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April 22, 2024
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15 Best Fitness Trackers (2024): Watches, Bands, and Rings

15 Best Fitness Trackers (2024): Watches, Bands, and Rings

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Featured in this article

Best All-Around

Fitbit Charge 6

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Runner-Up

Garmin Vivomove Trend

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Best if You Have an iPhone

Apple Watch Series 9

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Best Budget Tracker

Fitbit Inspire 3

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Like every piece of gear you wear on your body day in and day out, fitness trackers are incredibly personal. Sure, they have to be comfortable and attractive, but they also must fit your lifestyle, as well as when and how you like to work out. Do you bike, row, or do strength training? Do you run on trails for hours at a time, or do you just want a reminder to stand up every hour? Do you want to wear it on your wrist or on your finger or tuck it into your bra?

No matter what your needs are, there’s never been a better time to find a powerful, sophisticated tool that can help you optimize your workouts or jump-start your routine. We test dozens of fitness trackers every year to bring you these picks. Nothing you like here? Don’t forget to check out our Best Smartwatches, Best Sleep Trackersor Best Heart Rate Monitors for more.

Updated February 2024: We added more information on Garmin Connect and the Apple Watch; added the Polar H10, the Coros Pace 3, the Ultrahuman Ring Air, and the Amazfit Balance; and updated links and pricing.

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  • Photograph: Fitbit

    Best All-Around

    Fitbit Charge 6

    Even as Fitbit has faced stiff competition from other manufacturers—most notably, the Apple Watch—its trackers have always won me over. They hit a very specific sweet spot between attractiveness, affordability, accessibility, and ease of use. They’re perfect for everyone who isn’t an ultra-marathoner or a semipro powerlifter trying to hit a PR.

    This year’s Charge 6 (7/10, WIRED Recommends) now has many integrations from Google, Fitbit’s new parent company. The redesigned app looks much more modern and is much better organized. You can now get directions from Google Maps, pay with Google Wallet, and control your music with a YouTube Music Premium subscription. You can also check your skin temperature and your 24/7 heart rate readings, take ECGs, and track your activities and sleep schedule in the newly Google-fied app. The battery charge lasted well over a week, and the physical button is back, baby! Finally, this all comes in a package that costs $160.

    Fitbit does still lock many of its best features behind its $10/month Fitbit Premium subscription, and it doesn’t feel quite as premium or attractive as a pricier Apple or Google Pixel Watch 2 (8/10, WIRED Recommends). But if all you want is a basic fitness tracker that won’t break the bank, it’s still hard to beat a Charge. Check out our guide to the Best Fitbits for more options.

  • Photograph: Garmin

    Runner-Up

    Garmin Vivomove Trend

    One of the biggest pain points with fitness trackers is how each has its own proprietary charger. If you’re used to the convenience of charging your phone and earbuds on all-purpose Qi wireless charging pads, hunting for a specific charger can be an annoyance. The Vivomove Trend (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is the first Garmin to have wireless charging, and it works!

    Garmin Connect is Garmin’s proprietary tool for tracking all your fitness stats, and it’s one of the most comprehensive and actionable apps I’ve used. This year, Garmin redesigned it to look, well, a little bit like Fitbit’s, with Body Battery (Garmin’s metric to gauge your energy throughout the day) at the top, above an easy-to-navigate At a Glance section. I’m still using it in beta, but it’s working out so far. The Trend is an easy way to access Garmin’s most convenient fitness features, with an analog watch face, connected GPS, incident detection, contactless payments, sleep tracking, and continuous heart rate monitoring. Garmin does, however, have a bunch of similar models that go on sale pretty regularly; 2022’s Vivomove Sport ($180) is much cheaper and looks almost the same. But you will probably make up the difference in six months when you don’t have to replace the chargers.

  • Photograph: Apple

    Best if You Have an iPhone

    Apple Watch Series 9

    People tend to hold on to their Apple Watch for years, and rightfully so—it is far and away the best fitness tracker if you have an iPhone. The best Apple Watch right now is the Series 9 (7/10, WIRED Recommends). It looks pretty much the same as every other Apple Watch, but it has the new S9 chipset for faster onboard processing of Siri commands, which improves battery life noticeably and theoretically provides more privacy for your sensitive medical data. It also has a new ultra-wideband chip that lets you precision-locate your iPhone quickly and accurately.

