Tracking information like movement, steps and heart rate are all part of the quantified self movement which has gained enormously in popularity in recent years.
With so many wearables on the market, choosing a fitness tracker or smartwatch can be difficult. The right one for you will be based on your individual needs; whether it’s step counting, sleep tracking or 24/7 heart rate tracking, there’s something for everyone.
We’ve seen quite a few new wearables recently. Read on for our pick of the best, broken down across various categories (this article is updated regularly).
Jump to best
Overall fitness band | For style | For running | For outdoors | Fitness watch | Budget fitness tracker | For the gym | For stress | Smartwatch | Smart scale | Smart blood pressure monitor | For sleep tracking
Article last updated: October 9th 2023
Fitbit Charge 6
Fitbit Charge 6 is an evolution of the company’s flagship activity band, focusing more on refinement than revolution. This device continues to be our top pick for the average person who engages in occasional physical activities, especially given its competitive pricing.
The Charge 6 maintains its sleek design, a hallmark of the Charge series that we’ve favored for years. The device is crafted from 100% recycled aluminum, aligning with the growing consumer demand for sustainable products. It reintroduces a haptic physical button, addressing user feedback about the touchscreen-only interface of the Charge 5.
This latest iteration offers everything you’d expect for 24/7 activity tracking. One of the standout features is its enhanced heart rate monitoring, which utilizes Google’s improved algorithms to deliver up to 60% more accurate data during intense activities. While it still lacks an altimeter for counting floors climbed, it compensates with advanced health tracking features like ECG, detailed stress tracking, and the Daily Readiness Score.
Battery life remains consistent with a 7-day span, and the 5 ATM water-resistance is unchanged. When GPS is active, you can expect around 5 hours of battery life.
The smart features have seen significant improvements, further blurring the line between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch. The Charge 6 offers Google Wallet support for payments, Google Maps integration with turn-by-turn directions, and even YouTube Music controls. This is a step up from the Charge 5, which had a more limited set of smart features, primarily Fitbit Pay and basic notifications.
Runner up # 1
A recent addition to Fitbit’s range, this one comes in the form of a discreet band but it packs most of the health and fitness tracking functionality you can find in high-spec smartwatches.
The thing is pretty much on par with Charge 4 as far as health and fitness stats. The only thing that is missing is built-in GPS and an altimeter for counting floors. Also, the battery life is shorter.
But what works in its advantage is the small form-factor and beautiful AMOLED display. All of this is offered at a very respectible price. So if don’t need built-in GPS and can do with Connected GPS, Luxe presents itself as an attractive buy.
Runner up # 2
Garmin Vivosmart 5
Vivosmart 5 is another great option from a well known brand. In additional to all the usual fitness tracking smarts, it comes with a blood oxygen sensor and it keeps tabs on your body’s energy reserves.
The oxygen saturation feature measures your oxygen levels at night, allowing you to better understand your sleep quality. This can potentially be used to identify sleep conditions such as apnea, although Garmin will not diagnose these. You can also check your readings on demand during the day.
Another other novel feature is what Garmin calls Body Battery energy monitoring. This uses a combination of stress, heart rate variability (HRV), sleep and activity data to let you know when to push hard, when to rest.
The other features are fairly standard include the usual step, distance, calories, floors, heart rate and advanced sleep tracking. Like many other Garmin wearables Vivosmart 4 will also keep tabs on your stress, VO2 Max, reps and sets in the gym. No built-in GPS, but there is Connected GPS thanks to a recent software update.
Withings ScanWatch 2
The Withings ScanWatch 2 epitomizes the concept of a hybrid watch, seamlessly blending traditional aesthetics with modern health tracking capabilities. Its design is both elegant and discreet, featuring physical hands on a 0.63-inch grayscale OLED screen. This allows it to maintain the classic look of a traditional watch while providing the functionality of a smartwatch. The dial is protected by sapphire crystal, and the case and crown are crafted from stainless steel, adding a touch of durability and class. Multiple color and design options further enhance its appeal, making it a versatile choice for those who value both form and function.
While the ScanWatch 2 is packed with advanced features like 24/7 body temperature monitoring and heart rate variability, it doesn’t compromise on battery life. The device offers an impressive 30-day battery life, facilitated by the new PowerSense Pro feature that optimizes health measurements to conserve energy. This long battery life is particularly beneficial for continuous health monitoring, including sleep patterns and stress levels.
The introduction of new health metrics, such as menstrual cycle tracking and automatic activity recognition for over 40 different activities, makes the ScanWatch 2 a comprehensive health monitoring tool. It’s not just a smartwatch or a fitness tracker; it’s a hybrid that offers the best of both worlds.
