Most people find losing weight and getting in shape incredibly hard. Why is that? From my experience, the number one reason for this is lacking the ability to track their progress. Buying the best fitness tracker will give you just that!
Without tracking your results you simply don`t know how much progress you`ve made so it is easy to give up once you hit your first “brick wall.” Gadgets, such as activity trackers, will track how manycalories you burn, monitor your sleeping habits and aggregate all this data into a smartphone/pc app so you can monitor your progress, set goals and achieve them!
Table of Contents
- Best Fitness Tracker For Your Specific Needs
- Fitness Tracker Reviews
- 1. Garmin Forerunner 920XT EU Version with HR Monitor
- 2. Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband
- 3. Garmin Forerunner 310XT – Budget Tracker For Pro Athletes
- 4. Garmin Vivosmart
- 5. Jawbone Up Move
- 6. MOOV Smart Fitness Coach and Tracker
Best Fitness Tracker For Your Specific Needs
It`s not enough to just read a dozen of reviews, find the best fitness tracker and buy it; you need to first categorize yourself, answer the question why. Why do you want to buy it?
Are you just a beginner and want to “dip your feet” with a cheaper model, do you want to get in good shape (maybe even brag a little) and monitor your progress, or are you a professional athlete and you view best activity trackers as tools to help you on your journey to the top?
Having this in mind, we`ve divided this article into several sections:
- Beginner – here we will be reviewing cheaper models, “entry level” if you will, perfect for first time owners and beginners
- Intermediate – here we will be talking about a bit more serious fitness trackers, for those of you that are committed to achieving your fitness goals
- Pro – here we will mostly be talking about pro gadgets, for professional athletes and emphasize on triathletes
Fitness Tracker Reviews
It is time to start with the reviews. As I`ve said before, we are going to group these activity trackers based on your need. The first one up is the “Beginners” group:
1. Garmin Forerunner 920XT EU Version with HR Monitor
Garmin 920XT is most expensive but it is the best activity tracker for professional athletes. It is the most well-equipped and most multi-sport oriented watch on the market today – it is capable of tracking multiple sport disciplines including outdoor running, indoor running, swimming in the pool and swimming out in the open, cycling and triathlon.
Our Rating: (4.6 / 5)
It will monitor in great detail:
- Running dynamics – in addition to tracking distance, it will also log vertical oscillations, ground contact and cadence
- Swimming – unlike 310XT, 920 will measure pace, stroke type and count, log resting times and swimming drills
- Cycling – measuring speed, cadence, heart rate and compare it with other athletes your age
- Ascend and descent
- Maximum oxygen consumption rate (VO2 max)
- And, of course, steps taken and calories burned
Live tracking is a another cool feature where syncing it to your smartphone will allow your friends to follow your progress in real time.
The battery will last up to 24 hours in normal training mode, but if you optimize it you can get it to last up to 40 hours (it depends on the activity you are tracking and the amount of notifications sent from your phone).
When it comes to satellite tracking, Garmin 920XT is a champ, it will usually find a satellite in around 5 seconds (often less) and the satellite cache will be valid for one week. This allows it to track, not only your steps but also the change of pace, and adapts to it quickly.
2. Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband
When I mention Fitbit you know things are getting serious. Fitbit is the leading company responsible for some of the best fitness trackers on the market today.
Our Rating: (4.0 / 5)
Fitbit charge is one of the lower priced models, but it offers most functionalities his “more expensive” brothers offer:
- 3-Axis Accelerometer – for tracking steps taken and total distance
- Altimeter – for stairs climbed
- Calories burned
- Automatic sleep monitoring – this activity tracker will not only monitor when and how long you sleep, it will also gauge the quality of your sleep automatically (most other trackers require manual setup). You can also set silent, vibrating alarm
- OLED display – which you can use to display time and incoming caller ID (once you sync it with your phone)
Fitbit Charge is a powerful little device, capable to store a whole week of detailed workout data, before you transfer it to your app. Another great thing about this tracker is the ability to transfer datadirectly to your Win PC, Mac or your Android/iOs/Win smartphone.
If you are serious about weight loss and want to keep track of your daily caloric intake, you will be glad to know that this model also offers an interesting food tracking ability – you can input various foods and calculate how many calories you ate through the day and modify your exercise accordingly.
The end verdict is this – Fitbit Charge is probably the best activity tracker when it comes to mid range, affordable models.
3. Garmin Forerunner 310XT – Budget Tracker For Pro Athletes
Various fitness tracker reviews you read online will make you believe that a good tracker for professional athletes will cost you a ton of money. But this is not always true. And a perfect example for this is Garmin Forerunner 310XT.
But, I want to point out that people don`t just buy it because it is cheap. One of its best features is user friendliness. The screen of the device is relatively large – one quick glance will give you all the information you need; the buttons are large as well – you will be able to reach and press them easily, super important for when you are running or swimming.
Our Rating: (4.2 / 5)
Another useful feature is the coach. Some people don`t like it but I think this is a nice feature because it gives you the opportunity to race against yourself. You can load the course you already did as well as the time, and the watch will then allow the watch to compare your current time against the previous ones.
