Last updated on January 3rd, 2020
When it comes to working out or your daily cardio, these days it’s beneficial to be able to track your progress! Not only have workout watches gotten better throughout the years, but they’ve also added a ton of more features as well. In addition, most of the newer workout watches are finally waterproof. We love our daily cardio which is why we wanted to review some of the best fitness tracker watches on the market!
Another great aspect of these watches is that you can wear them throughout the day as well. In the past, workout watches used to be clunky and have big interface displays, etc. But now, these watches are slim and actually look quite stylish I must say.
You can also buy new bands for most of these watches as well. A nice looking band will make your watch look like you’re wearing just a regular watch.
If you’re looking for a fitness tracker and you’re on a budget, we recommend you check out our review of the best fitness trackers under $100 instead of this review. This review goes over the BEST watches in general and most of them are over $100.
What Is A Fitness Tracker Watch?
Fitness trackers are a wearable technology device that can monitor and track your daily fitness metrics. These watches can measure and monitor things such as distance walked and calories burned. Most of them can also monitor your heart rate and the quality of your sleep as well! Pretty cool for a simple watch that you wear on your wrist!
These devices are pretty much considered “wearable computers” or smartwatches but most people who use them on a regular basis just call the fitness trackers.
Fitness watches have been a great tool for people to track their fitness goals. Some of these watches even have GPS and can map out the routes that you take if you’re a jogger. In addition, people who are on a weight loss journey can also use them to track and monitor their calories burned.
What’s great about these fitness trackers is that they allow you to compete against yourself. You don’t have to try and compete against other people. This aspect alone makes it much easier to reach your goals because you don’t have to feel intimidated by other people and their statistics.
For example, if you burned 500 calories jogging the other day, you can set your own goal to burn 650 calories the next day! Pretty convenient.
Are Fitness Trackers Waterproof?
Most fitness trackers are waterproof these days to a certain degree. Even the cheaper ones that cost less than $100 are waterproof. However, we can only speak for the fitness trackers that we able to test and review ourselves.
The Fitbit fitness trackers were the waterproofed the most. We were able to submerge these watches in up to twelve feet of water with no issues at all. However, the same can’t be said for the Samsung Gear Fit watch, this watch was only able to handle eight feet of water before the screen went out on us. It’s a good thing we did the water test last!
Overall, most of them are waterproof. The only aspect to watch for is the labeling on the box. If the box says it can handle up to ten feet of water, take two feet off of that and that will be your safe zone. You don’t want to go swimming and all of a sudden your watch ends up going out. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
What Can I Do With A Fitness Tracker Watch?
Now we’ll talk about some of the most common features that come with a fitness tracker. You’ll be surprised because who would have thought technology has gotten this far! These watches can do quite a bit to benefit your overall health. Below are some of the most common features with fitness trackers and a small description of each feature as well.
Heart Rate Monitoring
Heart rate monitoring has become more widely available in fitness trackers in recent years due to it’s growing popularity. Many people love the idea of being able to track and monitor their heart rate. This feature is extremely useful for many different occasions as well, and not just for fitness either!
Monitoring your heart rate can greatly help you get a better idea of how many calories you’re burning in a day, especially during a workout. It can also show you when you’re in your target heart rate zone so you can maintain intensity and burn the most calories!
As stated in the first paragraph, these heart rate monitors can be used for more than just fitness as well. If your someone who has chronic anxiety or a heart problem in general, these heart rate monitors will greatly help to track how well your heart is beating. If it senses your heart rate going up, you will be able to tell and you can then take measures to get it lowered as fast as possible.
If you’re a jogger, runner, or just a walker, you want to be able to know how far you have gone. Most fitness tracker watches come equipped with technology that can calculate and track your distance. This is very useful because it acts as a motivational tool.
Let’s say you’re training for a 5K run but right now you can only run for 1 mile comfortably. With a distance tracker, you will be able to gradually work and push yourself up to that 5K distance.
For runners, this is a great feature. You will be able to map out your runs with the software that comes with some of these fitness trackers. Nike used to have a fitness watch years ago called the Nike+ watch and that was the first time I had ever seen this technology.
You can literally connect your watch to satellites and it will map out your entire run when you connect it to your computer afterward. Pretty cool for wearable technology.
Are you trying to lose weight? If you’re trying to lose weight then you can greatly benefit from a fitness tracker watch. These watches will track how many calories you are burning based on what type of exercise you are doing. Same as the distance tracking, the calorie tracker acts as a motivational tool. You will be able to set your own goals and try to beat them each time you work out.
This is pretty cool and sleep tracking technology is fairly new in these fitness tracker watches. Whether you think you have bad sleep quality or not, these fitness trackers will be able to tell you. Just wear the watch to bed and let the watch do the rest, it will tell you if your sleep was of “good quality” or not. This feature greatly helps people who are into fitness and care about their overall physical health. Sleep is highly important when you want to be as healthy as possible.
Final Words On Fitness Tracker Features
These four features are some of the most common features in today’s fitness trackers. Fitness trackers also have many more features but we just wanted to give a brief overview of the most common and useful features. You won’t be disappointed with the amount of “other” features that come with these watches either.
