Your buying guide to the best fitness trackers in 2018
Fitness trackers are the best way to continuously monitor your daily activity, be it casual or professional. The perfect smartphone companion, a tracker helps measure activity throughout the day be it steps, swims, boxing, running or weights and allow you to view all the data on your smartphone.
The downside? There are tons of them. Way too many! Brands like Fitbit dominate the conversation, and while they are good, there are lots of trackers out there that do things different and sometimes better.
There are many types of fitness tracker, and the features affect the design and the price – the two things you are no doubt looking at right now.
Think what you want from an activity band. If you just want to count steps and not charge it very often, then you can go for a subtle band with no screen.
But if you want to run a marathon you’ll have to spend a little more for features like a display, GPS tracking and heart rate monitoring. Whether or not a band is waterproof and if you can swim with it is another thing to consider.
Some of these bands can GPS track by tethering to a phone as long as you don’t mind taking your phone on a run with you. And remember to check out the corresponding app for each tracker. The Fitbit app is very different from Samsung Health for example, and this might affect your buying decision.
How much should you spend? That depends on your preferred budget and what you need it for. You might only need to spend £60, but if a £150 tracker is more appropriate you’ll have to bite the bullet.
We’ve reviewed a whole host of fitness trackers, but here are the ten best that cover the needs of every kind of situation – so the band at number ten might actually be better for you than the one at number one.
- Reviewed on: 1 November 2018
The best all-round Fitbit
Fitbit has successfully redesigned its most popular product with the Charge 3. For first-time buyers, you won’t find a better-featured activity tracker on the market at such a fair price. It tracks Steps, Distance, Calories burned, Active Minutes, Floors Climbed, Heart Rate, and Sleep Stages, and can connect to your phone's GPS if you want to map your runs.
You also get a full set of on-screen notifications such as Caller ID, texts, Calendar, WhatsApp, and others. It even has its own Weather app.
Given that it comes two years after the Charge 2 we think it’s a warranted upgrade, particularly if you desire the longer battery life (7 days) and full waterproofing.
The Charge 3 should prove very popular come Christmas and especially for those New Year resolutions. It is a worthy upgrade to Fitbit's most popular-ever fitness tracker.
Read our Fitbit Charge 3 review.
- Reviewed on: 21 November 2018
The Fitbit Charge 2 has just about every fitness-tracking feature that the top-end Fitbits boast, in a slim, lightweight band. It measures steps, distance, active minutes, floors climbed, calories burned, heart rate, sleep stages, and cardio-fitness levels, plus boasts automatic multi-sports tracking.
It also offers super-useful on-wrist notifications such as Caller ID, texts and calendar alerts, and can connect to your phone’s GPS for runs. It might not have all the apps you get with the Versa and Ionic but its feature set really is near complete.
As such it represents great value for money, and is available in seven colours - the biggest choice of all the Fitbits.
The Charge 2 has now been updated (read our Fitbit Charge 3 review for more details) but you might find some online bargains for this older model.
Read our Fitbit Charge 2 review.
3. Fitbit Versa
- Reviewed on: 23 November 2018
The best Fitbit smartwatch
While it lacks the built-in GPS of the Ionic, the Fitbit Versa is otherwise identical in features, and is smaller and lighter on the wrist. And, of course, it can still connect with the GPS on your phone. As a smartwatch it can use a growing number of apps (Weather, Starbucks, Runkeeper, Strava and more) as well as on-wrist Fitbit Pay and music storage and control, plus notifications such as Caller ID and texts.
Fitbit Coach offers animated on-screen workouts. It also boasts more designer accessories than the Ionic. While aimed at women (who might find the Ionic too large) the Versa is most definitely a unisex design – although it would take a confident man to wear the Peach/Rose-Gold version.
Read our Fitbit Versa review.
