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Best fitness tracker 2024: Our tried and tested picks

best fitness tracker

We’ve tested and reviewed the best fitness trackers so you can keep track of your distance, speed, calories and even GPS

If you’re looking to get fit this year, our pick of the best fitness trackers can give you a very helpful leg up. Although they lack some of the features of dedicated smartwatches and fitness wearables, the humble fitness tracker wristband is perfect for those who prefer something a bit more minimalist.

We’ve tested all ten fitness trackers featured in this round-up, putting them through their paces and challenging the reliability of features such as activity tracking, GPS, heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking. As part of testing, we wear every fitness tracker for at least a week, and take them out on a series of short runs to get a true understanding of how they perform in everyday scenarios.

Below our round-up, you’ll find a buying guide answering the most common questions regarding how to choose the best fitness tracker for you. If you already have a rough idea of what you’re looking for, you can jump right to the best fitness trackers you can buy.

Best fitness tracker: At a glance

Best budget fitness trackerFitbit Inspire 3 (~£84)Check price at Amazon
Best Fitbit with GPSFitbit Charge 5 (~£139)Check price at Amazon
Best Fitbit alternativeGarmin Vivosmart 5 (~£110)Check price at John Lewis

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How we test fitness trackers

We’ve tried out all of the fitness trackers featured on our roundup below, wearing them out and about and testing the accuracy of crucial features such as activity, GPS, heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking.

Testing a Garmin Venu Sq2 fitness tracker

Where possible, we use a Stryd wind pod and a chest strap as benchmarks for GPS and heart rate monitoring, comparing results over a series of runs. Beyond this, we also take into consideration the software’s ease of use, battery life and, of course, how it looks.

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The best fitness trackers you can buy in 2024

1. Fitbit Charge 6: Best Fitbit tracker

Price when reviewed: £140 | Check price at Amazon

fitbit charge 6 on its side on a green carpet background

  • Great for… bright readable display, week-long battery life, Google Pay
  • Not so great for… the last word in GPS accuracy

Fitbit trackers are great for simple, every day, easy-to-use fitness tracking and the Fitbit Charge 6 is the latest and greatest in the Fitbit range. It has a 1.04in AMOLED touchscreen, which is bright and easy to read. GPS tracking is built in, so you can track your runs without needing your phone, and it will also monitor all the usual day-to-day health metrics, from steps and daily heart rate to sleep and stress.

In testing, we found that the GPS was a bit wayward, but it’s better than tracking with just steps alone. Heart rate accuracy was very good, though, and we found battery life was excellent, too, lasting around a week, even with a few workouts thrown into the mix.

This version brings a number of key new features over the Charge 5 as well. The heart rate monitor can now connect to gym equipment to send your heart rate data over Bluetooth, there’s now Google Maps turn-by-turn navigation (you need your phone with you for this), and you also get Google Pay, which allows you to use the Charge to pay for items at contactless payment points.

Read our full Fitbit Charge 6 review

Key specs – Screen type: Colour AMOLED; Battery life: 7 days (GPS and always-on display switched off); Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: Built-in; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: No

2. Fitbit Inspire 3: Best budget fitness tracker

Price when reviewed: £76 | Check price at Amazon Fitbit Inspire 3 against a white background

  • Great for… an introduction into Fitbits and the Fitbit app
  • Not so great for… those who want a bigger screen or GPS tracking

If you want access to the fabulous Fitbit app, but don’t want to splash out on the Charge 5 (or the company’s smartwatches), then the Inspire 3 is a very good alternative, even if it’s double the price of Xiaomi’s offering.

The Fitbit Inspire 3 is a simple but effective wearable, primarily designed to passively measure your steps, sleep, calories burned and active minutes. There’s also accurate heart-rate tracking and a new spO2 sensor for tracking how oxygenated your blood is.

There’s also an improved screen, with a colour AMOLED unit replacing the monochrome panel used in the Fitbit Inspire 2. This offers a nice splash of colour without sacrificing battery life, which still clocks in at up to ten days. At 20g, it’s slightly lighter, and the switch to a simple buckle on the wrist strap is also a big improvement.

