Fitness trackers are great gifts for those who want to, well, track their health and exercise. Whether the person you are shopping for loves to run, swim or lift, a fitness tracker is certainly a good step for your workout and helps them get a better overview of their health.
It is worth noting that this article focuses on fitness trackers, not fitness-focused smartwatches. Fitness trackers focus specifically on health and exercise-related features instead of having an abundance of smart features like smartwatches do.
What to look for in a fitness tracker
There are some general things to keep in mind when choosing the right fitness tracker.
- Build quality: A fitness tracker will go through a lot during his life. As such, you want to make the build quality up to snus. Waterproofing is basically a necessity for a tracker at this point and all those on this list have it. They are all certified to wear while swimming or in the shower, so there will be no problems there. You also want to make sure the tracker can survive any bumps and falls. After all, exercise is not exactly a mild activity for the most part.
- Features: This mainly applies to health and exercise tracking where you see many of the same functions in most trackers. Sleep, heart rate and step tracking are all pretty common things to see in a fitness tracker. Some impress with more in-depth versions of them and even introduce new forms of tracking that use location data or advanced monitors for things like stress levels or other forms of exercise. Some smart features like managing music or paying with the tracker are also nice additions.
- GPS: Some trackers will have a built-in GPS, others not ̵1; so simple. While most GPS trackers can rely on smartphones to fulfill that functionality, this means that the user must carry their phone with them when training, which is not always convenient.
- Battery life: A dead battery on any device is never fun, but the last thing anyone wants is for their fitness tracker to die in the middle of a workout. Having a long battery life is also extremely important for sleep tracking, as the tracker will run all night. Most training trackers will, however, be for a while and usually extend in the 7- to 10-day interval with full charge.
- Ecosystem: Garmin and Fitbit are the two largest players in the fitness track world at the moment, and as such, all choices on this list except one from the two companies. Each tracker has its features and benefits that can pull you towards it, but there are some things on a larger scale that you need to be aware of before choosing. Namely the companies’ ecosystems or complementary apps. Basically, what you need to know is that the Fitbit app (iOS / Android / Windows) is easier to use but loses some in-depth tracking tools because of it. There is a premium subscription ($ 13.49 per month / $ 106.99 per year) that provides more in-depth features. On the other hand, Garmin’s app (Android / iOS) is much more robust and has lots of data tracking and options for the user to move around with.
Smart Tracker: Fitbit Charge 4
Charge 4 is Fitbit’s advanced fitness tracker, and it is equipped with lots of health, exercise and smart features. It tracks all common health products such as sleep, heart rate and daily calorie consumption, but exercise tracking is where things get more interesting. You can focus on certain heart rate ranges, track how many steps you take, how many floors you go up / down, monitor your fitness levels and receive messages to remind you to take a break while exercising or vice versa – to move you has been too stagnant.
One of the major features of the Charge 4 is the built-in GPS. This is Fitbit’s first tracker with built – in GPS, and it’s amazing to see that this feature comes in such a nice package. GPS allows users to track driving and such without having to carry a phone. It also allows users to see specific GPS-related heat maps and the like.
When it comes to smart features, there is nothing to think about, but they are all useful things to have. You can receive notifications from your phone, pay for things with Fitbit Pay, manage Spotify music and install various compatible apps. Some of these features must be set in the Fitbit app (iOS / Android / Windows), where you can also collect exercise and health data from the tracker in an easy-to-read environment. Overall, the Charge 4 is the smart Fitbit tracker for users who want smart features without a complete smartwatch.
Charge 4 will last for up to 7 days depending on usage. (The internal GPS used for some tracking features drains it quickly.) It is also available in two colors: black and rosewood.
Fitbit Charge 4
A basic tracker with a focus on fitness: Fitbit Inspire 2
Inspire 2’s smaller screen and lower price means that it loses some features compared to Charge 4, but it is still a good fitness tracker. Healthy, the Inspire 2 still has everything you can expect such as sleep tracking, heart rate measurement and calorie consumption. Inspire 2 is also equipped with much of the same training tracking as Charge 4, such as target heart rate zones, monitoring of fitness levels and a pace / distance tracker for walking / running.
There is no internal GPS here, which means that for any form of location-based tracking, the user must bring the phone. You can see a complete list of tracking features on Inspire 2 on the Fitbit website and can even directly compare it to Charge 4.
You also lose some smart features in Inspire 2 like Fitbit Pay and Spotify management, but they are not all gone – you can still receive notifications and install compatible apps. Just like Charge 4, you can collect all the data that the tracker collects with the Fitbit app (iOS / Android / Windows).
Inspire 2 can last up to ten days with a full charge. It is also available in three colors: black, rose and white.
Fitbit Inspire 2
The smartest tracker you can buy: Garmin vivosmart 4
Switching to Garmin’s side of things, vivosmart 4 focuses on being slim and practical. It covers all the health monitoring you can expect, including heart rate, sleep, stress levels and even blood oxygen levels with the Pulse Ox sensor. It tracks steps, calorie consumption, climbed floors and how intense your workout was as well.
Vivosmart 4 also has some smart features such as notifications, weather forecasts and music management. The Garmin Connect app (Android / iOS) lets you gather all your health information in one place and has some other useful features like setting goals or completing challenges.
You can expect the tracker to take about 7 days on a full charge. It is also available in four colors: gold, rose gold, silver and black.
Garmin vivosmart 4
A full-featured tracker: Garmin vivosport
The Vivosport is similar to the vivosmart 4, but it has an internal GPS. So it will be especially good for runners who want to track their time and pace over an area without pulling around the phone. In addition, vivosport has most of the same tracking and health features as vivosmart, but it lacks certain things like stress levels and abnormal heart rate warnings due to the missing Pulse Ox sensor. You can see a full comparison of the two tracks on Garmin’s website.
Vivosport also has 7 days of battery life (or eight hours in GPS mode) and a full color screen. You can get it in three colors: fuchsia focus, slate and spotlight.
Budget Choice: Wyze Band
If you are looking for a tracker at the lower end of things affordable, the Wyze Band offers an impressive value for money. Wyze Band tracks sleep, heart rate and general activity level throughout the day, all of which can be viewed in the Wyze app (iOS / Android). But in addition to the basic tracking features, the band also includes a surprising amount of smart features.
You can customize your home screen, manage Wyze’s smart-home devices, receive notifications on the tracker, and it also has Amazon Alexa built-in. It lacks an internal GPS and the ability to use the phone’s GPS in any way, but it is acceptable for the price. It will also last for up to ten days on a full battery. It’s a lot for those who are new to fitness trackers or just do not feel they need anything too fancy.