The best fitness trackers to buy right now
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 Trackers in 2023
Best fitness tracker overall
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. Watch faces 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 budget fitness watch
If you’re looking to save a little moolah, the $39.99 Amazfit Bip S is an excellent choice. It’s not the most attractive tracker out there, but it gets you a lot of features you wouldn’t expect on a tracker under $100. For example, it has built-in GPS, in-depth sleep tracking, continuous heart rate monitoring, an always-on display, and about two weeks of battery life. It’s definitely more fitness tracker than a smartwatch, but you do get the option of editing watch faces, notifications, and music controls. That’s impressive at this price point.
The Bip S won’t win awards for looks, but in testing, it delivered accurate results on par with more expensive watches. If you’ve been missing Pebble’s simple and cheap smartwatches, this is a worthy alternative.
Best for serious outdoor athletes
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
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
The $179.99 Fitbit Charge 5 is one of the most advanced fitness trackers you can buy. It’s also one of the more significant upgrades to the lineup in a while, adding a bright OLED touchscreen, electrodermal activity sensor, and EKGs. It also supports smart features like contactless payments, notifications, and timers. On the health tracking side, it has built-in GPS, continuous heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and SpO2 sensors.
Is the Charge 5 one of the most exciting trackers out there? No. But it does its job well and for a decent price. The only thing we’re not super happy about is how quickly enabling the always-on display drains the battery. While the Charge 5 has an estimated battery life of seven days, that drops to 2-3 once you’ve got the AOD on. Otherwise, it’s hard to beat the Charge 5.
Most stylish fitness watch
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
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
If you have a Samsung phone, this is going to be the best full-featured smartwatch for fitness tracking. Not only is this the only Wear OS 3 smartwatch available right now, but Samsung’s genuinely put more effort into the Galaxy Watch’s health offerings. It’s made more improvements to sleep tracking, and the $279.99 Galaxy Watch 5 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. There aren’t any features that make use of it yet, but it future-proofs the watch for when those features eventually arrive.
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 slightly better, but it’s an improvement over the Galaxy Watch 4. 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
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
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.