen manufacturing prowess offers some of the best at-a-glance readouts on a wrist-worn device. The Gear Fit 2 features a 1.5-inch 432 x 216 resolution 322 pixels-per-inch AMOLED display for clear and colourful fitness data so it is no different.
The Gear Fit 2 fitness tracker also features GPS, meaning you can train without a phone, and has dedicated sports modes for running, cycling and elliptical training.
You can now pick up the Fit 2 in an updated ‘Pro’ model, which launched at the end of 2017. Check out our hands-on review below.
This £80 fitness tracker is affordable, but it still manages to offer a better design than most. This metallic beauty will track all the usual, from steps and distance to calories and sleep, while making a fashion statement.
The Misfit Ray features a smart button for controls of a connected phone (to take a photo, for instance) and also vibrates for alerts when you get calls and texts or for movement alerts and alarms.
The water-resistant Misfit Ray lasts four months before a battery change is needed, meaning you rarely need to take it off.
The Moov Now (get it?) goes beyond fitness tracking beyond with smart coaching. The device itself can be worn with an ankle or wrist strap, can withstand 30m water submersion and has a battery that lasts six months. But it’s the app that’s really innovative.
Use your headphones with the app on a connected phone and you can be talked through training to help you get the most out of exercise. When running you are told to lengthen or shorten your stride, when boxing your punch pattern is read out and when cycling cadence tips are offered.
There’s even a seven-minute HIIT workout selection on offer. All very impressive for that £60 price.
Most Fitbits are simple wristband affairs, some of which have already been mentioned in this round-up of best fitness trackers. Some offer a proper display for feedback and pretty much all of them deliver a strong range of fitness features, but the most advanced device is the Fitbit Ionic. This is a fully-fledged smartwatch, replacing the older (and not too hot) Fitbit Blaze.
As well as a fresh new customisable design, the Ionic offers a crisp, colourful and spacious display. This can be used to view notifications, follow training sessions and plenty more besides.
Like the best fitness trackers, you get built-in GPS support, offline music playback, and even wireless payment support. In other words, you can ditch your Android or iPhone and use the Ionic to record your workouts, and even buy yourself a sausage roll as a reward afterwards.