The best fitness trackers can be invaluable tools for hitting your health and fitness goals. Whether you want to keep an eye on heart rate, count your daily steps or train for a marathon, these clever gadgets can give you personalized feedback to get you where you want to be.
What the expert says:
“Wearables are a low cost, convenient tool for boosting your daily activity and achieving additional weight loss, fitness trackers not only encourage exercise and weight loss, but may also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol in people with Type 2 diabetes and other health conditions.” – Nathan Kennedy, qualified personal trainer and representative for sports nutrition specialists Bio-Synergy.
Gone are the days of fitness trackers being glorified heart rate monitors. These days, the best models are like pocket-sized personal trainers. Modern smartwatches offer a range of impressive features, with the likes of sleep tracking, stress management and workouts becoming the gold standard across models at all price points.
Some premium fitness trackers, such as the top-rated Garmin Forerunner 965 or Apple Watch Series 8, can even help you navigate your way around thanks to an in-built GPS system.
To help you find the best fitness tracker possible, the Live Science team has spent countless hours putting some of the top models through their paces. Below, you can find the results of our thorough testing processes. For even more options, check out our roundups of the best Fitbit and best Garmin watches too.
Best fitness trackers
If you’re looking for great GPS and heart rate hardware, The Apple Watch Series 8 is a fantastic health and fitness watch and our favorite of all the watches we’ve tested.
Apple really does offer best-in-class when it comes to health and safety features. In the Series 8, you’ll find an ECG monitor that can detect abnormal heart rhythms, a blood oxygen monitor and sleep tracking too. There’s also an advanced gyroscope for fall detection, as well as ovulation tracking for those with a menstrual cycle. These are all features that you can find in other trackers, but in our experience the heart-tracking capabilities of Apple outstrip its competitors.
On top of that, the watch has an app library that’s bigger than all of its rivals put together. You can find second-party apps that will improve your yoga flows, help track your workouts and guide you on meditations. Compared with its predecessor, the Apple Watch Series 8 also offers more in-depth data on activities like running, including heart rate zones. You can even create custom workouts and save them to