Best fitness tracker: Top activity bands to monitor your fitness and health

A fitness tracking activity band can help effortlessly monitor how much physically active you are and offer guidance for developing healthier habits. Smart bands are designed for comfort and equip similar sensors to activity-focused smartwatches. But unlike watches, they are entirely dedicated to overseeing fitness, are lighter in weight, way cheaper, and last longer with a single charge.

Fitness band vs. Smartwatch

The line between smartwatches and activity bands is vague. Companies that manufacture activity tracking wristbands and smartwatches equip them with features dedicated to sports, health, and communications and are also designed with fashion. Best smartwatches include everything you can expect to find on a top-choice smartband. In addition, a smart timepiece more often than rarely will have advanced navigation support that includes turn-by-turn on-map navigation, internal space to install apps, games, and music that won’t require a smartphone to function, and much better displays that display activity stats even when not paired to a mobile phone. There are smartwatches with cellular capabilities that have the potential of becoming a replacement for your phone. The most important thing is that in case you already have a smartwatch that can track your running, workouts, sleep, and keep an eye on your heart rate, you probably don’t need a fitness tracking wearable at all.

Design and comfort

Comfort is essential for every fitness wristband. Since you are supposed to be wearing it all the time, even when you sleep. If it is itchy, you will not be wearing it, which goes against the usefulness of a fitness tracker. Luckily, fitness trackers come in all shapes, sizes, and colors to match your style and are good-looking pieces of technology that look tremendously good on any wrist. They are lighter than watches, slimmer, and fashionable. Activity bands sit nicely on the wrist, and they don’t require to be squeezed hard against the hand to function properly. They’re much more comfortable than a watch, as they are mainly made of soft plastic material.


While most of the bands might look very similar to one another, the features and supports differ from one device to another. If you need a no-fuss activity tracker that counts the steps you walk, you may not even have to buy a fitness tracker. Go make one out of your smartphone. Downloading any of these apps that count steps and fitness into your phone will turn your handset into an activity tracking device. You’ll be missing advanced features here and there, but that’s still something you can do to motivate yourself into working out. Your phone will most likely be coming with a health application of its own that has fitness monitoring components.

Some fitness trackers are better than others. However, an entirely flawless activity-tracking wrist wear has yet to come. Advanced trackers have built-in GPS and heart rate sensor, as well as an altimeter, to accurately mark how much energy you spend when you ascent or descent on different terrains. Still, what works best for you depends on how much and what type of sport you like to exercise. For instance, if you’re a swimmer, an activity band that’s entirely sealed from the water is what you will be needing. If you are new to fitness, a band that includes coaching and exercise tutorials that turn on when you pair it with your phone might be what you eventually want. The good news is that with the vast amount of activity trackers around, you’ll never be running out of options that work for you.

App experience and smartphone compatibility

Most fitness trackers have a tiny display that is of little uses. You can’t do much with it, and even the stats shown in it are mostly basic. To reveal the whole fitness tracking world, you will have to link your health tracker with your smartphone. This is done wirelessly via Bluetooth. When accessing the smartband data from your phone, you will be able to see fitness progress over time for periods of up to a month or longer, view charts of how much active you were and how many calories did you burn throughout the month amongst other things.

But for those to happen, your activity band should be compatible with your phone. Easy navigation, smooth running with your phone’s operating system are a must. You can always see if your phone can connect to a particular activity wearable by visiting the manufacturer website. Manufacturers always release a list of devices that are supported by their product.

Convinced that your wrist needs an activity tracking band? These are the best fitness trackers your money can buy.

Fitbit Charge 3

Fitbit Charge 3 activity tracker

Fitbit activity bands are the best fitness trackers out there. The third generation of the Fitbit Charge is the ultimate fitness tracker. It has goal-based automated exercise detection and tracker that includes over than fifteen different activities comprising bike, swim, run, weights, yoga, and more. It tracks heart rate at all times and automatically generates calorie burn throughout daily activities, sports a touch-enabled screen that’s brighter and larger than that incorporated into the Fitbit Charge 2, and there’s a special edition of the Fitbit Charge 3 that features Fitbit Pay for contactless payments.

