5 Best Fitness Trackers
‘’There are so many Fitness Trackers on the market and this makes choosing the best fitness tracker so difficult for a beginner. When choosing an activity tracker their some factors you have to consider and these include: Accuracy, Efficiency, Usability, Features, Weight, Size, Battery Life, Performance, Customer support & what other customers say about that particular tracker. In this detailed review I will rank these fitness tracking devices by brand and some of most popular brands to be featured here include: Fitbit / Jawbone / Garmin / Misfit / Withings and Polar Loop. But before we go ahead with this detailed post, let me summarize the search for you by picking top rated fitness trackers on the market during 2018.
HOW TO USE A FITNESS TRACKER?
Staying fit and knowing your health status is an essential thing. But these fitness trackers perform in different ways though most of them share the same features, so even when you switch devices you might not find it hard to get used to that new tracker. To use a fitness tracker, you have to read its manual very well, that manual will have instructions on how to charge that device, how to sync data across devices & platforms and how to read data displayed on the device. Some have alert sounds to remind you when your body has been inactive for at least 1 hour……continue reading ….here>>>>>
LIST OF THE BEST FITNESS / ACTIVITY TRACKERS
BEST OF FITBIT:
- Fitbit Charge HR (BEST OVERALL FITNESS TRACKER)
You have been working out for quite a long time but you barely know your heart rate, fitness level, calories burned, minutes you have been active during the day, and steps taken while at work or when having an evening walk with a friend. The truth is that your body is active on a daily basis, but you have to monitor your activities and their impact to your health. It is time to make every heart beat count with this Charge HR, so far it is the best fitness tracker for both men and women, it can fit any one because of its adjustable wrist.
- Check / monitor your heart rate all day long: Not all fitness trackers have heart rate monitors integrated in them. But Fitbit Charge HR will keep track of your pulse and heart beat, helping you know when to work out more / less hence keeping your heart healthy.
- Get details on total number of calories burned. Having too much and too less calories in the body is very bad, so you have to balance both the intake and burn rate of your calories. This Fitbit Charge HR will enable you do that on a daily basis.
- Track steps and distance covered after a short marathon or long distance walk. When you wear Fitbit Charge HR on your wrist, it will start tracking each and every step you take. It is advisable to walk around your office / workplace; this improves your blood flow and prevents clotting / straining of blood vessels.
- Charge HR is a wireless activity tracker; it syncs all collected data to your computer / Smartphone automatically. Once data is synced to a computer / Smartphone App, it will be organized inform of graphs making it very easy for you to read and track progress. At the same time this data acts as a motivator, it will push you to work out more & more.
- Don’t miss a call during a workout or a busy day. I know this feature is not connected to fitness, but I treat it as an activity too and it’s a very important one even though it does not add value to your health. Fibit Charge HR will notify you when you receive a call, it also reports daily stats and time of the day just like a normal watch.
- You cannot change bands to different colors of your choice. This device comes with a black band and that is what you have to stick with.
- Features only 8 Alarms, if you fail to get the right alarm you might consider sticking with what is available.
- Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch
Fitbit Surge will not track your sleeping patterns because it is a fitness watch not an activity tracker (I’M SO SAD ABOUT THAT).
On the other hand, Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch works as an advanced fitness sports watch; it is quite different from most sports watches you have owned in the past. This clever watch also acts as a body fat monitor, so as you run or workout, you will know how many calories and fats you have burned during a particular workout.. Some people prefer wearing fitness watches to slim wristbands like Fitbit Charge HR featured in position 1. Reason being that sports fitness watches have wider screen displays than a wristbands and this makes them easy to read.
- This is a GPS enabled watch so you will be in position to see covered distance, pace, steps taken, elevations climbed, routes and so much more. With all this information, you will be in position to train smarter and go farther. In the picture the watch looks big but in actual sense, it has a sleek design which fits on any hand. Both Men and Women can wear this Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch. You can easily adjust the wristband to get a snug fit. ”Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch comes in two sizes, the smaller size of (5.5 – 6.7 in) and large size of (6.4-7.9 in), choose the right size for your hands.”
- Pure Pulse Heart Rate: – I’m sure every person who jogs / runs would like to know their heart rate count. Fitbit Surge Fitness Superwatch features a PurePulse heart rate monitor which is found at the bottom of the watch. It automatically monitors your pulse & heart rate when the body is active and when it’s not active. This device has been embedded very well at the bottom of the watch making it comfortable to wear Fitbit surge for long.