    The watch also has a new feature called Double Tapwhich borrows from Apple’s accessibility learnings. The accelerometer, gyroscope, and optical sensor will detect the minute shifts as you tap your index finger and thumb on your watch hand twice to activate the primary button on your watch screen; it’s nice for stopping and starting music or timers around the kitchen. It’s compatible with WatchOS 10which has new watch faces, app redesigns, and more health-related features. You can also find most of WatchOS 10’s updates on the second-gen Watch SEbut you won’t get the more advanced health sensors like wrist-based body temperature sensing.

    ★ A note: Apple is currently embroiled in a series of lawsuits regarding different technologies in the latest Apple Watches. One lawsuit claims that Apple engaged in patent infringement with its use of the blood oxygen sensor; another lawsuit claims that Apple infringed on the patent on its ECG sensor. Currently on Apple’s website, you can buy only the Series 9 with the blood oxygen sensor disabled, but you may still be able to find the banned versions on other retailers.

  • Photograph: Amazon

    Best Budget Tracker

    Fitbit Inspire 3

    If all you want is a simple health tracker that will track your steps and your sleep and let you know when someone is calling, the internet’s marketplace is awash in knockoffs of this fitness tracker. For $80, you might as well get the original instead. This year, Fitbit released the latest version of its hugely popular Inspire, which thankfully (in my opinion) does not use Wear OS. Instead, it continues to use Fitbit’s clear and easy Fitbit app, has a pedometer, tracks SpO2 and sleep, and comes with a wide array of watch faces and accessories.

    It wasn’t all easy-peasy. I had some connectivity issues and had to restart my phone when the Inspire 3 wouldn’t update the time zone for a day or two. The Inspire 3 also regularly overestimated how much sleep I’d gotten, which made me mistrust the new Sleep Profile feature. For two months, I had a chronic nighttime cough; the Inspire 3 regularly logged me at seven hours a night because I was lying still, while switching to a more sensitive fitness tracker put me at a much more accurate five. However, if you have no health issues, it is more reliable and accessible than a knockoff Inspire 3, and Fitbit regularly puts its trackers on sale.

  • Photograph: Garmin

    Best Running Watch

    Garmin Forerunner 255

    Garmin’s Forerunner line has long been the best GPS-enabled fitness tracker for runners, and the midrange Forerunner 255 (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is an incredible value for the number of features it offers in Garmin’s lineup. Do you want a feature? It probably has it, like multiband GPS support and a barometric altimeter, a compass, improved sleep tracking, and Bluetooth compatibility with a number of heart rate monitors. The battery life is incredible—WIRED reviewer Scott Gilbertson estimates it at about 30 hours of continuous use—and you can extend the battery life even further by turning off features like continuous Pulse Ox measuring. He especially liked Morning Report, which includes Body Battery as well as a daily greeting, the weather, and other tidbits, much like what Apple offers.

    The Forerunner line is quite extensive. A beginning runner or triathlete will probably be happy with the cheaper and more basic Forerunner 35 ($190)while the experienced triathlete will want the Forerunner 945 ($600). Older models also retain their value and go on sale all the time.

    ★ Alternative: If only Garmin’s Forerunner line weren’t so good! Otherwise, the Coros Pace 3 ($249) would be a shoo-in for this spot. Because Coros uses a less-battery-intensive screen, the Pace watches are incredibly light, durable, and comfortable, with very long battery life; I wore it for two weeks last fall without having to charge it once. It has dual-frequency GPS that tracked my interval runs seamlessly. (I was trying to see how long I could maintain Eliud Kipchoge’s pace, since he’s one of their partners. The answer is “not very long.”) It does everything much more expensive trackers do, like breadcrumb navigation. However, its 1980s looks and dimmer screen may be off-putting to some.

  • Photograph: Samsung

    Best for Android Owners

    Samsung Galaxy Watch6 and Watch6 Classic

    Unlike last year’s Galaxy Watch5this year’s Watch6 Classic brings back the fabulous, clicky, rotating bezel (7/10, WIRED Recommends). It’s fun and tactile and not a feature that you’ll find on many other smartwatches and fitness trackers. Other than that, it doesn’t look or feel too terribly different from the Watch5, which is a good thing. The Watch6 Classic comes in a 43- or 47-mm case, and the standard Watch6, which doesn’t have the mechanical rotating bezel, is available in 40- and 44-mm cases.

    The Watch6 runs Wear OS, which means you have access to Google Maps and Google Assistant, and it also has access to Samsung’s fairly robust health features. In addition to the usual suite of SpO2 measurements, auto-workout detection, and sleep tracking, it now has FDA-cleared irregular heart rate notifications and blood pressure monitoring (the latter is not available in the US nor cleared by the FDA). Some features are also restricted to users who pair the watch with Samsung phones, rather than other Android phones, like the ECG. If you prioritize design, you might want to stick with a Pixel Watch; if you don’t have a Samsung phone, you might want to stick to a Garmin. All that said, It’s a fairly capable watch with a fun party trick.

    ★ Alternative: Stick to a Garmin, you say? Garmin’s entry in this category is the Venu 3 ($470)which has a stainless steel bezel, Corning Gorilla Glass for the lens, and two amazing weeks for battery life. It has Garmin’s multi-band satellite capabilities for workout tracking, along with Garmin’s killer proprietary health software, which now includes a new sleep coach with nap detection, along with Morning Report and Body Battery. However, it is pricey, does not have temperature sensing, and the onboard mic and speakers sound pretty terrible.

  • Photograph: Google

    Best for Wear OS

    Google Pixel Watch 2

    For all its faults, the Google Pixel Watch 2 (7/10, WIRED Recommends) is by far the most attractive fitness tracker in this lineup and the hardest to t ake off my wrist. This year’s iteration was everything that reviews editor Julian Chokkattu wanted to see in last year’s release. It ships with Wear 4, Google’s latest operating system, and has a speedy processor which makes it easy to track health metrics and view them in the lovely updated Fitbit app. Those now include electrocardiogram readings, sleep tracking, heart rate readings, and blood-oxygen measurements, along with a new feature borrowed from Fitbit called Body Response which uses an electrodermal activity sensor (cEDA), along with heart rate and skin temperature, to tell you to take a walk when you’re stressed.

    It does require daily charging with a new proprietary charger—no, you cannot use last year’s charger—and it still requires daily charging. It’s just annoying when you can seed every home and office with 3-in-1 Apple chargers.

  • Photograph: Garmin

    Best Outdoor Watch

    Garmin Epix Pro (Gen 2)

    Last year, Garmin again released updates to its two high-end sports watches, the Epix Pro ($900) and the Fenix 7 Pro ($900). Last year, the limited battery life and huge case on the Epix were off-putting, but now it comes in three sizes and with a whopping two weeks of battery life. It’s now one of my favorite sports watches (8/10, WIRED Review).

    The main difference is the screen. The Epix still has the bright AMOLED display, while the Fenix 7 Pro has a less bright memory-in-pixel display. The Fenix also has the option for solar charging, which extends the battery life quite a bit, but I have found that the Epix lasts long enough for a week of camping. The AMOLED is noticeably clearer and brighter, which makes a difference when you’re running and climbing outside, and it has useful features like a flashlight and redshift mode for training outside at night. For runners, there’s also a new Up Ahead feature that lets you see the closest points of interest and a new endurance score to … well, check out your endurance if the zillions of other Garmin proprietary metrics aren’t doing a good enough job of assessing what great shape you’re in.

    ★ Alternative: I have steadily grown to appreciate Coros’ sports watches, which often eschew bright screens for more affordable price points and thoughtful features like locking mechanisms that prevent me from stopping or starting tracking when I’m snowboarding and falling down while scream-singing to Jon Secada. Last year, I tested the Apex 2 Pro Choirswhich offers much of the same functionality as a Garmin at half the price. I liked it!

  • Photograph: ŌURA

    Best Ring

    Oura Ring Gen3

    I originally complained about Oura’s Gen3 ring—namely, that the company was strongly encouraging its customers to commit and upgrade to the Gen3 and a new $6-per-month subscription long before any of the newest features were available.

    However, the Oura is extremely small and attractive, and the onboard sensors are accurate and sensitive. (It’s also our Best Sleep Tracker.) Those features are now available with the membership, and you can access guided meditations, personalized insights, and educational content; without it, you will be able to access only your three basic Oura scores, which are your Daily Readiness, Sleep, and Activity scores (essentially what you saw last year). If you have trouble predicting your period, the ring is sensitive enough to pick up the half-degree temperature drop right before mine starts. Although the company has made no explicit statement about Roe v. Wadeit’s based in Finland and abides by the GDPRand US-based health authorities cannot subpoena data from it.

