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The best fitness tracker 2022: stay active and get healthier

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

Included in this guide:

Three fitness trackers
(Image credit: Future)

The best fitness tracker will help you develop healthier habits by giving you gentle encouragement to take a few extra steps, go for a run, take the stairs rather than the elevator, and get a little more sleep. It's all about making small changes that can add up to make a big difference to your health over the long term – and we're here to help you choose the right one.

When we test fitness trackers, we wear them all day and night to see not only how much data they gather and how accurate it is, but also how comfortable they are to live with.

The best fitness tracker is the one you're happy to wear every day, and comfort and looks are both important factors. We also take fitness trackers for a variety of workouts (both in the gym and outdoors) and test their heart rate monitoring and location tracking against dedicated sports watches to see how they compare. 

If you're thinking of investing in a fitness tracker to help you achieve your fitness goals in 2022, these are our top recommendations.

The best fitness trackers

Fitbit Luxe with stainless steel bracelet

The Fitbit Luxe is the best fitness tracker available today, combining impressive activity tracking with great looks (Image credit: Fitbit)

Fitbit's stylish activity band is the best fitness tracker today

Specifications
Screen: Yes
Heart rate tracker: Yes
Waterproof: Yes
Activity tracking: Yes
GPS: No
Battery life: Up to 7 days
Compatibility: Android/iOS
Reasons to buy
+
Bright AMOLED display
+
Slim, stylish design
+
Excellent heart rate tracking
Reasons to avoid
-
No on-board GPS

The Fitbit Luxe is our number one fitness tracker thanks to its excellent health monitoring tools, stylish design, and the strength of the supporting Fitbit app and ecosystem. 

The Luxe tracks everyday activity, sleep, heart rate, respiration and workouts, and when we put it to the test, we were particularly impressed by the accuracy of its heart rate monitoring, which was on a par with much more expensive running watches. Your daily data is all presented on a super-sharp color AMOLED display, which presents an impressive amount of detail in a very small space.

The Luxe is also Fitbit's best looking fitness tracker to date, with a stainless steel case and buckle, and a choice of either a soft silicone band or a gold-toned stainless steel bracelet by jewelry designer Gorjana. In our tests, it was comfortable to wear all day and night, which allowed us to build up a complete picture of our activity and sleeping habits.

Fitness trackers work best when worn every day so they can build up a full picture of your habits and lifestyle, and the Luxe is one that you'll genuinely want to.

The Luxe even comes with a free trial of Fitbit Premium, which lets you get even more out of the watch, including more detailed historical data, a wider range of workouts and meditation sessions in the Fitbit app, and the ability to create a personal health report that you can share with a family member or doctor.

There's no on-board GPS though; instead the Luxe needs a connection to your phone, which is its only real drawback.

Read our full Fitbit Luxe review

Fitbit Charge 5 with blue band

(Image credit: Fitbit)

A sleek, sports-focused fitness tracker that does it all

Specifications
Screen: Yes
Heart rate tracker: Yes
Waterproof: Yes
Activity tracking: Yes
GPS: Yes
Battery life: Up to 7 days
Compatibility: Android/iOS
Reasons to buy
+
Bright, crisp AMOLED display
+
On-board GPS tracking
+
ECG app to detect arrhythmia
Reasons to avoid
-
No music controls

The Fitbit Charge 5 is a fitness tracker built with gym-goers in mind. It boasts on-board GPS so you can track walks, runs and bike rides without carrying your phone, and can start monitoring them automatically when it detects that you're on the move. It also has dedicated tracking modes for a wealth of indoor activities, from weightlifting to spinning, and you can pick your five favorites for quick access at the touch of a finger.

There's also an EDA (electrodermal activity) sensor, which tracks changes in the conductivity of your skin as it's affected by adrenal activity. It's a novel way of keeping tabs on stress, and was previously only found in the top-end Fitbit Sense.

The Charge 5 has an ECG app too, which you can use to monitor for signs of atrial fibrillation that should be investigated by a doctor (though this feature wasn't available when the fitness tracker began shipping in September 2021).

It's all capped off with a bright, crisp color AMOLED display, which is a huge upgrade from the monochrome memory-in-pixel screen of the Charge 4.

The Fitbit Charge 5 isn't quite perfect (we particularly miss the ability to control our Spotify playlist from our wrist during a workout) but it's a top-notch fitness tracker and well worth considering if you're starting to take your exercise seriously.

Read our full Fitbit Charge 5 review

Amazfit Bip with black band

The Amazfit Bip is part fitness tracker, part smartwatch, and has particularly impressive battery life (Image credit: Amazfit)

A watch-style fitness tracker packed with features

Specifications
Screen: Yes, black and white
Heart rate tracker: Yes
Waterproof: Yes
Activity tracking: Yes
GPS: Yes
Battery life: 1 month
Compatibility: Android/iOS
Reasons to buy
+
Stylish design
+
Excellent companion app
Reasons to avoid
-
Auto-pause feature doesn't work
-
Finicky interface

The Amazfit Bip may look more like a smartwatch than any of the other devices on this list, but as it runs its own software and has a very big focus on fitness, so we've decided to include it in our list of the best fitness trackers.

