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Best Activity Tracker: Finding the Right Way to Workout

woman wearing activity tracker
John C. Porter
Written by John C. Porter

Getting the most out of your exercise routine is important. That is why having the best activity tracker can help you with your workouts. Not only do they monitor your activity, but they can count calories, track your sleep, can connect to your phone and be used with an app. There are many benefits to using one.

There are many features of activity trackers you will learn about below. These features help you make the most of each workout, allowing you to track your progress. You will have to choose your design, decide if you want a screen, and choose the type of battery you want, among other decisions.

By the end of this article, you will be able to decide which activity tracker is best for you. We will show you some reviews to look over to show you what is on the market for purchase now. Maybe one of these will be your next activity tracker! Let us read on more below.

Product NameWeightDimensionsWaterproofBest UsePrice
Fitbit Flex4 oz6 x 0.4 x 8.2 inYesLand and WaterCheck price on Amazon
Fitbit Charge0.8 oz2 x 0.8 x 0.4 inNoLandCheck price on Amazon
Up 24 By Jawbone0.6 oz5 x 2.6 x 2 inYesLand and WaterCheck price on Amazon
Moov0.3 oz5 x 1.5 x 0.3 inYesLand and WaterCheck price on Amazon
Polar H7N/AN/AYesLand and WaterCheck price on Amazon
LifeTrak Zone C4101.3 oz3 x 2.1 x 2.1 inYesLand and WaterCheck price on Amazon
Nike+N/AN/ANoLandCheck price on Amazon
Fitbit Zip3.8 oz9 x 3.6 x 1 inNoLandCheck price on Amazon
Striiv Play3.2 oz2 x 3.5 x 1.6 inNoLandCheck price on Amazon

Features to Consider

Now that you know what activity trackers we will be looking at, you should know there are some features to consider before you buy these, or any activity tracker. You want to make sure to get one that works well for your routine and functions well no matter your activity. See below for several features to look into before you go shopping.

Design

The way an activity tracker looks and feels is important to how much you will wear it. Picking one that looks sleek and is comfortable around your wrist will ensure that you wear it all of the time for the most accurate tracking possible.

  • Wristbands: Designed exactly the same as a watch, you’ll be able to wear them on your wrists.
  • Clips/hooks: Clips/hooks are easily clipped to your clothing and can be secured anywhere on your body.
  • Shoe straps: You’ll be able to loop it through your shoelaces with your shoelaces securely fastened.

activity trackers built into clothes

Battery Life

You’re given a couple battery options to choose from when deciding on an activity tracker. The battery options are based on personal preference, neither is worse or better than the other. Let’s take a look at what they have to offer.

  • Rechargeable: Rechargeable batteries require you to charge your activity tracker every 4-5 days, depending on your usage. These batteries are charged via a USB cable. The only con for these batteries is that you have to remember to constantly charge your battery.
  • Watch Battery: Other activity trackers use watch batteries to run the tracker, these batteries will last at least 6 months at a time, however, will need to be changed then.

Waterproof

You can choose to purchase a waterproof activity tracker that will be able to withstand harsh weather conditions. They’re usually slightly pricier than regular activity trackers, however, it depends entirely on your purpose for using an activity tracker.

woman wearing activity tracker

If you’ll be working out year-round or swimming, then you best invest in the waterproof option.

Screen

You have the option of having a built-in display on your fitness tracker. It will display the time and your fitness goals without you having to open the app. It usually will cost a little extra than a no-screen activity tracker, however, it’s just depends on your needs and your preferences.

Top Product Reviews

Now, we have come to the part where we review several of the best activity trackers you can get right now. Look at these products and see what features they have and what they can be used for. Then you can make the best choice about which one works best for your life.

Fitbit Flex

fitbit flex

Price: Approx. $90

Weight: 4 ounces

Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches

Best use: Both land and water activities

Description: Water-resistant and made of rubber, the Fitbit Flex activity tracker is ideal for land and water activities. It tracks steps, distance, calories burned and total activity minutes. In addition, it also seconds as a sleep wristband which measures the duration and quality of your sleep. If you were looking for an activity tracker with a screen, this one is screen less.

