There are those who can’t live without their Fitbit. Others turn up their noses at the idea of fitness trackers, saying they’re unnecessary toys or status symbols intended more to call attention to the wearer than to provide an important benefit.
Whichever camp you fall into, facts clearly show that wearable tech is a huge and growing market. Just in the first quarter of 2016 alone, nearly 20 million fitness trackers and smartwatches were shipped to vendors – almost 70% more than in the first quarter of 2015. And the bulk of those devices were fitness trackers, with market giant Fitbit leading the way.
Smartwatches are coming on quickly, though, despite the somewhat-disappointing launch of the Apple watch. The ability of some modern, high-end wearables to perform most of a phone’s function is certainly appealing to many consumers, but it may be some time before less-expensive, simpler fitness trackers are relegated to a back seat.
For that reason we’ll be concentrating on fitness trackers in our Groom+Style reviews, although you’ll soon see that many of the latest models can do much more than just tell you how far you’ve run and how many calories you’ve burned.
The Wide Range of Fitness Tracker Features
The basics of all fitness trackers are pretty much the same.
They use something called an accelerometer to measure your steps and movements to compute the distance you’ve covered and calories you’ve consumed, with some also keeping track of metrics like your temperature and perspiration levels. The majority of trackers can sync with your phone or other device to read out or store the information that’s collected.
Not surprisingly the more you pay, the more you get (and the more a tracker starts to resemble a smartwatch). The most common add-on to a wristband fitness tracker is a heart rate monitor, which keeps track of your heart rate throughout the day whether you’re exercising or not.
When you move up another notch, trackers may include barometers which measure your altitude to calculate how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed, gyroscopes to track the type of activities you’ve engaged in like sitting, lying down or swimming, and magnetometers to register the directions in which you move.
All of this information is sent via an app to your Bluetooth-connected phone, tablet or computer to provide detailed data on your day’s activities, with some models able to also display it on an LED screen.
That’s not all you can find on fully-featured fitness trackers. Some have capabilities previously reserved for smartwatches, like GPS trackers and alerts to tell you that you have a text or call on the phone that’s connected to your tracker via Bluetooth.
Others have alarms to tell you to stop procrastinating and begin exercising, apps that let you interact with and compete with friends using the same tracker, or even the capacity to link to smart devices like bathroom scales in order to provide a complete picture of your fitness and health.
Choosing the features that you need (or more accurately, want) will let you determine the level of fitness tracker that will best suit your activity level. Needless to say, there are other considerations as well.
What Else to Look For in the Best Fitness Tracker
There are two basic categories of fitness trackers.
Some are for general use and simply keep track of numbers like how much you’ve walked (or run) and how many calories you’ve burned and are called, fittingly enough, “all-day trackers.”
On the other hand, “training trackers” will monitor and record more specific information related to the type of exercise you do. A basic model will track things like speed and pace, while more specific units can record lap times for swimmers, altitude summaries for cyclists, and so on.
All-day trackers are more likely to be slim and lightweight and come in a wide variety of colors and shapes – you can even find ones created by fashion designers. The greater amount of information you can check on a training tracker usually require a larger display and make many of those models large enough to resemble a watch – that’s why smartwatches are gaining popularity for athletes as their prices come down.
A crucial question, at least for trackers which sync data to a device, will be whether they’ll talk to your phone, tablet or computer. Many only work with Android or iOS and most won’t work with Windows platforms. Also check out the associated app before you buy, to be sure it does what you want it to do.
Consider the fitness tracker’s battery life and whether it can be recharged or has to be changed regularly, if it’s waterproof (a luxury if you’re just keeping track of your steps around the house or office, but a necessity if you run in the rain or swim), and of course how comfortable – and accurate – the tracker is.
Ready to get off your couch? Here are the Groom+Style review team’s choices for the top 5 best fitness tracker.
1. Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate Fitness Tracker
Be honest. You would have been shocked to see any other product topping our list, right? The review team went into these rankings with an open mind, but we weren’t surprised that we ended up with a Fitbit at #1, either.
The Charge 2 is an all-day tracker which can also be set to work as a training tracker for running, biking and many workout options; if you don’t manually set the activity, it will detect it automatically after ten minutes or so.
