Best fitness tracker 2019: Pick the perfect fitness band or watch

If you’re looking for a top fitness tracker – be it an activity band or fitness watch – the choice can be baffling.

Fitness trackers these days offer advanced sleep monitoring insights, 24/7 heart rate and, of course, step tracking for your 10,000 per day too.

In 2019, it’s Fitbit that’s leading the way still – with its new Fitbit Inspire HR offering a brilliant mix of features and price, as well as the Fitbit Charge 3 for advanced metrics.

But it’s not got the whole market wrapped up. Xiaomi is now a huge player, and offers all the features you’d want for tiny price tags – albeit without the polished experience you get from the Fitbit app.

Today’s best fitness tracker deals

And Garmin also has some tidy trackers of its own – and Garmin Connect is a very powerful fitness ecosystem that continues to improve with every update rolled out.

We’ve compiled our top fitness tracker picks that you should consider now. Any questions? Let us know in the comments section.

The best fitness tracker 2019

Fitbit Charge 3

Amazon: Fitbit Charge 3 - Save $10

Amazon: Fitbit Charge 3 – Save $10

The Charge 3 proves Fitbit is still top of the game. It’s a well-rounded device that looks the part, boasts a SpO2 heart rate sensor, a waterproof design for swim tracking.

It also showcases the very best of Fitbit’s extensive fitness tracking features, and brand new sleep functionality including Sleep Score and Sleep Stages.

You get a large screen, the ability to track a range of workouts, and while it doesn’t have dedicated GPS, you can fudge things by connecting to your smartphone for outdoor workouts.

And then there’s smartphone notifications too – so you get some smartwatch features for your money.

The best budget fitness tracker

Xiaomi Mi Band 4

Amazon: Xiaomi Mi Band 4 - Save $27

Amazon: Xiaomi Mi Band 4 – Save $27

Xiaomi manages to squeeze in even more into its fourth generation wearable, while at the same time keeping the price-tag below £34.99.

There’s a colour touchscreen display, swim tracking, automatic activity tracking, payment support and smartphone notification support.

The best fitness tracker for runners

Garmin Vivosport

Amazon: Garmin Vivosport

Amazon: Garmin Vivosport

The Vivosport offers a great fitness tracking experience with run tracking extras on top. The built-in GPS is the headline feature here, giving you the ability to track running and cycling sessions without having to piggyback off your phone.

The best fitness tracker for the gym

Garmin Vivosmart 4

Amazon: Garmin Vivosmart 4

Amazon: Garmin Vivosmart 4

The Vivosmart 4 is Garmin’s first fitness tracker to offer a pulse oxygen sensor and also marks the debut of Garmin’s Body Battery feature, which measures your body reserves and tells you how much energy you have left, based on a collection of metrics.

The best waterproof fitness tracker

Samsung Galaxy Fit

Samsung Galaxy Fit

Samsung Galaxy Fit

The Galaxy Fit isn’t a replacement for the Gear Fit 2 Pro, but it does place the same great swim tracking skills inside of a more affordable design. It’s waterproof up to 50 metres and measure lengths, distance, time and SWOLF (a measure swimming efficiency). Crucially, it’ll track that data in the pool reliably.

What is the best fitness tracker?

Fitbit Charge 3

Best fitness tracker 2019

The Fitbit Charge 3 won Fitness Tracker of the Year at the 2018 Wareable Tech Awards.

The Charge 3 is a total redesign of the older generation, sporting a slimmer, more Versa-inspired look. You can even easily switch to different kind of bands.

Read this: Fitbit Charge 3 tips and tricks

The slimmer design and new bands help make the Charge 3 much more comfortable, which will be a boon to your wrist while you’re sleeping.

Not only that, but Fitbit has added waterproofing for swimming (with swim tracking), a touchscreen display and week-long battery life. Plus, it’s the debut of Fitbit’s new fitness tracker operating system.