Are Fitness Trackers Accurate When Monitoring Heart Rate?
We don’t have any science to back up our claims. However, we were able to use the old-school heart rate on the wrist method to test this out. All five of the watches that we list below ended up being very accurate when it comes to monitoring your heart rate. The sensor was able to count your beats per minute to the exact beat. Our numbers counting through the wrist beat method matched up with the fitness tracker sensor almost every time.
There were a couple of times with the Fitbit Blaze where our numbers were slightly off but we think it might have just been our math skills that were lacking that day. Overall, these watches had no issues when it came to monitoring our heart rates. We even purposely made our hearts beat faster by running in place for 10 minutes just to make sure that they worked as advertised.
How Do Fitness Trackers Monitor Your Sleep?
Most fitness trackers these days have the ability to track the quality of a person’s sleep. Keep in mind, this feature will never be as accurate as getting an actual sleep study done. But the good news is that it’s a cheap method to get an idea of how well you’re sleeping.
So how does it work?
The user activates a “sleep mode” on their fitness tracker and while they’re sleeping, the tracker’s accelerometer tracks the speed and direction of motion of your body when you’re asleep. This measurement is called “actigraphy”. (Learn more about actigraphy here.)
How does actigraphy work?
Actigraphy allows the three-axis accelerometer on the wearable fitness tracker to record all the movements, big and small, made by the individual. There may be additional data provided by a gyroscope if it is part of the fitness tracker. Sleep parameters are established by experts and then specialized algorithms are programmed to make sense of the movements recorded by the tracker based on the sleep parameters.
Actigraphy is used to document multiple sleep latency tests. It is used in the evaluation of circadian rhythm sleep disorders, depression, and dementia. It can provide valuable data about sleep in the natural environment as compared to studies conducted in sleep laboratories.
How Much Do Fitness Tracker Watches Cost?
Fitness trackers have a very wide range of prices. As we mentioned earlier, there are fitness trackers that can cost less than $100, some even cost less than $50. The cheaper ones are on the cheaper side of the spectrum and you can clearly tell, but they do work to a certain degree.
The cheaper watches also won’t have as many features as an expensive one either. If you’re in the market for a fitness watch but don’t want to spend more than $100, I suggest taking a look at our budget fitness tracker review.
However, the watches in this review are top-of-the-line and are some of the best on the market. These watches can range from $100 up to $300 and we’ve even seen some fitness trackers in the price range of $400.
The more expensive fitness trackers are built by tech brands that are highly trusted and built a very good product. In addition, the more expensive watches have a lot more features and are more robust as well.
Top 5 Best Fitness Tracker Watches
Are you ready to finally see the fitness trackers that we tested? Below are our top 5 picks for the best fitness trackers on the market! I personally use the Fitbit Charge 3 on a daily basis and absolutely love it. It’s not big and clunky and actually looks quite stylish while wearing it in public as well.
All five of these fitness trackers will do what you need them to do and are built by big brands that you can always trust as well.
1. Fitbit Charge 3
Fitbit Charge 3 was our absolute favorite. Not only because it looks good, but it fits just about any wrist with no problems at all. I’m a skinny guy, so finding a fitness watch that actually fits my wrist is a pretty big deal. This one fits nice and snug with no room to spare. In addition, we also liked this watch because of how easy it was to navigate. Everything from monitoring our heart rate to accessing the dashboard to view my personal tracking activity.
The integration with the Fitbit app was flawless as well. Connectivity was spot-on and we didn’t have any issues with the app whatsoever. In addition, the watch has a 7-day battery life which is 2 days longer than the previous Fitbit Charge 2. Lastly, we tested it underwater as well. This watch will survive under 12 feet of pool water with no problems. The old version, the Fitbit Charge 2 wasn’t water-resistant like this one is.
- Better measure calorie burn, understand resting heart rate & more with 24/7 heart rate tracking and a battery life of up to 7 days. (varies with use and other factors)
- Choose from 15+ exercise modes like run, bike, swim, yoga, circuit training and more, set a goal, and get real-time stats during your workouts to see how you can keep getting better.
- Automatically record time spent in Light, Deep and REM sleep stages and see activity trends, health insights and personalized guidance in one place with Fitbit Today.
- Swim-proof and water-resistant to 50M so you can track swims and wear in the shower. Also, connect to smartphone GPS for real-time pace and distance during outdoor runs and rides.
- Stay connected to your day with everyday apps for weather and more and get call, text, and smartphone app notifications on your wrist.
2. Garmin Vivoactive 4
The Garmin Vivoactive 4 looks a bit masculine, I agree. But it is available in white and is a co-ed workout watch I must say.
From playing to paying, vívoactive 4 is the smartwatch for your active life. Make contactless payments with ease, right from your watch, and with more than 15 preloaded sports apps — you can choose how you like to get fit. Built-in GPS lets you record the distance, pace, location and more for your outdoor activities.
