The world of fitness trackers has expanded to cater to a diverse range of needs, from simple bands to rugged sports watches and even wearable health monitors. These devices go beyond just tracking steps — they monitor health metrics, analyze workouts, and offer valuable insights to help individuals maximize their fitness journey and take their personal health to an optimal level. Our comprehensive guide is your roadmap to finding the best fitness trackers on the market, meticulously selected to suit the lifestyles of runners, backcountry hikers, swimmers, athletes, and everyone in between.

Whether you’re striving for a new personal best in your next marathon, exploring the great outdoors, or simply aiming to maintain a healthy lifestyle, our guide simplifies the selection process. We’ve extensively researched and handpicked fitness trackers that cater to different activities, preferences, and budgets, ensuring that you discover the perfect device to monitor your health and enhance your life. Let our guide be your fitness companion, leading you to the best fitness trackers that offer advanced features, durability, and precision, ensuring that you’re well-equipped to achieve your fitness goals in 2023 and beyond.

Different types of fitness wearables

To streamline your choices, it’s crucial to recognize that there are four primary categories of wearables available: GPS watches, smartwatches, fitness trackers/sports watches, and health monitors. Here are the key differences between these different types of fitness trackers.

GPS Watches

  1. Advanced GPS Tracking: GPS watches are designed for outdoor enthusiasts and athletes who require precise location tracking for activities like running, cycling, and hiking.
  2. Comprehensive Sports Features: They often come with a wide range of sports-specific features, such as pace, distance, elevation, and route tracking. Some models also offer advanced metrics like VO2 max estimation.
  3. Dedicated Sports Profiles: GPS watches often include dedicated sports profiles for activities like swimming, skiing, and golf, providing detailed data for each sport.

Smartwatches

  1. Smart Features: Smartwatches offer a broader range of functionality beyond fitness tracking. They can display notifications, make calls, send messages, and run various apps.
  2. Health Monitoring: In addition to fitness tracking, smartwatches may include advanced health monitoring features like ECG (electrocardiogram), fall detection, and sleep analysis.
  3. Customization: Smartwatches often allow for customization through interchangeable watch faces and various bands to match your style.

Fitness Trackers/Sport Watches

  1. Simplicity and Focus: Fitness trackers and sport watches tend to be more focused on health and fitness tracking without the added smartwatch features, making them a more budget-friendly option.
  2. Slim and Lightweight: They are typically compact, lightweight, and designed to be worn discreetly throughout the day.
  3. Long Battery Life: Fitness trackers often offer longer battery life compared to smartwatches, requiring less frequent charging.

Health Monitors (Bands and Rings)

  1. Health-Centric: Health monitors like bands and rings are primarily focused on health and wellness tracking, with a strong emphasis on metrics like sleep quality, heart rate variability, and recovery.
  2. Continuous Monitoring: They often provide continuous, 24/7 monitoring of health parameters, including sleep stages and trends in heart rate variability.
  3. Low Profile: These devices are designed to be worn comfortably around the clock, and they may have a sleek, low-profile design compared to bulkier watches.
  4. Battery Life: Health monitors usually offer excellent battery life, lasting several days on a single charge.

Ultimately the choice between GPS watches, smartwatches, fitness trackers/sport watches, and health monitors will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. GPS watches are best for athletes and outdoor enthusiasts, smartwatches offer a blend of fitness and smart features, fitness trackers/sport watches are simple and budget-friendly, and health monitors focus on continuous health tracking.

The best fitness trackers

Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers, from wearables to GPS and smartwatches and health monitors to fitness watches, ensuring that you’re well-equipped to achieve your fitness goals in 2023 and beyond.

Best overall fitness tracker: Fitbit Charge 6 – Obsidian/Black Aluminum

Fitbit Charge 6 - Obsidian/Black Aluminum colorway on a white background.

The OG brand that really started the worldwide health craze of helping individuals get more activity in their everyday lives, Fitbit has been leading the charge, tracking and encouraging us to get to 10,000 daily steps. Now, the Charge 6 is their latest and greatest yet. The Fitbit Charge 6 is an advanced fitness and health tracker designed to boost your daily routine. It comes equipped with essential features and integrates Google services like YouTube Music, Google Maps, and Google Wallet. The fitness tracker offers a comprehensive set of tools to help you achieve your health and fitness goals, from monitoring your daily progress to enhancing your overall well-being. With compatibility for both Android and iOS devices, it ensures a seamless experience for a wide range of users.

You can easily control YouTube Music, navigate with Google Maps, and make payments through Google Wallet right from your wrist. Additionally, it offers a wide range of health and fitness metrics, including heart rate, sleep quality, blood oxygen level (SpO2), VO2 max, and stress level. The inclusion of built-in GPS enhances its tracking capabilities, and it can make and receive calls and texts when paired with a compatible device.

