Fitness trackers

The best fitness trackers for 2022

A wearable fitness tracker can help you monitor your steps, strides, sleep, etc. It can also dole out doses of motivation along the way, which might push you toward a specific goal. Since 2015, we’ve spent over two months in total running, walking, swimming, biking, sleeping and, in short, living day and night with 35 different fitness trackers to evaluate their accuracy, ease of use and their comfort. While no tracker perfectly recorded every metric it attempted (including distance traveled, step count, quality of sleep, calories burned, and heart rate), we’re confident the Fitbit Easy-to-use and feature-rich Charge 5 is the best. option for most people who want to use a fitness tracker to monitor their movements and take action to improve their health.

Our choice

Fitbit Charge 5

A sleek and feature-rich activity tracker, the Fitbit Charge 5 records a range of activities accurately and automatically, includes built-in GPS, and has an app that makes it easy to use and customize.

The Fitbit Charge 5 is among the most accurate for measuring steps and heart rate (although accuracy isn’t everything). It reliably detects, almost always identifies correctly, and automatically starts recording workouts (running, walking, biking, swimming) after about 10 minutes of activity. The color touchscreen is crisp and clear, even in direct sunlight, with easily identifiable icons allowing simple menu negotiation. (However, navigating all of its features can take time.) Fitbit’s concise and simple app lets you easily analyze daily activity data and connect to a robust network of other Fitbit users, which which can help you stay motivated. (You can also opt for the Premium version of the app, which typically costs $10 per month.) The Charge 5 has 21 activity modes, six of which you can add to your favorites list on the device through the app. In the app, you can also determine which smartphone notifications you want to play on your wrist. The Charge 5 has a wrist-based ECG (electrocardiogram) and built-in GPS, which allows real-time pace and distance data without requiring a phone connection (though it’s sensitive to irregularities, like GPS often is).

Battery life: up to seven days in watch mode or up to five hours in continuous GPS mode
Sleep tracking: yes, including naps longer than an hour
Water resistance: yes, up to 50 meters
Heart rate monitor: Yes
GPS: integrated

Budget choice

Fitbit Inspire 2

Fitbit Inspire 2

Compared to the Fitbit Charge 5, the Fitbit Inspire 2 has a slimmer silhouette and a battery that lasts three days longer. But it has a smaller, non-color screen and it doesn’t offer built-in GPS.

Purchase options

*At the time of publication, the price was $80.

The Fitbit Inspire 2 has a slimmer profile than the Fitbit Charge 5. Its touchscreen is bright and vibrant, but not full of color (the Charge 5 is). The Inspire 2 doesn’t have built-in GPS (which the Charge 5 does); it measures pace and distance during a walk or run when connected to your phone’s GPS, which means you’ll need your phone with you. Although we found the Inspire 2 to be less accurate when recording all-day step counts, it did well in our heart rate tests. It has wrist-guided breathing sessions, which the Charge 5 doesn’t. Like the Charge 5, this Fitbit model offers around 20 goal-based exercise modes and tracks sleep stages (although alarms are only programmable in the app; with the Charge 5, you can set alarms on the device). You can wear the Inspire 2 on your wrist or on your clothes with a clip (sold separately).

Battery life: up to 10 days
Sleep tracking: yes, nap not included
Water resistance: yes, up to 50 meters
Heart rate monitor: Yes
GPS: when connected to a phone

Choice of upgrade

Garmin Vivoactive 4S

Garmin Vivoactive 4S

Earning points for accuracy and portability, the Garmin Vívoactive 4S combines the best of activewear and everyday wear for those who lead workout-fueled lives. It’s also a step closer to a GPS running watch than the Fitbit trackers we recommend.

Purchase options

*At the time of publication, the price was $250.

If you’re particularly active and want to keep detailed records of your workouts, consider the Garmin Vívoactive 4S. This is a sporty, advanced fitness tracker with a focus on – you guessed it – exercise. The 4S is the smaller of Garmin’s two 4-series offerings (it has a 40-millimeter screen, compared to the Vívoactive 4’s 45-millimeter screen). It’s refined and highly portable – the 4S is larger than the two Fitbit models we recommend, but smaller than other watch-style trackers from Garmin and Polar (another brand we tested). Its color touchscreen is clear and responsive, though more discreet than those of some color-screen competitors. Buttons next to the screen make it easy to switch between workout modes or start and stop workouts, and workout data screens show multiple metrics simultaneously (our Fitbit picks show one at a time) .

Battery life: up to seven days in watch mode or up to five hours in music mode plus GPS
Sleep tracking: yes, nap not included
Water resistance: yes, up to 50 meters
Heart rate monitor: Yes
GPS: integrated

Also great

Apple WatchSE

Apple WatchSE

A smartwatch first and foremost, the Apple Watch SE offers attractive activity, workout and health tracking. But its battery life is shorter than our other picks, its app is a little less detailed, and it lacks a few advanced features you might be interested in depending on your goals.

Purchase options

*At the time of publication, the price was $270.

If you want a true smartwatch with engaging activity and workout tracking, if you’re a fan of the Apple ecosystem, and can do without a handful of features than the more advanced Apple Watch Series 7 (our top smartwatch pick for folks with iPhones), the Apple Watch SE might do the trick. Our budget pick for the best smartwatch for iPhone users, the Apple Watch SE has a bright, clear display and intuitive controls. It measures activity by encouraging you to close a trio of rings each day, which is a visually appealing way to track your progress. The SE’s simple (if uncluttered) Fitness app has various workout and activity stats, though its sleep tracking isn’t as detailed as our other picks. An always-on display is also absent, which can be a bummer during workouts. The Apple Watch SE performed best in our heart rate accuracy tests and provided a reasonable daily step count and reliable GPS tracking. But its battery life only lasts up to 18 hours, while our other picks have batteries that last for several days.

Battery life: until 6 p.m.
Sleep tracking: yes, nap not included
Water resistance: yes, up to 50 meters
Heart rate monitor: Yes
GPS: integrated