Feel free to take this watch outside in all kinds of weather. Not only is it safe for swimming and showering, but it’s Garmin Chroma Display is also easy to read, even in direct sunlight and housed under extra-durable Corning Gorilla Glass. It also features the Side Swipe interface, which makes for quick scrolling and swift navigation of menus and widgets. Whether you scroll with your thumb or index finger, you can choose how to wear it. Comfortable, convenient and easy to see, vívoactive 4 just fits.
- Garmin Pay contactless payment solution lets you pay for purchases with your watch.
- Personalize your watch with thousands of free watch faces, apps, and widgets from our Connect IQ store.
- More than 15 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, including yoga, running, swimming and more. Case material: fiber-reinforced polymer with stainless steel rear cover.
- Monitor your fitness level with VO2 max and fitness made estimates, plus keep an eye on how you handle stress. Fits wrists with a circumference of 127-204 mm.
- Get connected features such as smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, LiveTrack and more when paired with a compatible smartphone.
- Battery life: up to 7 days in smartwatch mode; 13 hours in GPS mode.
3. Fitbit Versa 2 (MOST POPULAR)
Live your best life with the Fitbit Versa family of health and fitness smartwatches. The Versa Lite Edition includes core fitness and smart features like activity, sleep and heart rate tracking, notifications, apps and 4+ day battery life plus bold color choices and easy one-button design.
Fitbit Versa includes all the features of Lite Edition plus music, on-screen workouts, floors climbed and swim lap tracking. Finally, the Versa Special Edition includes all the features of the Versa, plus a special woven band and on-the-go payments with Fitbit Pay.
- Includes all Versa Lite Edition features plus: store and play 300+ songs, utilize on-screen workouts that play on your wrist and coach you through every move and track swim laps and floors climbed.
- Track your all-day activity, 24/7 heart rate, & sleep stages, all with a 4+ day battery life (varies with use and other factors) and slim, comfortable design with a lightweight, anodized aluminum watch body.
- Use 15+ exercise modes like Run or Swim (Fitbit Versa is water-resistant to 50 meters) to record workouts and connect to smartphone GPS for more precise real-time pace & distance.
- Access your favorite apps for sports, weather & more and get calls, calendar, text, and app alerts.
- Get call, text, calendar, and smartphone app notifications when your phone is nearby. Plus send quick replies on Android only. Operating temperature -10 to 60 degrees Celsius.
- Automatically track select sports & workouts with SmartTrack and use female health tracking in the Fitbit app to log periods, symptoms and more.
- This watch is one of the best fitness tracker watches on the market.
4. Samsung Gear Fit2
This watch is one of the best fitness tracker watches because of it’s sporty design and an immense amount of features onboard.
Reach your goals with the ultimate fitness partner, the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro. Durable and swim-ready, the Gear Fit2 Pro syncs with fitness apps, plays your music, stays on top of your stats and connects you to your world. Samsung accessories are designed for your device to maximize battery life. Using other accessories may void your warranty and may cause damage.
- Water-resistant up to fifty meters, now you can own the pool, run in the rain and recover in the shower.
- Power through intervals to the beat of your favorite tracks with music storage on your Gear Fit2 Pro.
- Boost every session with fitness apps powered by Under Armour. Count every mile on Map MyRun, and stay on top of your nutrition with MyFitnessPal.
- Dust and water-resistant.
- Get a more accurate view of your performance and all-day calorie burn with continuous heart rate monitoring.
5. Fitbit Blaze
Get fit in style with Fitbit Blaze—a smart fitness watch that helps you maximize every workout and every day. With advanced technology in a versatile design, this revolutionary device is built to track your workouts, monitor your performance stats, and gauge your progress.
PurePulse continuous heart rate and multi-sport modes enhance every exercise, while next-generation features like Connected GPS and FitStar workouts on your wrist help you take your fitness to the next level.
All-day activity and sleep tracking, smartphone notifications and Reminders to Move help you stay on top of your day. And interchangeable band and frames and customizable clock faces on the hi-res color touchscreen let you personalize your style for every occasion.
With all this and more, Fitbit Blaze has everything you need to reach your goals, packed into one sleek timepiece. Track steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed and active minutes.
- See simplified heart rate zones for quickly checking exercise intensity during workouts with PurePulse(TM) continuous, wrist-based heart rate monitoring. (no uncomfortable chest strap required)
- Use multi-sport tracking to track runs, cardio, cross-training, biking and more. Effortlessly and automatically record other workouts to your dashboard with SmartTrack.
- Enable connected GPS to map your routes and see run stats like pace and duration on display. (when your phone is nearby)
In recent years, fitness trackers have become a necessity for athletes, trainers, runners, and many others as well. If you’re someone who cares about their overall physical health, it doesn’t hurt to get a fitness tracker. You will be more than happy with it and will soon realize just how beneficial they can be.
If you have any questions about any of these fitness trackers, feel free to leave a comment below. However, if you don’t want to leave a comment and would rather contact us directly, feel free to use our contact form on our contact page and we will respond to your email in a timely manner.
What are you looking for in a fitness tracker watch? Which brand do you prefer?