Fitness trackers have come a long way from the simple bands that tracked steps and little else. Modern trackers can monitor everything from your heart health to how well you’ve recovered from a hard bout of training. They’ve got sensors galore and, in some cases, can give smartwatches a run for their money. Whatever your fitness goals are, there’s probably a fitness tracker that can help you achieve them.
Compared to some other gadgets, wearables are incredibly personal, which means there are a few extra considerations you’ll have to take into account before reaching for your wallet. It makes it hard to say that any one fitness tracker is the best for everyone. Thankfully, the best thing about fitness trackers in 2023 is that there’s enough variety to fit into every kind of lifestyle.
Best fitness tracker overall
Size: 46mm w/ 22mm straps / Weight: 34g / Battery life: up to 14 days / Display type: OLED touchscreen / GPS: Dual-frequency and six GNSS systems / Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi / Water resistance: 5ATM / Music storage: 2.3GB
The Amazfit GTR 4 punches way above its weight. It’s affordable at $199 and includes a whole array of features you’d expect to see on much pricier wearables. That includes a bright OLED screen, blood oxygen monitoring, sleep stage tracking, stress tracking, Amazon Alexa compatibility, and an offline digital assistant. It’s also got a native camera remote and a handy Pomodoro timer built in. And for outdoor fitness enthusiasts, the GTR 4 also has multiband GPS for more accurate GPS tracking in challenging environments. You can even import GPX routes from sites like Strava and Komoot. The GTR 4 takes a more holistic approach to health, trading in steps for PAI points to gauge whether you’re getting the recommended 150 minutes of moderate activity per week.
For smart features, the GTR 4 has all the basics: push notifications, quick text replies on Android, alarms, timers, and the ability to make and take calls over Bluetooth. The only thing the GTR 4 is really missing is contactless payments, but it more than makes up for it given the expansive feature set and battery life. It lasts about 10–14 days on a single charge with normal use and about a week with heavy usage. It may not have the brand recognition of a Fitbit, but since Google nerfed both the Versa 4 and Sense 2 last year, you might want to overlook that. Plus, the GTR 4 doesn’t have thick bezels like either of those watches. Watchfaces on the OLED display are crisp, and animations are smooth. When you consider that Amazfit watches are often on sale, it’s a no-brainer.
Best fitness watch for casual users
Sizes: 40mm w/20mm straps / Weight: 38g / Battery life: up to 11 days / Display type: OLED touchscreen / GPS: All-systems GNSS / Connectivity: Bluetooth, Ant Plus / Water resistance: 5ATM / Music storage: 4GB (for Music Edition)
The $250 Garmin Venu Sq 2 is the watch I recommend for anyone looking to replace their aging Fitbit Versa 2 or 3. It’s got a similar look and vibe, with a much nicer OLED display and longer battery life.
Garmin is known for its comprehensive fitness tracking, and that’s not an exception here. Of course, you get the basics, like steps and calories burned, but you get a whole lot more, too. There’s built-in GPS for tracking walks, runs, and bike rides — as well as plenty of other sports profiles like yoga and strength training. For smart features, you get push notifications, timers contactless payments, and a bunch of safety features like Garmin’s Incident Detection, which is its take on fall detection. (You will need to carry your phone with you, however, as this doesn’t have LTE.)
If you want the option of onboard music, you can shell out $50 extra for the Music Edition, which comes with enough storage for about 500 songs. I wouldn’t recommend it, however, as you’ll most likely have your phone on you since this isn’t a true standalone watch.
What I like most about this watch, however, is it’s one that you can grow with. On top of recovery metrics and sleep tracking, it also has Garmin Coach — a built-in, free training program for beginner and intermediate-level runners hoping to tackle a 5K, 10K, or half marathon. For health tracking, you can monitor heart rate, blood oxygen, intensity minutes (how many minutes of moderate exercise you get per week), stress, hydration, respiratory rate, and menstrual cycles. And the best part is Garmin doesn’t lock any of this behind a paywall.
Best for serious outdoor athletes
Sizes: 7S: 42mm w/20mm straps, 7: 47mm w/22mm straps, 7X: 51mm w/26mm straps / Weight: 7: 79g (Standard, Solar), 73g (Sapphire Solar) 7S: 63g (Standard, Solar), 58g (Sapphire Solar) 7X: 89g (Solar and Sapphire Solar) / Battery life: 7: up to 18 days, 22 w/solar 7S: up to 11 days, 14 w/ Solar, 7X: up to 28 days, 37 w/solar / Display type: MIP touchscreen / GPS: All-systems GNSS and dual-frequency GPS on Sapphire Solar editions / Connectivity: Bluetooth, Ant Plus, Wi-Fi / Water resistance: 10ATM / Music storage: up to 32GB
Garmin’s flagship Fenix 7 series is no joke. It’s got built-in multi-band GPS, weeks’ worth of battery life, the option of touchscreen or button navigation, topographical maps, and oodles upon oodles of data. There’s also a handy real-time stamina feature that helps you figure out how much you’ve got left in the tank.
