January 29, 2022

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Futurism: Streamline Your Workout With the Best Fitness Trackers of 2022


Gone are the days when you had to guess at health metrics like your exercise intensity or your stress level—now the best fitness trackers can do it for you. In fact, fitness trackers can help provide health data, metrics, a pretty clear snapshot of your activity levels and, probably most satisfying of all, how that’s changed since you started tracking.

And the best part is that fitness trackers can help people of various ages and lifestyles—even young exercisers. On this list, you’ll find versions ideal for people of all ages that will help you keep tabs on your heart rate and heart health and provide all the interactive features you might need. Here are our favorites for a variety of needs. 

Best Overall: Fitbit Sense
Best Smartwatch: Garmin Venu 2s
Best for Kids: QOOGOT Fitness Tracker for Kids
Best with Heart-Rate Monitor: Fitbit Inspire 2
Best Budget: Amazfit Band 5

How We Picked the Best Fitness Trackers

Methodology

To decide which trackers were best in 2022, we took a number of things into consideration. Overall, we looked at about 20 different trackers, from some of the top brands in the category, including Fitbit and Garmin. We also looked at a variety of types, including those made specifically for kids, a slew of different smartwatches, and the newest models to see what types of new features were integrated.

Along with trackers for different uses, we also made sure to look at specific specs and accessories, such as whether there was a replacement band included, the size of the case, battery life, and whether you could wear it in the water or not. Then, we made sure the features were on point: From the traditional, like sleep monitoring, to the availability of more-in depth data like stress and energy levels to how many activity modes it included and what additional amenities you could find, like wellness charts, subscription services (like Fitbit Premium), and more.

Related: Know someone who loves tracking numbers? Check out the best tech gifts.

The Best Fitness Trackers: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Fitness Tracker Overall: Fitbit Sense

Google Assistant and Alexa. Fitbit

Why it Made the Cut: With all the bells and whistles (and then some) the Fitbit Sense, the newest Fitbit model, goes way beyond activity tracking—and you reap the benefits.

Specs:
Battery lasts up to 6 days
Comes in 3 colors
Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa built-in

Pros:
Built-in GPS
Includes 6-month Fitbit Premium subscription
Tons of health tracking features

Cons:
Fitbit Premium subscription is only for new uses

There’s a reason Fitbit is such a strong presence in the fitness tracker category and their newest offering, the Fitbit Sense, is another example of why. While we think other models, including the Fitbit Charge 5 and the Fitbit Luxe, are also great options, the Sense really shines which is why it’s our pick for the best fitness tracker overall.

That’s primarily thanks to its long list of features and offerings. There’s built-in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa — and is one of the only ones we’ve seen with both — as well as the ability to take calls and texts. From a health perspective, you can track almost anything you can think of —sleep, stress, oxygen saturation, heart rate, breathing, altitude, and more. We’re impressed with the thoughtful details too: It’ll nudge you awake during an optimal time, lets you log your mood and tracks your activity throughout the day, and has a built-in GPS for those outdoor bike rides. Plus, it has all the things you’d expect from a smartphone: apps, Fitbit Pay, and so on. Also cool? You can even download a “Wellness Report” — particularly helpful if you have specific health goals you want to meet.

Best Smartwatch Fitness Tracker: Garmin Venu 2s

All-Around Winner. Garmin

Why it Made the Cut: This smartwatch can level up your wellness game, thanks to a multitude of great features, from on-wrist workouts to sleep, energy, and oxygen level tracking to dozens of activity apps.  

Specs:
Water resistant
Comes in four different colors/styles
40mm case size 

Pros:
Lots of health tracking features
On-wrist workouts
Long-lasting battery

Cons:
Additional bands sold separately

There are lots of smartwatches out there, many of which are great choices, including the new Apple Watch Series 7. But if you want to go a bit of a different route, consider our pick for the best smartwatch fitness tracker the Garmin Venu 2s, which really delivers on all fronts. The Venu 2s and the Venu 2 offer similar features, with the major difference being size and style: The Venu 2s has a slightly smaller 40mm case, while the Venu 2 has a 45mm case. Ultimately, we went with the 2s model here because it offered more in the way of colors and styles, with a stainless steel bezel in rose gold, light gold, slate and silver and different case colors.

