Update: Need a new tracker to get fit this season? Both the TomTom Touch and the Fitbit Flex 2 are each good to jumpstart 2017 - look down below to see how each ranked in our best fitness band round-up.
A fitness tracker is the perfect way to monitor your activity easily and with unmatched accuracy. Think of it as an electronic finger on the pulse, constantly measuring your vitals, quality of sleep and step count.
Today's fitness band market is stuffed with compelling devices, most of which can do a pretty good job at the basics of tracking. But frankly, we're only concerned with the best, and you should be too.
- Here are 7 fitness tracker tips to get you started.
We won't be looking all techy wristwear here - check out our best smartwatch guide too.
If you're looking for a fitness tracker recommendation though, you've come to the right place. Here, we'll showcase the best devices out there, and explain how they rank against each other in terms of stand-out features, price, design and the quality of their companion software – all of which are worth considering when monitoring something as important as your health.
1. Fitbit Charge 2
The best fitness tracker you can buy
Size: Three sizes | Display: OLED | Weight: N/A | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Battery: 5 days | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0
The Fitbit Charge 2 is the best fitness tracker you can buy right now. It's more expensive than most of the other options from Fitbit, but if you're looking to go jogging this is a great choice that won't cost you as much as a traditional running watch.
It connects with the GPS on your phone, has a large screen to display your data, a heart rate tracker and new fitness features we've only previously seen on the Fitbit Blaze.
Plus there's even a bit of a discount for Christmas with a lot of retailers dropping the price just after Black Friday.
Read the full review: Fitbit Charge 2
2. Samsung Gear Fit 2
Samsung's wearable has never been more Fit
Size: 11.2mm x 24.5mm | Display: 1.5-inch AMOLED, 216 x 432 | Weight: 28g | Compatibility: Android | Battery: 3-4 days | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, GPS
Samsung's Gear Fit 2 has made hefty changes to its wearable line both inside and out and the result is an Android-friendly device that does a whole lot for your money.
It has a gorgeous design, a big display and doesn't cost all that much money compared to some other fitness trackers. The only problem is it won't work with your iPhone or Windows device, you'll need to have an Android to use the Gear Fit 2.
Read the full review: Samsung Gear Fit 2
3. Microsoft Band 2
Excellent mix of step counter and proper gym/running/cycling companion
Size: 12.8mm x 32mm | Display: 320 x 128 AMOLED | Weight: 55g | Compatibility: Windows, Android, iOS | Battery: 2 days | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0
With a better screen, greater comfort and a better look than the first Microsoft Band, this packs 11 sensors (one new one: a barometer to measure altitude and track stairs and hills climbed, plus an accurate optical heart rate sensor, 3-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS, ambient light sensor, skin temperature sensor, UV sensor, capacitive sensor, microphone and a galvanic skin response sensor).
It's as good for the gym, running, cycling, golf and other sports as it is for counting steps and tracking sleep. The two-day battery life (less if you hit the GPS hard) is not amazing, but it does charge fast, hitting 80% in 30 minutes and 100% in 90. Apart from the Fitbit Surge, it's more powerful than everything else here put together.
Read the full review: Microsoft Band 2
4. Fitbit Flex 2
Fitbit's Flex is back for round two
Size: Two sizes | Display: N/A | Weight: N/A | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Battery: 5 days | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0
Looking for a simple fitness tracker to take note of your steps on a day-to-day basis?
The Fitbit Flex 2 is the best choice for you and ranks at number four in our best fitness tracker list.
You'll get a comfortable and light device, but the battery life isn't fantastic. It is water resistant though, meaning you'll be able to go swimming with the Flex 2 and track how well your dip in the pool has gone.
If you're after a waterproof and low price Fitbit, you should go for the Flex 2. Most retailers have dropped the price slightly for Christmas too, so it may be worth picking up in time for the New Years resolution.
Read the full review: Fitbit Flex 2
5. Jawbone UP3
Impressive design, oodles of features and sensors
Size: 220mm x 12.2mm x 3.0mm-9.3mm | Display: N/A | : | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Battery: 7 days | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0 LE
When it comes to fitness tracker style, not many players are on the same level as Jawbone. The UP3 may have shifted how the UP bands connect to your wrist, but it still manages to exude the same Yves Behar flair of its predecessors.