- Multi-Sport:- Unlike most fitness trackers which track a few sports activities, this Surge Superwatch can be used to track any sports activity. For example; You can wear it when cycling; jogging, skipping a rope, lifting weights in the gym, running, walking, etc….it will record calories burned, distance, steps taken, floors climbed, time and heart rate.
- Its heart rate monitor is not that accurate even when you place it above the wrist as suggested by Fitbit. Other than that, it is a decent activity tracker.
- Fitbit Flex [Activity + Sleep Wristband Tracker]
Flex is a two in one fitness device; it tracks both activities and sleeping patterns all in the same day making it a 24/7 fitness & health partner. Your physical fitness level and well-being is determined by two things and these include: working-out and having enough rest. I know of many people who work out on a daily basis but have health issues caused by having less sleep / rest time. My Gym instructor told me that I have to work out extensively for only 3 days in a week and run a short marathon for 1 day and then rest for 3 days. Muscles develop better when you’re sleeping, so keeping your body active most of the time is not good.
- Sleep monitor + silent alarm:- After a long day of hard work, your body needs to rest, but you have to monitor your sleeping patterns the same way you monitor your heart rate / pulse. Many people have sleeping issues but they can’t know when they sleep for short hours and what causes it. By default a normal person has to sleep for 8 straight hours. You can wake up during those eight hours to go to the toilet but the moment you head back to bed, you fall asleep again. Wearing Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband will help you track your sleeping patterns on a daily basis. Collected data is synced automatically to your Fitbit Smartphone App / computer, making it very easy for you to read. Note down days when you’re sleeping patterns were bad and list down activities on that day, maybe this can help you identify the cause of disturbance..
- Activity tracking:- To be fit all the time, you need to work out on a daily, however, you have to alternate activities during the week. Let’s say your calendar goes like this;  Monday – You run a short marathon of 1 – 2 kilometers,  Tuesday – You lift Weights  Wednesday – You go for Yoga / You attend dance Lessons,  Thursday – You walk with your dog / spouse / child  Friday – You walk to the Cinema,  Sat – You Rest but stay active at home doing house work,  Sunday – You go to the beach and rest or play beach volley ball / swim. That is my plan for a week, but as you can see, I alternate activities, meaning each part of my body will be active. But without an accurate activity tracker, I might stop following that routine in the next coming weeks. So the main use of an activity tracker is to motivate you, keep you going because it collects data on how many steps you take in a day, distance traveled, calories burned and active minutes. This data is synced on a Smartphone for easy reading and sharing with friends.
- Battery Failure:- This device works perfectly well when it’s new, but after sometime, the battery stops charging and this affects the performance of this device. Once this happens, replace the old battery with a new rechargeable battery.
- Fitbit One [”Wireless” Activity + Sleep Tracker]
If you don’t want to wear wristbands you can opt for this clip-on fitness. Fitbit One Wireless Activity + Sleep Tracker can fit very well on your belt, pocket or bra. It comes with a free Fitbit One clip so you don’t have to buy a new clip.
Why are clip-on fitness trackers better than wristband trackers?  You don’t have to worry about fitting issues, just clip it on your belt, bra, shirt pocket or jean pocket.  You don’t have to sacrifice or let go of that fancy Rolex watch simply because you have to wear a wristband. Fitbit One is also a two in one fitness device; it can work as an activity tracker or a sleep tracker.
- Activity tracking:- This small Fitbit One device works as an activity tracker. It does the same job like Fibit Surge, however they differ in size and design. I guess you might be wondering how you can read data displayed on this small device. That shouldn’t be a problem because it’s a wireless activity tracker, meaning, it syncs data to your Smartphone Application for easy reading. Activities tracked include; steps taken, calories burned, floors climbed and distance covered.
- Sleep + alarms:- Fitbit One will track your weekly & monthly sleeping patterns. Monitor how long and how well you sleep. All data will be synced to your computer / Smartphone enabling you know when you had better / worst sleeping patterns. It is a great device for people who have issues with sleeping. The silent vibrating alarm will wake you up silently without interrupting your spouse’s sleep.
- Calorie Counter:- By default all fitness trackers featured on this post have this feature. When you buy this Fitbit One, you have to create an account on Fitbit.com; via this website you will find a feature which enables you to track your food intake. However, you can connect this device to myfitnesspal.com and keep all fitness & food intake records in one place.
