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Fitbit Charge 2
View on Amazon
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Wearable tech is a relatively new term, but recent 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 (and keep you motivated). In this article we will discuss and compare the top wearable gizmos on the market to help you choose the best activity tracker to assist in achieving your personal health and fitness goals. If you are considering an Apple Watch, you will want to read our Smartwatch Review.
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. Once you know what they’re capable of, you’ll want to make a list of what’s most important to you to help you narrow down what you’re looking for and find a good fit. While we do have our top recommendations, which is right for you is a matter of preference (and in this case fashion too).
Items that are commonly tracked include:
- Hours and quality of sleep
- Calories burned
- Steps and distance walked
- Heart rate
- Stairs climbed
- Time of day and length of workout
- App to track your data and history on your Smart Phone
Other nice features to have included are water resistance, GPS, playing music, weather and more. 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. They recharge using a cable (similar to how you charge your phone). And the great thing is, while the hardware stays the same, the software is constantly improving so you don’t have to keep upgrading your equipment.
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. Ready, set go! Get excited to pick out the best fitness tracker for you!
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. It also features Garmin Connect which is a free online community to stay motivated and compare stats with others, get audio prompts, access music controls, and share on social media and an IQ store to download apps. 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.
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. We reviewed the FitBit Charge 2, but for those looking for a FitBit brand product that’s more like the Apple Watch in terms of features and look, check out the new Ionic released in November 2017).
You can view all their family of products on Fitbit’s website.
If you’re looking for strictly a fitness tracker with no smart features, the Jawbone UP2 is your best bet. 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, inconspicuous bands on the market and tracks your steps, distance, activity and more. The band is simple to use, lightweight and attractive.
Best Activity Tracker Comparison Table
Our 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.
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 was discontinued January 31, 2016, so we no longer recommend buying it since the devices do not work properly.
BodyMedia was discontinued January 31, 2016. So we recommend you purchase a different activity tracker.
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.
Flyfit was discontinued in 2017.
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.
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. MOOV NOW gives you real-time audio coaching for running, cycling, cardio boxing, body weight management and more. The swim tracker even tracks stroke type, stroke count and lap analysis and recommends ways to improve. The Moov Now can also track sleep and has an app to view your data.
After pioneering the fitness tracker arena, Nike has said goodbye and stopped making the Nike+ FuelBand.
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, tracks your sleep 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 (and wear).
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?
Now that you know about all the fitness trackers, it’s time to move your butt and get on the wearable tech train.
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?