Best fitness trackers of 2020 you can buy right now

Fitness trackers have come an extremely long way over the years. No longer are they glorified pedometers; most standard fitness trackers nowadays can track your steps taken, distance traveled, how many calories you’ve burned for the day, and even your sleeping patterns. They’re handy little devices if you want a better look at how active you are throughout the day, and there are plenty to choose from.

It can be a little daunting trying to choose the best fitness tracker to suits your needs, so we’ve compiled a list of the best fitness trackers on the market. We’ve divided our list up into separate categories to help you narrow down your options.

Editor’s note: We will update this best fitness trackers list as more devices come to market.


The best fitness tracker: Fitbit Charge 3

The Fitbit Charge 3 is the best fitness tracker you can buy. Its classy, versatile design means it’ll look good in the office and at the gym. It’s also water resistant this time around, and ha an accurate wrist-based heart rate sensor.

Elsewhere, the Fitbit Charge 3 offers a great software experience, plenty of smartwatch features, and a battery that can last almost a week on a single charge. Unless you’re a runner, you probably don’t need GPS. Thus, the Charge 3 is a great option.

Garmin Vivosmart 4

garmin vivosmart 4 review screen

The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is the best fitness tracker you can buy if you aren’t interested in the Fitbit Charge 3.

It’s a wonderful fitness tracker that excels at many of the things it attempts to do. If you don’t need a GPS and can get past the narrow display, this is one of your best options for a feature-packed, reliable fitness tracker. Plus, Garmin recently updated the device to include connected GPS functionality.


Best fitness smartwatch: Garmin Vivoactive 4

garmin vivoactive 4 review watch face display 1

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is the best fitness tracking smartwatch you can buy.

Everything you loved about the Vivoactive 3 and 3 Music is here, along with about 3.5GB of onboard storage for music. You can load up your favorite songs, or download playlists from Spotify, Deezer, and iHeartRadio.

The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is a solid upgrade to the Vivoactive 3 and 3 Music, and will certainly please those in need of a midrange multisport watch. It’s not as flashy as the new Garmin Venu, but that might be a good thing: It has a more readable display and longer battery life. If you’re interested, you won’t be disappointed… just be prepared to pay up.


Fitbit Versa 2

fitbit versa 2 review display watch face 8

The Fitbit Versa 2 takes what made the original Versa so special and improves on it. It has a much better OLED display this year, as well as Fitbit Pay support across all models, and Amazon Alexa support built in. It’s also an accurate fitness, health, and sleep tracker, and Fitbit’s new Sleep Score feature is genuinely useful.

It’s not perfect, though. Alexa integration is limited and buggy, there’s still no built-in GPS, and the quick release straps

Read More →

The Best Fitness Trackers of 2020

All of our testers chose the Charge 3 as their hands-down favorite fitness tracker for its mix of good looks, easy-to-navigate device menus and companion app, and plethora of activity- and sleep-tracking info.

Testers rated the setup “super-easy” for getting the device and app up and running. Once in use, the Charge 3 makes itself known, with hourly reminders to move and a 250-step countdown to hit before you sit back down. The Charge 3, like the other Fitbits and Garmins we tested, also automatically detects sustained activity, based on the movement patterns and heart-rate data the watch records, giving you credit for it in the app. Walks, runs, and bike rides especially are chronicled pretty accurately within a minute, plus or minus. However, it’s not foolproof: an apparently vigorous laundry folding session gave me credit for “sport.” There’s also no indication that anything is tracking on the device so you won’t know if it worked until later, and our testers didn’t initially know where to find this information in the app (it’s under “Track your exercise”).

If you prefer not to rely on the device to automatically recognize your workouts, you can turn on an exercise mode, selecting from seven on the watch that you preset from about 15 options on the app. The Charge 3 has “connected GPS,” which means that if you want mapping and more accurate paces for your walks, runs, and bike rides, you’ll need to bring your phone along, unlike running watches, which have a built-in GPS chip. The Charge 3’s screen stays dark unless you raise your wrist, which can have an annoying split-second lag if you want to scope your stats mid-workout and it turns off very quickly, so you may not see everything you want in that glance.

Fitbit offers an extensive and active community centered around step-focused challenges, something that no other fitness-tracker company has had the same success replicating. Having a social aspect to help you set and meet goals can be a driving factor for sticking to your wellness plans, and the community is a selling point for Fitbit fans. (During our testing, Google announced it was acquiring Fitbit, which has raised privacy concerns regarding how the tech giant might use all health data accumulated from its vast network. Until the sale is final, we just won’t know, but it’s something we’re keeping an eye on.)

Testers reported that the Charge 3’s sleep tracking seemed to record accurately, though one commented that “moving around and whatnot gets in the way.” Other user-friendly health features include a breathing activity for stress reduction, menstrual cycle tracking, a hydration log, a food log with a searchable database of common foods, as well as pay-to-play workout, meditation, and other wellness programs.

The Charge 3 has some smartphone features, including notifications, which you can customize or turn off entirely if all that buzzing gets on your nerves. You may reply to texts from the watch using preset canned replies and emojis, but if

Read More →

The Best Fitness Trackers for 2020

How to Choose the Right Fitness Tracker

Count More Than Steps

There’s never been a better selection of fitness trackers, but with choice comes confusion. Which tracker has the features that are right for you and the activities you do? Here are some tips and recommendations for choosing the best tracker for your needs.

Where to Start

If you want to give fitness tracking a try (but without a wearable), start by using a mobile app that counts your steps. This method requires the least commitment, and could be of interest if you’re a beginner. Some apps we like are Argus, Fitbit, and Moves.

If you run or bicycle, we recommend tracking your runs or rides with an app before going whole-hog and splurging on a tracker. Why? With some trackers, you still need to carry your phone to get accurate pacing, distance, and mapping, so you’ll want to know before you make a purchase if you’re okay with carrying your phone, or if you’d prefer a tracker with built-in GPS so you don’t have to. A few apps we recommend are Runtastic PRO (for running), Cyclemeter (for bicycling), and Strava (for both running and cycling).

The Coros SafeSound Helmet is another interesting solution for cyclists that integrates your phone’s GPS to track your rides and uses bone-conduction audio to let you hear directions, music, and phone calls without blocking your ears.



How Much Should You Spend on a Fitness Tracker?

In general, most fitness trackers cost between $50 and $250. If you pay less than $50, you’ll probably get a subpar product with mediocre accuracy. In addition, less expensive trackers usually don’t have a display, so you can’t see how many steps you’ve taken unless you look at your smartphone.

More expensive trackers usually include built-in optical heart rate monitors and GPS, and often, these features are tailored toward athletes and exercise enthusiasts. Don’t get suckered into buying a tracker with a heart rate monitor if your primary activity is walking; it’s an unnecessary expense. If you walk and don’t do much else, there are great options in the $49 to $149 range.

If you do work out often, we highly recommend spending at least $99, as that’s the price point where you’ll start to see the features that are useful to very active users.

The Best Fitness Tracker Deals This Week*

*Deals are selected by our partner, TechBargains

Choose Your Style

A very important question to ask yourself before choosing a fitness tracker is the type of form factor you want. Fitness trackers are usually bracelets, watches, or clip-ons. Most clip-on devices these days can also be worn on the wrist, but not vice versa. Bracelets and watches are hard to lose. Clip-ons can fall off or get thrown into the wash.

See How We Test Fitness Trackers

That said, bracelets and watches can get in the way when typing on a computer or washing dishes, for example. And wrist-worn devices aren’t always eye-catching accessories

Read More →