Fitness trackers have come a long way from the simple bands that tracked steps and little else. Modern trackers can monitor everything from your heart health to how well you’ve recovered from a hard bout of training. They’ve got sensors galore and, in some cases, can give smartwatches a run for their money. Whatever your fitness goals are, there’s probably a fitness tracker that can help you achieve them.
Compared to some other gadgets, wearables are incredibly personal, which means there are a few extra considerations you’ll have to take into account before reaching for your wallet. It makes it hard to say that any one fitness tracker is the best for everyone. Thankfully, the best thing about fitness trackers in 2023 is that there’s enough variety to fit into every kind of lifestyle.
Since companies usually release their latest and greatest in the fall, summer can be an odd time for gadget buying, especially with holiday shopping sales just around the corner. If you can afford to wait, you can usually find steep discounts on current models right as the next-gen products launch. But sometimes you can’t wait! After all, birthdays don’t revolve around Black Friday and neither does back-to-school shopping. If you need something sooner rather than later, late summer and fall are excellent times to go hunting for a deal as retailers try to get rid of old inventory before the holiday season.
Best fitness tracker overall
Size: 46mm w/ 22mm straps / Weight: 34g / Battery life: Up to 14 days / Display type: OLED touchscreen / GPS: Dual-frequency and six GNSS systems / Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi / Water resistance: 5ATM / Music storage: 2.3GB
The Amazfit GTR 4 punches way above its weight. It’s affordable at $199 and includes a whole array of features you’d expect to see on much pricier wearables. That includes a bright OLED screen, blood oxygen monitoring, sleep stage tracking, stress tracking, Amazon Alexa compatibility, and an offline digital assistant. It’s also got a native camera remote and a handy Pomodoro timer built in. And for outdoor fitness enthusiasts, the GTR 4 also has multiband GPS for more accurate GPS tracking in challenging environments. You can even import GPX routes from sites like Strava and Komoot. The GTR 4 takes a more holistic approach to health, trading in steps for PAI points to gauge whether you’re getting the recommended 150 minutes of moderate activity per week.
For smart features, the GTR 4 has all the basics: push notifications, quick text replies on Android, alarms, timers, and the ability to make and take calls over Bluetooth. The only thing the GTR 4 is really missing is contactless payments, but it more than makes up for it given the expansive feature set and battery life. It lasts about 10–14 days on a single charge with normal use and about a week with heavy usage. It may not have the brand recognition of a Fitbit, but since Google nerfed both the Versa 4 and Sense 2 last year, you might want to overlook that. Plus, the GTR 4 doesn’t have thick bezels like either of those watches. Watchfaces on the OLED display are crisp, and animations are smooth. When you consider that Amazfit watches are often on sale, it’s a no-brainer.
Best fitness watch for casual users
Sizes: 40mm w/20mm straps / Weight: 38g / Battery life: Up to 11 days / Display type: OLED touchscreen / GPS: All-systems GNSS / Connectivity: Bluetooth, Ant Plus / Water resistance: 5ATM / Music storage: 4GB (for Music Edition)
The $250 Garmin Venu Sq 2 is the watch I recommend for anyone looking to replace their aging Fitbit Versa 2 or 3. It’s got a similar look and vibe, with a much nicer OLED display and longer battery life.
Garmin is known for its comprehensive fitness tracking, and that’s not an exception here. Of course, you get the basics, like steps and calories burned, but you get a whole lot more, too. There’s built-in GPS for tracking walks, runs, and bike rides — as well as plenty of other sports profiles like yoga and strength training. For smart features, you get push notifications, timers contactless payments, and a bunch of safety features like Garmin’s Incident Detection, which is its take on fall detection. (You will need to carry your phone with you, however, as this doesn’t have LTE.)
If you want the option of onboard music, you can shell out $50 extra for the Music Edition, which comes with enough storage for about 500 songs. I wouldn’t recommend it, however, as you’ll most likely have your phone on you since this isn’t a true standalone watch.
What I like most about this watch, however, is it’s one that you can grow with. On top of recovery metrics and sleep tracking, it also has Garmin Coach — a built-in, free training program for beginner and intermediate-level runners hoping to tackle a 5K, 10K, or half marathon. For health tracking, you can monitor heart rate, blood oxygen, intensity minutes (how many minutes of moderate exercise you get per week), stress, hydration, respiratory rate, and menstrual cycles. And the best part is Garmin doesn’t lock any of this behind a paywall.
