The 7 Best Wristband Activity Monitor Pedometers to Buy in 2018

Track all aspects of your physical activity with these high-tech pedometers.

If you don't like wearing a pedometer on your waistband or carrying a pocket pedometer, there's a new breed of activity monitors you wear as a bracelet or wristband. Accelerometer chip technology has developed to the point where they can use formulas to weed out junk movements and produce fairly accurate step and physical activity data from a wristband. These monitors link up with phone apps or download their data to your computer to view more details on their web site. They vary in how much data you can see on the wristband's display (if any) and what they track in addition to steps. Some of them are sleep-tracking activity monitors and some can help reduce sitting time.


Fitbit Charge 2

Fitbit Charge 2
Fitbit Charge 2. Fitbit

The Fitbit Charge 2 has features that make it an excellent choice for a fitness band for both men and women.

Like all current Fitbit models, it pair either a phone app or with your PC or Mac. If you have used other Fitbit models, you can switch and continue to use your same Fitbit account. The Charge 2 has continuous heart rate monitoring and monitors three fitness zones during workouts.

  • Display: With the press of a button, you can see the time/date, steps, all-day calories burned, distance and flights of stairs climbed.
  • Wristband: The Charge 2 features interchangeable bands, so you can easily change your look. It buckles on securely. 
  • What It Tracks: In addition to total daily steps, distance, and calories, you can track individual workouts in a variety of sports, including using the GPS from your phone for speed and distance. It automatically tracks sleep rather than having to start and stop a sleep period timer. You can view all of your stats on the Fitbit app or web site. The Charge 2 reads your heart rate continuously via LED lights on the inside of the band, with an indicator as to whether you are in a light, moderate or intense heart rate zone. You can also engage in guided breathing sessions to relax and destress.
  • Vibrating Alarm and Call, Text, and Calendar Alerts: Pair it with your mobile phone and you will get a vibrating alert and see the caller ID for incoming calls, text messages, and calendar items. You can set multiple vibrating alarms to alert you at your chosen times.
  • Vibrating Move Reminders: If you haven't logged 250 steps in an hour, it vibrates and displays a message to remind you to move.
  • Power: Recharge every 5 days by plugging it into a USB adapter.
  • Bottom Line: This is my preferred Fitbit bands. If you don't need heart rate, go with the Fitbit Alta instead. The Charge 2 is likely to replace the former Fitbit Charge and Fitbit Charge HR but you may still get those on closeouts.

Garmin vivofit 3

Garmin vivofit 2
Garmin vivofit 2. Garmin

Hate recharging your tracker? The Garmin vivofit 3 is for you. Its replaceable battery lasts a whole year. Like Fitbit, you can sync it with PC or Mac computer via a USB ANT receiver or via Bluetooth to an iOS or Android app. It will share data with the Apple Health app.

  • Display: The LED display is always visible and you can scroll through day, date, steps, distance, calories, heart rate if linked to a chest strap monitor. It also has a backlight.
  • Wristband: The flexible wristband is completely replaceable, with colorful packs available, patterns and also dressier metal bands.
  • What it Tracks: Total daily steps, distance, total daily calories burned, moderate intensity minutes, sleep quality. It has an activity timer for workouts and it automatically detects your workouts with MoveIQ. It has a Move Bar that signals you've been inactive for an hour or more and reminds you to get up and walk.
  • Workout Heart Rate: You can link it to any ANT heart rate monitor chest strap to see your heart rate, displaying your heart rate during workouts with automatic zones.
  • Power: Replaceable coin battery CR1632 should last for a year.
  • Bottom Line: A great alternative to the Fitbit family.

Fitbit Flex 2

Fitbit Flex 2 Bands, Bangles, and Pendants
Fitbit Flex 2 Bands, Bangles, and Pendants. Fitbit

The Fitbit Flex 2 tracks not only physical activity, but also tracks your sleep quality. This update features a removable tracker you can wear in bands, bangles, and pendants to go from sporty to glam.

  • Display: The only display on the Flex band is a set of five  LED lights that light up as you achieve 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% and 100% of your daily step goal. They only light up when you tap on it. To see any other data you need to access the app or web site.
  • Wristband: The monitor slips inside a flexible wristband that comes in two sizes (both included) and has an adjustable snap-on strap. You can buy fashion colors and switch the Flex monitor between different colored bands, bangles, and pendants. The band and monitor are waterproof to 10 meters, so you don't have to take it off to bathe or swim.
  • What it Tracks: Total daily steps (no individual workout tracking), distance, total daily calories burned, active time per day, and sleep quality. On the app or web site you can also use a diet tracker, water tracker, weight log and enter any activity not recorded by the Flex. Their app and web site also integrate with other popular fitness and health apps. You can view your past history.
  • Vibrating Alarm, Text, and Call Notifications: Although it has no time display, you can set multiple vibrating alarms to alert you at your chosen times. It will notify you of incoming texts and calls with a vibration.
  • Vibrating Reminders to Move: If you haven't moved 250 steps in the past hour, you get a vibration to remind you to move.
  • Power: Recharge every 5 days by plugging it into a USB adapter.
  • Bottom Line: An excellent addition to the Fitbit family and upgrade to the popular Fitbit Flex.

Garmin vivosmart 3

The vivosmart 3 does everything the vivofit does, but ups the ante with several smart features and a wrist-based heart rate sensor, VO2 max estimate, and heart rate variability tracking to calculate and display your stress level. It also has a relaxation-based breathing timer and a guided breathing exercise.