Depending on the model you get, you might also get a built-in LED flashlight and solar charging. Garmin wearables are also known for providing extensive, in-depth metrics, and the Fenix is no exception. You get excellent recovery metrics, as well as helpful training guides and coaching programs. The best part is Garmin doesn’t charge extra for those features. That’s good news since the Fenix 7 series starts at $699.99.
We appreciate how quickly the Fenix 7 watches are able to pick up a GPS signal. That’s a must if you’re training in the dead of winter. These watches can also take a beating. All models are built to military-grade standards and feature up to 10 ATM of water resistance. That means they’re more than capable of a dunk in the ocean. Another plus is that the Fenix 7 series comes in some attractive colorways, making this watch less of an eyesore than some other rugged fitness watches. That helps people who may want a watch that can double as a daily driver.
The transflective screen isn’t our absolute favorite — the OLED on the Garmin Epix 2 is a lot easier on the eyes. (The Epix 2 is also a good option if battery life isn’t your highest priority.) However, the Fenix 7 lineup’s multiple size options make it a more versatile pick if you don’t have large wrists. It’s on the pricier end of things, but it’s an excellent option for people who spend a lot of time outdoors.
Best non-wrist tracker
Sizes: 8 proprietary sizes, 6-13, sizing kit needed / Weight: 4-6g (depends on size) / Battery life: up to 7 days / Display type: None / GPS: None / Connectivity: Bluetooth / Water resistance: Up to 328 feet / Music storage: None
The vast majority of fitness trackers are worn on the wrist, but the $299 Oura Ring isn’t. The smart ring is a good option for people who are looking for something a little more discreet. It’s also less distracting than some other wrist-based options, as it lacks a screen and doesn’t forward push notifications.
While smaller than your average wearable, the Oura Ring still tracks a ton of metrics, including heart rate variability and body temperature. The third iteration of the device also introduces SpO2 sensors, as well as all-day heart rate monitoring and period predictions. Future updates will also add activity tracking (at the moment, you have to import activities) and blood oxygen levels. If you’re looking for some stress relief, the Oura Ring also lets you track guided meditation sessions.
The Oura Ring tracks typical metrics — such as steps and calories burned — but its main focus is sleep and recovery. Each day, you’re given three sets of scores for your readiness, sleep, and activity. It’s a simple, holistic look at your overall wellness and an ideal pick if you want a more hands-off experience with your data.
Best fitness band
Size: 42mm x 24mm x 12.2mm with 16mm straps / Weight: 28g / Battery life: up to 18 days / Display type: OLED / GPS: Tethered / Connectivity: Bluetooth / Water resistance: 5ATM / Music storage: None
It’s truly hard to beat the Amazfit Band 7’s $49.99 price — doubly so since you can often find it on sale for even less. Wearing the Band 7 feels like a throwback to 2014, which is great if all you’re looking for is a simple and casual tracker that won’t break the bank.
No one is going to compliment you on the Band 7’s design, but it’s got a handful of cute watchfaces that make good use of its OLED touchscreen. And despite having an OLED display, you’ll still get roughly 14 days of battery life on a single charge. It’s also incredibly lightweight, making it a good option for sleep tracking as well.
You also get an absurd number of features for the price. That includes Amazon Alexa, continuous heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen monitoring, stress tracking, advanced sleep tracking, training metrics like VO2 max and load, abnormal heart rate alerts, menstrual tracking, push notifications, find my phone, a camera remote, and even a Pomodoro timer. You’re sacrificing contactless payments and will have to settle for tethered GPS, but this is a fair tradeoff considering everything else you’re getting. It’s not the best option for hardcore fitness tracking, but this is a great option if all you’re looking to do is casually track activity and your steps.
Most stylish fitness watch
Sizes: 40mm w/20mm straps / Weight: 19g / Battery life: up to 5 days / Display type: “hidden” OLED touchscreen / GPS: Tethered GPS / Connectivity: Bluetooth, Ant Plus / Water resistance: 5ATM / Music storage: N/A
While Garmin’s made some truly exquisite hybrid trackers in the past, the price made them hard to recommend. However, the Vivomove Sport finally gets things right. It looks like an analog Swatch, thanks to the hidden OLED display, but you don’t actually lose anything in terms of accuracy.
For $179.99, you are giving up some things like built-in GPS and NFC payments. However, you do get push notifications and access to Garmin’s entire fitness tracking platform. There are some more jewelry-like trackers — Bellabeat’s lineup or the Fitbit Luxe come to mind — but the Vivosport Move’s design is a lot sturdier for active lifestyles.
Best fitness tracker for iPhone users
Sizes: 41mm, 45mm / Weight: 32g (41mm), 39g (45mm) / Battery life: up to 18 hours / Display type: always-on LTPO OLED / GPS: Built-in GPS, plus GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, Beidou / Connectivity: LTE (optional), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi / Water resistance: up to 50 meters / Music storage: 32GB
If you’re looking for a smartwatch that does fitness well, then iPhone owners need to look no further than the $399 Apple Watch Series 8. (The LTE version costs $50 more.) Not much has changed in terms of the overall design; the Series 8 still comes in 41mm and 45mm sizes.
