Which Fitness Tracker Is Best For You? Apple Watch vs. Fitbit vs. Oura vs. Garmin vs. Whoop

I have two watches on my left wrist, another on my right arm, a ring on my finger and a sensor embedded in my bra. No one should ever wear this many fitness trackers simultaneously. But in this moment, I am letting the latest heart-rate-sensing, sleep-capturing, workout-recording wearables from Apple, Fitbit,

Garmin,

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Whoop and Oura capture all my data, to see which ones do the best job.

Whether you are training for a race or trying to lose the Quarantine 15, a fitness tracker can provide a helpful motivational nudge. But choosing the right one depends on your preferred activities and health goals—and requires an understanding of what data is most useful to you.

New trackers are much more than pedometers and heart-rate monitors. They also measure blood-oxygen levels, a sign of overall health and altitude acclimation. And they capture heart-rate variability, the difference in time between each heartbeat, which can provide feedback about your body’s ability to recover from exercise. But how accurate are the metrics?

The Right Metrics

Studies have shown that wrist-based wearables’ optical sensors—which beam light onto the skin to detect pulse—are generally accurate during rest, but less so during workouts with unpredictable movement, such as strength training.

The data can still be valuable. Zakkoyya Lewis-Trammell, an assistant professor of kinesiology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, said that while wrist-based trackers aren’t clinical devices, she considers them a reliable tool for comparing day-to-day changes.

One helpful approach: Pick metrics that are as close to the sensor’s data as possible—such as resting heart rate over time, said Seth Martin, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Avoid obsessing over things like calories burned, which is just a calculated guess, he added.

A new metric popping up in wearables looks at whether your body is primed to work out. Fitbit and Oura call it “Readiness.” On Garmin, it’s “Body Battery.” Whoop assigns you a “Strain” score. Several Apple Watch apps, including Training Today, offer similar measurements. A high score means you’re ready for intense exercise; a low score indicates your body needs rest.

A new metric uses heart-rate variability to assign a score: High means ready for exercise, low means get some rest; from left, Garmin, Oura, Whoop and Fitbit.



Photo:

Nicole Nguyen/The Wall Street Journal

It isn’t as valid for people who have diabetes, heart disease or who are pregnant, Dr. Lewis-Trammell said. In those cases, she said, the data should be brought to a physician for evaluation.

For people who do outdoor workouts, GPS accuracy is important for logging distance. Dr. Lewis-Trammell found Garmin devices have a better GPS than others. I confirmed this in my own testing.

On one ride testing the wearables’ GPS-tracking capabilities, the Apple Watch and Garmin tracks were very close to my actual route. The Fitbit didn’t lock a GPS signal until about half a mile into my workout, so it displayed less total mileage. It also cut corners (literally) and showed me riding through neighbors’

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Whoop 4.0 review: A new approach to health and fitness tracking

Source: Courtney Lynch / Android Central

If you’re like me and you’ve tried a fair share of fitness trackers and smartwatches, you know that many of them are similar in lots of ways. However, the main thing to understand about the new Whoop 4.0 is that it’s not a typical fitness tracker.

If you’re familiar with the Whoop 3.0, then you probably have a good idea of what I’m talking about. There’s no display on the tracker itself, so you won’t be interacting with the device on your wrist. On that note, you don’t have to wear the Whoop 4.0 on your wrist if you don’t want to. The Whoop Body collection lets you insert the sensor into a technical garment such as a bralette, leggings, or performance top.

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Users who are accustomed to fitness trackers that count their steps might be disappointed. However, Whoop has provided a lengthy explanation as to why steps aren’t counted. As you can see, the Whoop 4.0 is a totally different perspective than what you’ll find on most other fitness trackers.

Depending on your point of view, this can either be really fun and innovative or a bit odd and difficult to adjust to. If you’re someone who prefers to interact with your device and you don’t need highly detailed tracking, the Whoop 4.0 might not appeal to you. However, for elite athletes that may benefit from advanced metrics such as performance, strain, and recovery, then the Whoop 4.0 might be your golden ticket to improving your training routine.



Whoop 4.0

Bottom line: If you’ve been waiting for a tracker that’s focused on helping you monitor and improve your workout routine, the Whoop 4.0 just might impress you. You’ll receive data that helps you better understand your overall performance and the factors affecting it. There’s no display or extra perks, so it’s not meant to be fashionable or to function like a smartwatch. Some of the data might be too advanced for some users who just want basic tracking.

The Good

  • In-depth tracking and metrics
  • Significantly slimmer design
  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Plenty of band options
  • Compatible with Whoop Body

The Bad

  • Short battery life
  • Difficult to swap bands
  • No “extra” features
  • Subscription required

Whoop 4.0: Price and availability

Source: Courtney Lynch / Android Central

The Whoop 4.0 was announced on Sep. 8, 2021, and went on sale shortly after. There are a few different membership options depending on your preferences. You can pay upfront for an 18-month membership that costs $18 per month, or if you prefer an annual membership, you can opt for a monthly subscription, which costs $24 per month. Those who don’t want a long commitment can opt for a six-month membership, which will cost $30 per month.

Whoop 4.0: What you’ll like

Source: Courtney Lynch / Android Central

No one likes a bulky fitness tracker that gets in the way of your workouts. Fortunately,

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