The Fitbit Charge 3 continuously tracks your location via GPS and monitors the heart rate regardless if you’re working out, resting, or sleeping for more accurate monitoring results regarding calorie burn and your heart’s health. The Fitbit SmartTrack technology guarantees automated activity detection that displays your physical peak. It even has the SPO2 sensor for measuring the oxygen levels in your blood to detect health issues, such as sleep apnea. It is also entirely sealed from the water, and it won’t be bothered when you take it to the pool with you.

The Charge 3 is 20 percent lighter than its predecessor, slimmer and has 40 percent more screen. It connects to iPhone and Android mobile phones to exhibit complete fitness reports and has the potential of going for up to one week with one single charge.

There’s no better activity tracker than the Fitbit Charge 3, despite it still isn’t available for shipping and is at the pre-order stage where it retails for $150, it is worth waiting until first of October to put your hands in it.

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Garmin Vivosport

Garmin Vivosport activity tracker with HR and GPS

Garmin’s Vivosport is one of the top wristbands for fitness. It has GPS and built-in HR sensor to track indoor and outdoor activities accurately. It weighs only 24 grams and is designed to fit comfortably on your wrist for all-day wear. Its fitness and connectivity features are entirely comparable to those implemented on the Fitbit Charge 3. Thus, if you were looking for a Fitbit alternative, pick no other than Garmin Vivosport.

The Vivosport band features a color touchscreen display that sits inside the encompassing silicone strap which also seals it from the water and turns it into a suitable smart-wear for swimming. Although, swim tracking reports are quite basic. Despite that, this advanced activity band by Garmin houses advanced fitness monitoring features such as the VO2 Max score to determine the endurance capacity your body has when exercising, constant heart rate monitoring and has training plans for strength and cardio.

The band is compatible with Android and iPhone and stores on the mobile app fitness records of up to two weeks that include steps, walked or running distance, calorie burn, heart rate zones, and more. There’s also a function on this band that tracks stress. When paired to a phone you’ll also be receiving phone alerts and notifications on your wrist just like you get them on a smartwatch.

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Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro

Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro

The Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro is the advanced fitness watchband with the best design by far. The band features a superior outlook built for fashion, has a touch-enabled bright display that by functions is comparable to a smartwatch, and sells with over than 3,000 pre-installed display faces to match your style.

The Gear Fit2 Pro is waterproof for up to 50 meters of water and can store up to 500 songs for you to play on your Bluetooth earbuds when exercising. For advanced fitness tracking on this smart-wear, Samsung partnered with Under Armour for its app to have a more extensive database of trackable sports, diet planning, coaching, and the possibility of challenging your friends.

This advanced Samsung fitness tracking houses a built-in GPS and heart rate sensor for all-day health monitoring. The smartbandĀ is connects to both Android and iPhone and is one of the very few watchbands that allow you to text your friends from the wrist.

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Fitbit Alta HR

Fitbit Alta HR activity band

Fitbit Alta HR is a fine and narrow watchband that packs inside all the sensors and features you need in a sleek fitness tracking wearable device. Measuring only 0.6-inch (15mm) of width and coming in different changeable straps is the perfect lightweight smart wrist wear for women and men.

Despite being incredibly tiny in size, the Fitbit Alta HR spotlights built-in GPS and heart monitor sensors that track sleep and fitness and provides you with reports about cardiovascular health, steps, distance, calorie burn, and heart rate zones to tell the effectiveness of your workouts. Fitbit’s SmartTrack technology makes sure that the device recognizes active times and categorizes them into types of sports.

When wirelessly paired to a smartphone, this beautiful fitness band offers advanced activity trackings via the Fitbit App and displays phone reminders and notifications on your wrist. It also tells the time and comes in different strap colors to match your style.

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Garmin Vivosmart 4

Garmin Vivosmart 4 fitness tracker

Garmin’s Vivosmart 4 is a smartband that’s entirely dedicated to well-being. This smart-wear for tracking activity houses an ox2 pulse oximeter that is used by nurses to measure oxygen saturation in a patient’s blood. The Vivosmart 4 also is a slim wristband fitness tracker built for fashion and style, it has an easy-to-read display and offers advanced sleep and fitness tracking.