Other useful features are:
- Notifications – you can set it to beep after a certain distance or time interval, so you can monitor your pace
- Display – you can have up to 4 displays at any one time. For example, you can set it to show time, distance, pace and average pace for the whole run, for a better insight in your exercising
- Heart rate – heart rate is actually an optional feature. It only costs around $20 extra, so the total price of this activity tracker+heart rate monitor is $164.5 (at the time of writing this review). If you ask me, you should definitely go for the HR monitor, but you don`t have to if you think you don`t need it
- GPS tracking – GPS tracking is done via HotFix satellite prediction, meaning it will track your route even in the urban environment or under tree covers
- Swimming GPS tracking – this is the main drawback of this watch. It has been known to lose signal when in water. It is water proof, but when it goes under water (during a stroke) it will lose signal. Of course, for such an inexpensive fitness tracker, this is something we would expect. If you are looking for a device with accurate swimming tracking, you will want to buy Garmin 920XT.
4. Garmin Vivosmart
I don`t see a lot of fitness tracker reviews mentioning Garmin Vivosmart and I think this is a big mistake since this is one solid device… though it is a bit more expensive than Fitbit.
It does everything you would expect from a fitness tracker – monitor your steps (the distance you cross), the amount of calories you burn and your sleep… But that`s not all! This is a fitness tracker which is also a bit of a smart watch. It also shows emails, text messages, social media notifications and incoming calls.
Our Rating: (3.8 / 5)
Vivosmart also features a “Move bar,” meant to motivate you to work on achieving your daily goals. The bar actually shows you how long have you been inactive – after the first hour of inactivity one bar will blink, the device will vibrate and let you know that you should get off your ass and move around. After this initial one hour, new bars will start to show every 15 minutes making sure you complete your daily goal!
You can wear it 24/7, it`s silicone finish makes it very comfortable and will fit your wrist perfectly, in adition to being very durable.
Even though the device itself doesn`t have an buttons, it doesn`t need them since the screen is touch activated (a really cool feature). Note that the screen will be slightly less responsive when turning it on, but once it is on, it will respond perfectly, without any problems.
Unlike some of the previous models we reviewed, this fitness tracker is water resistant to up to 50 meters, so there is no need to take it off when going for a swim.
5. Jawbone Up Move
Our Rating: (3.7 / 5)
Jawbone Up is the best fitness tracker for people who are just starting out. It will:
- Count your steps with high accuracy
- Monitor your sleeping – though you will have to set it manually
- Track burned calories
- Synchronize data – it will sync all the data it gathers to your free Jawbone app (which you are required to install)
One of the major design changes the company introduced with this device was the old pedometer design with a belt clip, so you can wear it on your clothes. But for those of you who don`t like this, Jawbone is offering a wristband as well.
Wristband is also recommended if you plan on wearing this tracker during the night, since the clip can fall off your clothes as you toss and turn.
Jawbone fitness tracker is easy to use – at the front of the device is a single large button which you press (or press and hold) to initiate the desired mode and sync with the app.
Speaking of the app, Jawbone app is really what sets this device apart from the competition! The app will not only track exercise time, the time you spent sleeping and burned calories, it will also allow you to set goals (for better motivation) and even log drinks and food you consume (to give you a better understanding of your daily caloric intake).
Another awesome feature this app incorporates is the “coach.” Below the exercise graphs you will find a box with aggregated information based on your performance. By comparing this data with the data of other people your age, the “coach” may recommend you step up your exercise, or even challenge you to do more than you thought you could!
All in all, Jawbone Up Move is one of the best gadgets in it`s price range and we gladly recommend it!
6. MOOV Smart Fitness Coach and Tracker
This product is geared more to guiding and coaching you as you as you do your exercises, rather just tracking your performance. It comes with a real-time audio coach for body weight and cardio exercising.
Our Rating: (3.2 / 5)
The coach is great for both ends of the spectrum:
- It will “force” your butt off the couch and motivate you to get moving but
- It will also work with hard core fitness enthusiasts challenging them to push even further
It`s tracking capabilities match the previous model we discussed – burned calories tracking, counting steps, time spent exercising, but it features an amazing advantage – it analyses your movements and exercises in real-time and offers audio suggestions to make them even more efficient.
MOOV tracker is very user friendly, you can attach it to your wrist or around your ankle and, after a while, you will forget it is even there. You will just need to download the appropriate exercising first; the company is currently offering 5 apps:
- For running and walking – it will help you learn more about proper running pace, technique and cadence
- Swimming – measures your stroke, lap times, rest and turn breakdowns
- Cardio boxing – features choreographic boxing exercises and tutorials to help you get the most out of your exercise. The app is also optimized for the use of two trackers, one for each hand
- Cycling – this is the latest app developed by the company, designed to track distance, speed, cadence and elevation
- 7 minute+ – this app is based on a 7 minute workout published on the American College of Sports and Medicine Journal. The research suggest that health benefits of long runs can be achieved with just a few minutes of intense exercise. You can give it a go and let us now if it worked for you!