Best for serious outdoor athletes
Sizes: 7S Pro: 42mm w/20mm straps, 7: 47mm w/22mm straps, 7X: 51mm w/26mm straps / Weight: 7S Pro: 63g (Solar), 58g or 65g (Sapphire Solar, titanium or stainless steel) 7: 79g (Solar), 73g (Sapphire Solar) 7X: 96g (Solar), 89g (Sapphire Solar) / Battery life: 7S: up to 11 days, 14 w/ Solar, 7: up to 18 days, 22 days w/ solar, 7X: up to 28 days, 37 w/solar / Display type: MIP touchscreen / GPS: All-systems GNSS and dual-frequency GPS / Connectivity: Bluetooth, Ant Plus, Wi-Fi / Water resistance: 10ATM / Music storage: Up to 32GB
Garmin’s flagship Fenix 7 series is no joke, and the Fenix 7 Pro lineup takes it up a notch. It’s got built-in multiband GPS, solar charging on all models, the option of touchscreen or button navigation, topographical maps, and oodles upon oodles of data. Plus, every Fenix 7 Pro model has a hands-free LED flashlight, an upgraded heart rate sensor, and an improved memory-in-pixel display that’s slightly easier to read in low lighting.
Garmin wearables are also known for providing extensive, in-depth metrics, and the Fenix 7 Pro lineup is no exception. You get excellent recovery metrics, as well as helpful training guides and coaching programs. The best part is Garmin doesn’t charge extra for those features. That’s good news, as these are expensive watches.
I appreciate how quickly these Fenix 7 watches are able to pick up a GPS signal. That’s a must if you’re training in the dead of winter. These watches can also take a beating. All models are built to military-grade standards and feature up to 10 ATM of water resistance. That means they’re more than capable of a dunk in the ocean.
Although the screen is brighter, MIP displays still aren’t my absolute favorite — the OLED on the Garmin Epix 2 and the Epix Pro are a lot easier on the eyes. It’s admittedly tough to pick between the Fenix 7, Fenix 7 Pro, Epix 2, and Epix Pro lineups — especially now that the Epix Pro also has great battery life, the LED flashlight, and now comes in multiple sizes. What it boils down to is whether you prioritize a brighter display, longer battery life, or price.
Personally, I prefer the Epix Pro for better readability but the Fenix 7 Pro is the better choice if this is your first introduction to Garmin’s platform. You’ll get better battery life, the same LED flashlight, all the same training features, and a lower starting price. (You can also check out our Garmin buying guide if you’d like even more alternatives.)
That said, I still think the standard Fenix 7 lineup is a good choice — especially if solar charging isn’t all that appealing to you. Plus, many of the new features that launched with the Fenix 7 Pro and Epix Pro will trickle down to the standard line via OTA updates this fall. You can also save a couple hundred dollars this way if budget is your main concern. In general, the holiday season is right around the corner so I recommend keeping your eyes peeled for deals as retailers try to get rid of old inventory.
Best non-wrist tracker
Sizes: 8 proprietary sizes, 6-13, sizing kit needed / Weight: 4–6g (depends on size) / Battery life: Up to 7 days / Display type: None / GPS: None / Connectivity: Bluetooth / Water resistance: Up to 328 feet / Music storage: None
The vast majority of fitness trackers are worn on the wrist, but the $299 Oura Ring isn’t. The smart ring is a good option for people who are looking for something a little more discreet. It’s also less distracting than some other wrist-based options, as it lacks a screen and doesn’t forward push notifications.
While smaller than your average wearable, the Oura Ring still tracks a ton of metrics, including heart rate variability and body temperature. The third iteration of the device also introduces SpO2 sensors, as well as all-day heart rate monitoring and period predictions. Since launching, the Oura Ring has also added activity tracking, blood oxygen levels, chronotypes to help visualize your circadian rhythms, and a new social feature called Circles. It’s also begun rolling out a whole new sleep stages algorithm that it claims is more accurate than before. If you’re looking for some stress relief, the Oura Ring also lets you track guided meditation sessions.
The Oura Ring tracks typical metrics — such as steps and calories burned — but its main focus is sleep and recovery. Each day, you’re given three sets of scores for your readiness, sleep, and activity. It’s a simple, holistic look at your overall wellness and an ideal pick if you want a more hands-off experience with your data.
Best fitness band
Size: 42mm x 24mm x 12.2mm with 16mm straps / Weight: 28g / Battery life: Up to 18 days / Display type: OLED / GPS: Tethered / Connectivity: Bluetooth / Water resistance: 5ATM / Music storage: None
It’s truly hard to beat the Amazfit Band 7’s $49.99 price — doubly so since you can often find it on sale for even less. Wearing the Band 7 feels like a throwback to 2014, which is great if all you’re looking for is a simple and casual tracker that won’t break the bank.