  • Photograph: Ultrahuman

    Best Ring Without a Subscription

    Ultrahuman Ring Air

    As my colleague Simon Hill points out, smart rings have grown enormously in popularity since the Oura debuted in 2015. If you want a simple, understated smart ring and don’t want to get another subscription charge per month, the Ultrahuman Ring Air (7/10, WIRED Recommends) is a great place to start.

    This lightweight, unobtrusive ring has an infrared photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor, a noncontact medical-grade skin temperature sensor, a six-axis motion sensor, and colored LEDs for heart rate monitoring and blood oxygen saturation. It also has IPX8 water resistanceso it’s fine to wear in the shower or pool, and the battery life lasts for about four days. Hill notes that the sleep tracking is excellent, but the workout tracking leaves something to be desired.

  • Photograph: WHOOP

    The Most Wearable Wearable

    Whoop 4.0 (Membership)

    The biggest problem with any fitness wearable of any kind is how often they get in the way of … working on your fitness. You can’t wear the Oura ring while rock climbing, for example. That’s why the cult fitness tracker company Whoop introduced a line of smart clothes. With a Whoop in your bra, you can track runs with your Garmin!

    Whoop is best suited for athletes who can independently interpret its somewhat arcane metrics. Daily Strain measures only cardiovascular load, so a day where I walked 3 miles to and fro is supposedly a harder day than when I lifted weights for an hour. The Whoop 4.0 is also smaller than previous models, with a new battery, but I did experience charging issues with the new version. You have to keep the app running at all times lest it constantly warn you that it can’t update right this second. Last year, the company debuted a new AI coach that I found considerably less than helpful—I know why I’m not getting enough sleep, but my work and kids aren’t going away any time soon. Finally, at $30, the monthly subscription is the most expensive one here, and the line of proprietary clothing does not have extended sizing. Even with all those caveats, it’s the only wearable I’ve ever forgotten I’m wearing.

  • Photograph: Casio

    An Update to a Classic

    Casio G-Shock Move

    A G-Shock is a classic watch for an outdoorsy person; these devices are known for being big, rugged, and unbreakable. (To me, they’re best known for being the watch that Keanu Reeves wears in Speed). Lo, this spring Casio released the G-Shock Move, which has the classic G-Shock looks and functionality coupled with Bluetooth connectivity and a brand-new partnership with Polar. The company known for its granular fitness data collection recently released 25 of its algorithms for use with commercial partners, of which Casio is the first. The partnership needs a little ironing out—you connect to the Casio Watches app (and not, confusingly, the G-Shock Move app), and it’s unattractive and hard to navigate, plus Polar’s biometrics can be difficult to interpret. It’s also slower to connect to GPS than other trackers I’ve tried. Accuracy while recording my outdoor runs suffered as a result—I often just took off rather than standing around shivering in my shorts.

    However, it’s still a G-Shock. The battery lasted 10 days; the display is clear and easy to read; the buttons are pleasantly clicky and easy to navigate; and it’s much, much lighter and easier to wear than other G-Shocks I’ve tried. The data on sleep collection also goes into much deeper detail than any other tracker I’ve tried. If you’ve always wanted a smart fitness tracker but were wedded to your classic Casio, this is the one to try.

  • Photograph: Apple

    Best for Weekend Warriors

    Apple Watch Ultra 2

    The next iteration of Apple’s rugged outdoor watch (8/10, WIRED Recommends) has a faster new chipset, second-gen ultra-wideband chip, and compatibility with WatchOS 10. It also has a new, shockingly bright 3,000-nit screen that is theoretically useful for looking at your watch amid the bright, snow-reflective glare. I didn’t notice a difference on a sunny day at the river between the 3,000 nits of my watch and the 2,000 nits of the iPhone 15, but maybe you will!

    Apple has mostly given up on the idea that you will ever be without your phone, and many of the Watch Ultra 2’s most useful features are seen only in conjunction with your iPhone. For example, you can look at offline maps only when you are within Bluetooth range of your iPhone and have downloaded them beforehand. In WatchOS 10, starting a cycling activity on your watch turns your phone into a de facto bike computer. A Watch Ultra 2 and iPhone combination doesn’t work quite as well as a dedicated sports watch, but it works well enough, especially if you also want the full smartwatch functionality that an Apple Watch provides. It’s also worth noting here that, like the Series 9 above, you can now only buy the Watch Ultra 2 with the blood oxygen sensor disabled from Apple’s website.