Garmin Vivomove 3
You no longer need to compromise fashion for function. Vivomove 3 is a hybrid watch that comes in a number of different variants. This includes the Vívomove 3/3S (to denote two case sizes – 44mm and 39mm), Vívomove Style and Vívomove Luxe.
Notifications are shown on the beautiful 8.9 mm x 18.3 mm OLED display on 3/3s (24.1 mm x 18.7 mm on Style/Luxe). You can even send quick replies. The watch hands move out of the way when you swipe through your messages, heart rate and more for unobstructed reading.
When the display is off, there is no way of telling that this is anything but a sleek looking traditional watch. Tap firmly on the thing or quickly turn your wrist and the display magically appears.
Packing a heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, accelerometer, ambient light sensor and Pulse Ox, these watches come packing excellent fitness tracking smarts. There’s also Connected GPS for more precise tracking of outdoor activity and a swim-proof design. Battery life is up to 5 days in smartwatch mode and a further 7 days in with limited functionality.
Garmin Forerunner 955 / 965
The Forerunner 955 is a fully featured running and triathlon GPS sports watches. You will find the usual Elevate wrist-based heart rate for 24/7 heart rate monitoring, and GPS and GLONASS coverage. Additionally, the wearable sports a barometer, altimeter, and a compass.
Essential reading: Gone for a run – top GPS watches for running and training
Where the watch stands out most though, is in its detailed analysis of performance. The Forerunner aggregates past training results and then uses that data to evaluate the amount of effort users exert during fitness sessions, i.e. if you are slacking off or overdoing it. It does this through a few different metrics.
Training load looks at users’ exercise activity over the last seven days and compares it to the optimal range for your fitness and recent training history. Training status does the same thing with a more short-term view, and lets you know if you’re training productively, peaking or overreaching. Additionally, the training effect metric tracks and reviews the aerobic and anaerobic benefit of a training session. There are also other advanced dynamics for running, cycling and swimming, including FTP, VO2 max, cadence and others.
Then we have HRV Status and the Training Readiness Score. The first tracks your heart rate variability while you sleep and compares it with a 7 day and long term average. The second spits out a score on a scale to 100, that quantifies how ready you are to train on a particular day.
These features are also available on the 945 LTE. Its cellular abilities are primarily in use for emergency functions. So if you want to make phone calls from your watch, other options such as the Apple Watch are the way to go.
And let’s not forget the Forerunner 965. Essentially the same watch as the 955, only with a fancy AMOLED display.
Garmin Fenix 7 range / Epix 2
This is the ultimate outdoor adventuring watch. You can choose between multiple models that vary in size to fit every wrist and every workout. The watch features most things you would want for fitness training plus feature sets for outdoor navigation.
The timepiece is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who are into multi sports and want to be able to track everything. You can use it for cycling, open water swimming, cross country skiing, climbing, indoor run/bike/swim, hiking and much more.
In addition to heart rate tracking from the wrist, the watch provides advanced running metrics including vertical oscillation and vertical ratio, VO2 max and a recovery advisor. Outdoor navigation includes things like 3-axis compass, altimeter and barometer and TracBack feature.
If you’re not short on cash, the daddy of the bunch is the Fenix 7 Solar Edition. It comes with a transparent solar charging lens that sits on top of the watch face. This converts the sun’s rays into energy which provides you with an additional 10-15% battery juice.
The absolute top of the line is Epix 2. It has the same features as Fenix 7, but with an AMOLED display instead of a memory in pixel display. Those that want to save a few bucks might want to opt for Fenix 6. It lacks the touchscreen capability of the Fenix but has most other features. You can see in detail how the three watches compare in our separate piece.
Garmin has also introduced Pro versions of Fenix 7 and Epix 2 in 2023. , the modifications are rather modest. They pretty much end with flashlight inclusion in all size variants, Gen 5 heart rate sensor, multi-frequency GNSS positioning, more memory and some display enhancements.
Apple Watch Ultra 2
In 2023, Apple introduced the Ultra 2, designed for adventure-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts. This premium device comes with a 3000-nits display, Bluetooth accessory connectivity, and is priced at $799.
The Ultra 2’s display brightness is a significant upgrade, making it ideal for outdoor activities. The titanium case has been retained, and the action button redesigned for more intuitive use. This button can be programmed to trigger specific actions, enhancing user experience.
Bluetooth accessory connectivity is a new feature, useful for cyclists or runners who use specialized equipment. The device still offers dual-band GPS for quick and accurate satellite connection, along with enhanced mapping abilities like waypoint tracking.
The 86-decibel siren remains, but its unique sound pattern has been optimized to be heard from even greater distances. This can be activated if you find yourself lost, providing an additional layer of safety.