The Amazfit Bip's design has clearly been influenced by the Apple Watch (there's no denying that), and it comes packed with tons of features including GPS, an accurate heart rate tracker, multi-sport tracking, sleep tracking, and estimated VO2 max so you can keep tabs on your fitness over time. 

If you're looking for a more watch-like design, the Bip will be up your street. It's lightweight too and other highlights include the always-on display and strong battery life that should last around a month depending on your usage.

Unfortunately, during our tests we found that the watch didn't pause its tracking automatically during workouts when we stopped to stretch or cross a road. That means you'll need to make sure you hit the button yourself to halt and restart the activity when you're ready to carry on. It's a small complaint though, and compensated for by the watch's excellent performance elsewhere.

Read our full Amazfit Bip review

Oura (Generation 3) smart ring in silver

The Oura ring is a fitness tracker that's effortless to wear, and gathers a huge range of health data (Image credit: Oura)

A smart ring that will help you balance rest and activity

Specifications
Screen: No
Heart rate tracker: Yes
Waterproof: Yes
Activity tracking: Yes
GPS: No
Battery life: 4-7 days
Compatibility: Android/iOS
Reasons to buy
+
Accurate 24/7 heart rate tracking
+
Impressive sleep monitoring
+
Stats clearly presented
Reasons to avoid
-
More expensive than a watch
-
Not all features released

The Oura smart ring is a unique fitness tracker that slips onto your finger, where it's able to take much more accurate measurements of heart rate and blood oxygen saturation than a device worn on your wrist. The newest version, released in late 2021, has an upgraded optical heat rate sensor that now tracks your pulse 24/7, allowing you to see exactly how it varies throughout the day.

There are also seven new sensors to track skin temperature and tell you whether it's within normal limits, plus an improved sleep tracking algorithm, all without compromising on weight or battery life.

The main downside of the Oura smart ring is its $299 (about £230 / AU$420) price, and Oura has now introduced a subscription service as well, which gives access to extra tools and insights for a monthly fee. You get six months free when you buy the ring, and anyone upgrading from the second-gen version gets lifetime membership free, but it makes the full package quite steep.

Read our full Oura (Generation 3) review

Huawei Band 3 Pro with white band

The Huawei Band 3 Pro is the best fitness tracker if you're sticking to a tight budget and don't want to compromise on features (Image credit: Huawei)

A fitness tracker that delivers style and substance on a budget

Specifications
Screen: Yes
Heart rate tracker: Yes
Waterproof: Yes
Activity tracking: Yes
GPS: Yes
Battery life: 14 days standby
Compatibility: Android/iOS
Reasons to buy
+
Two-week battery life
+
Good looking color screen
Reasons to avoid
-
GPS can be slow to lock
-
No breathing exercises

Taking over from the Huawei Band 2 Pro is the Huawei Band 3 Pro. This is one of the best fitness trackers you can buy if you're on a strict budget, costing around the same as the Garmin Vivosport 4 below, and it has impressive specs considering how much it costs.

The Huawei Band 3 Pro comes with GPS, making it a good choice for outdoor activities, and is also suitable for use in the pool thanks to its water resistant design and dedicated swimming mode. 

In our tests, we found the color display easily readable even in direct sunlight, allowing you to check your workout stats at a glance, and the heart rate monitor proved accurate, giving results comparable with a much more expensive dedicated sports watch.

The GPS could be quicker at locking on (Garmin devices perform better in our experience, no doubt due to the company's long investment in location tracking), but once it established a connection, it proved accurate even in built-up areas. If you're looking for an affordable entry-level device for your first foray into the world of fitness tracking, the Band 3 Pro should definitely be on your shortlist.

Read our full Huawei Band 3 Pro review

Honor Band 5 with black band

The Honor Band 5 doesn't just monitor your daily habits, but gives you useful practical advice on how to improve them too (Image credit: Honor)

A lightweight fitness tracker with excellent sleep monitoring

Specifications
Screen: Yes, color touchscreen
Heart rate tracker: Yes
Waterproof: Yes
Activity tracking: Yes
GPS: No
Battery life: 7 days
Compatibility: Android/iOS
Reasons to buy
+
Accurate sleep tracking
+
Cheaper than a Fitbit
Reasons to avoid
-
Notifications temperamental
-
Screen sometimes unresponsive

The Honor Band 5 is one of the cheapest fitness trackers you can buy right now, and still manages to deliver an impressive set of features to monitor your everyday health and wellbeing.

One of the most useful features is the sleep tracking, which not only monitors your sleep stages throughout the night, as many fitness trackers do, but also gives you practical advice to maximize your sleep time.

