Keep track of your distance, speed, calories and even GPS from your wrist, with our pick of the best fitness trackers
If you’re looking to get fit this year, our pick of the best fitness trackers can give you a very helpful leg up. While lacking some of the features of dedicated smartwatches, the humble fitness tracking wristband is perfect for those who like something a bit more minimalist.
In this list, we’ve concentrated on more basic, affordable fitness trackers, but the line between smartwatch and fitness tracker is increasingly a blurry one. As such, you may spy one or two fitness-orientated smartwatches that we think represent such good value that they’re also worth considering. But generally, if you want more of a ‘phone away from phone’, you’re better off consulting our list of the best smartwatches instead.
Skip down the page to discover our recommended best fitness trackers of 2023. But first, some general pointers of things to consider when shopping for fitness trackers.
Best fitness tracker: At a glance
|Best cheap fitness tracker
|Xiaomi Mi Band 7 (~£43)
|Check price at Amazon
|Best cheap Fitbit
|Fitbit Inspire 3 (~£76)
|Check price at Amazon
|Best all-round Fitbit
|Fitbit Charge 5 (~£130)
|Check price at Fitbit
|Best Fitbit alternative
|Garmin Vivosmart 5 (~£130)
|Check price at John Lewis
How to choose the best fitness tracker for you
What’s the difference between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch?
These days, almost all smartwatches – from the Apple Watch Series 8 or Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 – are also accomplished fitness trackers. They will allow you to monitor pretty much any physical activity, and will most likely keep track of your heart rate and sleep patterns at the very least. They will pack a combination of large watch faces, app support, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, built-in GPS and many, many other jazzy features.
On the flip side, most fitness trackers are simple bands, with tiny displays. They will often track basic fitness information (steps taken, calories burned, distance travelled) onboard, but tend to require a permanent connection to a smartphone for in-depth analysis, GPS tracking and to display notifications.
How much should I spend?
The fitness trackers on this list range in price from around £30 to almost £200. The expensive entries are very nearly full-blooded smartwatches but, ordinarily, you should be able to find a cracking fitness tracker for less than £100 or even £50 if your needs are modest. All of the major manufacturers (Fitbit, Garmin, Huawei, Xiaomi and so on) sell fitness trackers that cater to the top and bottom ends of the £100 bracket.
What features should I look out for?
All of the items on this list will track the same set of basic fitness metrics: steps taken, distance travelled and calories burned. Most will also track a vast selection of sports, either automatically or otherwise. All will have an app that displays the collected fitness information and connects users to the broader community.
Other crucial features (that may not be present in all models) include:
1. Heart-rate sensor: This was once a premium feature, but is now included on almost all fitness trackers. Still, make sure before you buy: often, these models will be marked by an “HR” in the product name.
2. GPS: Fitness trackers tend to use something called connected GPS to track your route. This means that they piggyback on a smartphone’s GPS sensor, adding to the data your smartphone records rather than tracking your route outright. This means you cannot track your run without also taking your smartphone with you.
The alternative is built-in GPS, which means that the device has a built-in sensor. These wearables will track your run without needing a connection to your phone. Check before you buy – we list what kind of GPS our recommended trackers support in the key specs section of our mini-reviews.
3. Altimeter: To measure how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed over the course of a day (or more adventurously, how many flights of stairs the mountain you just climbed equates to), you will need an altimeter.
How we test fitness trackers
We’ve tried out all of the fitness trackers featured on our roundup below, wearing them out and about and testing the accuracy of crucial features such as activity, GPS, heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking.
Where possible, we use a Stryd wind pod and a chest strap as benchmarks for GPS and heart rate monitoring, comparing results over a series of runs. Beyond this, we also take into consideration the software’s ease of use, battery life and, of course, how it looks.
READ NEXT: The best sports watch to buy
The best fitness trackers you can buy in 2024
1. Fitbit Charge 5: The best Fitbit
Price when reviewed: £130 | Check price at Fitbit
For a long time the Fitbit Charge 5 sat in third place on this list, unable to go higher thanks to its £170 RRP. Now, it’s routinely sold for £130 or sometimes under £100 which puts it head and shoulders above similarly priced competition thanks to its built-in GPS.
