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There has never been a wider selection of fitness bands, which makes it all the more difficult to choose the right one for you.
Essential reading: Compare fitness trackers with our interactive tool
We’ve rounded up our 10 favorites. Keep in mind, this is only a list of fitness bands so does not include anything resembling a classic watch or sports watch. We are talking about something sleek and discreet that sits quietly on your wrist gathering your activity data 24/7.
For those who are simply looking to be more active, any one of these will do the trick.
Rumor has it that Fitbit is looking to introduce a third generation of its Charge fitness tracker in 2018. But for now, Charge 2 remains our choice as the best fitness band for the average person who does the occasional run here and there.
Despite being around two years old, this is still Fitbit’s best selling wearable, and for a reason. The sleek looking device has everything most people need in a 24/7 activity monitoring tool, and there is great software ecosystem to go along with the hardware.
It boasts an excellent heart rate monitor and will tap into the GPS on your smartphone for more precise data when you are running. There are also some more advanced metrics such as VO2Max, along with multi-sport tracking and notifications.
Garmin has been keeping very busy recently. We’ve seen a slew of new devices from the company including its latest fitness band called Vivosport. While slightly more expensive than Charge 2, it comes with some goodies you won’t find on Fitbit’s flagship device. This includes a waterproof wrapper and swim tracking, built-in GPS, all day stress tracking and the ability to count reps and sets in the gym.
The only negative is the small screen, but that’s understandable considering the fitness band measures just 21mm in width and 10.9mm in thickness. Nevertheless, it feels great on your wrist, fitting very snuggly.
This is probably the most feature packed fitness band you can buy right now.
With the Alta HR, Fitbit has shown that it is possible to shrink its Pure Pulse technology. Until now, continuous heart-rate tracking has only been available in Fitbit’s larger wearables.
Unisex in design, Alta HR comes with most things you’ll find on Charge 2 apart from an altimeter for counting floors and connected GPS. Fitbit has managed to squeeze all this into a device that measures just 15mm in width and weights only 15 grams! There is also a 1.4-inch screen which means you’re not tied into your smartphone for viewing the stats.
This feature-packed device adds a GPS sensor to Garmin’s popular Vivosmart HR, additional running data and Garmin Move IQ auto activity detection. The addition of GPS allows users to track distance, time and pace more accurately, and now you can also view a map of your activity via Garmin Connect.
The device is water resistant down to 50 metres and comes with a 3 axis-accelerometer, altimeter, heart rate monitor for tracking your activity. You won’t get all day stress tracking and reps and sets in the gym, but you will get pretty much everything else. The 5 day battery life is pretty solid compared to the direct competition.
Released in early 2017, Vivosmart 3 comes with the basics, along with more sophisticated fitness tracking tools such as VO2 max and fitness age, all day stress tracking, and the ability to count reps and sets in the gym. It does lack a built-in GPS compared to more expensive Garmin models.
Thanks to Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate technology, you still get 24/7 heart rate monitoring, and the wearable automatically tracks activity including steps, floors climbed, calories burned, intensity minutes, sleep and more. It also features smart notifications to keep you connected while on the go.
As part of that 24/7 monitoring, when users are not on the move the device will now measure heart-rate variability which it uses to calculate and measure stress levels. To make you worry-free, you will get relaxing mindfulness experiences through deep-breathing sessions.
The truly novel feature of Moov is real-time coaching feedback in a wide variety of exercise programs such as running, boxing, cycling and swimming. Once attached to your wrist or ankle, it tracks your movements in 3D, analyzes them and gives you a comprehensive report on how you are doing, after, as well as during the workout.
The second generation model also measures your activity level and active time, in addition to automatically tracking your sleep at night. The only negatives are that there is no display and no heart rate monitor.
Ray is an activity tracker made from aircraft-grade anodized aluminium that moves away from the circular shape that Misfit is well known for. Rather than many LEDs, there is only one which displays different colours to alert you to text, call and other notifications from your phone. Its waterproof down to 50 meters and has a battery life of up to four months.
The sleek metal tube is designed to be worn alongside a watch. The cylindrical body measures 38mm long and 12mm in diameter. Ray is extremely customizable and can be attached to a number of different accessories allowing you to wear it on your wrist or around your neck. It can even be tied right into your sneakers!
The Flex 2 is 30% smaller than the original model and features a removable core unit and interchangeable slim, classic fitness bands in seven colors. A simple LED display uses color-coded lights to show progress toward your daily goal, and keeps you connected with call and text notifications.
More importantly, this is Fitbit’s first swim-proof wristband. The device is water resistant up to 50 meters, whether you’re in the shower, pool or ocean, and it automatically tracks your pool swims including laps, duration and calories burned in the Fitbit app.
Gear Fit2 Pro is a high-end version of the Gear Fit2 rather than a totally new, third generation device. The main news here is 50 meter water-resistance. If you decide to dive headfirst in the pool, the Speedo app will record your stats (stroke type, stroke count, and lap count), and show them in easy-to-read summaries. It will also provide you with “SWOLF”, which is a measure of stroke efficiency.
At 33 grams, Gear Fit 2 Pro weights only only slightly more than its predecessor. But you still get all the great features. This includes all day activity tracking, and a beautiful curved full-color Super AMOLED screen that displays real-time activity stats along with texts and other alerts from your smartphone.
If you are looking to save a few bucks, look no further than the Xiaomi Mi Band 2. The third generation band from the Chinese manufacturer combines the best features of the predecessor devices, and throws an OLED display into the mix.
The device itself is super lightweight and comfortable to wear. The “capsule” pops in and out of the band for charging but is in no danger of falling out once pushed in. The wearable tracks steps, distance, calories, on demand heart rate and sleep, and has a battery that lasts an incredible 20 days between charges. It is water-resistant and will even wake you up in the morning.
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