(Pocket-lint) - The fitness tracker market is as crowded as it's ever been, and only getting busier with time. The benefit of that competition is that more and more devices are releasing that do a great job of tracking your wellbeing and fitness without costing a bomb.
Filtering through the best devices can be a bit of a challenge, though. Luckily, we're here to help. We've weeded out the weaklings to select only the best fitness trackers on the market for you to choose from. We've also got distinct features for best smartwatches and best GPS sport watches, too, for those who'd prefer a different flavour of wearable.
If what you want is step counting, calorie tracking, sleep advice and maybe even heart rate tracking and GPS connectivity, you're absolutely in the right spot.
The best fitness trackers to buy right now
Fitbit Charge 4
The Fitbit Charge 4 takes everything that's great about the Fitbit Charge 3 and adds GPS to it. That means it's a better standalone fitness device, able to give you a little more information without the need for a connected phone. It's still slim, comfortable and able to track all your daily stats like steps, sleep and activities, with the added extra of being able to give you an accurate route and speed for runs and rides. It also supports Fitbit Pay for mobile payments.
The downside that functionality brings is that heavy GPS use will drain the battery quickly, but if it's a fitness tracker you're after, this certainly ticks all the boxes. On top of that, the Fitbit ecosystem is great, supported by a brilliant app that presents your data in a way that's easy to understand and doesn't baffle too much with numbers - instead it presents sensible metrics, so you're always in the picture.
Fitbit Charge 3
Yes, the Fitbit Charge 4 might be a better option, but the Fitbit Charge 3 still has a lot of appeal. Not only does it offer all those metrics such as sleep, steps and activities, but because it's slightly older, it offers better value for money.
Sure, you miss out on some of the headline features like GPS, but if you're not going to be doing a lot of running or riding - or have no interest in speed and distance details - then you might get all you want from the Charge 3. If it's mostly lifestyle tracking you want rather than sports tracking, the Charge 3 has plenty to offer.
Garmin Vivoactive 4
The Garmin Vivoactive 4 distills much of the goodness that Garmin offers in its advanced fitness trackers and puts them into a device that's more accessible and offering better value for the money. It offers great heart rate tracking and GPS, as well as monitoring things like steps, sleep and your daily activity.
This is a Garmin device aimed at those who want all those things but don't really consider themselves to be an athlete who needs the more advanced functions and options offered by the Forerunner or Fenix devices. What the Vivoactive 4 offers is just about enough fitness tracking to keep most happy, in a stylish package with plenty of options.
Fitbit Inspire HR
The Fitbit Inspire HR offers almost everything the Charge 3 does but in a slimmer, cheaper package. It's not as premium in appearance as the Charge 3 but it offers great value for money, interchangeable straps and plenty of features including heart rate tracking, exercise tracking and advanced sleep tracking.
The Inspire HR replaces the Fitbit Alta and Fitbit Flex lines, offering a good OLED display, great performance, good battery life, smartphone notifications and it is also waterproof. For its price tag, the Inspire HR is an excellent fitness tracker. It has been succeeded by the Inspire 2 though so consider that one if this sounds up your street.
Garmin Forerunner 645 Music
The Garmin Forerunner 645 Music is more sports watch than standard activity tracker but it offers song storage, waterproofing, changeable straps, heart rate, GPS, altitude, cadence and motion so it is a great option for those all about data.
It has the functionality of most smartwatches with notifications and functions, while offering excellent sports and activity tracking, a compact design for this style of activity tracker and it is comfortable to wear whilst also being compatible with Bluetooth headphones. It's very expensive when compared to the likes of the Fitbit Charge however and while the battery life is better than many smartwatches, it isn't better than the likes of the Charge or Inspire lines.
Garmin Fenix 6 Pro
Garmin's Fenix 6 is a stone-cold stunner of a smartwatch, and its fitness features are pretty much best-in-class. The reason we haven't placed it further up this list, though, is that it's pretty unlikely to be in many people's budgets. The Forerunner 645 has a great set of features at a big price, but the Fenix 6 Pro takes that even further on both counts.
