Keep track of your distance, speed, calories and even GPS from your wrist, with our pick of the best fitness trackers
If you’re looking to get fit this year, our pick of the best fitness trackers can point you in the right direction. Of the many fitness-orientated devices out there, the humble fitness tracking wristband is by far the most popular, mainly because they’re discreet, counting steps and tracking workouts with a minimal physical presence.
In this list, we’ve concentrated on more basic, affordable fitness trackers, but there are also a couple of fitness-orientated smartwatches that we think are represent such good value that they’re worth considering. Scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll find our buying guide, where we explain how to buy the best fitness tracker for you.
If you’re looking for the best smartwatches, or indeed the best cheap smartwatches you can buy, please refer to those roundups. Also consider taking a look at our list of the best waterproof fitness trackers to buy – if that’s your dish.
Skip down the page to discover our recommended best fitness trackers of 2022. Or if you’d like more buying advice and tips on choosing your ideal tracker, keep reading.
Best fitness trackers: At a glance
- Fitbit’s best-value tracker gets an upgrade: Fitbit Inspire 2 | Buy now
- The best budget fitness tracker: Xiaomi Mi Band 6 | Buy now
- The best Fitbit: Fitbit Charge 5 | Buy now
- The best Fitbit alternative: Garmin Vivosmart 4 | Buy now
- A near-perfect Fitbit smartwatch: Fitbit Versa 3 | Buy now
How to choose the best fitness tracker for you
What’s the difference between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch?
These days, almost all smartwatches – such as the Apple Watch Series 6 or Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 – are also accomplished fitness trackers. They will allow you to monitor pretty much any physical activity, and will most likely keep track of your heart rate and sleep patterns at the very least. They will inevitably have large watch faces, Apple/Android app support, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, built-in GPS and many, many other jazzy features.
On the flip side, most fitness trackers are simple, with tiny monochrome displays. They will often track basic fitness information (steps taken, calories burned, distance travelled) onboard, but tend to require a permanent connection to a smartphone for in-depth analysis, GPS tracking and to display notifications.
How much should I spend?
The fitness trackers on this list range in price from around £30 to almost £200. The expensive entries are very nearly full-blooded smartwatches; ordinarily, you should be able to find a cracking fitness tracker for less than £100. All of the major manufacturers (Fitbit, Garmin, Huawei, Xiaomi and so on) sell fitness trackers that cater to the top and bottom ends of the £100 bracket.
Bear in mind that manufacturers usually distinguish between the regular and heart rate-tracking versions of their products, and will often slap a small premium on the latter.
What features should I look out for?
All of the items on this list will track the same set of basic fitness metrics: steps taken, distance travelled and calories burned. Most will also track a vast selection of sports, either automatically or otherwise. All will have an app that displays the collected fitness information and connects users to the broader community.
Other crucial features (that may not be present in all models) include:
1. Heart rate sensor: It’s becoming increasingly common to see fitness trackers with built-in heart rate tracking, but be sure to check just in case. Often, these models will be marked by an “HR” in the product name.
2. GPS: Fitness trackers tend to use something called connected GPS to track your route. In brief, this means that they rely upon a smartphone’s GPS signal, adding to the data your smartphone records rather than tracking your route outright. This means you cannot track your run without also taking your smartphone with you.
The alternative is built-in GPS, which means that the device has a built-in sensor. These wearables will track your run without needing a connection to your phone. Check before you buy – we list what kind of GPS our recommended trackers support in the Key Specs sections above.
3. Altimeter: To measure how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed over the course of a day (or more adventurously, how many flights of stairs the mountain you just climbed equates to), you’ll need an altimeter.
The best fitness trackers to buy in 2022
1. Fitbit Inspire 2: Fitbit’s best-value tracker gets an upgrade
Price: From £68 | Buy now from Amazon
The Fitbit Inspire 2 was introduced as the successor to the Inspire HR, a fitness tracker that we were delighted to give a five-star Best Buy review. With this in mind, the new tracker has rather big shoes to fill.
The Inspire 2 launched at the same retail price as the HR, and (for the most part) it looks identical too. As an entry-level fitness watch for tracking activities such as walking, running, cycling or swimming, as well as being able to monitor sleep and measure your heart rate, the Inspire 2 is an easy recommendation. The battery life is a serious improvement at ten days (double that of the HR), and you now get Fitbit’s Active Zone Minutes metric. Plus, the £75 price tag gets you a year-long trial of the Fitbit Premium subscription service.
However, if you’re serious about your fitness, you might be better off considering a fitness-orientated smartwatch such as the Garmin Venu Sq. The tiny screen on the Inspire 2 plus the often-fiddly controls could easily frustrate the dedicated athlete.