It improves on the design of the Fitbit Charge 4 and adds a few features to boot. Instead of the austere, square face found on the previous model, the Charge 5 softens up its display with rounded corners. This screen is a colour AMOLED panel this time around, instead of monochrome found on every other Charge watch, plus the whole thing is 10% thinner.
The Charge 5 can track 20 different activity types automatically, and there are also new tools to help you keep track of your overall health. It also has the ability to measure electrodermal activity (EDA) and perform electrocardiogram (ECG) tests in addition to previously seen stress management tools, blood oxygen saturation and menstrual cycle monitoring. To make full use of every feature, Fitbit even gives you an out-the-box six-month free trial of Fitbit Premium, too, which makes its new price even more appealing.
Read our full Fitbit Charge 5 review
Key specs – Screen type: Colour AMOLED; Battery life: 7 days (GPS and always-on display switched off); Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: Built-in; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: No
2. Xiaomi Mi Band 7: Best budget fitness tracker
Price when reviewed: £43 | Check price at Amazon
Xiaomi’s Mi Band has long delivered the most bang for your buck in the world of budget fitness trackers, and the 7th generation continues that trend. It’s also a serious upgrade over its predecessor with a new always-on display, the ability to 18 days between charges (up from an already generous 14) and a larger 1.62in screen in a slightly smaller frame.
This makes for a nice, colourful place to view your stats, and you still get all of the same activity tracking and sleep monitoring features along with the Personal Activity Intelligence metric, which shifts the emphasis away from steps and on regularly raising heart rate through exercise. There are a whopping 120 sports modes to choose from, and you can connect to your phone’s GPS to track outdoor runs and rides.
You can enable continuous stress monitoring with the built-in SpO2 sensor to let you take on-the-spot blood-oxygen measurements for an extra hit of wellness data. If you don’t want to spend big but want plenty of features at your disposal, the Mi Band 7 is certainly one to look at.
Key specs – Screen type: Colour AMOLED; Battery life: Up to 18 days; Replaceable strap: yes; GPS: Connected only; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: No
3. Fitbit Inspire 3: Best cheap Fitbit
Price when reviewed: £76 | Check price at Amazon
If you want access to the fabulous Fitbit app, but don’t want to splash out on the Charge 5 (or the company’s smartwatches), then the Inspire 3 is a very good alternative, even if it’s double the price of Xiaomi’s offering.
The Fitbit Inspire 3 is a simple but effective wearable, primarily designed to passively measure your steps, sleep, calories burned and active minutes. There’s also accurate heart-rate tracking and a new spO2 sensor for tracking how oxygenated your blood is.
There’s also an improved screen, with a colour AMOLED unit replacing the monochrome panel used in the Fitbit Inspire 2. This offers a nice splash of colour without sacrificing battery life, which still clocks in at up to ten days. At 20g, it’s slightly lighter, and the switch to a simple buckle on the wrist strap is also a big improvement.
The screen is small, but the text is still relatively sharp and you’re unlikely to be interacting with it much anyway, except when you want to make use of the excellent guided breathing exercises or check your steps. There’s still no built-in GPS and it’s a tad expensive for what it offers, but for fitness novices, the Fitbit app is worth the price of admission alone.
Read our full Fitbit Inspire 3 review
Key specs – Screen type: Colour AMOLED; Battery life: Up to 10 days; Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: Connected only; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: No
4. Garmin Vivosmart 5: Best Fitbit alternative
Price when reviewed: £130 | Check price at John Lewis
The Garmin Vivosmart 5 is an excellent fitness tracker for those who like to dig deep into the data. Garmin Connect isn’t as user-friendly as Fitbit and can be a bit daunting for beginners, but it tracks plenty of fitness metrics for those wanting to track progress and form.