However, the activity tracker does come with LED lights to show if you’re reaching your fitness goals. Fitbit flex is slim and sleek in design and extremely comfortable to wear as it comes in two sizes, large and small, with an interchangeable clasp. It’s easy to sync wirelessly and is compatible with over 150 smart phones. Both an activity and sleep wristband, you’ll be able to wear this from day to night.

PROS:

  • Syncs to tablets, computers, and smart phones
  • Sync range of 20 ft
  • Gets call notifications
  • Rubber

CONS:

  • Needs internet to sync
  • Syncing to a mobile means using a Bluetooth
  • Only comes in black

Related: If anything ever happens to the charging cord for your Fitbit Flex, you can buy a replacement such as the Fitbit Flex Charger Replacement Cord for Fitbit Flex. Some people like an assortment of bands to choose from to switch things up, so you can always look at the Henoda Replacement Bands for Fitbit Flex.

Check the price on Amazon

Fitbit Charge

fitbit charge

Price: Approx. $135

Weight: 0.8 ounces

Dimensions: 2 x 0.8 x 0.4 inches

Best use: Land activities

Description: The Fitbit Charge is a two-in-one activity and sleep tracker which can track your workouts, heart rate, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes, steps and quality of sleep. The screen allows you to see call notifications, daily stats and the time – all necessary features for when you’re working out and don’t want to look at your phone.

If you’re worried about sizes, this activity tracker comes in 5 different sizes from x-small to x-large. It syncs wirelessly to your smart phone and is compatible with over 150 smart phones. It also comes with, a silent alarm, which will wake you up without disturbing others. Many activity trackers only come in one color, however, Fitbit created five different vibrant colors for you to choose from.

PROS:

  • Tracks lots of activity levels
  • Lets you see the call notifications
  • Auto Sleep and Alarm modes
  • Long battery life

CONS:

  • Quite pricey
  • Only comes in black
  • The band may fall apart after a while

Related: Some people kick up a lot of dust on the trail, therefore their tracker can get dust inside of it. You can look into the Moretek Silicone Anti Dust Plugs for Fitbit HR Port Protector Fitbit Tracker if you have that issue. If you tend to be on the safe side with electronics, you can add a screen protector like the Ace Armor Shield Shatter Resistant Screen Protector for the Fitbit Charge HR.

Check the price on Amazon

Up 24 By Jawbone

up 24 jowbone

Price: Approx. $30

Weight: 0.6 ounces

Dimensions: 5 x 2.6 x 2 inches

Best use: Land and water activities

Description: The water-resistant UP 24 by Jawbone activity tracker helps motivate you by showing you your fitness levels and sleep quality. It tracks steps, calories burned, quality and hours slept, and exercise.

With the UP App Food Score, you can also track your food, drinks and nutrients to make sure you’re also eating properly to receive the best results. The Smart Coach also acts as an alarm by sending you vibrations to wake you up without an annoying sound waking everyone else around you up.

You can also connect with friends and family and reach goals together via team leader boards. The activity tracker comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large. Because it’s water resistant, you’ll be able to wear it while engaging in water activities, without fearing that you’ll ruin the tracker. So, whether you’re on land or sea, you’ll be able to wear this tracker day and night.

PROS:

  • Uses an app to track food, beverages and nutrients.
  • Smart Coach uses features like Smart Alarm to wake you up
  • Uses leader boards to connect with family and friends, and share data
  • Variety of colors

CONS:

  • Does not have heart monitoring
  • Does not have advanced tracking
  • May not last beyond a year

Related: If anything happens to your charger cord, you can find a replacement easily, such as the Getwow Replacement USB Charging Cord for Jawbone. The Replacement End Caps Covers for Jawbone UP are for when you lose your end cap covers on your tracker and need some replacements.