Its step tracker produced almost identical results to a more expensive Fitbit device, and there are dedicated workout modes for walking, running, cycling, cross-training, rowing, and swimming. You won't receive as much data as you would from a Garmin device, but you'll see your time, distance, speed and heart rate stats clearly presented in the mobile app once you're done.

As you'd expect from a budget fitness tracker, there's no on-board GPS for monitoring your location during outdoor cardio workouts. We also found that its screen was sometimes a little laggy compared to higher-end devices, not responding quite so quickly to taps and swipes, but at this price it's hard to complain.

Read our full Honor Band 5 review

Fitbit Inspire 2 with white band

The Fitbit Inspire 2 will gently encourage you to develop healthier habits with positive reinforcement (Image credit: Fitbit)

A gentle nudge towards a healthier lifestyle

Specifications
Screen: Yes
Heart rate tracker: Yes
Waterproof: Yes
Activity tracking: Yes
GPS: No
Battery life: 10 days
Compatibility: Android/iOS
Reasons to buy
+
Sleek design
+
Particularly easy to use
+
Over a week battery life
Reasons to avoid
-
No GPS

If you're aiming to develop healthier habits, and want a device that will give you a gentle nudge to get there, the Fitbit Inspire 2 could be the best fitness tracker for you. It's not overly complex, but has all the essential features to keep you moving and motivated, and is extremely simple to use.

It's controlled entirely through its responsive touchscreen and single side button, and will monitor your activity and heart rate all day (with alerts when you hit your goals). There are over 20 workout modes, and several will start tracking automatically when the fitness tracker detects that you've begun exercising.

All of your data is collected together in the extremely user-friendly Fitbit app, where you can see patterns over time, set new targets and (if you subscribe to Fitbit Premium) find a whole library of video workouts to follow at home.

There's no color screen or on-board GPS for mapping out runs, but the Inspire 2 is a pleasure to use, and ideal for beginners.

Read our full Fitbit Inspire 2 review

Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 with black band

We were particularly impressed by the bright display of the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6, plus its excellent sleep tracking (Image credit: Xiaomi)

A super light fitness tracker with a stunning screen

Specifications
Screen: Yes, color touchscreen
Heart rate tracker: Yes
Waterproof: Yes
Activity tracking: Yes
GPS: Connected GPS
Battery life: Up to 14 days
Compatibility: Android/iOS
Reasons to buy
+
Cheaper than most
+
Slimline design
Reasons to avoid
-
Auto-tracking is finnicky
-
Only connected GPS

The latest addition to Xiaomi's rapidly expanding line of excellent fitness trackers, the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 is super affordable, and packed with many features you'd expect to find on a much more expensive device. Not only does it monitor steps, heart rate, and workouts, it also offers a pulse oximeter for tracking blood oxygen saturation, plus all-day stress tracking.

The display is super bright, and in our tests we found it super responsive to even the lightest of touches – essential with a screen this small.

It's just a shame there's no on-board GPS for tracking runs, walks and bike rides. As with the Garmin Vivosmart 4, above, it works well enough piggybacking on your phone's positioning system, but it means you can't leave your handset at home when working out. Otherwise, this is one of the best fitness trackers around if you want to minimize bulk and weight.

Read our full Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 6 review

What is a fitness tracker?

A fitness tracker is a device (typically a wristband) that monitors statistics such as your heart rate, the number of steps you take each day, and how long you spend working out. Most fitness trackers have several dedicated modes for recording different forms of exercise, and some also have GPS for tracking your location during runs, walks and bike rides. Most fitness trackers also monitor how long you spend sleeping, and in each sleep stage.

All this data is sent to an app on your smartphone, where you can track changes over time. Most apps give you virtual 'awards' for achieving particular goals, such as taking 10,000 steps per day, or going to bed on time.

What is the best fitness tracker 2021?

Right now, the Fitbit Luxe is our top-rated fitness tracker. It's slim, lightweight and attractive enough to wear around the clock, giving you a fully rounded picture of your health. It also has a high-res display that shows fitness data in impressive detail, plus remarkably accurate heart rate monitoring to track your workout intensity.

Why do you need a fitness tracker?

It can be tough to break old habits and develop new ones, and a fitness tracker can help give you the encouragement you need. Tracking the number of steps you take each day and aiming for a particular target might be simple, but it can push you to make simple changes (like getting off the bus a stop earlier, or walking short distances rather than driving), which can add up to make a significant difference over time.

What makes a good fitness tracker?

A good fitness tracker is one that you'll wear every day, and will help you build up a complete picture of your health. With that knowledge, you can start to make small tweaks that will help you sleep better, lower your resting heart rate, improve your fitness, and generally feel better.

Cat Ellis
Cat Ellis

Cat is the fitness and wellbeing editor at TechRadar. She's been a technology journalist for 12 years, and cut her teeth on magazines including PC Plus and PC Format before joining TechRadar. She's a trained run leader, and enjoys nothing more than hitting the pavement and helping new runners achieve their goals. If you have a story about fitness trackers, treadmills, running shoes, e-bikes, or any other fitness tech, drop her a line.