You also have the ability to set the activity function for interval training by just entering your target details on the easy-to-use wrist controls and the tracker will vibrate whenever an interval is over or a rest period begins.
Those are just some of the ways that this tracker offers much more than competitive models, and it has all the sleek good looks, comfort and functionality we’ve come to expect from Fitbit. What’s really cool is that the OLED display simply pops out to be placed in any of the compatible silicone or leather bands you can buy as accessories.
We checked out this fitness tracker in the stunning, special edition gunmetal band which is more than the standard silicone band with stainless steel frame. Either way, it’s a great tracker, falling into the middle range when it comes to weight, but at the top for comfort and functionality.[youtube id=”PxpxRoWmjq8″ width=”750″ height=”340″ position=”left”]
You can track your heart rate (continuous or resting) and a “cardio fitness level” measurement on the Charge 2, in addition to the usual distance, height, calories burned and timing functions. There’s also an alarm function that reminds you to get up and walk after an hour of inactivity. (Yes, you can change the time frame or disable the alarm). And this model has something we’ve never seen before, a relax mode with a pulsating graphic to which you match your breathing. It’s neat, and it works.
The Fitbit app works with iOS, Android and Windows, it displays texts and caller IDs from your Bluetooth connected phone, it’s water-resistant (not waterproof, though) and while it doesn’t have built-in GPS you can set the one on your phone to display on the bracelet. (If you want onboard GPS and other goodies, you can pay a bit more for the Fitbit Surge.)
There’s very little the Fitbit Charge 2 can’t do, and it’s stylish and comfortable to wear – not to mention that you receive the psychic benefits of being a member of the “Fitbit community.” At Groom+Style we’re not particularly concerned with fitting in – we prefer a well-fitting fitness tracker that does everything we want it to, and the Charge 2 is it.
Facts and figures on the Fitbit Charge 2:
2. Samsung Gear Fit2 Fitness Tracker
Is this a smartwatch or the best fitness tracker? We choose to call it a fitness tracker because of its slim design, although its large, curved AMOLED screen and functionality could almost qualify it as the former. And if you had previously looked at the original Fit and disregarded it because it only would pair with a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, the Fit2 doesn’t have that limitation.
It will work with most up-to-date Android and iOS phones.
This newer Gear fitness tracker features a very comfortable rubber band (black, blue or pink; small, medium or large) with the screen taking up a good portion of the band, giving you an easily-readable display.
Like the Charge 2, it shows the usual metrics like steps and calories, a heart rate monitor, advanced stats for specific activities like cycling and running, and alerts from your connected phone (some iOS phones aren’t fully compatible).
It also has built-in GPS and can play music from a library or via Spotify playlists (headphones required), and you can change the appearance of the face through the Samsung Gear app. The tracker’s accuracy is excellent.
The Fit2 is priced somewhat lower than Fitbit’s Charge 2 standard model, but the Groom+Style review team ranked it at #2 because it’s larger, it’s not compatible with all phones, it can’t go as long between charges and you can’t easily swap out bands. It’s still an outstanding fitness tracker, though.
More details on the Samsung Gear Fit2:
3. Microsoft Band 2 Fitness Watch
This is the most expensive model on our best fitness tracker top 5 list. The Groom+Style team isn’t sure its extra features are worth the extra price, but if you suffered with the original uncomfortable and under-featured Band, this is a vast improvement.
There’s now a more comfortable flexible band, a curved and larger AMOLED screen, and a cooler (but still not overly attractive) look.
The Band 2 shows you everything a fitness tracker should and more. There’s a golf mode in addition to the usual running, biking and workout modes, plus a VO2 oxygen readout.
You can display weather, finance, social media and IM notifications along with other available apps like Microsoft Health (with fitness suggestions based on the metrics collected) as desired.
GPS is included so you can see full maps and progress, the tracker is compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows, and it can sync with all sorts of offboard fitness apps like Runkeeper and MapMyFitness. It recharges in less than an hour, too.
The lightweight Band 2 is a much better product than the original, with a ton of features to pretty much justify its high price tag. However, its cost and the fact that it’s still not as comfortable as its upper-end competitors are what led the Groom+Style review team to rank it at #3.