Battery life remains at 36 hours, which could be a limiting factor for extended usage. However, the device now has the ability to detect the presence of a HomePod, allowing for music suggestions and control, adding another layer of integration within the Apple ecosystem.
Garmin Venu 3
Venu 3 is Garmin’s Swiss knife of activity trackers, the company’s main competitor in the all-purpose smartwatch space. Plus it looks great.
The device sets itself apart with a range of features that cater to a broad spectrum of users. One of its most compelling attributes is the flexibility it offers in terms of design and display. Unlike its predecessor, the Venu 2 Plus, the Venu 3 comes in two sizes, allowing for a more personalized fit. Coupled with a lighter weight due to its fiber-reinforced polymer casing, this smartwatch is designed for comfort during extended wear.
Battery life is another area where the Venu 3 excels. It offers up to 14 days of battery life in smartwatch mode with the display always-on. This excellent battery life makes the Venu 3 a reliable companion for those who don’t want to be tethered to a charger frequently.
New features like Sleep Coach, Nap Detection, and Jet Lag Adviser add layers of functionality absent in most Garmin watches. The Sleep Coach, for instance, doesn’t just track sleep patterns but provides actionable insights for improving sleep quality.
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or looking to upgrade, the Venu 3 offers a well-rounded feature set that justifies its position as a top fitness watch recommendation.
Fitbit Versa 4 (& Sense 2)
Versa is Fitbit’s second smartwatch. The device is up to generation four now so has advanced quite a bit since that first iteration a number of years ago.
When it comes to features, this is a timepiece that puts fitness first. It includes most of the things you would expect from a Fitbit device, along with capturing real-time stats on a plethora of different types of activities including swimming. And you’ll be able to keep tabs on all this in real-time on the gorgeous hi-res AMOLED touchscreen.
There is also access to various music streaming services (some of which allow for downloading of tunes), smartphone notifications, Fitbit pay and Alexa built-in. The App Gallery has Strava, Accuweather, Flipboard, Starbucks and more.
Those that want more can opt for Fitbit Sense or Sense 2. That range comes with everything that you can find on Versa 4 plus some additional health tracking smarts in the form of ECG and a galvanic skin sensor. These additions make it a more serious health tracking device.
Xiaomi Mi Band 8
The Xiaomi Mi Band 8 is a continuation of the brand’s commitment to offering basic but reliable fitness tracking in a sleek, water-resistant design. This iteration introduces a two-piece detachable band, a brighter display exceeding 600 nits, and an expanded range of sports modes.
The Mi Band 8 retains the AMOLED display measuring 1.62 inches but enhances its brightness to over 600 nits. The always-on display option remains, and the refresh rate has been improved to 60Hz. The new band design allows for more versatile strap combinations, even enabling the band to be worn as a necklace or strapped to shoes.
Functionality-wise, the device continues to offer a 5 ATM water-resistance rating and impressive battery life, now lasting up to 16 days on a single charge. The SpO2 sensor for continuous blood oxygen tracking is still present, along with a PPG heart rate sensor. The number of sports modes has increased by 30, bringing the total to 150. These include new additions like boxing training mode and enhanced running performance metrics.
Those looking for a no-frills activity tracker will not be disappointed. The wearables simply does the job and you have a choice of smartphone apps with which to use it.
To achieve a higher level of measurement reliability, and to perform each possible exercise, the Beast sensor is configured as a small magnet, which enables it to be easily plugged on barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells or gym machines and to the body itself for performing free body exercises.
The device shows you in real-time how much you are pushing, rep by rep, whether you are lifting weights, using a machine or performing bodyweight exercises. You can chose to visualize Speed, Power or Strength and monitor your performance live while working out.
Essential reading: Boost your gym session with one of these gadgets
Beast utilizes something called Velocity Based Training. This takes the guesswork on how much load you should be adding or removing on a particular set. It also tells you if you should move on and try a new exercise altogether by using the measurement of the bar speed and work to understand the force production.
The little gizmo tracks your improvement and helps you train better. Moreover, it gives you an overview of all workout data, keeping a diary of your performance.
Muse is a headset that gives users real-time feedback on what is happening inside their brain while they meditate. The first generation device detects changes by using seven EEG sensors along the scalp. Muse 2 slaps on a heart rate monitor, accelerometer for body movement and breath for even better tracking. It now provides you with a more holistic view of your sessions.
While you meditate, the headband measures whether your mind is calm or active, and translates that data into sound that you can hear. When you’re calm, you’ll hear the sound of peaceful weather. If Muse senses your mind wandering, you’ll hear the weather sounds get stronger, gently guiding you back to calm.