Herat rate tracking is a given these days, and the Charge 3 is one of the leaders. You get 24/7 tracking, dedicated measures of resting heart rate and – unlike lesser Fitbit devices – VO2 Max calculations from outdoor workouts.

That’s not all. The Charge 3 also comes with a relative SpO2 blood oxygen sensor. In the long term, this will hopefully let Fitbit identify conditions like sleep apnea.

There’s no GPS – but the Charge 3 has Connected GPS, which means it will piggy-back your phone’s signal for outdoor workouts.

The big thing for the Charge 3, though, is that it’s the best option for sleep tracking. It blows away all its rivals as improved heart rate technology can take a look at your deep, light and REM sleep – thanks to Sleep Stages and Sleep Score features.

Sleep Insights will also compare your data to other Fitbit users in your age and gender. Sleep Schedules will let you set alarms and nudge you so that you don’t get into any bad habits as well.

  • Sleep Stages via heart rate
  • Swim tracking
  • 24/7 heart rate
  • Fitbit Pay (available in Special Edition)
  • VO2 Max data and step tracking
  • SpO2 sensor
  • Guided breathing exercises
  • iOS and Android

Read our Fitbit Charge 3 review in full

Amazon: Fitbit Charge 3 - Save $10

Amazon: Fitbit Charge 3 – Save $10

Best budget fitness tracker

Xiaomi Mi Band 4

Best fitness tracker 2019: Pick the perfect fitness band or watch

We’ve put the new Mi Band to the test and with some notable changes in the features department, we think this is the one you should now be considering if you don’t want to spend big.

While it might look similar to its predecessor, there’s a big change in the screen department where you’re now getting a bigger, 0.95-inch color AMOLED touchscreen display with 120 x 240 resolution that makes it a much nicer place to view your data.

There’s now also a microphone to enable voice control (on Chinese models only) and the waterproof design now unlocks swim tracking in the pool. Though our experience with the swim tracking wasn’t great.

The Android and iOS-friendly fitness tracker does the basics like tracking steps and sleep automatically really well but will also track activities like running and cycling with connected GPS support. Away from fitness, you’ll get contactless payment support (in some models), notifications and new music controls.

The price has jumped up ever so slightly, but the new Mi Band still represents excellent value for money if you want a fitness tracker that does the basics and more.

  • HR tracking
  • Waterproof and swim tracking
  • NFC for payments
  • Steps, sleep
  • Music controls
  • Incoming call alerts
  • iOS and Android

Read our Xiaomi Mi Band 4 review in full

Xiaomi Mi Band 4

Xiaomi Mi Band 4

Best waterproof fitness tracker for swimming

Samsung Galaxy Fit

Best Samsung smartwatch: Helping you find the perfect Samsung wearable

The Samsung Galaxy Fit isn’t a direct replacement for the Gear Fit2 Pro, but if you’re looking for a fitness tracker that’s nicer to wear and tracks your pool time, the Fit (the one in white) gets our vote.

Sitting below the Fit2 Pro, the £99.99 Fit does all the basics including step counting and distance covered, and also offers strong sleep monitoring features too.

You also get smartwatch features like notification support and the ability to switch out watch faces on the gorgeous 0.95-inch AMOLED touchscreen display. There’s no music player controls, payment features or Bixby support, but that’s not all surprising considering the price.

On the swim tracking front, you’re relying on the onboard motion sensors to monitor pool time. Accuracy-wise, we found it served up data more on par with what our Garmin watch recorded. Using it in the pool in general is fine and its slim design means it’s nice and unobtrusive.

For battery life, you can expect around the seven-day mark depending on usage. If you want a slim, comfortable tracker with decent swim tracking skills, this is definitely one to consider.

