Activity trackers, which started out as humble pedometers for step counting, have evolved into powerful wrist-worn training partners.
Now even those more advanced trackers that offer sleep analysis and heart rate monitoring can be bought for under $100/£100, and we’ve curated a list of the best among them.
Track steps, calories burned, heart rate, distance travelled, sleep and even your children’s activities with this latest generation of activity trackers. What they all have in common is they can help anyone go from unhealthy to fit.
1. Moov Now
A tracker tuned to you
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: LED | Thickness: TBC | Battery: 6 months | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: Swim-proof | Connectivity: Bluetooth
The Moov Now wearable is one of the best movement trackers out there thanks to its 9-axis accelerometer - the same one used in missile navigation systems. As a result it can not only track your daily steps, calories and the like but also other movements. That means guided, personalized training feedback.
The Moov Now can measure running impact, gym repetitions and swimming strokes, so you can work out with a virtual personal trainer that knows exactly how well you’re doing and can tell you how to improve. It’s also waterproof and lasts a good six months before the watch battery needs swapping out.
- Read the Moov Now review
2. Garmin Vivofit 3
A year of life and a handy app
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: LCD | Thickness: 10mm | Battery: One year | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: 5 ATM | Connectivity: Bluetooth
The Garmin Vivofit 3 features a battery that will keep going for an entire year before it needs changing - yup, no charging required. It’s also water-resistant, so you don’t even need to take it off when swimming.
That means all day tracking of steps, calories, distance, intensity minutes when you train and even sleep tracking at night. Then view it all in the Garmin Connect smartphone app.
The screen is small but does the job of offering instant feedback while also conserving battery. Plus, the display features a move bar to keep you from being too stagnant, which also works with an audio alert if you want. There are plenty of band options too, so you can find the right design for you.
- Read the Garmin Vivofit 3 review
3. Jawbone UP3
A genuinely stylish option
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: LED | Thickness: 12.2mm | Battery: 7 days | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: Splash resistant | Connectivity: Bluetooth
The Jawbone UP3 looks good, like really good. And there are plenty of colors and styles to pick from for your ideal model. Each features motion sensing smarts to track steps, calories burned and various exercises automatically. But it’s the sleep tracking that Jawbone excels at.
The UP3 will track light, deep and REM sleep variations after automatically kicking into sleep mode as you nod off. It also tracks resting heart rate, which can help to give a more accurate picture of health as it changes.
What’s really useful is actual feedback in the app, with links to relevant scientific articles that could help offer ways to improve your sleep. Since it lasts for seven days on a charge you rarely need to take it off.
4. Huawei Fit
Huawei’s fitness tracker screams 'me, too!' in a crowded room
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: E-ink | Thickness: 11.2mm | Battery: 6 months | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: Water resistant | Connectivity: Bluetooth
The Huawei Fit is a simple device and one of the easiest to use on this list, but if you're looking for a traditional step tracker without too many features packed in you'll likely appreciate this option from Huawei.
It looks attractive on your wrist and also comes with a heart rate tracker, as well as a waterproof design so you can wear this in the shower.
Sadly it's only available in some markets and isn't on sale in the UK at the moment, but we'll be sure to update this guide if Huawei decides to release it around the world.
- Read the full Huawei Fit review
5. Withings Go
Swim-safe and never needs charging
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: E-ink | Thickness: 9.4mm | Battery: 8 months | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: Water resistant to 50m | Connectivity: Bluetooth
Withings offers plenty of value for money in its Go, thanks to the company’s years of experience being filtered into one accessible wearable.
The result is an affordable activity tracker that also features a screen for at-a-glance feedback. This is an e-ink display, meaning low power consumption which allows the Go to last up to eight months before needing a cheap watch battery swap-out.
While on the move, the Withings Go will track steps, calories burned, distance and even sleep. It’ll also track running (not with GPS) and even swimming strokes, thanks to its waterproof-to-50m build.
The Go can be worn on the wrist or clipped to clothes and comes in five color options. Everything is also viewable in more detail via the free Withings Health Mate smartphone app.
6. Fitbit Flex 2
A simple option that works well
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: LED | Thickness: 6.8mm | Battery: 5 days | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: Swim-proof | Connectivity: Bluetooth
There’s a reason Fitbit was one of the first breakthrough activity tracker makers and is still going strong today - it works. And in the case of the Fitbit Flex 2 it works well with lots of features for a low price.
The Flex 2 will do all the usual step, distance and calorie burn tracking using its motion sensor smarts, but it goes further. You can also track sleep and even do exercises that the band will automatically detect and track. Everything syncs wirelessly to the smartphone app and offers clear feedback to help you make health progress.
The Flex 2 is also swim-proof, comes in different styles and uses LED lights and vibrations to notify you about calls and texts from a connected smartphone. All that and it should last five days before needing a charge.
7. TomTom Touch
A basic tracker with some advanced features
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: Black and white | Thickness: 11.5mm | Battery: 5 days | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: IPX7 splashproof | Connectivity: Bluetooth
Perhaps one of the more innovative devices on this list, the TomTom Touch is a fitness tracker with a built-in body fat scanner that should be able to give you a clearer picture of your fitness than most other trackers.
Press the button on the top and it will do a scan of your body fat to work out the ratio of flabby bits compared to what you should have.
It also comes with all the other tracking tech you'd expect, including a heart rate monitor and step counter to make sure you're doing your best to keep fit and healthy.
- Read the full TomTom Touch review
8. Misfit Ray
Style and substance all in one
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: LED | Thickness: 12mm | Battery: 6 months | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: Swim-proof to 50m | Connectivity: Bluetooth
The Misfit Ray is an affordable yet very attractive activity tracker that should appeal to anyone wanting to make sure their wearable enhances their look.
There are plenty of muted color options to pick from and each features the same anodized aluminum central device with LED lights. There’s also a smart button that can be set to control aspects of your smart home, for example.
The swim-proof wearable uses replaceable batteries for a charge-free six months of constant use. That includes step and sleep tracking plus vibration alerts for calls, messages, reminders and alarms.
9. Misfit Flash
One of the least flashy fitness trackers you can get
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: No screen | Thickness: TBC | Battery: 6 months | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: Swim-proof to 50m | Connectivity: Bluetooth
If price is your main focus, you may want to opt for the Misfit Flash. You can get this tracker for so little money now we were surprised when writing this guide.
We originally gave the Misfit Flash a three star review, which isn't very good, but since the price has dropped we think this tracker is a lot better value now and worth picking up if you're looking for something very simple to track your steps.
It won't be able to do a lot of what the other trackers on this list can do though, so if you want much more than a glorified pedometer you should look elsewhere.
- Read our Misfit Flash review
10. Misfit Shine 2
Misfit uses design to stand out
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: No display | Thickness: 8mm | Battery: 6 months | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: Swim-proof to 50m | Connectivity: Bluetooth
If you're looking for one of the lightest fitness trackers to place on your wrist, go for the Misfit Shine 2.
From swim tracking to smartphone notifications, it's remarkable how much fitness tech is packed into the Shine 2 considering the small size of the tracker, but it does lack a heart rate scanner.
We particularly like the strong battery life and low price, which could make this the device to get you off the sofa and working out.
- Read the full Misfit Shine 2 review
- Not on a budget? Check out the best fitness trackers money can buy