This year’s refresh makes the Series 8 a much more well-rounded fitness and health tracker than it’s been in the past. With watchOS 9, Apple has added advanced running metrics and the ability to create your own custom workouts. The watch also has two temperature sensors for advanced cycle tracking and Crash Detection if you ever find yourself in an accident. That’s on top of established health features like heart rate monitoring, EKGs, SpO2 monitoring, and sleep tracking, which have also been improved. And if you’re bad at taking your medications, the Series 8 has a handy medication reminders app.
If you’re a first-time buyer, you can also opt for the second-gen Apple Watch SE. It’s slightly cheaper at $279, and while you don’t get as many features, it’s a good introduction to the ecosystem.
Best fitness smartwatch for Samsung phones
Sizes: 40mm, 44mm / Weight: 28.7g (40mm), 33.5g (45mm) / Battery life: up to 40-50 hours / Display type: always-on OLED / GPS: Built-in GPS, plus GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou / Connectivity: LTE (optional), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi / Water resistance: up to 50 meters / Music storage: 16GB
If you have a Samsung phone, this is going to be the best full-featured smartwatch for fitness tracking. It’s no longer the only Wear OS 3 watch available right now, but Samsung has made more improvements to its wearable health features, especially sleep tracking. The $279.99 Galaxy Watch 5 also has its predecessor’s 3-in-1 sensor, which enables body composition analysis. That’s a unique feature that no other smartwatch at the moment is capable of. You can also access workout videos from the Samsung Health app — though the production values aren’t as good as Fitness Plus or Peloton.
The Watch 5 also adds a temperature sensor. While the watch didn’t make much use of this when it launched, Samsung has since announced it’s adding temperature-based period tracking sometime this quarter.
This year, there are fewer growing pains with the transition to Wear OS 3 (at least for Samsung). Google Assistant, Google Pay, and YouTube Music are all available on the Watch 5. However, some features are limited to Samsung owners, making it hard to wholeheartedly recommend this to non-Samsung Android users. We also wish battery life was better, but it’s an improvement over the Galaxy Watch 4 and Wear OS 4 might help extend this even further when it arrives later this year. If battery life is your top concern, you might be better off with the $449.99 Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.
Best fitness smartwatch for Android
Sizes: 41mm / Weight: 36g / Battery life: up to 40-50 hours / Display type: always-on OLED / GPS: Built-in GPS, plus GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou / Connectivity: LTE (optional), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi / Water resistance: 5ATM / Music storage: 32GB
Last year, the Google Pixel Watch shifted the playing field for Android smartwatches. Not only did it mark Google’s entry into wearable hardware, but it’s also technically the best Fitbit smartwatch. Unlike Samsung’s smartwatches, the experience is the same for all Android phones. It’s gorgeous on the wrist and really, the thick bezels aren’t so bad in person.
As far as fitness tracking goes, everything on the Pixel Watch is done via an exclusive Fitbit integration. It’s not perfect, as Google nerfed or omitted some features to boost the lackluster Fitbit Sense 2 and Versa 4. For instance, it lacks automatic exercise logging. However, Google has since added some health features missing at launch. Plus, you’re still getting a built-in GPS sensor, cellular capability, and FDA-cleared EKGs.
When it comes to smarts, this is the only non-Samsung smartwatch that has Google Assistant right now. And since it’s Google’s flagship smartwatch, it comes with Google Maps, Google Wallet, and YouTube Music already installed. You also don’t have to worry about upgrading the software because it ships with Wear OS 3. Performance-wise, Wear OS 3 runs smoothly thanks to a Samsung processor. It’s not as powerful as the chip in Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 or 5, but it’s a better experience than Android watches running on the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus platform.
Keep in mind, this is a first-gen device. Although it’s a strong debut, it has quirks that will likely be worked out in future generations. If you want a more polished Wear OS 3 smartwatch, it might make sense to wait for Mobvoi’s forthcoming Wear OS 3 smartwatch that will purportedly run Qualcomm’s latest W5 Plus platform.
Best for early adopters and elite athletes
Sizes: 43mm by 28mm by 10mm / Weight: 18g / Battery life: 4-5 days / Display type: None / GPS: None / Connectivity: Bluetooth / Water resistance: up to 10 meters / Music storage: None
The Whoop 4.0 is not for the casual enthusiast. Not only does it come with an expensive $30 monthly subscription, but the information it provides is only useful if you’re actively training for a cardio-intensive sport. If strength training is your main form of exercise, you’re better off looking elsewhere. Like the Oura Ring, this is a distraction-free tracker that specializes in sleep and recovery. The main difference is this has a more athletic bent. For instance, you’ll get way more insight into how much strain you’ve taken on in the past week.
Whoop also provides a lot of novel ways to wear its tracker, including in underwear and arm/knee sleeves. This makes it an appealing option if you’re one of those unicorns who needs a secondary tracker to supplement another form of fitness tracking. Again, this is a tracker best appreciated by people who go hard and aren’t afraid to experiment.
Update May 23rd, 10:27AM ET: Swapped out Amazfit Bip S for Garmin Venu Sq 2 and the Fitbit Charge 5 for the Amazfit Band 7.
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