Check the price on Amazon

Moov

moov TRACKER

Price: Approx $20

Weight: 0.3 ounces

Dimensions: 5 x 1.5 x 0.3 inches

Best use: Land and water activities, ideal for triathletes

Description: The MOOV tracker is ideal for those are training heavily, as it’s ideal for those training for triathlons. This activity tracker monitors your fitness levels and advises you on how to achieve the most out of your workout – a feature not seen on many of these fitness trackers. It’s powered by 9-axis motion sensors, a military-grade technology that is highly precise at measuring your movements.

The real-time audio coaching is available for running, cycling, body weight, and cardio boxing workouts. Moov’s design can be worn on your wrist or ankle, depending on which you prefer.

The app is also included with the purchase of the activity tracker and is a great option for those that need motivation and are looking to get the most from their workouts. It’s available in three colors: blue, pink and black.

PROS:

  • Counts steps and calories burned
  • Each session gives you a detailed account of the data
  • Real time audio coaching
  • In app feedback

CONS:

  • Only comes in black
  • A newer version available now
  • Does not work well underwater.

Related: After a while, you might find yourself in need of a replacement battery for the tracker. One, such as the Panasonic CR123A Lithium 3V , can be helpful. The SoundPEATS Wireless Earbuds will help you stay in touch with your hiking partner if you two should split up for a short time.

Check the price on Amazon

Polar H7

Polar h7

Price: $50 – $155

Weight: N/A

Dimensions: N/A

Best use: Land and water activities

Description: The Polar H7 fitness tracker heart rate sensor provides you with a real-time and accurate heart rate and is synced via Bluetooth to your iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android.The strap is very comfortable and will analyze and review your heart rate while you’re training.

It’s compatible with various Polar products as well as other gym equipment. What’s great about this tracker, is that it’s waterproof and can monitor your heart rate while swimming.

It measures distance, calories burned, speed, heart rate and duration of activity. A perfect workout accessory if you’re looking for something simple yet effective. This isn’t a device that will make you read the instruction manual, it’s very basic in function, but does the job. In addition, it also comes with a 2-year limited warranty which is another feature that many people appreciate.

PROS:

  • Includes heart rate monitor
  • Waterproof
  • Long battery life
  • Counts calories
  • Not very expensive

CONS:

  • Hard-to-remove battery
  • Sometimes will have trouble connecting to Bluetooth
  • For some, it quit working at around 1 year of use

Related: The Polar Soft Strap Set is a great addition to your tracker if you like having various colors of straps to interchange.

Check the price on Amazon

LifeTrak Zone C410

LifeTrak Zone C410

Price: Approx. $50

Weight: 1.3 ounces

Dimensions: 3 x 2.1 x 2.1 inches

Best use: Land and water activities

Description: If you’re looking for an activity tracker with a large screen, the LifeTrak Zone C410 is a great option. Some people prefer having a large screen that shows their progress and that is this tracker.

You can wear this tracker on land or in water, day or night, whatever the conditions, it’ll be able to withstand them. This tracker is great if you’re the type of person that cannot remember to charge their phone.

The LifeTrak Move doesn’t need to be recharged, it comes with a one-year battery life with a standard coin cell. It’s also great for water activities as it is waterproof up to 30 meters / 90 feet deep.

It has an ECG heart rate monitor which can measure your heart rate without having to wear a chest strap. You’ll be able to view the ECG wave and heart rate right on the screen. The app is another great feature with LifeTrak as it reviews your data on charts via your smart phone.

PROS:

  • Auto sleep report
  • Tracks heart rate
  • Graphs for each hour or week
  • Mode for working out

CONS:

  • No app for Android
  • May not track sleep correctly
  • Must swing arms as you walk or steps do not count

Related: You can purchase additional straps for your tracker such as the LIfeTrak ComfortFit Band, which gives you one color on each side, so you can change them as you like!