The screen is small, but the text is still relatively sharp and you’re unlikely to be interacting with it much anyway, except when you want to make use of the excellent guided breathing exercises or check your steps. There’s still no built-in GPS and it’s a tad expensive for what it offers, but for fitness novices, the Fitbit app is worth the price of admission alone.

Read our full Fitbit Inspire 3 review

Key specs – Screen type: Colour AMOLED; Battery life: Up to 10 days; Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: Connected only; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: No

3. Garmin Vivosmart 5: Best Fitbit alternative

Price when reviewed: £130 | Check price at John Lewis

Garmin Vivosmart 5 in white, green and black on a marble table - best fitness tracker

  • Great for… a brilliant app without paywalls
  • Not so great for… doesn’t have GPS tracking

The Garmin Vivosmart 5 is an excellent fitness tracker for those who like to dig deep into the data. Garmin Connect isn’t as user-friendly as Fitbit and can be a bit daunting for beginners, but it tracks plenty of fitness metrics for those wanting to track progress and form.

Alongside the usual slew of fitness tracking functions – including heart rate, step, calorie, sleep and stress tracking – the Vivosmart 5 benefits from blood oxygen saturation tracking and a broader “Body Battery” score. This last feature calculates your body’s overall resources and gives you an idea of when you should be working out – and when you should be resting.

New for the fifth generation? 24/7 Ox Pulse tracking (albeit with a hit to battery life), respiration rates, fall detection and sleep scores, as well as a larger screen and the introduction of changable bands. Unfortunately, it also loses the altimeter, meaning it will no longer track stairs climbed. But even without this, the Vivosmart 5 is a durable, well-rounded fitness tracker. If a Fitbit doesn’t appeal but you don’t fancy compromising on features, you won’t find much better at this price.

Read our full Garmin Vivosmart 5 review

Key specs – Screen type: Monochrome OLED; Battery life: 7 days; Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: Connected only; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: No

4. Samsung Galaxy Fit 2: Best fitness tracker for Samsung phones owners

Price when reviewed: £75 | Check price at Amazon

Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 being held in front of a white background

  • Great for… Samsung smartphone owners
  • Not so great for… GPS tracking

The Galaxy Fit 2 not only boasts a bigger screen than its predecessor, but also offers significantly improved battery life compared, with Samsung claiming it can now last up to 15 days on a single charge with moderate usage. Along with its low price, these iterations make the Samsung Fit 2 a great-value option, especially for anyone with a Samsung phone. To clarify, the Fit 2 also works with iOS and non-Samsung Android phones, but you will need to install both the Galaxy Wearable/Fit app and the Samsung Health to do so.

There’s no built-in GPS, which, although expected from a device of this price point, means that you will need to be in close range of your smartphone and have Bluetooth switched on in order to track workouts with a higher degree of accuracy. Along with continuous heart-rate monitoring and sleep tracking, the Fit 2 offers workout modes for walking, running, cycling and swimming. If you have a Samsung phone and are tempted to try wearable tech, you could do a lot worse for the money.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 review

Key specs – Screen type: Colour AMOLED; Battery life: 15 days; Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: None; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: No

5. Huawei Watch Fit 2: Best fitness tracker / smartwatch hybrid

Price when reviewed: £130 | Check price at Huawei

Huawei Watch Fit 2 fitness tracker on a wooden table

  • Great for… attractive looks and a reasonable price
  • Not so great for… third-party fitness platform support

Huawei’s Watch Fit 2 is designed to offer the benefits of both a smartwatch and a fitness tracker: it has all the fitness features you would expect, including heart-rate monitoring, stress and sleep tracking and automatic SpO2 monitoring, as well as lifestyle features such as music playback and the ability to answer calls from your wrist (plus being able to respond to texts from a selection of canned responses). There are 97 different workout modes to play with, and its personal trainer feature can provide training plans for runners based on their goals.

Improving on its predecessor, the Watch Fit 2 has a bigger, sharper screen as well as a wider choice of designs and watch straps – from the classic sporty silicone to more flashy gold and silver coloured metal wristbands. The battery life is very impressive too, offering up to 10 days of usage.

