Fitness trackers

The best fitness trackers to help you stay active with Fitbit, Polar and more

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Can wearable technology change your life?

Fitness trackers have been proven to boost both your activity and motivation in your favorite sport by allowing you to reach your goals and monitor where you can still improve.

Moreover, they are much cheaper than a personal trainer. We’ve tested ten of the best gadgets and gizmos that monitor your fitness, heart rate and general well-being – these handy watches and chest straps will help you stay happy and healthy on the go.

What’s in a name?

While the terms “fitness tracker” and “smart watch‘ are often used interchangeably, the main difference is that fitness trackers usually feed your workout and health data into an app, and don’t have interactive displays, while a smart watch will show you your stats in real time on an interactive menu. Fitness trackers are more streamlined and simple in design, tend to have longer battery life, and are often more affordable than smart watches. They don’t necessarily need to be worn on the wrist either – we’ve included running insoles and even a sleep tracking mat in our list of the best trackers.

Key features to look for in a fitness tracker:

Aptitude

If sport is a key part of your life, a fitness tracker is the perfect way to track your progress in the discipline of your choice. When buying a new activity tracker, think about the sport you’ll be wearing it for primarily.

Runners will be looking for a tracker that measures heart rate, pace, and lap time, while cyclists want a watch that shows pace and distance. Swimmers should choose a fully waterproof tracker, while hikers and skiers going on long trips outdoors should choose a tracker with good battery life.

Health

Most of us keep tabs on our healthy habits even when we’re not working out, and a wrist-worn fitness tracker can help here too. Many models will track your sleep patterns and step count, monitor your breathing, and even keep track of your menstrual cycle, making it much easier to feel on the go or during a busy day at work.

Get the right fit and style

Most wearable fitness trackers are designed to fit on your wrist like a watch or a strap that fits snugly around your chest. Chest strap trackers monitor heart rate more accurate, while wrist trackers are ideal for more casual all-day use, and also mean you can access some data on the go.

Fitness trackers, unlike chunky smartwatches, tend to be thin and unobtrusive, and are designed to be comfortable and lightweight to wear while you work out. If you’re looking for something sporty that’s also stylish, some brands, such as Fitbit and Polar, make shiny, interchangeable straps for many of their models.

Shop the best below

Polar Pacer Watch

If your main passion is running, the Pacer is there to follow you. This running-specific GPS watch has specialized programs and works with the Polar Flow app to record your training sessions and show you data as you progress.

The Pacer is ideal if you’re new to running and don’t know where to start – a built-in walk test will analyze your aerobic fitness from the get-go, then customize running workouts to your level of ability.

The silicone strap and lightweight dial make it a comfortable choice you won’t notice you’re wearing while jogging.

Buy now £169.50, Fleece

Wahoo Tickr X Sternum Strap

Keep it simple with Wahoo’s efficient Tickr X, a chest strap heart rate monitor that accurately tracks your heart rate through the fastest, fastest runs or cycles, then securely stores your data even if you don’t have your phone handy.

Once you have your device, the Wahoo Fitness app will show you your cadence and calories burned in each workout. In the test, we liked the Running Smoothness feature, which measures different variables to help you improve your efficiency over time.

Buy now £64.99, Wiggle

Myzone MZ-Switch Heart Rate Monitor

Did you know that the accuracy of your heart rate monitor can be affected by the workout you do? Myzone’s MZ Switch eliminates any possible inaccuracies when changing disciplines, as this smart tracker is designed to be comfortably worn in three ways.

Place it on your wrist or arm or for low intensity workouts such as walking, and on your chest for an accurate reading for fast workouts. The monitor is waterproof and suitable for swimming, measures calories burned and has a battery life of six months.

Buy now £139.99, Amazon

Huawei Band 4 Watch

Most wearable tech comes at a high price, but if you’re on a budget you can still get a comfortable and reliable little tracker for under £20. Huawei Band 4 is simple to use, comfortable to wear on your wrist, and accurately tracks your heart rate. It also records running stats and shows Android smartphone notifications while you’re on the go.

The Band 4 is also water resistant enough to wear in the pool, so you can track swim stats. Our top pick if you’re getting into triathlon beginners – or watching the pennies.

Buy now £19.00, OA

Karoo Hammerhead 2 Bike Computer and Heart Rate Monitor

Riders can feel even more in touch with their two-wheel workouts by turning on the Karoo Hammerhead 2, a quality bike computer that doubles as a fitness tracker when used with the Hammerhead heart monitor (£53).

The large screen features easy-to-follow navigation as well as tracking your stats, distance and speed, and you can also choose structured workouts to track. The Hammerhead 2 is compatible with apps such as Komoot and Strava, so you can plan routes and view past adventures. Ideal for dedicated cyclists who don’t want to double down on their tracking technology.

Buy now £359.00, Wiggle

Fitbit Luxury Watch

Sports trackers aren’t usually that exciting to look at — well, they weren’t until Fitbit released their new, super-sleek Luxe, where fitness trackers meet jewelry. A fitness and wellness tracker with designer straps (we love that limited-edition wristband style), the Luxe is the perfect tracker to wear all day from work to the gym and to track your workout and workouts. break time. The Luxe can monitor sleep patterns, heart rate, breathing rate, and even stress levels. A great all-rounder.

Buy now £99.00, John Lewis

Nurvv Run Insoles

Beat the pavements or attack the trails and get insight into your running performance as you go with Nurvv’s smart insoles. Simply slip these comfortable insoles into your favorite trainers and they’ll give you pace, distance and cadence, then analyze your data to suggest how and where to improve.

There are a few downsides to Nurvvs – they’re expensive and they only have a mere five-hour battery life. Casual joggers will get along best with a wearable fitness tracker, but serious runners and athletes may find Nurvv takes them to a whole new level.

Buy now £99.00, Amazon

Fitbit Charge 5 Watch

One tracker to rule them all? If you’re more versatile than a dedicated sports athlete and like to mix up your workouts, you’ll need a fitness tracker that can keep up with any adventure.

Our favorite during testing was Fitbit’s hugely popular Charge 5, which we found intuitive to use and comfortable to wear during daily runs, hikes, biking and swimming. The Charge happily tracks your workouts, monitors heart rate, and has 20 exercise modes to choose from. You can also easily switch from a sporty silicone strap to a leather or woven strap when you’re back in the office after exercise.

Buy now £107.99, Amazon

Garmin Lily Watch

If you’re as focused on wellness as you are sports and love the idea of ​​a fitness tracker you can wear all day, every day, Garmin’s pretty Lily might be your perfect match. This watch-style tracker is small, light and comfortable to wear, and it looks smart, with different neutral-toned watch straps to choose from and an eye-catching patterned face.

The Lily is packed with useful features, including a heart rate monitor, stress level tracker, and sleep monitoring, and it can also track your menstrual cycle and pregnancy stages. The Lily is also waterproof enough for swimming or going to the spa.

Buy now £159.99, Amazon

Withings sleep analysis mat

A two-foot-long fitness tracker? Withings Sleep Analytics Mat is all about the science of sleep, measuring detailed data and delivering a report to your phone in time for the morning. Whether you have sleep apnea or just want to master a better night’s sleep, this mat faithfully tracks your heart rate, movement, and sleep cycles and syncs with your phone (including the Apple Health app). A good way to improve your rest without having to resort to fiddly portable devices.

Buy now £119.95, Amazon