The 9 Best Fitness Trackers to Buy in 2018

Stay on track with your health goals this year

Fitness trackers have come a long way from the pedometer you clip on your belt. But, when it comes to reaching health goals, logging steps is just the beginning. Keeping track of our sleep patterns, what we eat, and how our heart works are also key components to overall wellbeing. Thanks to technology, we are able to stay accountable for our actions by having all of this information, at all times, right on our wrist. 

With so many different options on the market, it may be overwhelming to know which activity tracker is best for you. Are you looking to lose weight? Perhaps you want to make sure you are taking at least 10,000 steps or more per day. Maybe you want to see how good your sleep hygiene is, or is you're stress rates skyrocket at certain points of the day. Whatever your needs, here are the best fitness trackers for you. 

Best All-Around Tracker: FitBit Ionic

Whether tracking activity, heart rate or sleep patterns, this tracker is keen on accuracy. FitBit faithfuls call the Ionic an “upgrade” from the beloved FitBit Blaze. While the Blaze simply used Bluetooth, the Ionic has a Wifi capability, making for super-fast updates. This version also has built-in GPS (so no need to carry your phone around, while hiking or running for tracking purposes).

Though it appears to take up a lot of real estate on the wrist, reviewers agree that the comfort is top notch, even while sleeping. Although you may not feel it while you’re sleeping, it’s optimizing your health by recording your sleep patterns. Many newer trackers have this feature, but FitBit Ionic users in particular talk about how they were actually able to implement positive changes in their sleep habits because of what they learned through the data it stores. 

Best Style for Men: Fossil Explorist Gen 3 Bracelet Smartwatch

fossil-explorist-watch
Courtesy of Nordstrom

While activity trackers are shifting from the more “athletic” looking designs to those for more every-day, versatile wear, Fossil seems to be leading the pack in this realm.

The Fossil Gen 2, in particular, has many different style options to suit your needs including a rose gold option, leather band option or this stainless model. A built-in mircrophone let’s Android users (4.3+ only) multitask during a workout by using the voice-command option. Everyone else can enjoy the touchscreen capabilities as the smartwatch uses Bluetooth to sync your phone.

While the watch doesn’t dig deep into activity specifics, it does track steps, distance and calories burned so a smart-buy for those who want to wear something daily but don't want it to interfere with their attire. Reviewers love the way it looks. 

Best for Slim Design: FitBit Alta

For those looking for a device that is big on accuracy but low on bulk, the FitBit Alta is just that at about 1/2" in thickness! This wristband allows users to see a continuous pattern of their heart rate, which in turn gives a more accurate result of calories burned.

When synced with PurePulse, this FitBit can monitor sleep stages based on heart rate. Like other trackers, it also stores your steps, calories and automatically recognizes which exercise you’re doing. Its available in three different sizes for an accurate fit and six different colors. 

Most reviewers cited a battery life of about a week if having the band set to “All day sync.”

Best Style for Women: Garmin vívomove HR Sport Hybrid Smartwatch

Fitness trackers can also look bulky and block-like, which isn't the most fashion-forward look for something that is so visible on your body. If you plan on wearing your tracker often and want it to match with more work-appropriate looks, you should consider this stylish tracker from Garmin. 

The vívomove HR Sport Hybrid Smartwatch looks like a classic watch that you might buy at a department store, but it offers all of the great features other sporty-looking fitness trackers have. The tracker can monitor your heart rate, fitness age, stress levels, steps, and more. it also has smart notifications so you can see who calls or texts you or play your music from your wrist. We love the pretty rose gold design, but the watch comes in four other colorways for every taste.

Best Budget: MULKSUL Fitness Tracker

If you want to track your steps, calories, heart rate, and more, but aren't quite ready to drop lots of money on a fitness tracker, this option from MULKSUL is a great starting point. The waterproof tracker comes in a sleek black design that will match seamlessly with your workout clothes or your daily outfits. 

Besides health-related tracking features, the MULKSUL Fitness Tracker allows you to get notifications about calls, texts, and app notifications thanks to its Bluetooth capabilities. The company also says the tracker can last 20 days with just one charge. Reviewers were impressed with the quality of the tracker, especially at its very low price point.

Best Waterproof: LETSCOM Fitness Tracker HR, Activity Tracker Watch

Anyone who sweats a lot, swims, or just hates taking off their fitness tracker should opt for a waterproof option that will stay intact even when the device comes into contact with water. This budget-friendly fitness tracker from LETSCOM does just that. In fact, one reviewer accidentally left their tracker on while taking a bath and the tracker was perfectly fine after, even when underwater for almost a whole hour.

The tracker offers all of the features you want in a fitness device, like step, calorie, and sleep counters, plus smartphone notifications. The LETSCOM tracker comes in six color options and has a USB plug attached for easy charging in an outlet or with your computer.

Best for Durability: Garmin Fenix 3

While not a “smartwatch,” the Garmin fenix 3 does just about everything a user could want minus the sending of text messages and the like.

An “Amazon Choice,” athletes love the rugged steel frame paired with the GPS while they’re thrashing through trails on their bikes. Feel free to take a swim, as the device is fully waterproof to depths of 100 meters.

The heart rate monitor is comfortable and accurate and one of the determining purchase factors for buyers.

Reviewers rave about the battery life (when considering all of the tasks it does simultaneously) which can range from 20-50 hours depending on activity.

Interchange the bands to add your own personal preference (the fenix 3 comes with a rubber and a metal band).

Best Advanced Technology: Apple Watch

This all-on-one Apple Watch series 2 (basically a mini iPhone) can do everything but cook you dinner (though it can certainly aid in finding someone who can help you with this!).

Like to submerge yourself in water? Go for it! Want to tell your spouse you’ll be late? Text it from the watch. But back to activity. A noted feature of this Apple Watch’s activity app is it starts the day by displaying your stats from the day before, encouraging you to surpass those steps, etc. today.

The watch automatically syncs with GPS, monitors heart rate, knows how far and fast you swim, walk, etc. The Apple Watch is able to detect “resting” calories vs. “active” calories, giving users a better idea of their results.

Best for Body: The Bellabeat Leaf

Not into wearing something on your wrist? The Bellabeat Leaf can be worn on the wrist, clipped to clothing or put on a necklace. This is also a fitness tracker, right? One of the biggest celebrations of this device is that it does not require a charge! Reviewers claim to change the battery just once a year!

Women specifically enjoy the app features, which include: menstruation tracker, a gentle vibration when you’ve been “inactive” for too long and a stress sensitivity insight, which pools together your data and provides tips on which areas of health need improvement (sleep, steps, etc.). The “Leaf” does need to be taken off while showering as it is not waterproof.

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