From a features perspective, this smartwatch offers an incredible array. A few standouts? Over two dozen sports apps, for tracking activities like swimming and biking, free use of Garmin Coach, for help with race training, and on-wrist workouts — a feature that can be particularly helpful if you’re in a hotel or other spot where your regular workout isn’t easily accessible. It also monitors so much, including your sleep and heart rate, energy levels and blood oxygen saturation and more. Texts, emails, and payment options — which you’d expect with other smartwatches — are also available here. 

Best Fitness Tracker for Kids: QOOGOT Fitness Tracker for Kids

Healthy Kids. QOOGOT

Why it Made the Cut: Ideal for the over-6 crowd, this kid-friendly tracker scores major points with its multiple sports modes, sleep and heart rate monitors and cool colors — all at a reasonable price point. 

Specs:
Wireless USB Charging
Comes in multiple colors
Replacement band included

Pros:
Waterproof
Includes a heart rate and sleep monitor
Reasonably priced

Cons:
Might be too simple for older teens

If your kid wants in on the fitness-tracker trend or you want to keep a closer eye on their activity levels, this option from QOOGOT definitely fits the bill as the best fitness tracker for kids. It has plenty of fun features to keep kids intrigued but not overwhelmed. And, since kids are notoriously tough on their stuff, it’s at a price point that’s inexpensive enough to not feel like a big investment for parents.

From a features perspective, you’re getting a lot for an affordable price. There are 11 sport modes, for activities ranging from walking to bike riding to hiking and swimming. Some, like tracking elliptical and rowing-machine use, great for tweens and teens in particular. The device tracks calories, time, and steps, as well as heart rate and sleep — the latter an option we particularly love, as it gives you a peek into how well your child is actually sleeping at night.

The tracker, which syncs with a smartphone app, comes in three different colors, with a replacement band (in a coordinating color) included, and kids can also personalize it with different backdrop options for the display screen, too.

Best Fitness Tracker with Heart-Rate Monitor: Fitbit Inspire 2

Ticker Tracker. Fitbit

Why it Made the Cut: While many fitness trackers monitor your heart rate, this Fitbit model also includes features like tracking your resting heart rate and heart rate zones that makes it stand out as the best fitness tracker with a heart rate monitor.

Specs:
Comes in 3 colors
Includes a 1-Year Fitbit Premium membership
Water resistant

Pros:
20 different exercise modes
Long battery life
Lots of heart-healthy features

Cons:
Doesn’t include a replacement band

If keeping track of your heart rate is one of your main motivators for getting a fitness tracker or smartwatch, Fitbit’s Inspire 2 is a good place to start, since it does that, while also offering a whole slew of other great features, too. It’ll monitor your heart rate 24 hours a day with personalized heart rate zones to track your exercise intensity, as well as clue you in on things like your resting heart rate. Plus, there are great in-app features, like the fact that you can input your food choices.

Along with that, we love that it tracks some 20 different activities, including tennis, basketball, swimming, dance, and kickboxing, along with usual suspects like running and walking. The sleep monitoring is also great (there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing patterns!), as are features like skin temp tracking, which is particularly smart these days. The battery lasts some 10 days — longer than many of the other Fitbit models, including the Fitbit Charge 4 and the Fitbit Versa 3. Another thing we really like: That the one-year Fitbit Premium subscription is not just for those new to the service, but those returning, too.

Best Budget Fitness Tracker: Amazfit Band 5

Great for Beginners. Amazfit

Why it Made the Cut: The Amazfit Band 5 offers plenty of features—including Amazon Alexa and 11 activity modes — at a fraction of the cost of other fitness trackers making it the best budget fitness tracker.

Specs:
Built-in use of Amazon Alexa
Water resistant
Comes in 3 colors

Pros:
Long-lasting battery
Health tracking, including sleep and breathing
Use of Alexa

Cons:
Small screen compared with other options on the market

Amazfit offers a number of different fitness trackers, including their newest, the Amazfit GTR 3, which just came out in October. If you’re new to trackers and unsure if it’s something you’ll stick with, the Band 5 model is a great place to start. It provides many of the most important features — as well as a few standouts — at a super affordable price point. While this one definitely looks more like a fitness tracker than a smartwatch, the color options are fun and the screen is customizable.

The most impressive of the features, in comparison to other inexpensive trackers, is the built-in Amazon Alexa. The idea of easily setting a timer while you’re running or playing music is a definite boon. Also great? It’ll track your activity in 11 different sports, even yoga and jump roping, as well as swimming. The health tracking hits all the basics, including heart rate, sleep (naps longer than 20 minutes, too!) and your stress level on a scale of relaxed to high. Plus, it boasts a long battery life of up to 15 days.  