Check the price on Amazon

Nike+

nike plus fuel

Price: $135 – $600

Weight: N/A

Dimensions: N/A

Best use: Land activities, not waterproof

Description: Sports giant Nike couldn’t be left out of this concept. So, they decided to create the Nike+ fitness tracker. Instead of making it a flashy wristband, Nike kept it sleek and minimal in design, however, with a sporty twist.

It’s extremely comfortable and sturdy and displays time, steps, calories burned and fuel, on the tracker’s screen. Your activity is synced wirelessly to the app and your information is kept in your profile.

However, in comparison to other tracks, this one is slightly higher in price and is relatively basic in comparison to our other choices. It doesn’t measure distance, stairs climbed, heart rate, skin temperature or sleep quality. However, if you don’t need that information, then this is a good choice. It works via a rechargeable battery that simply needs to be plugged into a USB cable.

You can set a daily fuel goal indicating how active you want to be that day and Nike will send you reminders, motivating you to maintain your goal. With the app,  you can also create teams and receive your feedback regarding your workouts.

PROS:

  • Comes in 3 sizes
  • Two extra links for better fit
  • Works with Bluetooth

CONS:

  • A little pricey
  • No way to track sleep
  • Does not track all kinds of exercise

Related: The Nike+ Stand Alone Sensor Kit will sync with your tracker and goes right under your sock liner of the shoe to measure your activity. The Star Wars Death Star USB Car Charger can charge your tracker, and looks just like the Death Star!

Check the price on Amazon

Fitbit Zip

fitbit zip

Price: Approx. $60

Weight: 3.8 ounces

Dimensions: 9 x 3.6 x 1 inches

Best use: Land activities; not waterproof

Description: The Fitbit Zip activity tracker is an easy-to-use and fun way to track your daily activities. It’s really the ideal device if you’re looking for a tracker that isn’t filled with hundreds of options. If you want a simple device, well, then here it is.

This track does come with a screen that will display your all-day activities such as steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned. What’s great about this device is that its design isn’t like a traditional watch.

Instead, it can fit in your pocket, clip onto your belt or bra. Some people don’t feel comfortable with wearing a watch and this is a great option if you’re one of those people.

It is water-resistant and also comes with a long-lasting battery that lives up to six months before replacement, you’ll be able to wear it all day, every day without having to charge it. It also syncs daily to your computer and is compatible with over 150 smart phones. The app is very easy to read and provides you with charts and graphs so you can easily track your progress.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Works with iPhone and Android
  • Syncs automatically to a computer
  • Compete with friends

CONS:

  • Some features do not work for users
  • Will not show you weight tracking or food intake
  • FitBit is taking too long for an update of features that need to be repaired

Related: Should you ever find yourself in need of a replacement band, you can check out the Baaletc Cute Replacement Wrist Band. The Sony NP-FW50 Rechargeable Battery is a great choice for when your original battery is done for.

Check the price on Amazon

Striiv Play

striiv play

Price: Approx. $18

Weight: 3.2 ounces

Dimensions: 2 x 3.5 x 1.6 inches

Best use: Land activities

Description: If you’re looking for a tracker that you can easily clip onto your belt or keep in your pocket, then Striiv Play tracker is another great option. Striiv is a hands-free wireless tracker which will tracker your fitness by monitoring your steps, stairs climbed, calories burned, distance, and minutes of activity. It can connect via Bluetooth to your iPhone and Android device, as well as PC and Mac computers.

Through this, you’ll be able to view your fitness and progress online as well as connect with friends to track each others progress. It has the best real-world accuracy that comes with a 3-D accelerometer, high precision altimeter and is designed to avoid “fake” steps.

The bright OLED screen also displays your activity and can be seen even in the daylight. It’s also a great option if you don’t want to break the bank on purchasing a tracker as this one is very modest in price.