4. Moov Now
- Reviewed on: 2 February 2016
The Moov Now is one of the most interesting activity trackers we've tried. It puts workouts and coaching first and the basic activity and sleep tracking second, and that's obvious, but not necessarily a bad thing. The voice coaching itself is motivating, but it's the levels, achievements and personal bests that'll keep you coming back for more. It's a shame that the activity and sleep tracking is so limited, so if that's what you're looking for in an activity tracker you'll want to look elsewhere, but for runners and cyclists of any level and for people who enjoy quick workouts at home, £59.99 will go a long way here.
Read our Moov Now review.
5. Misfit Ray
- Reviewed on: 26 April 2018
We'd recommend the Misfit Ray. It's really good-looking and the choice of colours makes it even more stylish to suit each individual, haptic feedback is a real boon and it compares really well with rivals in the same price range. Battery life is excellent and the app is intuitive too. You'll find that you're motivated to get out there and get fit in no time.
Read our Misfit Ray review.
- Reviewed on: 26 November 2018
The Mi Band 3 is not entirely flawless, but you will not find a better fitness tracker at this price (currently £20.62 at GearBest).
Fully waterproof and with 20-day battery life, this fitness band can track your steps, sleep and heart-rate, and offers smartwatch-like functionality including the ability to see at a glance the time, date, weather forecast, incoming texts and phone calls and other notifications.
The OLED display is larger than in previous generations, which means more space for information (some of it in Chinese language). It's not quite bright enough for easy use in direct sunlight, and it does tend to pick up fluff and dust, but this hypoallergenic wristband is super-low-weight and should fit most wrists.
Read our Xiaomi Mi Band 3 review.
- Reviewed on: 29 November 2017
The Gear Fit2 Pro is a solid choice if you want a slim GPS fitness tracker that works well on Android or iOS. It has more features and a vastly better screen than the similarly built Fitbit Charge 2, but costs £90 more.
Samsung has made a fitness tracker that costs more than rival products, but over £100 less than its smartwatches but packs in most of the same features.
It does try to do too many smartwatch things with a screen that doesn’t suit though. Buy it if you like the design, but if it’s not a deal breaker you can opt for something cheaper with the same basic GPS functionality.
Read our Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro review.
- Reviewed on: 26 April 2018
Overall, we'd recommend the Misfit Shine 2. It's an all-rounder with some added perks including the haptic feedback for notifications and calls, which we've found enormously useful. Comparing it with rival Fitbit we think it's been priced well, and not having to think about the battery life too often is a huge boon, meaning you'll rarely have to take it off.
Read our Misfit Shine 2 review.
- Reviewed on: 10 July 2017
The best Fitbit for beginners
The Fitbit Flex 2 is the slimmest, lightest and (let’s face it) least expensive Fitbit wristband. It has a minimalist display of four dots, and (like the Fitbit Versa and Ionic) can track your swimming stats. It doesn’t boast all the features found on others (there’s no altimeter for measuring floors climbed, heart-rate monitor, clock or multi-sports tracking) but if you’re mainly interested in entry-level fitness metrics such as steps, distance and calories, the Flex 2 is a great start for activity tracking.
Via extra accessories, you can also wear it as a fashionable bangle or pendant. But if you want a clock and smart notifications you’ll need to spend a little more.
Read our Fitbit Flex 2 review.
- Reviewed on: 21 November 2018
After an extensive review of price, features, design and performance, the Huawei Band 2 Pro is definitely a recommended purchase for anyone looking to stay healthy.
It’s packed with loads of features such as GPS fitness tracking, heart and oxygen data, messaging and calls, a relaxation aid and sleep tracking - with data stored, outlined and explained on the Huawei app.
The Huawei Band 2 Pro takes a holistic approach to health by targeting both mental and physical wellbeing.
For the reasonable price of £79.99 ($69.99 USD), users can monitor health, maintain or improve fitness goals, sleep better, relax and set personalized goals.
Read our Huawei Band 2 Pro review.