Your buying guide to the best fitness trackers in 2020
Fitness trackers help you measure and log a myriad of activities each day; from a simple step count to weights sessions, swimming and more.
The biggest challenge when choosing one that suits your needs is that there are just so many to choose from and not all of them offer the same functionality or track fitness to the same degree or quality.
Brands like Fitbit dominate the conversation and while the company's wares are undoubtedly competent, there are lots of other trackers out there that excel in areas your average Fitbit doesn't.
There are also different types of fitness tracker to consider, influenced by factors that affect their designs and prices – two things that are no doubt high on your list when searching for the right wearable.
Some will want something that counts steps and doesn't require frequent charging, others might be in the market for a new marathon companion.
Do you want to be able to log your routes using integrated GPS or is tethered GPS (pulling location data from your phone) enough? Do you need heart-rate monitoring? Does your tracker need to be water-resistant? Is integration with other fitness services, like Strava, essential? These are all additional aspects to consider before buying.
If you are looking for a full-featured smartwatch that doesn't explicitly place fitness at the top of its list of priorities, you'll find entries like the Fitbit Ionic and Apple Watch in our best smartwatches chart here.
We’ve reviewed a whole host of fitness trackers but here are ten of the best, collectively covering the needs all manner of athletes. With different trackers placing their focus on different things, bear in mind that this list is in no particular order.
1. Fitbit Charge 4
The best all-round Fitbit
The Charge 4 is easily our best all-round Fitbit tracker, and indeed a match for even Fitbit's smartwatches. It covers all the basics - tracking steps, distance, calories burned, hourly activity, floors climbed, heart rate, swim-tracking, and advanced sleep, not to mention it has most of the top-end exercise features too, including Active Zone Minutes.
Yes, it lacks the larger colour screen you get with a Fitbit smartwatch, plus in-tracker music storage, but its built-in GPS is something even the more expensive Versa 2 smartwatch lacks.
Choose the Charge 4 if you can live with the smaller, monochrome screen.
Read our full Fitbit Charge 4 review
2. Fitbit Charge 3
The best all-round Fitbit
Fitbit successfully redesigned its most popular product with the Charge 3. For first-time buyers, you won’t find a better-featured activity tracker on the market at such a fair price. It tracks steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes, floors climbed, heart rate, and sleep stages, and can connect to your phone's GPS if you want to map your runs.
You also get a full set of on-screen notifications such as Caller ID, texts, Calendar, WhatsApp, and others. It even has its own Weather app.
Given that it comes two years after the Charge 2 we think it’s a warranted upgrade, particularly if you desire the longer battery life (7 days) and full waterproofing. It is a worthy upgrade to Fitbit's most popular-ever fitness tracker.
UPDATE: A new Fitbit Charge 4 should start shipping mid-April 2020. We'll review it as soon as we have one on our wrist. It looks just the Charge 3, but boasts built-in GPS, Spotify controls and a new Active Zone Minutes feature.
Read our full Fitbit Charge 3 review
3. Fitbit Versa Lite Edition
The best Fitbit smartwatch for less
The Versa Lite is physically the same as the original Versa except for the lack of two buttons on the right edge. Inside, it loses a few features: Wi-Fi, altimeter, Fitbit Coach on-screen workouts and the ability to store music.
But wait! It's still excellent, and we didn't miss any of those features. It's cheaper, lasts for four or five days on a single charge, looks great and has tons of compatible straps and accessories.
The newer Versa 2 has a better screen, plus altimeter, on-screen workouts and music, but costs £50/$40 more.
Read our full Fitbit Versa Lite Edition review
4. Fitbit Versa
While it lacks the built-in GPS of the Ionic, the Fitbit Versa is otherwise identical in features, and is smaller and lighter on the wrist. And, of course, it can still connect with the GPS on your phone. As a smartwatch it can use a growing number of apps (Weather, Starbucks, Runkeeper, Strava and more) as well as on-wrist Fitbit Pay and music storage and control, plus notifications such as Caller ID and texts.