PROS:

  • Connects to Bluetooth, used with Android and iPhone
  • Invite friends to challenge with workouts
  • Comfortable to wear

CONS:

  • Loses connection sometimes
  • Basic charts
  • Bad battery life, drains quickly
  • Not super accurate like other trackers

Related: If you like a challenge, the Striiv Smart Pedometer will count your steps, but give you challenges along the way to complete!

Check the price on Amazon

Concluding Thoughts

As you can see, having an activity tracker can help you keep track of not only your exercise, but also aspects of your health, as well as track your sleep. While they vary in price, surely you can find one that fits your budget and still works well for you. These help you to get motivated to exercise and reaching your goals.

Best activity trackers on the hand

Finding the best tracker means it will track your various activities, like your food intake and calorie consumption, as well as tracks your sleep. You also want it to track your heart beat and heart health. These things can be seen in data through the computer so you can stay on a healthy routine.

Talk to your doctor for more information on fitness and what activities you can do. If it connects to Bluetooth, has an app, and can work through not only your computer, but your iPhone or Android, then you have a better chance of keeping your routine on track. With notifications and tips, you will be successful in your journey to fitness!

Do you have an activity tracker? What kind do you own? How do you use it for exercising or everyday use? Please tell us what tracker you have, and your thoughts and stories below in the comments section! We love hearing from our readers, especially when it comes to health and ways to stay on track! We do love hearing from you!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John C. Porter
John C. Porter

John is passionate about hiking long distances. His record is over 65 miles in one day with backpacking gear. John hiked over 10 thousand miles, tried over 100 hiking shoes and visited 56 countries so far. His favourite hiking route is West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

  • Deb Summers

    I find I am partial to a wearable tracker that doesn’t go on my wrist; it’s too distracting for me. I don’t think I would like it on my ankle, either.
    Having an activity tracker made me realize that I was sitting for lengthy intervals and it was counterproductive towards my overall well-being goals.
    Do any of the wrist type trackers have the ability to be worn in other ways, such as on clothing?

  • John C. Porter

    I understand your predicament fully well. I think there are plans for trackers that can be attached to clothes. Although there may be some difficulties posted at this stage. I’m sure there will be one manufacturer who can make a tracker that can be worn on other parts of the body.

  • Kevin Hill

    Remember, buying gadgets and getting fitness equipment is no substitute for doing the work and being committed to your fitness goals. Consider buying gadgets as a reward down the line instead of a “I need to buy this to start” thing! Once you get started and hit your fitness goal (like lose your first 10 pounds), getting a fitness tracker can help keep you motivated and on track because one of the things we often get wrong is how much we over-estimate how hard we work out or how much calories we really burned.

    • John C. Porter

      I think it depends on the person, too. A fitness tracker makes it seamless and simple to stay focus on your fitness goal. With today’s trackers, it’s easy to stay motivated and you get results that you really need.

  • Ruth Jackson

    My sister gave me a Moov Now fitness tracker and I am enjoying it’s real-time coaching feature when I am running. Instead of hearing my own complaining voice inside my head when I run, like how hard running is, do I really want to do this, Moov focuses my mind on improving the quality of my run by giving me advice while running such as ‘Your impact is too high, try landing on the balls of your feet’, ‘Your stride is too long, try to take smaller steps to preserve your energy’, ‘Don’t clench your fists’ (which I have a habit of doing), or ‘Increase your pace’. So if you have a family member who is new to running, this would be a cool gift!

    • John C. Porter

      Thanks for the great input Ruth and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the Moove for years to come. It is very intuitive, that’s why a lot of my buddies have it, as well. It is also lightweight and comes in different colors!

  • Bruce Stadelman

    I wish I could find a waterproof tracker that has the slick design of the Fitbit AND lets me track my heart rate on a big screen. When I’m swimming I like to be able to check my stats in the pool. That LifeTrak Zone is the closest I’ve seen to what I want, I’ll look through their other options. Does anyone have any recommendations for a lightweight tracker without a huge price tag?

    • John C. Porter

      Unfortunately, cheaper versions do not always last as long or have as many functions. I would shop around for a better deal!

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