Top Reason to Buy: The standout feature of the Fitbit Charge 6 is its integration with Google services, making it a versatile and smart fitness tracker. With its advanced features and Google integration, the Fitbit Charge 6 is an excellent choice for individuals looking to elevate their fitness and health monitoring with a sensible price tag to boot. Our top pick for best overall fitness trackers.

Best budget: Fitbit Inspire 3 Fitness Tracker – Midnight Zen

Fitbit Inspire 3 Fitness Tracker - Midnight Zen colored on a white background.

Fitbit continues to lead the way on all fronts when it comes to fitness trackers, and this model version is wonderful for those looking for a budget-friendly option. The Fitbit Inspire 3 offers an impressive array of features at an affordable price point, making it a great value for health-conscious individuals. It provides continuous monitoring of your resting heart rate, blood oxygen levels, skin temperature, and more, allowing you to better understand your body’s signals and needs. One standout feature is the daily personalized stress score, which helps you gauge your stress levels and take appropriate action. Additionally, the tracker offers insights into your sleep patterns, allowing you to identify areas for improvement.

With a battery life of up to 10 days, the Fitbit Inspire 3 ensures you can stay on top of your health without frequent recharging. It also includes Active Zone Minutes to track your workout intensity and even checks for irregular heart rhythms, potentially alerting you to conditions like atrial fibrillation. The addition of mindfulness sessions helps you manage stress more effectively.

Added bonus: the Fitbit Inspire 3 comes with 6 months of Fitbit Premium, providing you with deeper insights and features to enhance your well-being. All of these features are bundled into a water-resistant design, making it a comprehensive and budget-friendly choice for those looking to prioritize their health and fitness.

Top Reason to Buy: The Fitbit Inspire 3 is a slim and stylish fitness tracker designed to help you monitor and improve various aspects of your health and well-being. This tracker offers a wide range of features that make it easy to keep track of your fitness, stress levels, sleep patterns, and more. A true hard-to-beat budget fitness trackers.

Best for backcountry trekking: Garmin fēnix 7 Pro (Solar Edition) – Slate Gray/Black

Garmin Fenix 7 Pro (Solar Edition) - Slate Gray/Black colorway on a white background.

The fēnix 7 Pro Solar is the ultimate multisport GPS smartwatch designed to perform all day, every day. It boasts a 1.3” display housed in a rugged 47 mm fiber-reinforced polymer case with a steel bezel and rear cover, ensuring durability in challenging environments. What sets it apart is the Power Glass solar charging lens, harnessing the sun’s energy to provide weeks of battery life in smartwatch mode. The watch features a built-in LED flashlight with variable intensities and strobe modes for nighttime training and illumination. It introduces new hill score and endurance score features to assess your running strength and overall endurance.

For comprehensive health monitoring, the fēnix 7 Pro Solar offers 24/7 health and wellness tracking, including HRV status, Pulse Ox (not a medical device; feature availability varies), and advanced sleep monitoring. It provides a morning report and training readiness insights by combining health and training data. Wrist-based running power, strength training features, and advanced pacing modes assist in training and race day preparations. With advanced navigation sensors and multi-band GPS featuring SatIQ™ technology, you get more accurate positioning and extended battery life.

This smartwatch also supports various sports with added activity profiles, from soccer to ice hockey. It allows you to connect with smart notifications, music storage, and more when paired with a compatible smartphone. With a remarkable battery life of up to 22 days in smartwatch mode, aided by solar charging in 3 hours of direct sunlight per day, and up to 73 hours in GPS mode with solar charging, the fēnix 7 Pro Solar is your reliable companion for adventures.

Top Reason to Buy: Exceptional battery life, enhanced by solar charging, ensures it won’t run out of power during your adventures. The watch offers advanced training metrics, including hill score and endurance score, to help you improve your performance over time. Comprehensive health and wellness monitoring, along with advanced sleep tracking, make it a valuable tool for overall well-being. The addition of preloaded maps for golf courses and ski resorts, as well as TopoActive maps, aids in navigation and exploration — the ultimate watch for backcountry trekking.

Best minimalistic wearable: WHOOP 4.0 Superknit Luxe Band – Onyx/Platinum

Whoop 4.0 Superknit Luxe Band - Onyx/Platinum colorway on a white background.

The Whoop 4.0 fitness device is a unique wearable designed for continuous physiological data monitoring, providing valuable insights into your health and wellness. It tracks essential metrics such as heart rate, respiratory rate, resting heart rate, heart rate variability, skin temperature, blood oxygen levels, daily activity, and sleep quality. This data empowers you to gain a deeper understanding of your overall well-being and progress over time.