Key specs – Screen type: Monochrome OLED; Battery life: 10 days; Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: Connected only; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: No
Fitbit Inspire 2 Health & Fitness Tracker with a Free 1-Year Fitbit Premium Trial, 24/7 Heart Rate & up to 10 Days Battery, Lunar White
£72.00 Buy now
2. Xiaomi Mi Band 6: Best budget fitness tracker
Price: £40 | Buy now from Amazon
It might not be the prettiest of devices, but the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 does offer a lot of features for your money. It’s just jumped up in size with a larger 47mm body that now packs a higher-resolution AMOLED screen that’s 50% bigger than the one on the Mi Band 5.
This makes for a nice, colourful place to view your stats, and you still get all of the same activity tracking and sleep monitoring features along with the Personal Activity Intelligence metric, which shifts the emphasis away from steps and on regularly raising heart rate through exercise. The Mi Band 6 now offers 30 sports profiles up from the 11 on the Mi Band 5 and can still use your phone’s GPS to track outdoor runs and rides. It’ll even count the jumps in skipping rope sessions.
You can enable continuous stress monitoring and now Xiaomi has added an SpO2 sensor to let you take on the spot blood-oxygen measurements for an extra hit of wellness data. Xiaomi still promises up to two weeks of battery life, which is better than what you’ll get from pricier Fitbit and Samsung fitness trackers. If you don’t want to spend big but want plenty of features at your disposal, the Mi Band 6 is certainly one to look at.
Key specs – Screen type: Colour AMOLED; Battery life: Up to 14 days; Replaceable strap: yes; GPS: Connected only; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: No
Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 – 1.56” AMOLED Touch Screen, SPO2, Sleep Breathing Tracking, 5ATM Water Resistant, 14 Days Battery Life, 30 Sports Mode, Fitness, Steps, Sleep, Heart Rate Monitor [Official UK]
£36.99 Buy now
3. Fitbit Charge 5: The best Fitbit
Price: £170 | Buy now from Amazon
Undoubtedly, the Fitbit Charge 5 is the best Fitbit of the bunch, improving on the design of the Fitbit Charge 4 and adding a few features to boot. Instead of the austere, square face found on the previous model, the Charge 5 softens up its display with rounded corners. This screen is a colour AMOLED panel this time around, instead of monochrome found on every other Charge watch, plus the whole thing is 10% thinner.
Like the Charge 4, the Charge 5 has built-in GPS so you won’t need to rely on your phone when it comes to tracking a run/walk/cycle. The Charge 5 can track 20 different activity types automatically, and there are also new tools to help you keep track of your overall health. The Charge 5 has the ability to measure electrodermal activity (EDA) and perform electrocardiogram (ECG) tests in addition to previously seen stress management tools, blood oxygen saturation and menstrual cycle monitoring. To make full use of every feature, Fitbit even gives you an out-the-box six-month free trial of Fitbit Premium, too, which helps soften the blow of the price tag a little.
Key specs – Screen type: Colour AMOLED; Battery life: 7 days (GPS and always-on display switched off); Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: Built-in; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: Yes
Fitbit Charge 5 Activity Tracker with 6-months Premium Membership Included, up to 7 days battery life and Daily Readiness Score,Graphite/Black
£135.99 Buy now
4. Garmin Vivosmart 4: The best Fitbit alternative
Price: From£80 | Buy now from Amazon
Despite its age, the Garmin Vivosmart 4 remains an excellent fitness tracker. Alongside the usual slew of fitness tracking functions – including heart rate, step, calorie, staircase, sleep and stress tracking – the Vivosmart 4 introduces blood oxygen saturation tracking and broader “Body Battery” tracking. This last feature calculates your body’s overall resources and gives you an idea of when you should be working out – and when you should be resting.
Simply put, the Vivosmart 4 is a durable, well-rounded fitness tracker that suffers only from a lack of GPS. If a Fitbit doesn’t appeal but you don’t fancy compromising on features, you won’t find much better at this price.
Key specs – Screen type: Monochrome OLED; Battery life: 7 days; Replaceable strap: No; GPS: None; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: Yes
Garmin Small/Medium vivosmart 4 Smart Activity Tracker with Wrist-Based Heart Rate and Fitness Monitoring Tools – Black
£79.50 Buy now
5. Samsung Galaxy Fit 2: The best fitness tracker for Samsung phones
Price: £39 | Buy now from Argos
The Galaxy Fit 2 not only boasts a bigger screen than its predecessor, but also offers significantly improved battery life compared, with Samsung claiming it can now last up to 15 days on a single charge with moderate usage. Along with its low price, these iterations make the Samsung Fit 2 a great-value option, especially for anyone with a Samsung phone. To clarify, the Fit 2 also works with iOS and non-Samsung Android phones, but you’ll need to install both the Galaxy Wearable/Fit app and the Samsung Health to do so.
There’s no built-in GPS, which, although expected from a device of this price point, means that you’ll need to be in close range of your smartphone and have Bluetooth switched on in order to track workouts with a higher degree of accuracy. Along with continuous heart-rate monitoring and sleep tracking, the Fit 2 offers workout modes for walking, running, cycling and swimming. If you have a Samsung phone and are tempted to try wearable tech, you could do a lot worse for the money.
