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Activity Tracker Showdown: Garmin vs Fitbit vs Jawbone vs Nike Fuelband vs Microsoft Band vs BodyBugg

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1st
Garmin logo
Forerunner 735XT
2nd
Fitbit Surge logo
Fitbit Charge 2
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3rd
Jawbone UP MOVE logo
Jawbone UP2
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Wearable tech is a relatively new term, but this year’s new product introductions have made the category HOT with an ever-growing feature set designed to make these products more exciting and user-friendly. Companies are coming out with new gadgets to help you reach your weight and fitness goals. Instead of spending your money on a personal trainer you can spend it on a small activity gadget that can help you determine the amount of calories consumed and burned. In this article we will discuss and compare the top gizmos available today to help you choose the best activity tracker to assist in achieving your personal goals.

How To Choose An Activity Tracker?

Before diving into this article it’s important to know some of the basic things that fitness trackers can do. You’ll want to make a list of what’s most important to you, as well.

Items that are commonly tracked include: sleep, calories, steps, distance, heart rate and stairs. Other nice features to have included are water resistance and the ability to tell time. That way you can wear the tracker 24/7 and you don’t have to wear multiple devices to track your fitness and know what time it is.

There are also other features that some products include, but these are some of the most common ones. You’re writing all of this down, right?! Just kidding, fortunately for you, we’ve got all the products listed individually, along with their features. We’ve also got a comparison table so you can see how they stack up against one another side by side. So, take a deep breath and get excited to pick out the best fitness tracker for you!

Garmin Forerunner 735XT Review

Garmin Forerunner 735XT#1

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Garmin offers many activity trackers but for this article we’re going to focus on the Garmin Forerunner 735XT. This fitness tracker features advanced running and swimming tracking and can even detect the type of stroke you are doing in the pool. If you’re a cyclist you can use it with Garmin’s Vector cycling sensors to track your activity. Overall, this watch does a great job tracking fitness activity, which is why we’ve chosen it as our #1 pick for best activity tracker.

Pros

Cons

  • Water resistant
  • Performs great when swimming
  • Switch between activities with the press of a button
  • Thin, lightweight band that is comfortable
  • The perfect band for cyclists, runners, swimmers and triathletes
  • Great coaching and tracking altogether
  • Does not track stairs
  • Battery life isn’t as great as competitors

Pricing

Fitbit Charge 2 Review

Fitbit Charge 2#2
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Fitbit is a top contender in the activity tracker world and was our #1 pick for two years. So why did they drop in our rankings? First of all, we still think Fitbit is a great company that offers excellent fitness trackers. From our experience with Fitbit and our friends’, family members’ and readers’ we cannot recommend them as #1. Many users have had the Fitbit app erase their data from the day, the bands break easily and the devices stop working for no reason. Some users have no issues with these things but we know many people who have experienced this, including myself. However, Fitbit has the best customer service. They replace the product and stand by their mistakes. Unfortunately, we can’t rank them #1 because we feel that when you purchase a product you shouldn’t deal with and frustrations or returns.

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent customer service
  • Swap to leather, metal or colored bands to change the look of your tracker
  • Reminds you to move
  • Exercise shortcuts on the Fitbit
  • Easy to setup
  • GPS is only available when connected to smartphone
  • Screen quality could be better
  • Weaker vibration than the Fitbit Charge

Pricing

You can view all of the above product’s on Fitbit’s website.

Read our in-depth review of Fitbit

Jawbone UP2 Review

Jawbone UP2#3

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If you’re looking for strictly a fitness tracker with no smart features, the Jawbone UP2 is the tracker for you. Smart features like caller ID and email/text notifications can be distracting for some and if you feel this way, then Jawbone’s UP2 may be the band for you. This activity tracker is one of the least expensive bands on the market and tracks your steps, distance, activity and more. The band is simple to use, lightweight and attractive.