Additionally, the fact Jawbone has managed to cram so many sensors into the body of the UP3, while somehow maintaining almost a week's worth of battery life is to be commended.
Read the full review: Jawbone UP3
6. UA Band
Under Armour and HTC team up for a feature-packed tracker
Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: 1.36" PMOLED | Thickness: 11.2mm | Battery: 5 days | Charging method: via proprietary USB charger | Waterproofing: 2ATM | Connectivity: Bluetooth LE
Under Armour and HTC's joint efforts have produced a solid fitness tracker that demands your attention. If not just for its looks alone, its performance with and without the companion app, UA Record, makes it a cohesive, smart buy for those looking to get fit.
I'd recommend this fitness tracker for anyone on the market who is looking for a stylish and fun to use device. The UA Band costs a small premium, but with that extra cash you might have saved, you'll be buying into a fantastic mashup of hardware and software.
Read the full review: UA Band
7. Withings Go
An affordable tracker that doesn't skimp on novelty
Size: fits wrists up to 230mm | Display: 1-inch e-ink | Weight: 9g | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Battery: Eight months | Connectivity: Bluetooth LE
If simplicity is key, the Withings Go is a fine fitness tracker. While there are other models that accomplish a lot more, this versatile wearable offers a surprising amount for a rather small cost.
It's an e-ink option, giving you some incredible battery life but you won't have a backlight so it's quite difficult to use in the dark.
Read the full review: Withings Go
8. TomTom Touch
A basic tracker with some advanced features
Size: 11.5mm thick | Display: 5.58 x 22.38mm screen l | Weight: 10g | Compatibility: iOS, Android | Connectivity: Bluetooth
TomTom's Touch fitness tracker has a major selling point over everything else on this list - it features a fat scanner. You'll be able to use this to monitor your podgy bits and we found it to be a very useful feature.
It'll also work in the shower, plus it's one of the lightest options on this list at only 10g. It's let down with poor battery life and boring software, but if you're after a fitness tracker that can do something a little different and don't mind recharging it quite often, you'll do fine with the TomTom Touch.
Read the full review: TomTom Touch
9. Garmin Vivofit 2
Long battery life is the MO of this simple, inexpensive step tracker
Size: 152-210mm | Display: 25.5 mm x 10 mm | Weight: 25.5g | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Battery life: more than a year | Connectivity: Bluetooth
A neat little fitness tracker whose battery life and waterproofing means you never need to take off. And if it were just that bit more useful and more comfortable, you would never want to take it off, either.
You do have to accept that all it really usefully does is count your steps and issue reminders to stay active. It has a stab at run tracking and sleep monitoring, but neither impresses. Still, it's a very solid effort for the price.
Read the full review: Garmin Vivofit 2
10. Fitbit Charge HR
A touch cheaper after the Charge 2
Size: Small and large. Large is 20.8x2x1cm | Display: 0.7-inch OLED | Weight: 22g | Compatibility: Android, iOS, Windows Phone | Battery: 5 days | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0
Now able to auto-detect exercise such as cycling and running – although you're still better off telling it what you're doing if you want total accuracy – and with improved pulse tracking and the ability to set more demanding weekly fitness goals, the Charge HR is now better than ever.
With a screen, an altimeter to tell you how many steps you've climbed, a pulse counter for more accurate calorie counting during exercise, plus Fitbit's excellent app and social ecosystem, this remains the best fitness band you can get.
The proper watch-style strap means it stays on and is comfortable, while the design is deliberately neutral and discreet.
Now the Fitbit Charge 2 is out, the Charge HR has begun to drop quite far in price so is a perfect Christmas gift for someone you love.
Read the full review: Fitbit Charge HR
- Here's how to get the most out of your fitness band
Best upcoming fitness trackers
The Withings Steel HR may be the perfect choice for your next fitness tracker as it combines stylish looks, a real watch face and a heart rate tracker into one of the most fashionable devices on the market. We'll have a full review of the Withings Steel HR very soon.
We expect 2017 to bring a plethora of new fitness trackers and we may even be lucky enough to see some early in the year at CES 2017.