Looking closer at the Microsoft Band 2:
4. Misfit Ray Fitness Tracker
The Ray isn’t a “slimmed down” version of a smartwatch, as our first three choices could be described.
It’s more like the minimalist fitness tracker you might envision: slim, incredibly lightweight and functional – and also extremely stylish. Don’t be fooled, though; you get a lot tracker for the money.[youtube id=”cGc6Vl8RDDA” width=”750″ height=”340″ position=”left”]
There’s no display screen on the Ray, so you have to pair it to your iOS or Android phone via Bluetooth and the Misfit app. You get almost the same metrics (minus heart rate) as you would on a higher-priced fitness tracker, though, including specific readouts for various activities like jogging or biking.
You can even get call/text notifications via vibrations and different colored LEDs. Perhaps best of all, there’s no battery recharging required, since the Ray operates on three replaceable button batteries that last as long as six months.
The Misfit Ray is gorgeous, effective, accurate and almost weightless while being priced at less than our top-rated fitness trackers. If you don’t require an onboard display for your daily activity or workouts, it’s a steal.
Specifications for the Misfit Ray:
5. Jawbone UP3 Fitness Tracker
Here’s our bargain-basement choice. Believe it or not, it’s less expensive than the Misfit Ray yet still a very good all-day fitness tracker.
The UP3 looks like a teal bangle (five other colors are available), with all control of the tracker managed by a smartphone app which is compatible with most Android and some later iOS devices – if you don’t connect it to a device, you’ll have no idea what information it’s collected.
That information includes steps, calories, and heart rate (very unusual in this price range) as well as the detailed sleep information available on most trackers.
There are no phone notifications or other bells and whistles; the only notification is a low-battery alert (expect to get 4-5 days from a charge). But at this price, you wouldn’t expect extra goodies.
All-day tracking for those who don’t need the detailed info you get with a training model – in an attractive and lightweight fitness tracker. The Jawbone UP3 sounds like a great deal, and it is.
Digging deeper on the Jawbone:
That is it for our updated best fitness tracker review list for September, 2023 – if you are curious about our choices from previous years then continue reading.
Working out and keeping fit is important. Doing so helps you lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, raise your metabolism, prevent liver disease, lower your blood pressure, tackle heart disease and diabetes, you can also improve your bone density, reduce the potential of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, sleep better, and even enhance your sex life.
And you can’t forget endorphins, those feel good chemicals produced every time you exercise that can also fight depression. So no matter what kind of exercise you do, you can’t lose – and a quality fitness tracker can help!
The Best Fitness Tracker Reviews – Measuring Your Fitness and Activity Levels
The U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. The simplest activity is walking and the trusty pedometer can be used to estimate how far you have walked. The idea is pretty basic: walk 10,000 steps per day. According to The Walking Site website, the average person’s stride length is around 2.5 feet long. That equates to just over 2,000 steps to walk a mile. Those 10,000 steps make it nearly five miles. Worn from morning until the time you go to bed, the pedometer is a great way to see just how many steps you take throughout your day. But now there’s even more to take advantage of…
Here Comes the Fitness Tracker – What Do They Measure?
In addition to pedometers comes the fitness tracker. As the old adage says, “knowledge is power”, the fitness tracker provides you with more information than ever before.
These mainly wrist-worn devices act as a monitoring tool for a number of parameters such as:
What are the Key Characteristics of the Best Fitness Trackers?
When it comes to finding your best fitness tracker, it really doesn’t take much to decide what the most desirable characteristics are. You certainly don’t want to exercise with a heavy, cumbersome device. You want to find one that is lightweight and discreet. After all, you don’t want to wear something that’s awkward while you’re at work or out with family or friends. You also want a fitness tracker that’s easy to use, a device that doesn’t distract you from your exercise, i.e. having to adjust your tracker while riding your bicycle or even when you’re sleeping. You need to look for a tracker that’s comfortable every time it’s worn no matter where you’re at or what you’re doing.
The top of the range fitness trackers can come from many different companies. Most of them will provide you with a wealth of sensors, so finding the right one for your requirements can be a challenge. As a result, Groom+Style studied numerous devices and consulted with fitness experts to find the best fitness tracker in terms of ease of use, size and style, monitoring tools on offer, and affordability.