Alongside the usual slew of fitness tracking functions – including heart rate, step, calorie, sleep and stress tracking – the Vivosmart 5 benefits from blood oxygen saturation tracking and a broader “Body Battery” score. This last feature calculates your body’s overall resources and gives you an idea of when you should be working out – and when you should be resting.
New for the fifth generation? 24/7 Ox Pulse tracking (albeit with a hit to battery life), respiration rates, fall detection and sleep scores, as well as a larger screen and the introduction of changable bands. Unfortunately, it also loses the altimeter, meaning it will no longer track stairs climbed. But even without this, the Vivosmart 5 is a durable, well-rounded fitness tracker. If a Fitbit doesn’t appeal but you don’t fancy compromising on features, you won’t find much better at this price.
Read our full Garmin Vivosmart 5 review
Key specs – Screen type: Monochrome OLED; Battery life: 7 days; Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: Connected only; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: No
5. Garmin Venu Sq: Garmin’s best-value multisport watch
Price when reviewed: £180 | Check price at Garmin
With its vibrant 1.3in screen and slew of fitness features, the Venu Sq is one of the best value sports-orientated smartwatches you can buy. The “Sq” in the watch’s title refers to the change in its design when compared to the original model, with Garmin opting to use a square panel instead of the round watch face on the first Venu. The Sq also omits the AMOLED screen of the original, which is reflected in the fact it costs roughly half of the RRP of the flagship Venu model.
The Venu Sq offers most of the key fitness features that you would expect of a decent running watch in this day and age including heart-rate monitoring, stress and sleep tracking and even blood-oxygen measurements. However, perhaps the biggest draw to this device is its ability to store and play songs from Spotify offline.
The main concession is its less-than-world-beating battery life, which, at six days of average use is a full day shorter than Garmin’s similarly priced Vivoactive 3. Unfortunately, Garmin Pay is also supported by far fewer banks than Apple Pay or Google Pay. Still, these omissions aren’t enough to discredit what, at its core, is a great GPS watch at a good price.
Read our full Garmin Venu Sq review
Key specs – Screen type: Colour LCD; Battery life: 6 days; Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: Yes; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: No
6. Amazfit Band 7: Best cheap fitness tracker with style
Price when reviewed: £50 | Check price at Amazon
Amazfit is getting a growing reputation for making inexpensive but high-quality wearables, and the Amazfit Band 7 is the latest example of why it’s well earned. The larger 1.47in AMOLED screen grabs the attention, but it’s the health sensors on the inside that make it such a powerful little wearable.
It packs in 120 sports modes, detailing information like heart rate and calories burned, while piggybacking off your phone’s GPS to provide distance and speed for runners and cyclists. But its real trump card is the PAI – or Personal Activity Indicator – figure. This measures your heart rate, daily activity intensity and a “dynamic comprehensive evaluation of personal physiological data” before converting it into a score. Keep it over 100, and you’re less likely to die of cardiovascular disease, according to the company’s research.
It’s also unusual in the wearable world by supporting Alexa on the wrist – albeit in text form. Just tap the app, ask a question and Amazon’s virtual assistant will write out an answer for you. Neat.
It’s touchscreen controls only, which can be annoying during a workout, and it can feel a touch basic at times, too. But for the price, it’s really hard to complain too much.
Key specs – Screen type: Colour AMOLED; Battery life: 18 days; Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: None; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: No
7. Samsung Galaxy Fit 2: Best fitness tracker for Samsung phones
Price when reviewed: £75 | Check price at Amazon
The Galaxy Fit 2 not only boasts a bigger screen than its predecessor, but also offers significantly improved battery life compared, with Samsung claiming it can now last up to 15 days on a single charge with moderate usage. Along with its low price, these iterations make the Samsung Fit 2 a great-value option, especially for anyone with a Samsung phone. To clarify, the Fit 2 also works with iOS and non-Samsung Android phones, but you will need to install both the Galaxy Wearable/Fit app and the Samsung Health to do so.