- Small size:- Unlike a wristband tracker which you can wear like a watch, Fitbit One is supported by a clip and the possibility of losing it is very high.
5. Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wristband
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FITBIT CHARGE HR & FITBIT CHARGE?
- Wide screen display: – At a glance they look the same and it’s not very easy to separate them, but Fitbit Charge has shorter width compared to Charge HR and also the screen display of HR is bigger / wider than that of Fibit Charge.
- Continuous heart rate monitor: – As if that is not enough, Charge HR features a continuous heart rate which works 24/7, be it when you’re active / sleeping. Charge HR heart rate monitor will be monitoring your pulse.
Those are the only 2 main differences between Fitbit Charge & Charge HR, otherwise they share the same features.
PRICE:- When it comes to pricing, Fitbit Charge costs less than Fitbit Charge HR, but if you don’t want to monitor heart rate / pulse all the time, you should opt for Fitbit Charge because it performs the same tusk as Charge HR .
- Great Motivator:- Everyone can create fitness goals but sticking to a fixed schedule until you accomplish your goals is not that easy. Beginners are always active during those first weeks but as time goes on they slow down or give up. The only way you can stick to that workout plan is to use Fitbit Charge activity tracker; because it reminds you when you become in-active for at least 1 hour, calculates each and every step you take, shows you burned calories, syncs easily with your smartphone enabling you to view data in an organized format via Fitbit App and at the same time availing you with a chance to share your fitness goals and data with friends online. When all this is added up, you get inspired and workout more.
- Not waterproof:- I’m surprised that a cool device like this is not 99% water proof. It can survive a strong rain fall but you can’t dive into a swimming pool with it, so swimmers, you better try Garmin Vivofit because it’s the best fitness tracker for swimmers.
- Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker
Have you been looking for a cheap fitness tracker on the market? Look no further than this. When it comes to performance and customer rating, it competes with Fitbit Charge yet it’s half the price of Fitbit Charge.
Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker is also a clip-on device, you don’t wear it on your wrist but instead you clip it on your jean pocket / belt / shirt / bra. However when it comes to size, Fitbit Zip is a little bit bigger than Fitbit One. But it comes in various colors so you have the opportunity to choose a color of your choice. However, each color has its own price, by default; black or charcoal is the cheapest one.
- Syncs data easily to your computer of smartphone:- The device its self tracks and backs up data on its internal memory, however, you can sync this data to your smartphone / computer for easy reading. But, there is no need of using a USB cable to transfer this data, just pair your computer / smartphone with Fitbit Zip and data will be synced wirelessly to your smartphone / computer.
- Keeps you motivated: – Fitbit Zip App provides you with tools to set fitness goals. You can use Fitbit mobile APP to set goals with your friends and share your daily workouts with friends. Since data is displayed in a graphical format, you will get motivated easily because your fitness curve will show both your highs & lows during the week. Let’s say you set a goal to walk 10,000 steps in one week, there will be some days when your energy level is down and the graph will show that you’re running out of time, this well organized data will motivate you to walk more and reach your goal. If you follow what is displayed on the screen and mobile App, your lifestyle will change forever.
- Does not track all activities the same way. For example, an hour of Zumba is not equivalent to 1 hour of walking. I know these two activities are different and their level of intensity varies. But the gap between these two reads is too big.
- It has issues with the battery. Fitbit should do something about this.
MUST READ:- How To Run Longer Without Losing Breath
BEST OF GARMIN
1. Garmin Vivofit – [great for swimmers]
When I compare Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band with Jawbone UP 24, they almost have the same customer rating, however, Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band is affordable and it has a snug fit better than that of JAWBONE 24. Vivofit works 24/7, at least you don’t have to worry about its battery life. An average user will replace a battery after 12 – 14 months which is a pretty enough time.
When you’re heading to bed, remember to set the device to a sleep mode, it will do the rest .
After working out / sleeping ; Transfer data wirelessly to your computer or any smart device for easy reading and sharing with pals.
UPDATE:- There has been an improvement in this model, it’s called [ Garmin Vivofit 2 Activity Tracker ] the new Vivofit has an ACTIVITY TIMER which records activities with / without a heart rate monitor and it also has a BACKLIT DISPLAY, so you can either buy the old model / the latest Vivofit 2.
