We've tested dozens of fitness trackers, spending hours on the treadmill, running, biking, swimming — even sleeping — and found that the Garmin Vivosmart HR ($149.95) is the best overall choice for the money. It's comfortable enough to wear all day, continuously tracks your heart rate and automatically monitors your sleep without you having to lift a finger. Automatic activity tracking means you don't have to press a button when you go for a run or bike ride, and it delivers notifications, such as texts and email, to your wrist. Plus, it’s waterproof to 165 feet, so you can take it swimming, too.
We also really like the Fitbit Charge HR ($149.95), which offers many of the same features, but is only splash-proof. Fitbit also has the widest range of trackers available, which is why we also prepared a Which Fitbit is Right for You guide.
Those on a budget should consider trackers like the Jawbone Up Move ($49.99), which tracks your activity but displays your progress on a smartphone app rather than an built-in display.
If you're willing to spend $200 or more, other fitness trackers have special features such as GPS (great for runners who want to know their pace and distance) and smartphone notifications (texts, emails and more). We've also evaluated the latest running watches.
To help you select the right fitness trackers for your needs, we’ve evaluated all of the latest models based on design, performance and ease of use. Here are our top picks—both high-end and budget—for each category.
How We Evaluate Fitness Trackers
For each new fitness tracker, we evaluate its hardware design and comfort. You need to be able to wear the device all day. We also evaluate the features, including movement detection (such as step counting and sleep monitoring), distance calculations and when applicable, heart rate and GPS accuracy. We test how well the device pairs with its companion app, and evaluate the experience of using the two together. We also look to see what features the device's app supports, such as coaching and diet tracking, and if it can sync data with third-party apps, such as MyFitnessPal. Lastly, we wear the device for several days to a week to test the manufacturer's battery life claims.
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