(Pocket-lint) - The fitness tracker market is as crowded as it's ever been, and only getting busier with time. Still, 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.
Still, though, filtering through to the best devices can be a bit of a challenge. 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 today
Fitbit Charge 4
The Fitbit Charge 4 takes everything that's great about the Fitbit Charge 4 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 advance 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.
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 offers 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 3 however and while the battery life is better than many smartwatches, it isn't better than the likes of the Charge 3 or Inspire HR.
Garmin Fenix 6 Pro
Garmin's most recent flagship line, the 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 the 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.
Fitbit Versa 2
Fitbit's leaning further into smartwatch territory with the Fitbit Versa 2, offering a coloured display, NFC for Fitbit Pay and many smartwatch features, including some third party apps. There is a heart rate monitor, an altimeter and the Versa 2 is waterproof too.
Like the Charge 3, it misses out on built-in GPS, offering connected GPS instead, but it 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 3 but if you want something more substantial without going full smartwatch, the Versa is a good option.
Fitbit Versa Lite Edition
The Fitbit Versa Lite Edition is a little cheaper than the Fitbit Versa (above), offering an almost identical design and some great features. Like the standard Versa, the Versa Lite Edition is waterproof, has several smartwatch features including some third party apps and it offers all the great Fitbit platform features too.
It misses out on Fitbit Pay, it doesn't offer music on board and it isn't as capable in terms of swim tracking as the more expensive Versa. Overall though, the Versa Lite Edition is a good price for the features it does offer and it comes in some great colour options, including a purple and blue that feature colour-matched aluminium casings and straps.
Withings Steel HR Sport
The Withings Steel HR Sport is the newer model of the Withings Steel HR, a little further down this list. 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.
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 organise 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.
Fitbit Alta HR
The Fitbit Alta HR has been replaced by the Inspire HR, which offers more features but in a slightly wider and cheaper build. The Alta HR is still a great fitness tracker though, and cheap now, offering access to Fitbit's platform in a slim and stylish form.
There is no waterproofing, GPS or elevation data and the Alta HR isn't as feature rich as the larger and newer Charge 3, or the Inspire HR, but it offers a slim, stylish everyday activity tracker with good heart rate tracking and general day-to-day activity monitoring. Sleep tracking is also great and it comes with interchangeable straps so you can switch bands out for a smarter look.
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 3 and Fitbit Inspire HR, and sleep tracking isn't as accomplished on Fitbit's range of options.
The Fitbit Inspire has a very similar design to the Inspire HR, a little further up this list. The Inspire misses out on a few of the Inspire HR's features, including heart rate tracking, advanced sleep tracking and exercise tracking, but it is waterproof and comfortable to wear.
There's no swim tracking like the Fitbit Flex 2 (below), but the Fitbit Inspire has a lovely OLED display, smartphone notifications and for the basic activity tracking features it does offer, it performs very well.
The Fitbit Ionic not only brings a solid, lightweight design with a beautiful screen, it also adds built-in GPS and dedicated swim functionality that the earlier Blaze, was lacking. With a new and improved heart-rate monitor, smart notifications, payment capability and all the features Fitbit users will have come to know and love, the Ionic is Fitbit's strongest smartwatch yet.
It's not cheap though, and there are a few annoyances, such as the lack of advanced smartwatch features. The Ionic successfully bridges the gap between fitness tracker and smartwatch though so if you're looking for a device that fulfils both these categories, this might be the one for you.
The Suunto 9 is a big sports watch so it won't be suitable for everyone but it offers an excellent battery life - 10 days - along with 100m water resistance and multiple sports tracking with plenty of detail in the breakdown.
The app isn't as good as Garmin or Fitbit alternatives and the design isn't as stylish as others on this list either but the Suunto 9 is an accomplished multi-sport watch that is brilliant for triathletes.
The Garmin Vivomove is a wearable for those who want tech to infiltrate their lives in a less obvious, attention-seeking manner. It's an activity tracker that carries out its job in an understated manner - a wearable that will get you moving without looking like you're making an effort, and offer encouragement on the most basic of fitness goals - increased movement.
Even when compared with other simplistic analogue activity trackers, the Vivomove is in a league of its own when it comes to design. It's a stunning piece of kit. If there was a vibration motor for smartphone notifications, a heart rate monitor and a more robust app to back it up, this would be the ultimate offering of its type.
Withings Activite Steel HR
The Withings Activite Steel HR is a beautifully designed device that does a great job of delivering style and smarts in a one package. It offers a classic design with premium materials and it's certainly an activity tracker that steps away from the standard glorified rubber band look of many competitors.
Heart-rate tracking is good, as is sleep tracking, while the battery life is excellent. The design isn't as subtle as the likes of the Fitbit Inspire HR, which offers the same features, and the Steel HR doesn't do sleep tracking in as much depth as the Alta HR either. That said, if you want heart-rate monitoring with some added analogue appeal, this Withings number is a great choice.