Muse 2 is as good as it gets right now if you’re looking for a biofeedback meditation headset. It might not be for everyone, but if you have the budget and your aim is to meditate more and improve your focus, the device certainly can help.
Apple Watch Series 9
Apple has recently launched the Series 9 watch, which, like its predecessor, offers subtle but impactful improvements.
The Series 9 introduces an S9 SIP (System in Package) with 5.6 billion transistors, a 60% increase over the Series 8. This new chip enables on-device processing of Siri requests and health data, making the watch less reliant on Wi-Fi or cellular connections.
In terms of health and fitness, the Series 9 builds on the existing features by adding more comprehensive sleep tracking and mental well-being tools. The skin temperature sensor continues to provide valuable data, especially for those tracking ovulation cycles. These features are in addition to the existing SpO2, ECG and other functionalities, making the Series 9 a robust health companion.
The display brightness is adjustable up to 2000 nits, enhancing visibility in various lighting conditions. Gesture control has also been added, allowing users to perform tasks like taking calls or pausing workouts by tapping their thumb and forefinger together.
Crash Detection remains a key safety feature, automatically alerting emergency services and selected contacts in the event of a car crash. Battery life is still around 18 hours, but a Low Power mode can extend this to 36 hours with limited functionality.
While the Series 9 offers incremental improvements, it continues to set the standard in the smartwatch market. It remains a top choice, especially for those invested in the Apple ecosystem.
Withings Body Smart
The Withings Body Smart scale offers a balanced mix of affordability and functionality, making it a solid choice for those looking to monitor a variety of health metrics. With a sleek design and user-friendly interface, the scale provides accurate weight measurements down to two decimal points. It also offers a range of other health metrics like body fat percentage, muscle mass, and more, although these should be taken as estimates rather than precise measurements.
Connectivity is seamless with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth options, and the scale can store up to 16 weigh-ins if it can’t sync wirelessly. The device is powered by four AAA batteries, which should last up to 15 months, although the lack of a rechargeable battery might be a downside for some. The scale can recognize up to eight users, making it suitable for family use.
In summary, for a retail price of just $99, the Withings Body Smart scale delivers on its promises. As we note in our hands-on review, it’s a reliable, accurate, and easy-to-use tool for anyone looking to keep a closer eye on their health. While it may not have all the advanced features of its pricier counterparts, it offers great value for the money.
Withings BPM Core
Honored with a CES Innovation Award, Withings Core functions as a BPM, ECG and digital stethoscope. ECG is used to identify atrial fibrillation (AFib), a serious form of irregular heart rhythm that can lead to heart failure and is a major risk for stroke. The digital stethoscope can provide early detection of valvular heart disease. The condition is characterized by damage to one of the four heart valves and may require surgical intervention.
The ability to monitor all three conditions (high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and valvular heart disease), with one product definitely sounds like a game changer. You’ll essentially get a complete heart health checkup in 90 seconds.
You can check out our full hands-on review on this link.
Omron is one of the most established brands on the home BPM market. Its EVOLV device is a sleek looking one-piece monitor which has no tabletop unit, no tubes and no wires. Because of this the product is highly portable and easy to operate.
Users wrap the entire unit around their upper arm and the blood pressure reading is displayed in bold numbers right on the face of the device. EVOLV provides you with a complete view of your blood pressure with systolic, diastolic and pulse readings. It also detects the appearance of irregular heartbeats during measurement and gives a warning signal with readings.
This is BPM that you can use it completely independently of your smartphone. All you are required to do to take a reading is press one button.
With this device Omron has married their accurate technology with connectivity. In our hands-on review, we found it to be accurate, and the operation to be very smooth, fast and noiseless.
Withings Sleep Analyzer
Withings Sleep Analyzer slips under the mattress from where it tracks all aspects of your nightly (and daily) rest. The company says after 3 days of use, more than a half of users increase their amount of sleep by an average of 48 minutes per night for the next 3 nights. Not bad, as most people are chronically sleep deprived.
The thing lies incognito under your mattress with no buttons to push or need to charge. Jump into bed, and go to sleep. This is exactly what you want – a no hassle tracker that you forget is even there.
The device captures a wealth of stats. Everything from sleep cycles, to interruptions, sleep heart rate, snoring, breathing disturbances and even sleep apnea – it’s all there. In our review we found that it does this accurately even though it lies under a thick mattress. The data it collects automatically makes its way to the app on your phone so is ready to be viewed in the morning.
Like this article? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and never miss out!
*Disclosure: We are a review site that receives a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you. We are independently owned and all opinions expressed here are our own. See our affiliate disclosure page for more details.