Fitbit Coach offers animated on-screen workouts. It also boasts more designer accessories than the Ionic. While aimed at women (who might find the Ionic too large) the Versa is most definitely a unisex design – although it would take a confident man to wear the Peach/Rose-Gold version.
Read our full Fitbit Versa review
5. Xiaomi Mi Band 4
Coming in at half the price of the cheapest Fitbit, Xiaomi's latest Mi Smart Band 4 offers activity-, health- and sleep-tracking at an incredible £34.99. The enhanced colour AMOLED panel alone makes it worth the upgrade, though it won't entirely replace a smartwatch or smartphone for notifications, and we're pleased to see Xiaomi taking advantage of the device's waterproofing with swim-tracking. We'd love to see Xiaomi come up with a charging solution that doesn't involve removing the tracker from the band, but Mi Band 4 is otherwise difficult to fault.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi Band 4 review
6. Withings Move
The Move is a slick fitness tracker from Withings that’s ideal for anyone who wants to keep things simple. It only does the basics - activity and sleep tracking, but not heartrate - but it does them well, and the analogue form factor keeps things clean and easy to read.
18-month battery life is obviously a major selling point, and the customisable designs are a big appeal too - you can tweak everything from the strap to the watch face and even the colour of the tracker dial. A heartrate sensor would really seal the deal, but it’s an understandable omission at just £60/$70, and with waterproofing, sleep tracking, and great app support, everything else about the Move is easy to love.
Read our full Withings Move review
7. Huawei Band 4
The Huawei Band 4 is excellent value for money with a colour screen, week-long battery life and clever built-in USB charge stick. It'll track steps, distance, calories, sleep and heart rate in a 26g package.
It's even 50m water resistant, so it's maddening that it doesn't have swim tracking, which the same-priced Honor Band 5 and Xiaomi Mi Band 4 have.
Still, it works with Android and iPhone and is a more fully featured tracker than the equivalent Fitbit at nearly a third of the price.
Read our full Huawei Band 4 review
8. Fitbit Inspire HR
The cheapest Fitbit with a heart-rate monitor
The Fitbit Inspire HR's fitness feature set covers the basics very well - steps, calories burned, active minutes, distance travelled, heart rate, advanced Sleep Stages measurement, swim tracking, guided relaxation breathing, the ability to auto-detect workouts with reasonable accuracy, and notifications.
It will connect to your phone's GPS just like the top-end Fitbits. Sure, it lacks an altimeter (so won't count the floors you climb), but otherwise is just as capable as the more expensive Charge 3.
The heart-rate monitor deepens the device's exercise analysis and makes its sleep tracking far more sophisticated. It's a major step up from the plain entry-level Fitbit Inspire and well worth the extra £20 / $30.
This is a great price for a light, smart-looking device with a solid feature set. Fitness fanatics will want something more advanced, such as the Ionic or Versa, but for most of us the Inspire HR will be all we need.
Read our full Fitbit Inspire HR review
9. Honor Band 5
Honor's latest budget tracker packs a punch, despite representing a minor upgrade over 2018's Band 4. Currently retailing for just £25.38, it represents one of the most affordable fitness trackers on the market.
The in-depth workout options, smart sleep tracking and blood oxygen monitoring mean it has a feature set to rival more expensive devices. While a number of minor inconveniences can make it frustrating to use at times, it remains a compelling package that deserves your attention.
Read our full Honor Band 5 review
10. Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro
The Gear Fit2 Pro is a solid choice if you want a slim GPS fitness tracker that works well on Android or iOS. It has more features and a vastly better screen than the similarly built Fitbit Charge 2, but costs £90 more.
Samsung has made a fitness tracker that costs more than rival products, but over £100 less than its smartwatches but packs in most of the same features.
It does try to do too many smartwatch things with a screen that doesn’t suit though. Buy it if you like the design, but if it’s not a deal breaker you can opt for something cheaper with the same basic GPS functionality.
Read our full Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro review