In today’s wearable scape dominated by smartwatches like the Apple Watch, and Samsung Galaxy Watch, fitness trackers remain a reliable option. Particularly for those seeking a trusted device to accurately track fitness metrics without the distractions of constant notifications. Or fitness trackers with more configurable features. We extensively reviewed some of the best fitness trackers and handpicked the ideal options for most people.
While smartwatches have their advantages, fitness bands are better alternatives in a number of ways. Smartwatches may offer exceptional performances, including on-watch apps, alerts, and advanced fitness features. But fitness trackers excel in their primary purpose of tracking physical activity during workouts or exercises. With their compact size, longer battery life, and affordability, fitness trackers remain a good choice for those who prioritize accurate fitness monitoring without the distractions of a smartwatch.
Best Fitness Trackers to Buy in 2023
Fitness trackers have greatly advanced in functionalities over the last few decades. Gaining momentum from mere predictions of inventors like Leonardo da Vinci about devices capable of step tracking to advanced health monitoring in present times. Today, wearable technology has gone over and beyond with the invention of sleek smartwatches for not only tracking steps, but skin temperature, heart rate, calories, and sleep patterns, the options are vast. In 2023, the market is teeming with the best fitness trackers with even cooler tweaks and we’re about to share them all.
Apple Watch Series 8
The Apple Watch Series 8 is the latest offering from Apple, boasting impressive features like watchOS 9 and unique additions such as Crash Detection and temperature sensors for menstrual cycle tracking. It comes with a design that closely resembles its predecessor, the Apple Watch 7, with its curvier chassis and thinner display bezels. The larger screen offers enhanced features like Always-On Display, new watchOS 9 faces, and a QWERTY keyboard for messaging. While these features may not be new to Apple Watch Series 7 users, those upgrading from older models will appreciate the redesigned look and increased usable screen space.
Apple has introduced a skin temperature sensor in the Series 8, which is beneficial for sleep tracking and cycle tracking. The sensor helps monitor deviations in overnight temperature for sleep analysis and can predict ovulation windows based on wrist temperature for users trying to conceive. Additionally, it can provide validation for those with conditions affecting their menstrual cycles. The data is secure and can be shared selectively, such as with a doctor assisting with fertility treatment.
Crash detection is a notable safety feature in the Apple Watch Series 8, made possible by upgraded motion sensors. The watch can detect crashes with improved accuracy and automatically call emergency services and notify emergency contacts.
Another significant upgrade is the low power mode, borrowed from the iPhone, which allows users to disable power-draining features while keeping the watch functional. With low power mode enabled, the battery life of the Apple Watch Series 8 can extend up to 36 hours.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Designed for Samsung phone users, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is a feature-packed smartwatch for fitness tracking. Compared to its predecessor the Galaxy Watch 4, Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 offers a refined design. It offers improved wearable health features, including advanced sleep tracking and body composition analysis. Notable new features include a temperature analysis sensor and comprehensive fitness tracking capabilities. The watch runs on Wear OS powered by Samsung, offering seamless integration with other Samsung devices.
Unlike the Galaxy Watch 4 lineup, the Galaxy Watch 5 does not feature a rotating bezel, which may disappoint some fans. However, the reshaped curvature on the bottom of the watch enhances watch-to-skin contact for improved accuracy on data collected from the biometric sensor. The watch remains water-resistant and boasts a display made of sapphire crystal glass, for increased scratch resistance. The Galaxy Watch 5 comes in four colors and offers interchangeable bands for personalization.
Although battery life could be better, it is an improvement over its predecessor.
Google Pixel Watch
The Google Pixel Watch boasts a simple and minimalistic design, available in a single size of 41mm. While some may desire a larger alternative, the watch fits well. Its face features a rounded design with a 3D glass dome, which somewhat distracts from the thick bezel but leaves a significant portion of the display unused.
The watch predominantly uses a dark mode interface and watch faces with black backgrounds to conceal the bezel. The Pixel Watch comes in matte black, silver, and gold, with interchangeable straps that require a learning curve to replace. The Watch marks Google’s debut in the smartwatch market and is one of the best fitness trackers with a native Fitbit integration. Aside from its stunning domed display and native Fitbit integration, it delivers excellent health-tracking capabilities. Offering users over 40 workout styles, heart rate monitoring, ECGs, and GPS tracking. Fitbit Premium unlocks advanced features such as a Daily Readiness Score and detailed sleep tracking analysis. The Pixel Watch integrates with Google services through Wear OS, providing access to various daily programs and services.
Fitbit Charge 5
The Fitbit Charge 5 emerges as the top choice among fitness trackers, offering a comprehensive set of features. With its built-in GPS that delivers fast and accurate tracking, the Charge 5 excels as a versatile fitness tracker and stands out from smartwatches. Its full-color AMOLED display and slim design make it more stylish than its predecessor, the Charge 4. The device boasts stress-tracking capabilities and future updates will introduce ECG measurements and Daily Readiness Scores. Fitbit Pay support and all-day and all-night battery life further enhance its appeal.
Amazfit GTR 4
The Amazfit GTR 4 is a great alternative to popular smartwatch brands like Apple and Samsung. Despite some limitations in in-app support and notification interaction, it offers a fantastic design, long battery life, and reliable activity tracking.
The GTR 4 features a premium look and feel with a beautiful AMOLED display and always-on functionality. Its hardware is impressive, with a lightweight body and durable build. However, the included rubber band may cause discomfort and requires frequent cleaning.