One of WHOOP’s standout features is its personalized approach to health and fitness. It offers science-backed recommendations and insights tailored to your specific goals. With the WHOOP Journal, you can easily track daily behaviors like activity, diet, stress levels, caffeine intake, and more. WHOOP analyzes this data to highlight which behaviors positively or negatively impact your sleep and recovery, helping you establish healthier habits.

For added convenience, WHOOP ensures you stay connected and charged on the go with its waterproof battery pack. This feature allows for continuous data tracking without interruptions.

Top Reason to Buy: Offering continuous monitoring of vital physiological parameters, its data-driven insights and personalized recommendations enable you to make informed decisions about your well-being and performance optimization. The device’s ability to track various lifestyle factors and their impact on your sleep and recovery is particularly valuable — minimalistic design packed with all the needed features.

Best chest strap monitor: Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap – Black

Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap - Black color on a white background.

The Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor Chest Strap is a versatile fitness accessory designed to provide accurate heart rate monitoring for both men and women. This chest strap is compatible with a wide range of sports and smartwatches, including popular brands like Polar, Garmin, Apple, and Suunto. It also works seamlessly with fitness apps such as Strava and Nike, making it a versatile choice for various fitness enthusiasts. One of the standout features of the Polar H10 is its supreme accuracy, widely recognized as one of the most precise heart rate sensors in Polar’s history. It is trusted by many professional athletes for its top-quality heart rate measurement capabilities.

Connectivity is another strong suit of the Polar H10. It offers multiple connection options, including Bluetooth, ANT+, and 5 kHz. This versatility allows you to connect it to various devices, including cardio equipment like Peloton. Notably, you can use both Bluetooth and ANT+ connections simultaneously and even connect to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously. The Polar Pro Chest Strap, included with the H10, features improved electrodes, an easy-to-use buckle, and silicone dots to ensure comfort and prevent interference during your workouts. It stays securely in place, even during vigorous activities.

This heart rate monitor is incredibly versatile and suitable for activities like rowing, cycling, running, indoor training, and even swimming, thanks to its waterproof design. Additionally, it boasts internal memory for storing data from a single training session.

Top Reason to Buy: Highly accurate heart rate monitoring during their workouts and its compatibility with a wide range of devices, including smartwatches and fitness apps. Professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts trust its precision, making it a top-quality choice for those who demand accurate heart rate measurements.

Most fashionable fitness monitor: Oura Ring Gen3 (Horizon) – Silver

Oura Ring Gen3 (Horizon) - Silver colored on a white background.

Not a huge fan of wearing watches or straps and want something that most would never know is a fitness tracker? How about a ring that can do it all? The Oura Ring Generation 3 redefines health and fitness tracking with its advanced features and elegant design. This compact wearable ring packs a punch with 15 sophisticated sensors, upgraded algorithms, and enhanced software capabilities. It serves as your comprehensive health companion, monitoring your sleep, daily activity, and overall well-being. One of its standout features is the Sleep Score, which provides a detailed evaluation of your sleep quality by analyzing factors like sleep duration, sleep stages, HRV (heart rate variability), and more. With Bedtime Guidance, the ring offers personalized recommendations to optimize your nightly rest, ensuring you wake up refreshed.

The Oura Ring now boasts blood oxygen sensing (SpO2), allowing it to detect breathing disturbances during sleep. It also introduces Workout Heart Rate & Insights, providing real-time heart rate data during exercise and post-workout analysis, including essential statistics and recovery metrics. With 24/7 heart rate monitoring, automatic activity detection for over 30 activities, and customizable Activity Goals, this smart ring adapts to your lifestyle. The option to opt-out of calorie tracking ensures a tailored experience, while Recovery Time helps you determine when to prioritize rest.

Top Reason to Buy: Advanced sleep tracking, insightful fitness metrics, and a sleek, comfortable design. Its Sleep Score and Bedtime Guidance enhance sleep quality, while new features like blood oxygen sensing and Workout Heart Rate & Insights provide comprehensive fitness tracking. A total fashion-forward fitness trackers that everyone can get on board with.

Best for fitness tracker runners: Garmin Forerunner 955 – Whitestone

Garmin Forerunner 955 - Whitestone color on a white background.

Step up your fitness game with the Forerunner 955, the premium GPS smartwatch designed for runners and triathletes. This high-performance wearable is your ultimate training companion, equipped with features that enhance your performance and recovery. The training readiness feature is your virtual coach, informing you when you’re in prime condition for a productive training session. Daily suggested workouts adapt to your performance and recovery levels, ensuring that you’re always on the right track. The race widget provides valuable training tips, course details, and completion time predictions to help you excel in your races. The morning report offers a comprehensive overview of your sleep, recovery, training progress, and more. It also provides insights into your overall health, including heart rate variability (HRV) status (Please note that this device provides estimates of activity and metrics).

