The popularity of the fitness tracker is ever increasing. This is no surprise as they are a great way to keep track of your activity and health on a day to day basis. Basically, a much more advanced pedometer, the ever-increasing technological advancements means the fitness tracker is turning more and more into a **must-have item.**
The concept of health monitors has been around for a long period of time. The first wearable heart rate monitors were available to athletes in 1981. Followed by the original fitness trackers in the 1990’s which were wrist-sized bicycle computers and could measure the speed, duration and distance of your workout.
However, fitness trackers as we know them today didn’t arrive until much later. In 2006 Nike and Apple combined to launch the Nike+iPod sports kit where a small transmitter would be inserted into your shoe and could track the distance and pace of your walk or run. Then, in 2009, FitBit launched their first product which clipped to the waist.
With the ability to keep track of the number of steps you complete in a day, how well you sleep during the night and how successful your workouts are as you’re doing them, the fitness track is **one of the easiest ways to try and monitor your health.**
Here are the 10 best fitness trackers you can buy in 2018
The Polar A370 can give you your own personalised daily activity goal to help motivate you to keep moving throughout the day. The “smart calorie” feature keeps track of the calories you burn throughout the day and can go into specifics about calories burnt during each training session. By measuring your heart rate continuously through the Polar H10 heart sensor and the 24/7 tracking ability, in theory, the fitness tracker can give an accurate and reliable reading.
Available in 6 colours (black, white, pink, blue, orange, green) and in two sizes the fitness tracker can be suited to anyone. The Polar Sleep PlusTM feature tracks your sleep can give information on the length and quality of your sleep, it can even tell you when your sleep is interrupted.
The downsides of the tracker are that even though you can connect with your phone allowing you to receive calls, messages and notifications on your wrist. The band is not fitted with a GPS meaning to keep track of the routes you take you will need to have your phone with you. The battery is also less powerful than other similar trackers on the market as it can only last 2 days when all the features are switched on.
The TomTom Runner 3 has GPS tracking feature allows you to upload and follow a specific a route you would like to take whilst out on a walk or run, or you can run wherever you like as you can rely on the TomTom Runner 3 to get you back home. The map is simple in design with a zoom feature rather than a full navigation map that you may find on a sat nav.
The battery is very convenient as it can last three weeks when worn every day without GPS enabled and 11 hours with GPS on. The watch is waterproof, with even a feature for swimming as it can tally lengths, strokes and total distance.
This fitness tracker is geared more towards sports rather than everyday fitness tracking. So if you are looking for a fitness tracker to beat your last run time, to wear on a bike ride to give you directions the TomTom 3 is perfect. Whereas if you are wanting a fitness tracker to keep track of your steps and sleep patterns this may not be that suited to you.
The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is a low-key fitness tracker. Compared to other fitness trackers designed for runners it is much smaller and slimmer, and on first appearances, looks like a normal watch.
The fitness tracker can accurately track the distance you have ran and presents it on an easy to use app. The app displays heart rate, steps, intensity minutes, stress level, calories and the amount of time you have slept.
Unlike other fitness trackers, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 has heart rate zones, which is the range of your heart’s bpm. For example when training you may work at 70% also known as Maximum Heart Rate. The battery in this fitness tracker is average, lasting up to 7 days when used daily. However, with GPS enabled the tracker can last up to 13 hours.
The iFit Axis HR features 3 optical heart rate sensors. These monitor different pulse points on your wrist meaning you can view your heart rate at any time of the day.
The fitness tracker comes with the MoveReady technology included, this is used to automatically detect when you alter your movement patterns. The waterproof fitness tracker can last for around five days when in constant use.
Suited perfectly to those wanting to keep track of their fitness on a day-to-day basis, the iFit Axis can log the number of calories you consume during the day as well as your net calories. This is perfect for those wanting all their fitness information in one place rather than using an alternate app.
With an upgrade, you can have access to the Coach app, which can send you personalised recommendations based on activities you should do, exercise, nutrition and sleep. The app takes into account your goals, body metrics and daily activity in order to do this.
What may seem like an unusual brand when it comes to not just fitness trackers but technology in general, Superdry produces what is actually, a good quality fitness tracker.
The band can track steps, distance, calories, sleep cycles and there is even an app (Superdry Sport) which allows you to set daily targets and to keep track of your progress. The tracker is water resistant up to 3ATM.
The silicone tracker, available in bright orange, pink, green or black is bound to be an eye-catching accessory, ideal for the fashion conscious or those just wanting to make a statement.
As one of the lowest price fitness trackers on this list, it is impressive that this fitness tracker can do more or less everything an expensive fitness track can at a much more affordable price.
Offering months of battery life, a step tracker, sleep monitors, updates on fitness, cross training or run coaching the Moov Now is sure to have you covered. The only downside of the Moov Now is that in order to see your data and keep track of your progress you will need to look at your phone at Moov’s app.
The app offers various exercises you can complete and even offers useful hints such as when doing sit-ups, to imagine there is an app under your chin.
The tracker itself is a plastic disc sitting under a rubber strap. The only time you have to use the actual tracker is when you want to start an exercise or sync your stats. This can be done by simply pressing the small button on top.
It is light in weight which makes it convenient to wear on a day-to-day basis and especially when exercising such as boxing or swimming and also jogging as when running the Moov Now will need to be worn on your ankle if you want an accurate reading.
The Polar M430 works with the Polar Flow website/app in order to give you access to running training programmes that can easily be adapted to suit your style even more. The tracker will not tell you the steps completed per day unless you search for them on the app. Instead, it will record the steps and put them towards your activity goal. This is as the tracker is aimed at runners therefore everyday steps aren’t an important factor.