No one is going to compliment you on the Band 7’s design, but it’s got a handful of cute watchfaces that make good use of its OLED touchscreen. And despite having an OLED display, you’ll still get roughly 14 days of battery life on a single charge. It’s also incredibly lightweight, making it a good option for sleep tracking as well.
You also get an absurd number of features for the price. That includes Amazon Alexa, continuous heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen monitoring, stress tracking, advanced sleep tracking, training metrics like VO2 max and load, abnormal heart rate alerts, menstrual tracking, push notifications, find my phone, a camera remote, and even a Pomodoro timer. You’re sacrificing contactless payments and will have to settle for tethered GPS, but this is a fair tradeoff considering everything else you’re getting. It’s not the best option for hardcore fitness tracking, but this is a great option if all you’re looking to do is casually track activity and your steps.
Most stylish fitness watch
Sizes: 40mm w/20mm straps / Weight: 19g / Battery life: Up to 5 days / Display type: “Hidden” OLED touchscreen / GPS: Tethered GPS / Connectivity: Bluetooth, Ant Plus / Water resistance: 5ATM / Music storage: N/A
While Garmin’s made some truly exquisite hybrid trackers in the past, the price made them hard to recommend. However, the Vivomove Sport finally gets things right. It looks like an analog Swatch, thanks to the hidden OLED display, but you don’t actually lose anything in terms of accuracy.
For $179.99, you are giving up some things like built-in GPS and NFC payments. However, you do get push notifications and access to Garmin’s entire fitness tracking platform. There are some more jewelry-like trackers — Bellabeat’s lineup or the Fitbit Luxe come to mind — but the Vivosport Move’s design is a lot sturdier for active lifestyles.
Best fitness tracker for iPhone users
Sizes: 41mm, 45mm / Weight: 32g (41mm), 39g (45mm) / Battery life: Up to 18 hours / Display type: Always-on LTPO OLED / GPS: Built-in GPS, plus GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, Beidou / Connectivity: LTE (optional), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi / Water resistance: Up to 50 meters / Music storage: 32GB
If you’re looking for a smartwatch that does fitness well, then iPhone owners need to look no further than the $399 Apple Watch Series 8. (The LTE version costs $50 more.) Not much has changed in terms of the overall design; the Series 8 still comes in 41mm and 45mm sizes.
This year’s refresh makes the Series 8 a much more well-rounded fitness and health tracker than it’s been in the past. With watchOS 9, Apple has added advanced running metrics and the ability to create your own custom workouts. The watch also has two temperature sensors for advanced cycle tracking and Crash Detection if you ever find yourself in an accident. That’s on top of established health features like heart rate monitoring, EKGs, SpO2 monitoring, and sleep tracking, which have also been improved. And if you’re bad at taking your medications, the Series 8 has a handy medication reminders app.
If you’re a first-time buyer, you can also opt for the second-gen Apple Watch SE. It’s slightly cheaper at $279, and while you don’t get as many features, it’s a good introduction to the ecosystem.
Best fitness smartwatch for Samsung phones
Sizes: 40mm, 44mm / Weight: 28.7g (40mm), 33.3g (44mm) / Battery life: Up to 30 hours with AOD, 40 hours without AOD / Display type: Always-on OLED / GPS: Built-in GPS / Connectivity: LTE (optional), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi / Water resistance: Up to 50 meters, IP68 / Music storage: 16GB
If you have a Samsung phone, this is going to be the best full-featured smartwatch for fitness tracking. It (and the Watch 6 Classic) are the first watches to get Wear OS 4 and One UI 5 Watch, which adds a bunch of health and sleep tracking improvements like temperature-based cycle tracking, personalized heart rate zones, and custom workouts. It also has the same 3-in-1 sensor, which enables body composition analysis. That’s a unique feature that no other smartwatch at the moment is capable of. You can also access workout videos from the Samsung Health app — though the production values aren’t as good as Fitness Plus or Peloton.
While I prefer the Classic overall (I mean, rotating bezel!), the base Watch 6 model is our pick for general fitness tracking due to its lighter weight and smaller size. Overall, it’s less distracting during workouts and more comfortable for sleep tracking. That said, the Classic is a very capable tracker, even if its aesthetic and larger size lend it toward being a better smartwatch. However, if you want a more rugged fitness watch with truly multiday battery life, you might be better off with the $449.99 Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. The Pro is also getting some new software updates in One UI 5 Watch, including turn-by-turn navigation for running and walking.
