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Best fitness trackers US 2019: Collect the data you need to live fitter

Emily Shwake
16 May 2019
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There are plenty of fitness trackers out there, but these are our picks of the best

If you’re looking to get fit in 2019, a fitness tracker can point you in the right direction. You can buy wearables to be worn on your head, your shoe, and even in your ears, but wrist-based wearables are by far the most popular because they can blend in with your natural attire.

One thing that can confuse some people is that the line between smartwatches and sports watches has become increasingly blurred and many devices now tick both boxes. A smartwatch such as the Apple Watch Series 4 tracks all physical activity and continuously monitor your heart rate while fitness watches such as the Garmin Vivoactive 3 displays smartphone notifications and widgets that sync to your phone’s calendar.

In this list, we've aimed to include all types of devices including more basic fitness trackers that don't have GPS or heart-rate sensors. Battery life can vary significantly between devices, but as a rule of thumb the prettier, smaller, and more feature-packed a device, the more often you'll be charging it.

With that in mind, here is our pick of the best fitness trackers of 2019.

The best fitness trackers of 2019

1. Garmin Vivoactive 3: The best all-round fitness tracker

Price: $199.99 | Buy now from Amazon

It might be over a year old, but it has one of the best optical heart-rate sensors we’ve seen in a wrist-borne tracker. Plus, it seems like the only workout the Vivoactive won’t track is open-water swimming. Unlike many cheaper fitness trackers, it also offers stress tracking, and can estimate your VO2 max after you've completed a few workouts. Naturally, all the basics such as sleep, step, and calorie tracking are covered, too.

It also excels as far as battery life is concerned; Garmin claims that you can go six days without a charge if you disable the GPS, but it’ll still last 13 hours with the GPS on. There are a few features that true smartwatches have that Vivoactive doesn’t, but it stands out among fitness trackers with contactless payment and notifications. With a price cut to just $203, though, it's always top of my list when it comes recommending a fitness-orientated watch.

Read our full review of the Garmin Vivoactive 3

Buy now from Amazon


2. Apple Watch Series 4: Not just a great smartwatch

Price: From $384 | Buy now from Amazon

The Apple Watch Series 4 improves on its predecessor with a 30% larger screen and a processor that's twice as fast, but it still offers the same set of fitness-tracking features that made the Series 3 so brilliant. As well as monitoring steps and flights of stairs climbed, nudging you to stand up every hour, the Apple Watch's Workout app can be used to accurately track all manner of indoor and outdoor activities, using GPS where necessary.

It's also waterproof to 50m, so you can use it in the pool, tracking your strokes and lengths, and the heart-rate monitor works underwater too. Elsewhere, it can now also monitor your average walking and resting heart rates, as well as your recovery time after workouts. The only catch is that you still need an iPhone to use it. If your budget doesn't stretch to the Watch 4, you can still pick up the Series 3 for just $199.

Read our full review of the Apple Watch Series 4

Buy now from Amazon


3. Fitbit Inspire HR: A good-looking, well-priced tracker

Price: $99.95 | Buy now from Fitbit

The Inspire HR is, in our humble opinion, Fitbit’s best ever tracker in terms of value for money. Replacing the hugely popular Alta range, the Inspire HR offers more features at a cheaper price point than its predecessor, even if it doesn’t look quite as visually appealing.

You can pick up a regular Fitbit Inspire for only $70 but, given that an extra $30 gets you a heart-rate monitor, connected GPS, VO2 max estimates and guided breathing sessions,  upgrading to the Inspire HR really feels like a no brainer. If all you’re after is a smart fitness band to do all of the above, as well as track your steps, sleep and general fitness level, then the Fitbit Inspire HR is an easy recommendation.

Read our full review of the Inspire HR

Buy now from Fitbit


4. Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro: A stylish, feature-packed tracker

Price: $167.90 | Buy now from Amazon

Samsung Gear Fit 2 activities

If you think fitness bands are a little on the dull and lifeless side, then you haven't had a good look at the Gear Fit2 Pro. Its 1.5in AMOLED screen is bright and vibrant, and it's able to track a whole lot of metrics from GPS and heart rate to laps of the swimming pool. You can even manually add a glass of water every time you take a drink to ensure your fluid levels are maintained.

Note that the Pro version doesn't add much to the original, so if you're not bothered by swim tracking, do yourself a favor and search for the far cheaper original.

Read our full review of the Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro 

Buy now from Amazon


5. Xiaomi Mi Band 3: Best budget fitness tracker

Price: $32.99 | Buy now from Amazon

If you don't want to spend much on your first fitness tracker, the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 might be just the device for you. It's not as fully-featured as more expensive trackers, but it has a small monochrome OLED display, an integrated heart rate monitor and it tracks all the things you’d expect a modern fitness wearable to track: steps, calories burned, sleep and exercise.

It works in a similar way to most other fitness trackers, synchronizing over Bluetooth to the Xiaomi Mi Fit app on your phone, and even supports rudimentary notifications and phone call alerts. There’s no GPS or altimeter for keeping tabs on stairs climbed, but at $33, it’s still a solid buy.

Read our full review of the Xiaomi Mi Band 3

Buy now from Amazon


6. Fitbit Charge 2: Excellent fitness-tracking features at a low price

Price: $105.95 | Buy now from Amazon

Recently been replaced by the Charge 3, the Fitbit Charge 2 is still a great option if you want something simple and are happy for GPS to be linked to your phone. Like its successor, you can mix things up with new straps and challenge your friends. Its battery life lasts for five days so it's unlikely to die while you’re out on a run. 

Read our full review of the Fitbit Charge 3

Buy now from Amazon


7. Garmin Forerunner 35: A great, inexpensive running watch

Price: $99.99 | Buy now from Amazon

If you need a watch to track your run but don’t have a ton of cash to drop on extra features, the Garmin Forerunner 35 is perfect. It'll only track running, so you’re better off looking at the more expensive Garmin Vivoactive 3 if you like to mix it up. However, if running is your only passion and you want to log all your workouts without taking your phone out with you, then Garmin has made the perfect product for you. At this price, you'll have a tough time finding anything better.

Read our full review of the Garmin Forerunner 35

Buy now from Amazon


8. Withings Steel HR Sport review: Best hybrid watch

Price: $199.95 | Buy now from Withings

Despite having the appearance of a traditional analog wristwatch, the Withings Steel HR Sport is packed with useful fitness-tracking features. Along with a subdial that shows how close you are to hitting your daily activity goal, an OLED screen tracks 30 different activities. It also displays notifications, heart rate, and alarm settings.

It might be limiting to have 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 review of the Withings Steel HR Sport

Buy now from Withings


9. Misfit Ray: A simple fitness tracker with brilliant battery life

Price: $63.99 | Buy now from Amazon

The Misfit Ray is a simple, stylish piece of wearable tech and all for just $64. It expertly tracks your steps and sleep patterns and, since it's completely waterproof, you can take it into the pool. The standout feature, however, is the battery life: this band lasts a whopping six months.

Read our full review of the Misfit Ray

Buy now from Amazon


10. Fitbit Flex 2: The best no-frills fitness tracker

Price: $99.49 | Buy now from Amazon

The original Fitbit Flex offered the ultimate no-frills fitness tracker: it counted sleep and steps in an aesthetically appealing but non-intrusive package. The Flex 2 builds on this but doesn’t overcomplicate matters, simply adding waterproofing to track swims alongside steps and sleep. It may not offer much in the way of coaching, but as a first step on the road to a healthy life, it’s hard to find fault with the Flex 2.

Read our full review of the Fitbit Flex 2

Buy now from Amazon


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