  • 0.95-inch AMOLED touchscreen display
  • Tracks steps/automatic sleep monitoring
  • Accelerometer-based workout tracking
  • Includes heart rate monitor
  • 5ATM (up to 50 metres) waterproof
  • Works with Android and iOS
  • Displays notifications

Read our Samsung Galaxy Fit review in full

Samsung Galaxy Fit

Samsung Galaxy Fit

Best fitness tracker for sleep monitoring

Fitbit Inspire HR

Best fitness tracker 2019

It may not look as good as the now-retired Alta HR, but Fitbit’s latest fitness tracker, the Inspire HR, is a great option for those who want something a little bit sleeker to track sleep with.

Essential reading: Fitbit Inspire HR v Inspire

It boasts all the same sleep monitoring tech as the flagship Charge 3, only in a lighter and thinner body.

And though it also comes in a regular equivalent, you’ll need the Inspire HR if you want to receive Fitbit’s Sleep Stages – the feature that brings light, deep, awake and REM insights from your night’s sleep.

As this is essentially replacing the Alta family, it’s not just the design that’s been tweaked. Fitbit’s Inspire range offers a swim-proof design, step tracking, notifications and automatic workout tracking.

On the HR, you’re also getting some added features, including 24/7 heart rate tracking, Guided Breathing, Connected GPS and goal-based exercise modes.

It takes all of that and puts it on a device with a touchscreen display – one that can go the distance, too, with around five days of battery life.

  • Sleep tracking
  • 24/7 heart rate monitor
  • Step tracking
  • Customisable bands
  • Smartphone notifications
  • Swim-proof/swim tracking
  • Automatic exercise detection
  • Guided breathing
  • Connected GPS
  • iOS and Android

Read our Fitbit Inspire HR review in full

Amazon: Fitbit Inspire HR

Amazon: Fitbit Inspire HR

Editor’s picks

Best fitness tracker with heart rate monitoring

Withings Steel HR Sport

Best fitness tracker

The Withings Steel HR Sport is the company’s first hybrid smartwatch since co-founder Éric Carreel bought back the company he sold to Nokia.

Thankfully, it still one of the best hybrids for keeping track of your fitness.

As far as the device itself goes, the key thing here is the accuracy of the heart rate monitor, which in our testing was a top performer.

It’s designed for 24/7 wear, and will take a reading from your wrist every minute. But the fact that it’s combined into such a beautifully designed watch, and still manages 25 days of battery life, is a huge boon for Withings.

The swim tracking isn’t quite a world-beater, but the addition of connected GPS, does now mean you can now more accurately track runs with the help of your smartphone.

The Withings Health ecosystem is pretty robust, too, though not up to Fitbit levels.

But, in short, the Withings Steel HR is a superb fitness tracker that gets the thumbs up from Wareable.

  • Automatic exercise detection
  • Continuous heart rate monitoring
  • Dedicated run and swim tracking
  • 25 day battery life
  • iOS and Android

Read our Withings Steel HR Sport review in full

Amazon: Withings Steel HR Sport

Amazon: Withings Steel HR Sport

Best tracker for HIIT, Crossfit & weights

Garmin Vivosmart 4

Best fitness tracker

The Vivosmart 3’s successor is slimmer, sleeker and clearly even better equipped for the gym.

It includes an onboard heart rate monitor for 24/7 bpm data, VO2 Max testing (which is a great metric for those who like HIIT classes such as Crossfit), and automatic exercise detection, so you won’t miss out if you forget to start tracking a session.

For those who really push things hard, the heart rate variability (HRV) stress scores are a great metric so you know when to take a rest.

The new ‘body battery’ energy monitoring will give you a better insight into how well prepared you are for your next workout.

While the addition of a pulse oximeter sensor makes the fitness tracker for more serious health monitoring like helping to detect sleep apnea.

The Vivosmart 4 also packs in Garmin’s Move IQ software and rep counting for those who like to lift weights, and is one of the few trackers to include these metrics.

The decent accelerometer-based run tracking slightly makes up for the missing GPS support as well, if you’re not too bothered about pinpoint accuracy.