Running on Zepp OS, the GTR 4 has a simple and functional interface. While lacking extensive app support, it offers useful features and connects seamlessly with both Android and iOS devices. Notably, it supports Alexa and Bluetooth calling.
The watch is excellent for tracking activities and health metrics such as heart rate, sleep, stress levels, and blood oxygen levels. It comes with a 475mAh battery, delivering approximately ten days of usage on a single charge. The absence of daily charging makes it convenient and comparable to higher-end models.
Considering its affordability, attractive design, and essential smartwatch functionalities, the Amazfit GTR 4 is among the best fitness trackers for budget-conscious buyers.
Garmin vívosmart 5
A sleek and modest alternative to dozens of other smartwatches, the Garmin vívosmart 5 showcases Garmin’s expertise in fitness tracking. Garmin has made significant but subtle design improvements to the Vivosmart 5, focusing on usability. The addition of a physical button enhances navigation and activity control, addressing the previous touchscreen issues. The monochrome OLED display is 66% larger than its predecessor, making it easier to read messages and allowing scrolling text to avoid message truncation. The screen shows at least three stats simultaneously.
However, the Vivosmart 5’s display remains somewhat challenging to view, especially while in motion. Compared to other fitness trackers like the Fitbit Charge 5 and Amazfit GTR 4, its black-and-white screen feels outdated. It may not be as beginner-friendly as top Fitbits, requiring some time to understand its functions, but familiarity improves with usage.
The Vivosmart 5 comes in two sizes and offers interchangeable bands, a convenient option using Garmin’s official bands for now. Third-party alternatives may become available. Battery life is around seven days without all-day blood oxygen monitoring, reducing to approximately three days when enabled. However, given that blood oxygen monitoring is most useful for sleep tracking, it can be selectively activated during sleep only.
Fitbit Inspire 3
The Fitbit Inspire 3 closely resembles its predecessor in terms of design, featuring a compact size and rounded edges. It is lightweight and comfortable to wear, almost unnoticeable throughout the day. Notably, the Inspire 3 stands out with its bright and clear AMOLED display, giving it a premium feel without a higher price tag.
The tracker incorporates two haptic buttons for easy navigation, although the small screen may not be ideal for extensive message viewing. It is more suited for those seeking overall health insights without the complexities of a full-fledged smartwatch.
Fitness tracking capabilities include heart rate, steps, calories, Active Zone Minutes, stress, SpO2, and sleep monitoring, all at an affordable price. While the small screen makes it challenging to view live feedback during activities, attaching the tracker to clothing can be a practical workaround. The heart rate accuracy is comparable to more expensive alternatives.
Additional features include reminders, weekly exercise goals, water intake tracking, weight changes, and menstrual cycle tracking. Fitbit excels in sleep tracking, accurately monitoring sleep duration and quality. However, advanced sleep insights and scores are locked behind a premium subscription. The Fitbit Inspire 3 boasts up to 10 days of battery life, providing ample usage without frequent recharging.
Amazfit Band 7
The Amazfit Band 7 has undergone a significant upgrade with improved features such as a more vibrant OLED display, longer battery life of up to 28 days, etc.
The case, constructed from polycarbonate is lightweight and available in black or beige. And it is customizable with wristbands in green, blue, pink, or orange colors. Health and fitness tracking capabilities include step counting, heart rate monitoring, stress level assessment, blood oxygen saturation measurement, and sleep tracking.
The watch can be set up and customized using the Zepp app, which allows users to personalize vibrations, watch faces, and configure notifications. It also supports third-party app integration and features Amazon Alexa as a voice assistant. In addition to providing lightweight comfort, the Amazfit Band 7 is also dust and water-resistant. One of the best fitness trackers in 2023.
Oura Ring Gen 3
Meanwhile, those seeking a discreet and minimalist option will find the Oura Ring Gen 3 an appealing preference as a fitness tracker. The Oura Ring Generation 3 is a discreet piece of jewelry that seamlessly blends with other silver rings, concealing its advanced features until closer inspection. With its titanium loop, one can easily reveal the underside sensors, which include heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature sensors housed within three inner ridges. The ring is designed to be worn on the index finger with the slightly-flattened edge facing up for accurate readings.
In terms of activity tracking, the Oura Ring Generation 3 is not intended to display metrics during workouts. Instead, it can track calorie burn, steps, walking equivalency, and hourly movement through the Oura app. It assesses workout intensity based on heart rate and elevated activity minutes, incorporating data from Apple Health or Google Fit. The app also allows retroactive exercise logging and can estimate completed workouts.
For sleep monitoring, the Oura Ring provides valuable insights such as total time spent lying down, hours of sleep, resting heart rate, sleep efficiency, and a daily sleep score.
The Oura Ring offers an advanced and accurate sleep-tracking experience compared to devices like the Apple Watch. It even provides a Rest Mode feature that can automatically activate if irregular body temperature is detected. The battery life of the Oura Ring Generation 3 is estimated to last up to a week.
For those in need of a fitness tracker with a more standard yet fashionable design, the Withings Move is an ideal choice. The analog watch incorporates style with basic fitness tracking features such as step, calorie, distance, and sleep monitoring. It also includes other features such as connected GPS, auto-recognition for over 30 workouts, and water resistance. The Withings Move boasts an impressive battery life of up to 18 months, thanks to its button-cell battery. This eliminates the need to frequently juice it up.