On the run, the Forerunner 955 stands out with its multi-band GPS and full-color, built-in maps. These features help you navigate confidently, whether you’re on a familiar route or exploring new terrain. The watch’s intuitive interface, featuring both traditional buttons and a touch display, ensures that you can easily access your training status and make informed decisions about your workouts. With a robust set of functions, including sleep monitoring, alarms, timers, phone notifications, music playback, and more, the Forerunner 955 is your versatile companion for various activities, from running and cycling to swimming and hiking. Its durable and water-resistant design ensures that it can keep up with your active lifestyle.

Top Reason to Buy: Ultimate smartwatch for serious runners and triathletes. Its training readiness feature, adaptive workouts, and race widget empower you to train effectively and perform your best. The morning report provides valuable insights into your health and recovery. With advanced GPS and full-color maps, you can confidently explore new routes. The combination of traditional buttons and a touch display offers convenient access to your training data — the ultimate fitness trackers for serious runners.

Best fitness tracker for Samsung users: Samsung Galaxy Watch6 – Black

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 - Black color on a white background.

The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic boasts a classic and timeless design, complemented by a rotating bezel that seamlessly integrates with your personal style. This iconic watch not only looks fantastic but also offers effortless access to all your favorite apps with a simple twist. When it comes to fitness tracking, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is your ideal companion. It empowers you to achieve your fitness goals by providing valuable insights into your performance. Track essential metrics such as workout duration, distance covered, and calories burned, helping you make the most of your exercise routines.

For a more personalized fitness experience, the watch introduces Personalized HR Zones. It analyzes your health data to create heart rate zones tailored specifically to you. This feature allows you to optimize your workouts and target the results you desire. The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic doesn’t stop at fitness; it also takes care of your sleep. With Advanced Sleep Coaching, you can develop healthier sleep patterns and take control of your day. Plan your bedtime, detect snoring, and gain a deeper understanding of your sleep stages, including awake, light, deep, and REM sleep. Equipped with Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) technology, this watch keeps you informed about your body. Get readings on body fat, skeletal muscle, body water, Body Mass Index (BMI), and more. These insights help you track your progress on your journey to a healthier lifestyle.

Top Reason to Buy: With Advanced Sleep Coaching, this watch helps you develop better sleep habits. The advanced BIA sensor offers valuable information about your body composition. Plus, this watch seamlessly integrates into the Samsung Galaxy ecosystem, enhancing your multi-device experience. A solid choice when choosing fitness trackers, especially for those who love their Samsung products.

Best fitness tracker for Apple users: Apple Watch Series  9 – Midnight

Apple Watch Series  9 - Midnight colored on a white background.

For those who love all things Apple, this is the fitness tracker for you. The Apple Watch Series 9 is the ultimate companion for a connected, active, healthy, and secure lifestyle. With powerful sensors and advanced health features, it’s designed to help you measure and improve your daily activities. Featuring the revolutionary double tap interaction, a brilliantly enhanced display, lightning-fast on-device Siri, and Precision Finding for your iPhone, this Apple Watch takes convenience and functionality to the next level.

The Series 9 boasts the S9 chip, enabling a super-bright display that’s easily viewable in various conditions. The new double tap feature allows you to interact with your watch magically, without touching the screen, for a more intuitive and responsive experience. It offers advanced health, safety, and activity features that provide valuable insights and assistance when you need it most. Redesigned watchOS apps deliver more information at a glance, keeping you informed and in control.

This environmentally conscious watch is available in an aluminum variant paired with the latest Sport Loop, making it carbon neutral. With cellular connectivity, you can send texts, make calls, and stream music without your iPhone nearby, giving you freedom and flexibility.

Top Reason to Buy: Advanced health features include blood oxygen monitoring, ECG capability, irregular heart rhythm notifications, sleep stage tracking, temperature sensing, and emotional awareness insights. It’s a powerful fitness partner with various workout modes and advanced metrics. Safety features like Fall Detection, Crash Detection, and Emergency SOS provide added security. The watch seamlessly integrates with Apple devices and services, making it a vital part of your tech ecosystem. With customizable watch bands and watch faces, it’s both stylish and functional, adapting to your mood and needs —  must-have fitness trackers for Apple lovers.

Your health reimagined

Elevate your fitness journey in 2023 with our picks of the best fitness trackers on the market. From sleek bands to rugged sports watches and innovative rings, our curated selection ensures that whether you’re a runner, hiker, swimmer, athlete, or somewhere in between, you’ll find the perfect device to monitor your health and maximize your life. Let our guide be your fitness companion, leading you to the best fitness trackers that offer advanced features, durability, and precision, ensuring that every step you take is a stride toward a healthier and more active lifestyle.