This health-focused activity tracking wearable by Garmin equips GPS and heart rate monitor sensors and connects to your phone via Garmin Connect app to deliver fitness and health stats that contain steps, distance, type of activity, calorie burn, fitness efficiency via the VO2 Max score, sleep tracking with Pulse OX oximeter, and stress monitoring. The device maintains the records for comparison for up to two weeks.

Vivosmart 4 has a battery life of up to one week and when paired to a phone can display reminders and phone alerts, there’s also a function to send pre-set quick messages to your friends from the wrist, but it works only with Android smartphones. In addition, the watchband is also waterproof and can be worn when swimming or showering.

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Huawei Talkband B5

Huawei Talkband B5 fitness tracker

Huawei’s fourth-generation Talkband B5 shares a unique pattern with its predecessor, the Talkband B3 Lite, alongside fitness and health tracking capabilities, this smartband can transform its self into a Bluetooth headset. A fitness tracker that can be converted into headphones is not something you stumble upon very often.

The Talkband B5 shares design patterns with the B3 Lite, there’s a similar but over than two times larger 2.5D curved display and this time it is an OLED unit with touch support that is encased within metallic bezels and different types of straps that include top-quality Italian-designed leather straps. It is designed for comfort and style, with each device coming with a set of ear tips to turn the wristwear into a very handy wireless headset when answering to phone calls. You can listen to music when exercising too but you’d be missing fitness data regarding calorie burn, and your reports will be compromised.

The Talkband B5 does feature a GPS and heart rate monitor that continuously keeps an eye at your heartbeat rate and position to generate activity and sleep tracking records. Regarding health, besides heart rate records, the band equips Huawei’s TruSleep technology that is validated by the CDB centre at Harvard Medical School. This technology allows the smart watchband to accurately monitor different stages of sleep and provide you with intimate sleep care support.

This band specializes in tracking four major sports, running, treadmill running, walking, and riding. For each of these activity modes, it generates reports that contain speed, distance, heart rate, and heart rate zones, VO2 Max score, and recommendations for a quick recovery. The handset is compatible to Android and iPhone and displays a large variety of phone notifications and reminders, as well as allows answering to phone calls and can also be used to remotely control the camera on your smartphone or to find a lost phone.

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Xiaomi Mi Band 3

Hands on with the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 fitness tracking band

Xiaomi’s Mi Band 3 fitness band is one of the best looking units out there and cheapest fitness tracker with heart rate sensor your money can buy. It costs only $30 and surprisingly despite being an extremely affordable fitness band, it houses decent feature supports.

The Mi Band 3 by Xiaomi highlights its self with a curved touch-enabled display for style and function, a silicone strap for comfort, and waterproof capabilities for tracking water sports. Smart wristbands with 50-meter water resistance for this price are not actually that common.

This cheap China-made fitness tracker has a built-in heart rate monitor for estimating calorie burn throughout activities, rest, and when sleeping but does not have a GPS of its own. GPS location tracking for better activity reports can be enabled when the device pairs to a smartphone. There’s support for Android and iPhone, reminder and notification display and WeChat messages, and an excellent 20-day power-up with a single charge.

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Misfit Ray

Misfit Ray fitness band

The Misfit Ray is an entirely different concept of a wrist-worn activity band. It doesn’t look like a minimalistic digital watch like the vast majority of sports bands and lacks a display. It sports a tubular design that lights only a single LED light that changes color depending on how active you are and serves as a basic sports tracker. It has no heart rate monitor. Thus, its feature pack regarding health is minimalistic.

However, the Misfit Ray is sealed from the water and does a good job to count laps when swimming and generate water sport data reports on your phone via the Speedo app. It has a battery life of up to four months, and its batteries are interchangeable. Besides swimming, the Misfit Ray can as well count steps, distance, and sleep, it generates an estimate on calorie burn throughout the day, connects to iPhone and Android devices and has a touch-enabled sensor that can be used to change songs on your phone or activate the camera. There are also vibrations to let you know when you receive a phone call, email, or a text message on your phone for as long as your smart wristwear links to your smartphone via Bluetooth.

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