- Change color of band:- Unlike Jawbone which has one default wristband color, Garmin Vivofit wristband can be changed. A 3 Pack Secure Silicon Ring for Garmin Vivofit Band Clasp will cost you only $6.99, that is almost $7. So if you don’t like its default colors which include; black / blue/ purple/ red/ slate and teal, you can buy a new wristband in a color of your choice.
- Move Bar:- This is displayed on the screen of Garmin fitness band. Its main purpose is to motivate you throughout the day by displaying a red move bar every time you spend a full hour of inactivity. This small feature puts Garmin fitness tracker at a competing edge with Fitbit Charge HR featured in position 1. I have been talking about motivation but most of it is derived from graphical data displayed on your smartphone app / computer, but when it comes to Garmin, you get that reminder / motivator on instant.
- 90% Waterproof
- Very comfortable to wear
- Accurate for a wrist tracker
- The clasp is not good enough. The watch can slip off from your hand while jogging/ walking.
- Does not connect with some smart phones, so you might end up wasting your money.
- Has no back light on display, so you will strain your eyes to read data especially when it’s dark.
BEST OF JAWBONE
1. UP 24 by Jawbone [Medium Size]
Judging from its customer ratings via Ebay, Jawbone does not compete very well with Fitbit. As we go on with this review I will tackle its pros and cons. I really want to see the reason why Jawbone has a poor rating compared to Fitbit. According to specs, Jawbone is Bluetooth enabled, so you can sync data from this device to your smartphone / computer using Bluetooth technology which is pretty cool. It’s much better than using a USB cable. But the question still stands. How come Jawbone has a poor customer rating than Fitbit?
I will start this review with this Jawbone’s CONS and later I will tackle its PROS.
- Low battery life
- Expensive wristband tracker
- Does not track all activities (not perfect)
- Uncomfortable (I also agree with this, even though I don’t own this product, judging from what I see in the picture above, there is no way how I can put this on my hand.
- Parts fall apart after 6 – 8 months and it will stop working eventually.
- Bulky (I relate this to discomfort) – you can’t wear this sleep tracker to bed and sleep comfortably, it will slip off your hand.
- Has no heart rate monitor. So you have to invest money in buying a heart rate monitor.
- It connects with most popular fitness Apps:- I will give Jawbone a thumb up for this relevant feature because we don’t have to be tied up with their fitness app. At least you will keep on using your usual fitness App and sync data to it using Bluetooth technology. Some of the most popular fitness APPs that work with Jawbone include; Runkeeper, MyfitnessPal, MapMyFitness, Nest, IFTT and Strava
- Tracks your sleeping patterns very well:- Much as it’s bulky to wear when you’re going to bed, if you get comfortable with it and figure out a way of preventing it from slipping off your hand while asleep, UP-24 Jawbone will track all your sleeping patterns and give you an insight on how things go on during the night
BEST OF MISFIT
1. Misfit Shine – Activity and Sleep Monitor [GREAT FOR SWIMMERS]
We have seen enough of Fitbit / Garmin and Jawbone, now let’s look at Misfit. It is not a popular fitness tracker as Fitbit & Garmin Vivofit, but that does not stop it from competing with big brands. What makes this fitness band different from the rest are the Halo lights which show you how active you have been the all day. In my opinion these lights don’t make any sense to me because all I need as a user is data collected by the device not Halo lights. But let’s see what makes Misfit worth your money.
- Great activity & sleep monitor:- According to people who have tested this fitness device, many of them praise its performance. It tracks various activities and these include walking, running, cycling, soccer, swimming, tennis, basketball and so much more. However, not only does it track & record activities, it also tracks your sleeping patterns. I’m sure you will not feel uncomfortable when wearing this wristband to bed. Its design is better than Jawbone and the band can be adjusted. I have checked out product description section on Ebay, this item weighs only 6.1 ounces and its dimension is 5.2 x 2 x 5.9 inches which makes it very comfortable to wear.
- Water Resistant:- You can dive into that swimming pool without worrying about this Misfit Fitness Tracker. It’s waterproof to 50 meters and I guess many of you don’t exceed that depth. Most fitness trackers don’t perform well in water, so you find that people interested in swimming are always left out. But this time Misfit has crafted the best fitness tracker for swimmers. You better get one while stock lasts.