  • Automatic exercise detection
  • VO2 Max
  • Rep counting for gym exercises
  • Heart rate variability based stress scores
  • iOS and Android

Read our Garmin Vivosmart 4 review in full

Amazon: Garmin Vivosmart 4

Amazon: Garmin Vivosmart 4

Best fitness tracker watch/hybrid

Garmin Vivomove HR

Best fitness tracker

Another previous Wareable Tech Award winner, the Garmin Vivomove HR is a powerful fitness tracker hidden inside a decent-looking analogue watch.

While it doesn’t quite manage to look as classically designed as the Withings Steel HR Sport, the hidden screen works harder on the Garmin, and smart notifications are much easier to read.

In terms of tracking the heart rate monitor rules the roost, offering 24/7 tracking, a focus on stress via heart rate variability (HRV) and resting heart rate tracking.

You can also track runs (albeit without GPS), strength training and open sessions, which will appeal to gym goers.

Plus, everyone can get behind the 14 days of battery life, and 5ATM (up to 50m) water resistance, which make it a winner in our eyes.

If you do want something more luxurious looking, Garmin has recently unveiled the new Vivomove, which comes in three different versions. There’s the Vivomove 3, the Style and the Luxe, which adds a color AMOLED display that lives above and below the analogue watch hands.

  • 24/7 heart rate
  • Hidden screen
  • Stress tracking
  • 50m water resistance
  • Tracks gym workouts
  • 14-day battery
  • iOS and Android

Read our Garmin Vivomove HR review in full

Amazon: Garmin Vivomove HR

Amazon: Garmin Vivomove HR

Best kids’ fitness tracker

Fitbit Ace 2

Best fitness tracker 2019: Pick the perfect fitness band or watch

Yes, children now have fitness trackers too – and the Fitbit Ace 2 is the company’s second generation device that makes some welcome changes to make it a better fit for smaller wrists.

Now designed for ages 6 and above, Fitbit has opted for more colorful band options and has gone swimproof so you can take it out for a swim. A nice touch is that when your little one gets too old for the cartoony UI, they can slip the tracker into one of the Fitbit Inspire bands and update the UI too.

Tracking features are largely the same as the first Ace, letting you track steps and active minutes (10 minutes of moderate movement). There’s also sleep tracking and the ability to set alarms and reminders to keep active during the day. You can still take fellow Fitbit-owning friends on in step challenges and there’s now new animated clock faces and goal celebrations to motivate you to keep tracking for longer.

Fitbit has also ensured the tracker is 100% compliant with all child privacy laws, if you’re concerned about how it handles that data. Battery life is around five days, though the new animated watch faces can give that a knock.

If you’re after a fitness tracker for kids a little younger, the Garmin Vivofit jr 2 is aimed at kids aged 4 and above and has done some fun things to motivate kids to keep moving. But for our top pick, the Ace 2 currently gets our vote.

  • Swim-proof
  • Suitable for kids 6 and older
  • Step tracking, sleep tracking
  • Call notifications
  • iOS, Android and Windows

Read our Fitbit Ace 2 review in full

Fitbit Ace 2

Fitbit Ace 2

Best fitness tracker with GPS for runners

Garmin Vivosport

Best fitness tracker

The Garmin Vivosport is a fitness tracker with GPS and heart rate tracking built-in.

You can place the band into running and cycling mode to get a GPS tracked workout – the only downside being the difficulty in reading live stats on the tiny 72 x 144 monochrome screen.

It’s water resistant to 5ATM (up to 50m), which means it will survive a dip in the pool.

It features the same rich mix of heart rate enabled metrics, including heart rate variability stress scores, resting heart rate, VO2 Max and fitness age estimates.

Essentially, if you like running and gym work, but are looking for a band over a dedicated GPS running watch, the Vivosport is one of the best options out there.

  • Built-in GPS
  • Heart rate
  • Sports modes
  • Advanced heart metrics
  • Seven days of battery life
  • Notifications
  • iOS and Android

Read our Garmin Vivosport review in full

Amazon: Garmin Vivosport

Amazon: Garmin Vivosport

Today’s best fitness tracker deals

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