Pros

Cons

  • Great app performance
  • Comfortable to wear
  • 10 day battery
  • Good customer support
  • No altimeter so step tracking may not be as accurate as it is on Fitbit
  • No display to give you immediate feedback
  • Band tears for some people
  • No GPS or heart rate monitoring

Pricing

Best Activity Tracker Comparison Table

Activity Tracker Comparison TableOur comparison table can help you see which activity trackers have which features. Find out with one quick glance which one tracks sleep, distance, stairs climbed, calories and more. This will also help you see how we picked our winner, the Garmin Forerunner 735XT. Since the table is pretty big, we have put it on another page. Click on the image on the left to visit our activity tracker comparison table to see the different options available.

Fitbit vs Jawbone vs Nike Fuel vs BodyBugg vs BodyMedia

In addition to our top three picks, here is a full list of the other activity trackers on the market. Jump to the activity tracker review that you are looking for by clicking the name below.

Basis Peak | BodyBugg | BodyMedia | Fitbug Orb | Flyfit | Microsoft | Moov | Nike+ FuelBand SE | Polar | Skechers GOwalk

Basis Peak Review

As of September 16, 2016, there is a safety recall of all Basis Peak watches. The watches overheat and the company has recommended you not wear the watch. The company recommends that you return your Basis Peak watch and accessories for a full refund at your earliest convenience.

BodyBugg Review

BodyBugg was discontinued January 31, 2016, so we no longer recommend buying it since the devices do not work properly.

BodyMedia Review

BodyMedia was discontinued January 31, 2016. So we recommend you purchase a different activity tracker.

Fitbug Orb Review

Fitbit OrbView on Amazon

The Fitbug Orb comes from the UK and is one of the cheapest activity trackers available today. Fitbug helps motivate you by setting goals for you. This may be something you’re not fond of though because you may want to set different goals for yourself. You can use the Fitbug Orb 24/7 and with a battery life that lasts 4-6 months you’ll rarely have to charge it.

Pros

Cons

  • Don’t have to recharge it every night (4-6 month battery life)
  • Cheap
  • Accessories available to wear it different ways
  • Monitors sleep
  • Tracks food, activity, steps, calories and distance
  • Not the best at tracking your sleep
  • Can’t set your own goals, Fitbug does it for you
  • You must put the battery in, which can be tricky
  • No silent alarm

Pricing

Flyfit Review

Flyfit 24Flyfit was discontinued in 2017.

 

Microsoft Band 2 Review

Microsoft Band 2Visit Website

The Microsoft Band 2 works as both an activity tracker and a smartwatch. The Band 2 works with Cortona on Windows Phone 8.1 so you can use your voice to take notes and set reminders with your band. This band has tons of features, but unfortunately is also one of the more expensive bands. It integrates with tons of other apps like Starbucks, Gold’s Gym, MyFitnessPal and Runkeeper. The touch display is easy to use and handy to see your progress throughout the day.

Pros

Cons

  • Tracks heart rate, calories burned and sleep quality
  • Has tons of features to track your activity level throughout the day including running, biking and golf
  • Integrates with Cortona
  • 11 sensors including UV monitor, barometer and GPS
  • Notifications appear on band for text, calls, voicemail, social media, email and calendar
  • Charge time is up to 1.5 hours
  • Works with Windows Phone, Android and iPhone
  • Water resistant
  • Tells time
  • Says, Microsoft Band estimates your steps, heart rate, and other data on Microsoft’s site so we fear it may not be the most accurate
  • 48 hour battery life (lower batter life if you use the GPS function)
  • Expensive

Pricing

Moov Now Review

Moov NowView on Amazon

Moov Now is taking after the Fitbug Orb by adopting a disk shape. It can be worn multiple different ways including around your wrist and ankle. The Moov site is frustrating to navigate, so learning about the device is difficult. With big names like Garmin, Fitbit, Microsoft, Jawbone and Nike it’s hard to make a name in the activity tracker field.

Pros

Cons

  • Waterproof
  • Form monitoring
  • Injury prevention
  • Performance tracking
  • Real-time interactive coach
  • Clip it onto your bike, dumbbell, golf club and other workout equipment
  • Works for multiple activities: swimming, cycling, running, cardio boxing, body weight workout, golf and yoga
  • 6 month battery life
  • No display
  • Doesn’t blend in well
  • No heart rate monitor

Pricing

Nike+ FuelBand SE Review

After pioneering the fitness tracker arena, Nike has said goodbye and stopped making the Nike+ FuelBand.