Check out Groom+Style’s best fitness tracker reviews below and see how they can make your exercise life and overall lifestyle better than ever before.
The Moov Now 3D Fitness Coach and Tracker
For a reasonable price, the Moov Now is the “fitness coach and tracker” that takes out the first position in Groom+Style’s list of the top 5 best fitness trackers. The Moov Now is the second iteration of this device – and in the review teams, opinion consolidates its position as the best fitness tracker on the market.
The Moov Now has been shrunk to 1.1 inches (28mm) in diameter – slightly smaller than a US 50 cent coin. The device itself has a 9-axis 3 motion sensor system including an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer – this is the kind of technology found in today’s latest gaming and military-grade devices. Unlike other fitness trackers, Moov Now is the only device that tracks your body’s movement in 3D. Which is why, for example, it can do more than just count steps, and can actually act as a coach and help you refine your form.
The device comes with 2 bands/straps which lets you wear it on wrist or ankle, to give you the most accurate measurements for your choice of workouts. It comes with one app tracking 6 activities: the Moov Run & Walk, Swimming, Cardio Boxing, Seven-Minute + and Cycling. At the end of each session, you are provided with detailed statistics and data organized into easy-to-understand charts and graphs. This revision of the Moov also includes your active minutes and sleep at night – this night and day functionality is pretty simple and Groom+Style hope that Moov improve on it during future releases.[youtube id=”3Ef95nAHFAs” width=”750″ height=”340″ position=”left”]
This electronic coach enables you to take your passion for fitness and desire for continuous improvement to the next level. With the advanced motion sensors the Moov Coach can help monitor your cadence, arm swing rate, and foot strike while running. While cycling it can monitor your cadence, and your stroke rate while swimming. If boxing is your game, you can actually wear one on each wrist in order to measure each punch. The Seven Minute workout+ uses real-time audio coaching for cardio boxing, running and body weight throughout your workouts. It’s like having a wearable fitness coach who watches your workouts, tracks your progress and records your movements. This is great because it can help you focus on your form and might assist in reducing injuries.
The key downside with the Moov Now is that it needs your phone for the coaching and the GPS to work (Moov Now is connected to your phone via Bluetooth). This is a deal breaker for some people, especially if they have big phones like the iPhone 6 Plus, and like to go for long runs (you can always update the run distance afterwards). From a swimming perspective, you can keep your phone in a locker and sync up the data once your workout is complete. Typically for cycling this is not an issue either.
The CR2032 coin battery should last for about 6 months and is easily replaced when required.
With all of the tremendous features on offer from this tracker, Groom+Style think you should walk—or run!—out to buy (or at least do more research) the Moov Now Fitness Coach and Tracker.
The Fitbit One Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker
Fitbit. It’s truly a name associated with the best fitness trackers. This model does exactly what it says on the tin: it tracks your steps, the distance you’ve traveled, the calories you’ve burned and even how many stairs you’ve climbed. You can set new goals for yourself, view your progress and earn badges for those things you’ve done well. The Fitbit One Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker—as the name implies—also monitors how well you sleep and for how long, and will wake you with a silent alarm (but won’t wake your partner!). Even cooler is the fact that it automatically and wirelessly syncs to your computer, tablets and more than 150 types of today’s smartphones via its Bluetooth 4.0.
You can also learn from the variety of free charts, graphs, and tools that help visualize your sleep time as well as your physical activities, thanks to a free customisable dashboard and mobile app. With those badges that you can earn, you’ll certainly have loads of fun.
What else can you do with the Fitbit One? There are loads more features for you to explore:
You can also export your Fitbit One data to popular fitness applications, including SparkPeople, Lost It!, MyFitnessPal and MayMyFITNESS.
The Fitbit One is also very discreet. You can wear it in your pocket, on a belt, and ladies, you can even wear it in your bra, thanks to the silicone clip that keeps it from slipping about.
The Fitbit One has a rechargeable battery that lasts from 10 to 14 days, and it’s sweat-proof as well as rain- and splash-proof. Weighing in at 0.28 ounces, it’s super lightweight so it can go anywhere.