If you're willing to spend big, you're getting a great two-week battery life, with some of the best tracking in any device, and mapping that can take you as far off the beaten track as you're willing to go. PacePro, meanwhile, is a revelation if you're into racing, and will genuinely help you regulate your pace for those elusive personal bests. If you want all these features and a boost in battery, you could also consider the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar.
Fitbit Versa 2
Fitbit's Versa 2 has been succeeded by the Versa 3 but it's still a worthy consideration if you're looking for more of a fitness smartwatch than fitness tracker. It offers a coloured display, NFC for Fitbit Pay and several smartwatch features, including some third party apps. There is a heart rate monitor, an altimeter and the Versa 2 is waterproof too.
It misses out on built-in GPS, which the Versa 3 has, offering connected GPS instead, but the Versa 2 allows you to connect to Bluetooth headphones for listening to music and it offers all the excellent features of the Fitbit platform. You'll pay more for this device than the Charge 4 but if you want something more substantial without going full smartwatch, the Versa is a good option and the Versa 2 is cheaper than the Versa 3.
Garmin Forerunner 45
For those after a fitness tracker that's good for running, the Garmin Forerunner 45 is a great budget running watch. It doesn't offer full Connect IQ support, it has limited additional sports tracking and it lacks training insights, but the Garmin Forerunner 45 is easy to use, works with Garmin Coach and has a week-long battery life.
This watch sticks to the basics, but if you're looking for a simple and easy-to-use running watch, plus some added smartwatch features, the Forerunner 45 definitely fits the bill.
The Fitbit Sense has a solid and premium design, a lovely vibrant display, it's easy to use and it comes packed with sensors, making it an excellent health watch.
It's not great as a smartwatch, and quite a few of its brilliant features are locked behind the Fitbit Premium subscription, but the Sense is fantastic as a device for monitoring your health.
Withings Steel HR Sport
The Withings Steel HR Sport is the newer model of the Withings Steel HR. It offers a similar design but it introduces a different strap, along with VO2 Max measuring and GPS.
This activity tracker fills gaps left by other hybrid watches and fully smart watches. It delivers a fantastic battery life, nice analogue face and it isn't excessively expensive. The Steel HR Sport tracks over 30 sports, it is lightweight and durable and it's equipped with enough features to ensure fitness enthusiasts aren't left feeling short-changed.
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is again more sportswatch than fitness tracker but it's a great option for those into running but not wanting to spend the big bucks on a top-of-the-range Garmin. It doesn't have an altimeter and there's no Garmin Pay, but the Forerunner 245 Music has a slim and light design, training insights and easy to use music features.
The Forerunner 245 is a watch where run tracking is the focal point and if that's what you care about the most, it certainly delivers a great experience.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is another option that's slightly more watch than activity tracker, but it is still packed full of features including waterproofing, heart rate and built-in GPS. It also offers fully-fledged smartwatch capabilities.
It's one of the most attractive designs on the list, too - we're big fans of its subdued looks. Like the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music though, you won't get the battery life of devices like the Fitbit Charge 4 and Fitbit Inspire 2, and sleep tracking isn't as accomplished on Fitbit's range of options.
Garmin Venu Sq
The Garmin Venu Sq retains the potency of Garmin's sporting heritage but in a less sporty design compared to the rest of the company's portfolio.
It's a compact and comfortable design that offers lots of sports tracking and GPS, along with good accuracy and Body Battery.
Its display isn't the best and the user interface is a little basic, but the Garmin Venu Sq hass a decent battery life and offers something a little different.
Polar Vantage M
Polar redesigned its sports watches in 2018 and launched the Vantage series. There's the V which is the top model and the M, which loses some functions and doesn't quite have the same premium design as the V, but offers much of the same goodness. It offers great heart tracking and GPS, with lots of metrics for fitness fans and runners.
It's supported by Polar Flow, a great app to view your data and sort things and for those wanting to track their training, the Vantage M puts in a good showing with a lot of useful metrics. Where it can't quite compete is in the smart functions - it's not as well connected as Garmin or Fitbit, there's no support for mobile payments or music. But the M is better value for money than the Vantage V, so we think it's the better option.