  • Smart Features: It has vibrating alerts and display of incoming calls and text messages and vibrating inactivity alerts. You can control your music and VIRB camera. It vibrates when you wander out of Bluetooth connection with your phone and helps you find it if you misplace it. It syncs with both iOS and Android apps.
  • Display: The LED display is dark until you tap it. Swipe through day,/date, steps, steps remaining to goal, distance, calories, Move Bar inactivity indicator, music control, and heart rate (if linked to a chest strap monitor).
  • Wristband: The flexible wristband is thin and comfortable, but you can't interchange it.
  • What it Tracks: Total daily steps, distance, total daily calories burned, sleep quality, floors climbed, intensity minutes, strength training with automatic rep counter, auto lap, VO2 max, fitness age, heart rate zones and alerts, walking/running workouts. It vibrates when you've been inactive for an hour or more. It is waterproof for swimming and bathing.
  • Workout Heart Rate: You can link it to any ANT heart rate monitor chest strap to see your heart rate, displaying your heart rate during workouts with automatic heart rate zones. The wrist-based heart rate sensor also will track your workout with heart rate zones, alerts, calories, and percent of maximum heart rate.
  • Power: Recharge every five days with a custom USB cord..
  • Bottom Line: A great alternative to the Fitbit family.

Polar A370

The Polar A370 is packed with fitness features and it has a full-color display. You can change your style with interchangeable bands. It features wrist-based heart rate monitoring to better track your activity and calories burned. It has an advanced sleep analysis system that automatically detects your sleep and any interruptions. It links to your phone's GPS to track your pace, distance, and route during outdoor workouts and it gives you smart notifications.

  • Display: Touch the single subtle button for a bright red LED display of your steps, all-day calories burned, and progress towards activity goal with the time remaining you need to be either up, walking or running. It also shows you the time of day.
  • Wristband: You trim the soft plastic strap to fit and it closes with a clasp. The sensor itself it harder plastic. It is water-resistant for bathing and swimming.
  • What it Tracks: When you sync with the app or the USB cable, you can see your activity in great detail, color coded for intensity. You get totals for time sleeping, sitting, standing and light activity, walking and moderate activity, and jogging or intense activity. You get inactivity alerts when you haven't gotten up and moved in an hour. You can track workout. You can also note your weight in the app or Polar Flow online dashboard to track it.
  • Power: Recharge the day band every three to four days by plugging it into the USB adapter.
  • Bottom Line: The Polar A370 is a great monitor guide you towards better fitness. The coaching to be more active in more ways throughout the day is very motivational. It bridges the gap between healthy lifestyle monitors and sports monitors by linking with the Polar heart rate monitors.

iFit Active

iFit Active
iFit Active. iFit

The IFit Active can be worn as a fitness band or on a belt clip. You can change bands as the sensor is removable, and they have various colors available for low prices.

  • Display: Press a button to see the time, steps, distance, calories in, calories out.
  • Wristband: The band is available in four colors. It closes with a snap.
  • What it Tracks: Steps, distance, all-day calories burned, calories eaten, workout time. It tracks sleep.
    Calories Eaten: You can add calories eaten to your daily total using the buttons on the sensor to add 50 calories at a time. This is great for on-the-go. In the app you can add foods from a large database for further diet tracking and analysis.
    Inactivity Alerts: You can receive vibration alerts after sitting for a chosen interval.
    Workouts: You can start and stop a workout tracker from the sensor.
    Sleep: You can set it to track sleep automatically in a time frame or start and stop sleep periods. It tracks deep sleep, light sleep, time awake, number of times awake. It will vibrate to wake you at a chosen time.
  • App: Syncs via Bluetooth to iFit app, with data added to iFit account.
  • Power: It recharges with a custom USB cradle, a charge lasts several days.
  • Bottom Line: This is an excellent pedometer for dieters and for those who want inactivity alerts. It has a price point of under $80.

Misfit Shine

Misfit Shine - Grey with Sportband
Misfit Shine - Grey with Sportband. Misfit

The Misfit Shine is a beautiful matte aluminum monitor that can be worn as a wristband, with either a sport band or leather band, or on a clasp, necklace, or magnet attachment to wear anywhere on your body. It is purely mobile, communicating with iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth 4.0.

  • Display: Tap the Shine twice to see it light up with 12 LED dots around the face, each showing 1/12th of your daily goal. You can enable the clock feature to show the time via lighted dots for hour and minutes, either before or after the goal display.
  • Wristband: The sport band may or may not be included. It is comfortable plastic that is closed with a snap clasp. You can also buy a black or natural leather wristband for the Shine, to dress it up.
  • What it Tracks: When you sync with your mobile device, you see steps, all-day calories burned, and distance, plus a graph of your activity. Workouts: It automatically detects workouts or you can tap it three times to tag the beginning and end of a workout, and you can edit the kind of workout to get a better calorie estimate. Each workout is coded as very active, pretty active, or kinda active. Sleep: Tap three times to log sleep for total sleep time and time in deep sleep. You get trophies for reaching and exceeding your daily goal, and there is a weekly graph to show how you did each day. You can follow friends' totals and post your achievements on a World Feed.
  • Power: It runs on a replaceable 2032 coin battery, which should last three to four months.
  • Bottom Line: This is a sleek monitor that you can wear as jewelry while still tracking your daily activity and sleep. There is no reason to take it off.
  • Full Review: Misfit Shine
Was this page helpful?