Things to Consider Before Buying a Fitness Tracker 

Whether you’re buying your first fitness tracker or are simply upgrading your current model — and looking for different or additional features — here are few things to consider as you start shopping:

How You’ll Use It

While it may seem simple, the first thing you want to take into consideration is how exactly you plan to use your fitness tracker. For example, if you switch up your workouts a lot, you may want to consider one with lots of different sports modes. The Garmin Venu 2s, for instance, has some 25 different sports modes — down to things like yoga and jump roping — so you can monitor your levels when doing a variety of activities. If you’re a big swimmer, you want to make sure your tracker is waterproof or water resistant. And, if you simply plan to use it to let you know calories burned and miles walked, a less expensive model that sticks to the basics might be best.

How Often You’ll Wear It

For some people, using a fitness tracker is limited to when they’re actually working out — they may pop it in their gym bag or strap it on for a walk or swim. For others, a fitness tracker is a great way to keep tabs on your sleep patterns, your heart rate, and on how active you are throughout the day. Either way, make sure you look at battery life. Some of the trackers we’ve included here boast battery lives of up to 10 or 15 days, while others have wireless charging or quick-charging capabilities that cut down on how much time it’s off your wrist.

Who Will be Using the Tracker

Grandma? A kid? Yogi? Keeping in mind who the tracker is for can help you make a more informed decision. For example, we’ve included one of our favorite kid-friendly trackers on this list, which not only has the basic features that will make kids and parents happy, but also includes a replacement band in a different color. Keep general aesthetics in mind, too: Some trackers come in multiple colors, others are smaller and sleeker, like the Fitbit Luxe, and some offer the opportunity to mix-and-match bands. When buying, also be sure to take a look at the additional accessories, like bands—and their price point.

FAQs

Q: Is it worth getting a fitness tracker?
Overall, we think getting a fitness tracker is worth it. That’s in part because of the information it can offer in getting your fitness and wellness on the right, well, track. (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.) But it’s also because of the wide range of price points and models that are out there. That range means that, if you want to start simple, you can and if you love lots of data or if you want smartwatch capabilities, you can go with something more high-tech.

Q: Which is better: fitness band or smartwatch?
Whether a fitness band or smartwatch is better really depends on how you’ll use it. If your intent is to really only utilize the device to track your fitness, then we recommend sticking with a band. They almost universally cover the most important topics (heart rate, sleep, breathing) and activities. If you want something that you can integrate into your everyday life — i.e., being able to read emails and texts, utilize specific apps, generally have a larger screen — then a smartwatch could be the way to go.

Q: How do I choose the right fitness band?
When choosing the right fitness band, there are lots of things to keep in mind. Our best advice: Before buying, really think about how you plan to use the band — and what you want to use it for. If there are specific things you want to track, like your sleep or stress levels, make sure the device you choose has those features. If you’re buying it for your child, look for kid-friendly features and an easy-to-use interface. Also, since most fitness trackers have an associated app, be sure that the tracker you choose can be used with your tablet or smartphone.

Q: How much does a good fitness tracker cost?
The cost of a good fitness tracker can vary, though on average, we found many fall in the $100-$175 price range. That being said, though, there are some trackers that will run you as little as $30 or so — and can offer great features at that price point, particularly for kids. We love the two inexpensive models we featured on this list, which both cost under $40. If you are going with a smartwatch, you can expect to spend a bit more, with most starting at about $200 and going up from there.

Q: Which fitness tracker has the longest battery life?
Long battery life also depends on which fitness tracker you go with. In the group that we evaluated, some, like the Fitbit Inspire 2 have a battery life that can last as long as 10 days, with the longest we evaluated being the Amazfit Band 5, which can last as much as 15 days. But, as many manufacturers will indicate, battery life will also depend on which features you’re using and how often you’re using them.

Q: Can I recycle my old fitness tracker?
Fitness trackers and smartwatches can be recycled or traded in. For instance, you can both trade in and recycle your smartwatch at Best Buy. Or, for another option, consider donating your fitness tracker through a nonprofit, like ReycleHealth, which restores fitness trackers to give to those in need.

Final Thoughts on Fitness Trackers

Whether you’ve set a particular fitness target or have a health diagnosis you need to keep tabs on, a fitness tracker can help set those goals in motion. With tons of features, a variety of styles, and in a slew of different (including affordable) price points, you can stick with something simple or go all out — but either way, they’ll make tracking something you can and want to do.

Related: Win the gift game with the best gifts for gamers.

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.

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