Key specs – Screen type: Colour AMOLED; Battery life: 15 days; Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: None; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: No
£61.10 Buy now
6. Garmin Venu Sq: Garmin’s best-value multisport watch
Price: £180 | Buy now from Argos
With its vibrant 1.3in screen and slew of fitness features, the Venu Sq is one of the best value sports-orientated smartwatches you can buy. The “Sq” in the watch’s title refers to the change in its design when compared to the original model, with Garmin opting to use a square panel instead of the round watch face on the first Venu. The Sq also omits the AMOLED screen of the original, which is reflected in the fact it costs roughly half of the RRP of the flagship Venu model.
The Venu Sq offers most of the key fitness features that you would expect of a decent running watch in this day and age including heart-rate monitoring, stress and sleep tracking and even blood-oxygen measurements. However, perhaps the biggest draw to this device is its ability to store and play songs from Spotify offline.
The main concession is its less than world-beating battery life, which, at six days of average use is a full day shorter than Garmin’s similarly priced Vivoactive 3. Unfortunately, Garmin Pay is also supported by far fewer banks than Apple Pay or Google Pay. Still, these omissions aren’t enough to discredit what, at its core, is a great GPS watch at a good price.
Key specs – Screen type: Colour LCD; Battery life: 6 days; Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: Yes; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: No
Garmin Venu Sq GPS Smartwatch with All-day Health Monitoring and Fitness Features, Built-in Sports Apps and More, Shadow Grey with Slate Bezel
£139.65 Buy now
7. Huawei Watch Fit: Best fitness tracker and smartwatch hybrid
Price: From £70 | Buy now from Amazon
The Huawei Watch Fit resembles a smartwatch that’s been squashed to make it take up less space on your wrist. This means it has a nice large screen, giving welcome extra space to view phone notifications and follow workouts on. It also packs plenty of features including a heart rate monitor and built-in GPS along with the ability to track blood oxygen levels. That’s in addition to fitness tracking staples like counting steps, monitoring sleep and stress.
There are 96 sports modes in total including Huawei’s Running Courses, which introduces new runners to useful training programs they can follow. It’ll also track pool swims and offers performance insights like VO2 Max, so that you can delve deeper into your current state of fitness. If you’re a relative novice, animated workouts can also help to give your workouts some more structure.
The Watch Fit works with Android phones and iPhones alike, letting you view smartphone notifications, control music playback on your phone and even check the weather. You can expect to get anywhere from seven to ten days of battery life depending on whether you choose to keep tabs on heart rate 24/7 and regularly use the GPS tracking. Occasional inconsistent heart-rate tracking aside, there’s a lot to like about this tracker and smartwatch hybrid.
Key specs – Screen type: Colour AMOLED; Battery life: Up to 10 days; Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: In-built; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: No
HUAWEI WATCH FIT Smartwatch, 1.64” Vivid AMOLED Display, 10 Days Battery Life, Built-in GPS, 5ATM, Oxygen Saturation Detection, Heart Rate Monitoring, Sleep Monitoring, Cantaloupe Orange
£70.45 Buy now
8. Withings Steel HR Sport: Best hybrid fitness tracker
Price: From £129 | Buy now from Amazon
Despite having the appearance of a traditional analogue wristwatch, the Withings Steel HR Sport is packed with useful fitness-tracking features. Along with a sub-dial that shows progress to your daily step count target, the fitness tracking is offered via a small, circular monochrome OLED screen. This tiny display not only lets you view notifications and heart-rate info, but you can also track up to thirty different sports (including swimming), piggybacking off your smartphone’s GPS where necessary.
It might be limiting having such as a small digital display in some contexts, but the biggest perk to it is that the Withings Steel HR Sport can last “up to 25 days” between charges. Surely that’s a tempting compromise.
Key specs – Screen type: Monochrome OLED; Battery life: 25 days; Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: Connected only; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: Yes
Withings Steel HR Sport – Multisport hybrid Smartwatch, connected GPS, heart rate, fitness level via VO2 max, activity and sleep tracking, notifications
£171.30 Buy now
9. Fitbit Versa 3: Fitbit’s near-perfect smartwatch
Price: From £159 | Buy now from Amazon
Styled more like a smartwatch than a fitness tracker, the Versa has always been a popular Fitbit. Although it hasn’t achieved perfection just yet, the latest in the Versa line has made some big changes, by adding in-built GPS (a much longed-for feature) and a new “multipath” sensor to monitor your heart rate. It’s also got a slightly bigger screen, one which allows you to reply to texts as well as take calls. It’s also added Google Assistant, which joins Amazon’s Alexa to give you two smart voice assistants to choose from.
Key specs – Screen type: Colour AMOLED; Battery life: 6 days (48 hours with always-on-display enabled); Replaceable strap: Yes; GPS: In-built; Heart rate: Yes; Altimeter: No
Fitbit Versa 3 Health & Fitness Smartwatch with GPS, 24/7 Heart Rate, Voice Assistant & up to 6+ Days Battery, Black/Black
£171.50 Buy now