Best Activity Tracker: Garmin vs Fitbit vs Moov Now vs Polar & More

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Best For…
Running, Hiking or Swimming
Garmin logo
Forerunner 735XT
Cardio, Weightlifting or Dieting
Fitbit logo
Fitbit Charge 3
View on Amazon
Compare All Products

Wearable tech 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 device that can help you determine the number of calories consumed and burned (and keep you motivated).

Article Overview

Best For Running, Hiking & Swimming: Garmin Forerunner 735XT Review

Garmin Forerunner 735XTView on Amazon

This fitness tracker features advanced running and swimming tracking and can even detect the type of stroke you are doing in the pool. Its GPS capabilities make it an excellent choice for those of you who enjoy exercising outside. It will track your runs, hikes and swims better than other fitness trackers without GPS capabilities.

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. 

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

Pricing

Best For Cardio, Weightlifting & Dieting: Fitbit Charge 3 Review

FitBit Charge 3View on Amazon

Fitbit is a great company that offers excellent fitness trackers. There are many trackers available from Fitbit, and the Charge 3 is the top tier option. It’s perfect for tracking cardio workouts, weightlifting, swimming and more. It also has extra features that other bands don’t offer (i.e., female health tracking). This is a good option for gym rats or those of you who workout at home.

Many of us who work for Safe Smart Living have used Fitbit as well as our friends, family members and readers. Unfortunately, many of us have had our bands break, trackers stop working or the app erase our data. Fortunately, Fitbit has the best customer service. It stands by its products and has replaced faulty bands even after a year of purchasing it. However, we don’t like that this has been a common issue for the company and feel that buyers shouldn’t have to deal with this type of frustration.

We still recommend Fitbit because of its accurate tracking capabilities, vast number of features, quality customer service and its ability to evolve and push the competition. We reviewed the Fitbit Charge 3, but for those wanting a Fitbit that’s more like the Apple Watch regarding features and look, check out the Ionic.

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent customer service
  • Reminds you to move throughout the day
  • Simplified heart rate zones (Fat Burn, Cardio and Peak)
  • See call, text & calendar notifications on OLED display
  • Track how long and how well you sleep and set a silent vibrating alarm clock
  • GPS is only available when connected to smartphone

Pricing

You can view all its family of products on Fitbit’s website.

Read Our In-Depth Review Of Fitbit

Comparison Table

Activity TrackerGarmin Forerunner 735XTFitbit Charge 3Moov NowPolar M430
Activity TrackerGarminFitbit Charge 3Moov NowPolar M430
View on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
Read ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead Review
Price
SleepCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Calories BurnedCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
ActivityCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
DistanceCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Stairs ClimbedCheckmark
StepsCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Heart Rate MonitorCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Log Food/DrinkCheckmark
Goal SettingCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Battery LifeUp to 11 daysUp to 7 daysUp to 6 monthsUp to 30 hours of training time
Water ResistantCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Swim With ItCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Silent AlarmCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
DisplayCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Tells TimeCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
AltimeterCheckmark
iOSCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
AndroidCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Caller IDCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
GPSCheckmarkOnly when connected to smartphoneCheckmark
Smart NotificationsCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Music ControlCheckmarkCheckmark
Payment FeatureOn special editions
Read ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead Review
Visit on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

This article used to review the following companies, but they have either been discontinued, recalled or bought by another company.

  • Basis Peak
  • BodyBugg
  • BodyMedia
  • Fitbug Orb
  • Flyfit
  • Jawbone
  • Microsoft Band
  • Nike+ Fuelband
  • Skechers GOwalk

How To Choose An Activity Tracker

Make a list of what features are 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 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 continually improving so you don’t have to keep upgrading your equipment.

Moov Now Review

Moov NowView on Amazon

Moov Now is a disk shape activity tracker. You can wear it 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.

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
  • No heart rate monitor

Pricing

Polar M430 Review

View on Amazon

The Polar M430 performs well, but with big names like Garmin and Fitbit leading the pack, it’s hard to make a name for yourself. Polar M430 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 the battery life is weak compared to others.

Pros

Cons

  • Can swim with it on
  • Comes in 3 colors: black, white and orange
  • Must purchase attachment for heart rate monitoring for some activities
  • Battery life is only 8 hours with GPS and 30 hours without
  • Clunky

Pricing

Should I Consider A Smartwatch Instead?

Many smartwatches also have fitness tracking capabilities. If you are merely wanting to track your steps and basic exercises like running, a smartwatch can do the job as long as it has the feature available. With a smartwatch, you’ll also have access to more content on your smartphone. Read our Smartwatch Review to learn more.

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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Disclaimer: The information provided on this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing and personally testing products and services. Kimberly has been writing about security and safety since 2013, covering subjects such as home security and automation, identity theft protection, home warranties, medical alert systems and more. In 2018, she had her first child, and that opened up a whole new avenue of security experience with baby gear. She wanted to purchase the safest items for her family. Security is a passion of hers, and she knows it isn’t a one size fits all category. With every piece she writes, her goal is to help our readers find the best fit for their unique needs.

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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
Did you evaluate the Basis Peak?
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
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
Most of these aren’t even true calorie trackers. The Bodybugg one, while ugly as sin, actually tracks calories burned through sensors.
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
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 and I probably need to buy a backup model. To see the history of the brand and the other calorie counting armbands, check out this article at http://hub.me/ajmnC
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
No Samsung Gear Fit? $100-$150 heart rate monitor, pedometer, notifications, quick reply for texts…been out for awhile now.
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
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.