Of course, there are drawbacks: you can only really make the most out of the watch’s wider features, such as the AI voice assistant and remote camera shutter, if you have a Huawei phone running the EMUI operating system. Huawei’s Health app doesn’t mesh awfully well with third party fitness apps such as Strava either, and synchronising data between the two can be extremely fiddly. Ultimately, a Huawei wearable isn’t always the most attractive option, particularly if you have a Samsung phone or an iPhone.

That said, if you’re after a basic smartwatch-cum-fitness-tracker that doesn’t break the bank, the Watch Fit 2 is far from a bad choice. And if you’re after something more affordable, you can still get the original Watch Fit now for under £90.

Read our full Huawei Watch Fit 2 review

Key specs – Screen type: Colour AMOLED; Battery life: Up to 10 days; Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: In-built; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: Yes

6. Garmin Forerunner 55: Best step-up Garmin fitness tracker

Price when reviewed: £180 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… huge range of fitness features and great battery life
  • Not so great for… low quality screen

It’s not quite a fitness tracker, but if you fancy a step up from the usual fitness band devices and basic feature sets, the Garmin Forerunner is the way to go. Its general activity tracking is superb, monitoring all the usual stuff, such as steps, stress, heart rate and sleep – and it has more advanced metrics like Garmin’s excellent Body Battery monitor. This lets you know when you’re run down and need to rest before exercising more.

What’s more, in testing we found the accuracy of its GPS was good – more than we can say for the majority of fitness bands with GPS – and so was heart rate monitoring. We also found battery life to be superb as well, consistently lasting a week no matter what.

For all these reasons, the Garmin Forerunner 55 is an excellent choice for anyone looking to take their fitness journey to the next level, but particularly budding runners who may be training with a specific event in mind.

Read our full Garmin Forerunner 55 review

Key specs – Screen type: Colour transflective memory in pixel (MIP); Battery life: 7 days (GPS and always-on display switched off); Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: Built-in; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: No

How to choose the best fitness tracker for you

What’s the difference between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch?

These days, almost all smartwatches – from the Apple Watch Series 8 or Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 – are also accomplished fitness trackers. They will allow you to monitor pretty much any physical activity, and will most likely keep track of your heart rate and sleep patterns at the very least. They will pack a combination of large watch faces, app support, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, built-in GPS and many, many other jazzy features.

On the flip side, most fitness trackers are simple bands, with tiny displays. They will often track basic fitness information (steps taken, calories burned, distance travelled) onboard, but tend to require a permanent connection to a smartphone for in-depth analysis, GPS tracking and to display notifications.

How much should I spend?

The fitness trackers on this list range in price from around £30 to almost £200. The expensive entries are very nearly full-blooded smartwatches but, ordinarily, you should be able to find a cracking fitness tracker for less than £100 or even £50 if your needs are modest. All of the major manufacturers (Fitbit, Garmin, Huawei, Xiaomi and so on) sell fitness trackers that cater to the top and bottom ends of the £100 bracket.

What features should I look out for?

All of the items on this list will track the same set of basic fitness metrics: steps taken, distance travelled and calories burned. Most will also track a vast selection of sports, either automatically or otherwise. All will have an app that displays the collected fitness information and connects users to the broader community.

Other crucial features (that may not be present in all models) include:

1. Heart-rate sensor: This was once a premium feature, but is now included on almost all fitness trackers. Still, make sure before you buy: often, these models will be marked by an “HR” in the product name.

2. GPS: Fitness trackers tend to use something called connected GPS to track your route. This means that they piggyback on a smartphone’s GPS sensor, adding to the data your smartphone records rather than tracking your route outright. This means you cannot track your run without also taking your smartphone with you.

The alternative is built-in GPS, which means that the device has a built-in sensor. These wearables will track your run without needing a connection to your phone. Check before you buy – we list what kind of GPS our recommended trackers support in the key specs section of our mini-reviews.

3. Altimeter: To measure how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed over the course of a day (or more adventurously, how many flights of stairs the mountain you just climbed equates to), you will need an altimeter.

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