- No need for charging:-..it’s true…ditch your charger…because Misfit Shine runs on a replaceable coin cell battery which lasts for 6 months. In that case you don’t have to re-charge the battery. This sounds cool but at the same time, having a tracker which requires a new battery every after 6 months sounds like a waste of money, unless when the battery costs less than $5. In my opinion, I would opt for a tracker which has a rechargeable battery.
- Battery dies within 3-4 months according to some users.
- Losses color after a few months. At first this device looks awesome and you have the opportunity to switch colors, however, it fades out after time, though you can buy a new Misfit leather band which costs only $25.
- Does not have a heart rate monitor. Quite a shame, because Shine does pretty everything other fitness trackers like Fitbit do, but it has no heart rate monitor.
- Without this device, its mobile App is useless, that is why most people prefer Fitbit because the App works even when you don’t have Fitbit tracker with you.
- Some features on the tracker its self don’t work. For example, to see the clock / activity level, you have to double tap Misfit Shine and sometimes double tapping does not work, so you have to keep on tapping / tapping and tapping….that sounds boring.
BEST OF POLAR LOOP
1. Polar Loop Activity Tracker
Polar Loop Activity Tracker works in the same way as Garmin Vivofit, though some features differ. When I was reviewing Garmin Vivofit, I tackled a feature which reminds you to be active if you spend 1 full hour without being active. That is a very great feature because it saves you from being too lazy. Now Polar Loop Activity Tracker features the same feature. If your body has been inactive for some time, this device will tell you to walk, however, this word is displayed on the tracker it’s self and it has no alert tone. Meaning you have to check on the screen all the time, if not, you will miss out on the alert.
On the other hand, If you want to track your heart rate using this device, you have to invest in Polar H7 Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Sensor, this syncs very well with the device and makes it very possible to track your heart rate.
- Custom fit bracelet: – At a glance this device looks durable and strong. The bracelet seems to be of metal & rubber. However, some users complain that adjusting that band to fit your hand might require you to go to a professional and have it cut up-to your size.
- Shows daily activities: – Polar Loop Activity Tracker works in the same way like other fitness trackers featured on this list. It tracks each and every activity, calculates burned calories, steps taken, distance covered, and sleep patterns. All you have to do is to wear this device on your wrist and it will start tracking each and every activity.
- Provides you with motivational feedback:- Following this data will motivate you and inspire you to work out more. You can sync data from this device to your mobile device and share it with friends using Polar Flow App, yet at the same time; you can set daily goals via Polar Flow App.
- Poor battery life:- According to some users, the battery life of this device is only 5 days, after that you have to charge it again which is a waste of time.
- Has no vibration alarm
BEST OF WITHINGS
- Withings Pulse O2
I will close this detailed review on the best fitness trackers for 2015 with this WITHINGS PULSE O2 activity / sleep & heart rate tracker. As you have seen, it’s a 3 in one device, so you will get more than what other fitness trackers offer.
Withings as a brand is not that popular as Fitbit and Polar Loop, but they also make some high end activity trackers and I’m sure if you try out this Withings Pulse O2 Activity tracker you will not be disappointed. Let’s see some of its pros & cons:
- Wear it your way: – Since most features are the same like those of other activity trackers featured on this list, I would like to start with this unique feature. This is the only activity tracker on this list which you can wear in any way you want. For example, if you don’t want to wear it as a watch, you can clip it on your belt / bra. This looks like a small feature but it changes the all concept of wearable fitness technology, it takes things to a new level. You’re not restricted on how to use Withings. At least having more than one option of using a fitness device is a very good thing.
- Vital signs reading: – This is another unique feature which you might find interesting. At the glance you will know your heart rate and blood oxygen level. The watch will also display total number of steps taken during a day. It will also track steps taken, elevation, running and calories burned during that day.
- It Is Not warranted against Sweat:- According to Withings, if your device stops working after detecting sweat or water, you will not get a replacement. The device has a sensor inside, it detects wet conditions and it’s not sweat & water proof. So the only way of keeping it working when running is to clip it on your pants / short, because when you wear it as a watch, the hand will sweat and deactivate it.
- The charge hole is exposed:- Most fitness trackers have covers to protect that charge hole from external objects, but Withings tracker does not have this cover, so the charge hole will be exposed in the open.
- Over priced:- You can get a nice Fitbit tracker at a lower price than this device. However Withings looks nicer and it has a luxury touch.
MUST READ:- How To Increase Your Running Stamina and Speed