Polar Loop 2 Review

Polar Loop 2View on Amazon

The Polar Loop 2 performs well but with big names like Garmin and Fitbit leading the pack it’s hard to make a name for yourself. Polar Loop 2 counts your steps accurately and you can even swim with it. So, what’s the downside? It is a chunkier band, which can make it uncomfortable, and you must purchase an add-on to track your heart rate, which is just one more thing you have to carry around with you.

Pros

Cons

  • Can swim with
  • Must purchase attachment for heart rate monitoring
  • Battery life is only 2-3 days
  • Clunky

Pricing

Skechers GOwalk Review

Another fitness tracker has left the building. Skechers GOwalk is no longer available and the app isn’t available in the app store, so even if you see this tracker available on Amazon, we recommend not purchasing it.

What’s Your Favorite Fitness Activity Tracker?

Do you own one of the activity trackers above and swear by it? Or is there one we missed that you’d like us to review?

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Kimberly researches everything before she buys. She wants to make sure she is getting the best bang for her buck by purchasing the best product/service, which is why she loves her work. She has a degree in Multimedia Journalism and has been researching and writing professionally since 2013 to help consumers make more educated decisions.

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21 Comments on "Activity Tracker Showdown: Garmin vs Fitbit vs Jawbone vs Nike Fuelband vs Microsoft Band vs BodyBugg"

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Amy Stanford-Sparks
Amy Stanford-Sparks

Jawbone no longer has customer service by either phone or email. They gave me the run around about replacing my torn band from October until the middle of November when they apparently shut their doors without telling anyone.

Gwendolyn George
Gwendolyn George

Did you evaluate the Basis Peak?

Steffy
Steffy

Hello, I have the polar tracker (gift) it doesn’t have the HR, however is not really good for me because I do 3 hours hatha yoga practice so I need a tracker that can be able to monitor that (burning calories, monitor sleeping, HR, etc). I do not need complicated ones with lots of features, just simple and to be able to work properly. I don’t think the polar tracker I have is accurate (night sleep, steps…), please, can you recommend me one? Thank you for your time!

marleybones
marleybones

I’m interested in dropping my Fitbit but don’t know if any others have good, free websites to look at and analyze activity and sleep. The Pros and Cons do not review the websites.

blah82
blah82

Most of these aren’t even true calorie trackers. The Bodybugg one, while ugly as sin, actually tracks calories burned through sensors.

Purplemaven
Purplemaven

Do you have any updates for the Flyfit? There is a huge number of comments on its Kickstarter page saying that it’s a fraud.

Cara Teller
Cara Teller
It has become very hard to find the Bodymedia and Bodybugg line because Jawbone bought them out just a while back. It definitely isn’t because they were a bad product because they were really great. If you loved this line of products that included the heat-flux technology so that it could measure your burn for non-cardio activities as well as while you are in motion, then you need to buy yours as soon as possible. They aren’t even for sale on the main Bodymedia page anymore (it shows Jawbone products now) or the 24hourfitness product pages. I love my BodybuggSP… Read more »
Kim

I swear by my BodyMedia BodyBugg device. I’ve been using it since it came out on the market and my trainer recommended it to me to track calories. It is amazingly accurate. I highly recommend it to those who want to truly track your calories and movement.

Kevin Wendland
Kevin Wendland

No Samsung Gear Fit? $100-$150 heart rate monitor, pedometer, notifications, quick reply for texts…been out for awhile now.

andrey3000
andrey3000

Withings Pulse O2 is a pretty good device even though it is not new anymore. Much better than the Jawbone 24 in everything from accuracy to sleep recording to customer support.

Steph
Steph

Have you considered Shine by Misfit Wearables? I just received mine. It’s sturdy, waterproof, syncs, and can be worn as a watch, pendant or all by itself via a nifty magnetized loop thingy. However, I’m bummed that it doesn’t integrate with my lifestyle app (Samsung’s S Health) where I can track exercise, heart rate, food, weight, sleep, stress, etc.

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