The 9 Best Fitness Trackers to Buy in 2018

Stay on track with your health goals this year

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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. 

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Activity Tracker

If you’re ready to build healthier habits (like, yesterday!) and boost your health, the Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Activity Tracker is the perfect device to get you on the right path. Fitness fanatics worship at the altar of Fitbit for a reason: This little device does a lot. In addition to gauging and recording all activity, the Fitbit monitors your food intake, measures the density of your sleep, and provides you with personalized tips based on your specific health trends and goals. Users can choose from over 15 exercise modes that include circuit training, biking, and yoga, and even get email, text, and call notifications during workouts.   

Best Budget: LETSCOM Fitness Tracker

You don't have to spend big to stay on top of your health goals. This Amazon bestseller comes at a very affordable price and lets users track their heart rate, steps, calories, and sleep and it can all sync to your phone. Besides keeping track of your fitness it can also display your text messages and calls when connected to your phone so you can get all of the benefits of a smartwatch without the large price tag.

For those who aren't sure if using a fitness tracker will be useful to them, this is a great place to start and it also makes a thoughtful gift for loved ones.

Best Heart Rate Monitor: Apple Watch Series 4

apple-watch

Courtesy of Walmart

Boasting an arsenal of revolutionary features—from cutting-edge EKG sensors to fall detection capabilities—the brand-new Apple Watch Series 4 is more effective than ever at measuring your heart rate with medical-grade accuracy. In fact, the latest Apple Watch’s sensors are so advanced that it will soon be able to take an electrocardiogram (ECG) of your heart, which is a function that’s typically reserved for medical devices. The Series 4 has also been redesigned from front to back, resulting in a larger screen and the sleekest display yet; plus, the watch has new interactive faces, superior workout features, and a full 18 hours of battery life. When it comes to accurately tracking your heart rate, the Apple Watch Series 4 is a total powerhouse. 

Best for Multipurpose: Garmin fēnix 5 Plus

With the brand-new Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Premium Multisport Smartwatch, fitness will never be far from your mind—get ready to increase your activity and improve your health when you invest in this high-performance tracker. Whether you’re sweating out your weight in water at hot yoga or taking a leisurely stroll through your neighborhood, this top-rated fitness tracker will provide you with an accurate activity assessment, so that you can start to build a healthier lifestyle. Conveniently, the Fenix 5 Plus also has routable color mapping, 10-day battery life, 100m waterproofing, and storage for up to 500 of your favorite songs on Spotify. Amazon reviewers routinely praise the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus as the best activity tracker on the market.

Best Smartwatch: 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 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.

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 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. 

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