Polar is well known for their accurate heart rate monitoring straps. Their accurate readings are carried into the Polar M430. One stand out feature is that you can lock your desired heart rate zone so that when exercising the watch will buzz if you move out of the zone making sure you are getting the most of your workout.
Unlike some fitness trackers, when measuring sleep the M430 will not differentiate between deep and light sleep. Also due to the bulkiness of the watch, it is not too comfortable to wear in bed. Therefore, if you are looking for a fitness tracker that you aren’t planning to take off (except when charging), you may want to look at something else.
The Misfit ray is an attractive minimalist fitness tracker. The band is an aluminium cylinder available in the colours carbon black or rose gold. The plastic strap is mounted inside the cylinder which can give the device a masculine feel despite being a bracelet.
Different to other trackers, the Misfit Ray runs on three 393 disposable cells rather than rechargeable batteries that are a highly popular way of making fitness trackers work. These disposable cells can last up to six months meaning you won’t have to think about changing them very often.
The Misfit Ray offers basic features including steps, distance travelled and calories burned. Although when compared to the more high-tech fitness trackers this isn’t impressive the Misfit Ray is amazingly accurate.
The Misfit app that pairs with the Ray is simple and easy to use. It will give you information such as the progress you have made towards your daily goal, calories burned, steps taken and the number of sleep hours had. This app can be paired with apps such as MyFitnessPal that allow you to keep track of calories consumed and calories burnt at the same time. Meaning, if you are looking for a fitness tracker simply to lose weight, this could be a great choice.
Fitbit is a highly popular brand of fitness trackers. In the current day chances are you know at least one person who wears one on a regular basis. With the black and white screen that displays the time and date when at home, can be activated by simply turning/holding up your wrist. The screen then displays information such as steps, heart rate, distance travelled, calories burnt and active minutes on that particular day. It will also give you a notification when getting a message/call on your phone.
The Fitbit is paired with the Fitbit app to give you an easy to read review of your day. From miles travelled, calories burnt to the number of floors you have climbed in total, the app is a great way to get an idea of what you have managed to achieve.
Simple to use, sleek design and comfortable to wear the Fitbit Alta is perfect for those looking to simply increase their daily fitness activity in a simple way rather than going to the gym.
The Garmin Forerunner 235 is lightweight and affordable. It can monitor distance, time, pace, heart rate when you’re running, walking, biking, sleeping and even swimming as it is water resistant up to 164 feet. An advanced feature of the fitness tracker is the ability to measure V02 max which is the amount of oxygen the body can process.
The fitness tracker can also work as a smartwatch, giving you notifications when you receive texts or phone calls, displaying a calendar, the weather and even the option to control the music playing on your phone. The tracker can connect to Connect IQ where your data is put into easy to read graphs and charts. The watch face itself is completely customisable which is perfect if you are wanting to use it as both a smartwatch and fitness tracker.
The battery of the fitness tracker can last up to 11 hours, with some users being able to make it last longer.
To conclude, the best fitness tracker 2018 is different to everyone. This is as some people buy fitness trackers as a way to try and increase their steps as a simple way to lose weight. Whereas others, who are more serious athletes will invest in fitness trackers in order to beat their goals, keep track of their progress and continuously improve.
In our opinion, if wanting a simple fitness tracker to keep track of hours slept, steps completed and distance travelled, both the Fitbit Alta and the Misfit Ray can be perfectly suited to you. This is as they do exactly that, in a simple, easy to understand way.
Whereas if you’re looking for a fitness tracker somewhat more advanced the TomTom Runner 3 could be a good choice, not only does it offer a very useful GPS for when you leave the house, it also looks stylish and can last up to three weeks when GPS is turned off.
How do fitness trackers work?
Most fitness trackers in 2018 measure motion by using a 3-axis accelerometer. This can track movement in every direction you travel. Some trackers also include a gyroscope to measure orientation and rotation, useful when wearing on your wrist. In order to measure your pulse some fitness trackers, such as the Fitbit Charge 2, uses optical sensors which shine lights on your skin. The light from the sensors lights up your capillaries which then allows another sensor to measure the blood being pumped around your body.
Are fitness trackers accurate?
There is always going to be speculation about how accurate fitness trackers are. Can they really count your steps or does moving your arm up and down count? These are the sort of questions that can put people off fitness trackers. As in most things, different makes of fitness trackers will have different thresholds, meaning there’s a good chance if you wore two different makes on each hand you will get two different readings.
However, it’s not just steps where fitness trackers can make you sceptical about accuracy. When monitoring your sleep fitness, trackers will detect your wrist movements whilst you are sleeping and then use them to guess your sleep. Fitness trackers are by no means experts at polysomnography, the art of measuring your brain activity when you’re sleeping, often done by psychologists in labs.
How do I get data from the fitness tracker?
Most brands of fitness tracker offer an app. You will need to connect your fitness tracker, via Bluetooth, to the app on your smartphone/computer. Once connected you will be able to access all the information your fitness tracker offers, right at your fingertips!
Will I have to wear the fitness tracker all the time?
To get data that accurately represents your day you will need to wear your fitness tracker throughout the day. Most fitness trackers are to some degree waterproof. This means you won’t even have to worry about taking it off in the shower. However, if wearing one all day puts you off, there are apps available that can monitor information such as your steps but this means you will need to have your phone with you at all times. This is also much less accurate.