The big thing with the Galaxy Watch 6 series is that battery life has improved over last year. In my testing, I was able to last an entire day without worrying about battery under various scenarios. For example, on outdoor GPS runs with the always-on display enabled, I only saw a battery drain of 3–4 percent per mile. Fast charging enables you to get eight hours of battery life on a single charge, and the improved bedtime mode mitigates overnight battery drain to 10–15 percent — even if you turn on continuous SpO2 sensing, snore detection, and skin temperature tracking.
While Wear OS 4 and One UI 5 Watch look, feel, and function similar to Wear OS 3 / One UI Watch 4.5, you now get cloud backups. Google has also continued to expand third-party app offerings so there are more choices than ever. However, some features are limited to Samsung owners, making it hard to wholeheartedly recommend this to non-Samsung Android users.
Since the Galaxy Watch 6 series is set to ship starting on August 11th, now is a good time to take advantage of promotional and trade-in deals. It’s also a good time to keep an eye on any other potential sales, especially on the 5 Pro as we head into the holiday season this fall.
Best fitness smartwatch for Android
Sizes: 41mm / Weight: 36g / Battery life: Up to 40–50 hours / Display type: Always-on OLED / GPS: Built-in GPS, plus GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou / Connectivity: LTE (optional), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi / Water resistance: 5ATM / Music storage: 32GB
Last year, the Google Pixel Watch shifted the playing field for Android smartwatches. Not only did it mark Google’s entry into wearable hardware, but it’s also technically the best Fitbit smartwatch. Unlike Samsung’s smartwatches, the experience is the same for all Android phones. It’s gorgeous on the wrist and really, the thick bezels aren’t so bad in person.
As far as fitness tracking goes, everything on the Pixel Watch is done via an exclusive Fitbit integration. It’s not perfect, as Google nerfed or omitted some features to boost the lackluster Fitbit Sense 2 and Versa 4. For instance, it lacks automatic exercise logging. However, Google has since added some health features missing at launch. Plus, you’re still getting a built-in GPS sensor, cellular capability, and FDA-cleared EKGs.
When it comes to smarts, this is the only non-Samsung smartwatch that has Google Assistant right now. And since it’s Google’s flagship smartwatch, it comes with Google Maps, Google Wallet, and YouTube Music already installed. You also don’t have to worry about upgrading the software because it ships with Wear OS 3. Performance-wise, Wear OS 3 runs smoothly thanks to a Samsung processor. It’s not as powerful as the chip in Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 or 5, but it’s a better experience than Android watches running on the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus platform.
Keep in mind, this is a first-gen device. Although it’s a strong debut, it has quirks that will likely be worked out in future generations. If you want a more polished Wear OS 3 smartwatch with longer battery life, Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 5 is a decent option as it sports Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon W5 Plus platform. Just keep in mind that you might not get Wear OS 4 in a timely manner. It took Mobvoi ages to release the TicWatch Pro 5, and the upgrade to Wear OS 3 still isn’t available yet for older Mobvoi watches.
Best for early adopters and elite athletes
Sizes: 43mm by 28mm by 10mm / Weight: 18g / Battery life: 4–5 days / Display type: None / GPS: None / Connectivity: Bluetooth / Water resistance: Up to 10 meters / Music storage: None
The Whoop 4.0 is not for the casual enthusiast. Not only does it come with an expensive monthly subscription, but the information it provides is only useful if you’re actively training for a cardio-intensive sport. If strength training is your main form of exercise, you’re better off looking elsewhere. Like the Oura Ring, this is a distraction-free tracker that specializes in sleep and recovery. The main difference is this has a more athletic bent. For instance, you’ll get way more insight into how much strain you’ve taken on in the past week.
Whoop also provides a lot of novel ways to wear its tracker, including in underwear and arm/knee sleeves. This makes it an appealing option if you’re one of those unicorns who needs a secondary tracker to supplement another form of fitness tracking. Again, this is a tracker best appreciated by people who go hard and aren’t afraid to experiment. Plus, Whoop recently lowered its subscription prices in certain tiers, so while it’s still expensive, it’s not quite as pricey as it used to be.
Update August 8th, 3:48PM ET: Swapped out the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 for the Galaxy Watch 6 and the Garmin Fenix 7S Sapphire Solar Edition for the Garmin Fenix 7S Pro.