There’s no built-in GPS, which, although expected from a device of this price point, means that you will need to be in close range of your smartphone and have Bluetooth switched on in order to track workouts with a higher degree of accuracy. Along with continuous heart-rate monitoring and sleep tracking, the Fit 2 offers workout modes for walking, running, cycling and swimming. If you have a Samsung phone and are tempted to try wearable tech, you could do a lot worse for the money.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 review
Key specs – Screen type: Colour AMOLED; Battery life: 15 days; Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: None; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: No
8. Huawei Watch Fit 2: Best fitness tracker and smartwatch hybrid
Price when reviewed: £130 | Check price at Huawei
Huawei’s Watch Fit 2 is designed to offer the benefits of both a smartwatch and a fitness tracker: it has all the fitness features you would expect, including heart-rate monitoring, stress and sleep tracking and automatic SpO2 monitoring, as well as lifestyle features such as music playback and the ability to answer calls from your wrist (plus being able to respond to texts from a selection of canned responses). There are 97 different workout modes to play with, and its personal trainer feature can provide training plans for runners based on their goals.
Improving on its predecessor, the Watch Fit 2 has a bigger, sharper screen as well as a wider choice of designs and watch straps – from the classic sporty silicone to more flashy gold and silver coloured metal wristbands. The battery life is very impressive too, offering up to 10 days of usage.
Of course, there are drawbacks: you can only really make the most out of the watch’s wider features, such as the AI voice assistant and remote camera shutter, if you have a Huawei phone running the EMUI operating system. Huawei’s Health app doesn’t mesh awfully well with third party fitness apps such as Strava either, and synchronising data between the two can be extremely fiddly. Ultimately, a Huawei wearable isn’t always the most attractive option, particularly if you have a Samsung phone or an iPhone.
That said, if you’re after a basic smartwatch-cum-fitness-tracker that doesn’t break the bank, the Watch Fit 2 is far from a bad choice. And if you’re after something more affordable, you can still get the original Watch Fit now for under £90.
Read our full Huawei Watch Fit 2 review
Key specs – Screen type: Colour AMOLED; Battery life: Up to 10 days; Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: In-built; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: Yes
9. Garmin Venu Sq 2: Best mid-priced multisport Garmin watch
Price when reviewed: £230 | Check price at John Lewis
While the Venu Sq 2 is a little more expensive than its predecessor, it’s still reasonably priced and adds a bevy of features and improvements to help balance out the increase. Most notably, it replaces the LCD screen of the original with a much more up to date OLED panel and adds the Elevate v4 heart-rate array seen in Garmin’s more expensive high-end lines, like the Fenix series.
In fitness tracking terms, the wearable offers more substantial exercise modes than the likes of Fitbit’s offerings, with 32 distinct options that are thoughtfully designed – for example, its yoga mode can be set to track your workout through different poses – as well as solid GPS performance, despite only using single-band tracking.
If you’ve a little stretch in your watch budget you can also plump for the more expensive Venu Sq 2 Music Edition, which adds local music storage, or the circular-faced Venu 2, which has an on-board altimeter.
Read our full Garmin Venu Sq 2 review
Key specs – Screen type: Colour OLED; Battery life: 11 days; Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: Yes; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: No
10. Withings Steel HR Sport: Best hybrid fitness tracker
Price when reviewed: £173 | Check price at Amazon
Despite having the appearance of a traditional analogue wristwatch, the Withings Steel HR Sport is packed with useful fitness-tracking features. Along with a sub-dial that shows progress to your daily step count target, the fitness tracking is offered via a small, circular monochrome OLED screen. This tiny display not only lets you view notifications and heart-rate info, but you can also track up to thirty different sports (including swimming), piggybacking off your smartphone’s GPS where necessary.
It might be limiting having such as a small digital display in some contexts, but the biggest perk to it is that the Withings Steel HR Sport can last “up to 25 days” between charges. Surely that’s a tempting compromise.
Read our full Withings Steel HR Sport review
Key specs – Screen type: Monochrome OLED; Battery life: 25 days; Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: Connected only; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: Yes