  • Photograph: Polar Electro

    Best Heart Rate Monitor

    Polar H10

    Most fitness trackers have a built-in heart rate monitor, but if you’re engaging in long sessions of intense aerobic activity, you’ll get greater accuracy if you use a separate strap on your bicep or around your chest. Of the heart rate monitors that we tested, my colleague Michael Sawh likes Polar’s the best. Polar replaced the typical loop-and-hook connector with a much more comfortable buckle connector, along with small silicone dots to make sure the monitor stays in place.

    Comfort and security means that the readings are much more accurate; Sawh saw (haha!) no drop-outs or underreporting or overreporting of data. It also has built-in memory and ANT+ connectivity, so you can connect to other equipment like bike trainers. You also don’t have to replace the battery for up to a year.

  • Photograph: Garmin

    My Favorite Watch

    Garmin Instinct 2 Solar

    Out of all these watches, the one I chose to come with me on a two-week beach adventure vacation was the Instinct 2 Solar (9/10, WIRED Recommends). It’s one of Garmin’s most popular backcountry watches and combines a somewhat chunky, technical aesthetic (and fun colors!) with backcountry capability. With the Instinct 2, you get access to Garmin’s multiple satellite systems and navigational features, insane battery life, and the ability to track many sport-specific metrics … without blowing money on extras like a big light-up screen.

    The main updates to the Instinct 2 are improved solar charging, a high-resolution display, and a petite 40-mm case size. That smaller size fits on my wrist and under my jacket sleeve much more easily, and the high-resolution display is easier to read. The battery also lasted for a mindblowing 21 days, with multiple tracked activities per day. It also comes in a ton of different colors and sports-specific styles. For example, the popular Surf Edition—there is also a Tactical version—is compatible with the hugely popular surf forecasting company Surfline. You can see tide data and track your surfing. (It also has the best colors.)

    ★ Alternative: Can’t decide between the Instinct and the Vivomove lines? Now you don’t have to. The Instinct Crossover Solar ($426)combines the Instinct’s rugged capabilities with Garmin’s solar-powered watch face. It’s a little less intuitive to operate than either the Instinct or Vivomove itself, but I do find the analog hands convenient and the battery life is stellar.

  • Photograph: Garmin

    Honorable Mentions

    Other Trackers We Like

    We liked some other watches that didn’t quite make it into our top picks.

    • Amazfit Balance for $220: A full review is forthcoming, but I have seen some remarkable improvement in Amazfit trackers over the past few years. The Balance is an affordable, accurate, and attractive fitness tracker with decent battery life. (Someone actually asked me if it was a Samsung Galaxyit looks that goo d.)
    • The Polar Ignite for $190: I like the Ignite’s low profile and extremely granular data collection, which lets you check how factors like heart rate variability, breathing rate, and heart rate all combine to ramp up your autonomic nervous system.
    • The Suunto 9 Peak for $286:We recommended the Suunto 9 Baro for bikepackingand the 9 Peak includes all of the features in a much more compact, attractive package. It’s too sensitive to be a great everyday tracker (it tells me I’ve hit 400 steps before I even get out of bed), but it’s a great adventure watch.
    • The Wahoo Fitness Elemnt Rival for $200: The functions on this watch were pretty perfunctory; there are much more capable trackers for this price. However, it integrates with Wahoo’s smart indoor trainer systemwhich is excellent.
  • Photograph: Zepp

    Buyer Beware

    I Did Not Like These Trackers

    I test new fitness trackers all the time. Some of them are duds.

    • Fossil Gen 6 Wellness for $299:Our unhappy reviews editor Julian Chokkattu said that this smartwatch was laggy and had only barebones fitness tracking and no ECG. It’s pretty attractive, though.
    • Amazfit PowerBuds Pro for $130: The concept of earbuds that are also fitness trackers is intriguing, and these look and feel a lot like the AirPods Pro. However, I don’t particularly like Zepp OS, and their utility is also limited since you don’t wear earbuds constantly (at least, I don’t).
    • Matrix PowerWatch 2 for $300:Recharging from solar energy and body heat works! I wore this watch for more than three weeks without having to recharge it. However, it’s huge and clunky. During my testing, the heart rate monitor was inaccurate, and it was hard to change the display. The app was also beset by technical problems, and I had to constantly reinstall the app and reconnect the watch.

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