CSX Walking 3D Pedometer Activity Fitness Tracker
If walking is your cup of tea, then the CSX Walking 3D Pedometer Activity Fitness Tracker may just be the ticket for more enjoyable walking sessions. It provides you with accurate tracking in the form of a silent 3D Advanced Tri-Axis walk sensor technology. Whereby the common pedometer uses a pendulum design, this 0.3 ounce tracker won’t miscount steps. You can place it anywhere on your body: your pocket, on your belt or hip pocket or in a bag by using a bag and the strong clip and security strap that come with the tracker. The CSX Walking 3D Pedometer Activity Fitness Tracker will measure your daily steps, the distance you’ve travelled, establish your actual stride length and measure your weight to personalize your readings. The device also can calculate all of the units in either imperial like inches, pounds and miles or in metric such as centimeters, kilograms and kilometers.
As is the case with any exercise, you have targets to set and meet and progress to keep track of. With this fitness tracker, you can view your progress via an OLED and beep indicator that show when you’ve reached your daily target. This device automatically stores up to seven days of activity to help you stay motivated and improve your day-to-day progress. It resets at midnight so you can monitor your daily steps and the distance you’ve walked. In addition to its extremely light one ounce weight, the CSX Walking 3D Pedometer Activity Fitness Tracker also comes with a free eBook, “Walk Yourself Fitter” to help you get the very best from walking – it’s great for all fitness levels.
DIZA100 DW64 Wireless Fitness Activity and Sleep Tracker
This device is perfect for the person who does not want to spend too much or is buying this as an entry device into the world or fitness trackers as they are not 100% sure that they will use them or find them helpful. Also, a lot of parents have been buying these for their children to help them develop a love of walking.
The DIZA100 DW64 Wireless Fitness Activity and Sleep Tracker does a pretty good job at recording your steps and calculating your daily calorie consumption. Once you’re at the end of your day, the device can then monitor your sleep and record its quality.
The DIZA100 DW64 Wireless Fitness Activity and Sleep Tracker also goes beyond monitoring your exercise and sleep. You can sync it with your smart phone via Bluetooth, and with its OLED digital time display you can set customized reminders for meetings and exercise – it can even tell you if you have been sitting for too long. There’s a call and message reminder for when incoming calls are not answered; this tracker will remind you through vibration. The push reminders are viewable on its OLED screen, and you can also receive them via SMS, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Phonecall, among others. Its wristband also supports Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi two-way to let you connect the cellphone’s Movnow app.
This device replaces the DIZA100 D5.
Tushi Personal Fitness and Activity Tracker with Calorie Counter
In Groom+Style’s final review of the best fitness trackers for your lifestyle, the team looks at the Tushi Personal Fitness and Activity Tracker. This nifty lightweight device has a large blue OLED display that you can easily view any time you want to see the hour and date, the number of steps you’ve taken (whether you’ve walked or ran), how many calories you’ve burned and what percentage of your fitness goal you’ve reached. Its activity reminder enables you to focus more on your goals, so you can push yourself harder for progressive fitness.
The Tushi Tracker is also excellent for sleep monitoring, and its silent alarm can wake you without disturbing others. All of its features—calorie counter, sleep monitor, and pedometer—are viewed at the touch of a single button.
This fitness tracker lets you view all of its functions without the need to sync to any mobile devices. However, if desired you simply download the SmartFit Wristband app and pair (via Bluetooth) it with your Android or iOS phones – and away you go.
The Groom+Style review team have found that these are among the best fitness tracker products available for September, 2023. They each offer a great range of features, so it’s just a matter of deciding which one is suitable for your own needs based on the types of exercise you participate in. It should be mentioned that if you’re a swimmer, not all fitness trackers are waterproof. So for example, the waterproof Moov Smart Fitness Coach and Tracker provides a swimming tool for comprehensive analyses of your biomechanics, injury reduction, and overall swimming improvement.
With their multiple useful features, quick and reliable syncing, they are sophisticated pieces of fitness equipment that will certainly help you progress in whatever fitness program you choose. They’re also sleek and lightweight, so there are no annoying cumbersome items to lug around. So get out there get fit and enjoy yourselves!
If you want to continue investigating running gadgets feel free to read the detailed review of the Top 5 Best GSP Running watches on the market.