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 and sleep with this latest generation of activity trackers. What they all have in common is they can help anyone go from unhealthy to fit and have an affordable price tag too.
- Not worried about the price? Check out our best fitness trackers list
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 4
A year-long battery with a screen
Compatibility: : iOS and Android | Display: Transflective 8-colour MIP | Thickness: 9.4mm | Battery: 1-year | Charging method: 2 x SR43 user-replaceable | IP rating: Swim-proof | Connectivity: Bluetooth
The key addition over the entry-level Vivofit 3 is the always-on, color display that’s visible in sunlight. This is remarkably achieved without sacrificing the year-long battery life of the stellar third edition. Basic stats like steps, distance, calories and sleep are covered off, while there’s also automatic activity detection thanks to the Move IQ system.
Thanks to the Garmin Connect app you can also customize the display, while setting timers and alarms directly from the wrist. Best of all the Vivofit 4 it also 20 per cent cheaper than the Vivofit 3’s 2015 launch price. Of course you’ll miss out on premium features like heart rate tracking and GPS, but that’s to be expected at this price.
Read the Garmin Vivofit 4 review
3. Huawei Band 2 Pro
A slim, capable wearable with impressive battery life
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: OLED | Thickness: TBC | Battery: 21 days | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: Swim-proof | Connectivity: Bluetooth
The Huawei Band 2 Pro is our second favorite cheap fitness tracker in the world as it offers a lot of decent features for relatively little money.
Fitness band features include your standard step and sleep tracking but it also comes with a heart rate monitor, VO2 Max sensor, GPS for when you're out running and it offers some good battery life too.
There's a very slim screen on the Band 2 Pro unlike the Moov Now above, but interacting with it is a little difficult and while it does show some notifications it's not always easy to read them. As an affordable fitness tracker though, there's a lot to love about the Band 2 Pro.
Read the Huawei Band 2 Pro review
4. TomTom Touch Cardio
One of the more affordable HR fitness trackers
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: Black and white, OLED | Thickness: 11.5mm | Battery: Up to 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 Cardio 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 Cardio review
5. 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
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.
Read the Fitbit Flex 2 review
7. 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.
Read the Jawbone UP3 review
8. Xiaomi Mi Band 2
There's a lot to love here, especially the price
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: OLED | Thickness: 10.5mm | Battery: 20+ days | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: Splash resistant | Connectivity: Bluetooth
The price of the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is genuinely staggering and is one of the cheapest fitness trackers we have on our list. It offers battery life that nears a whole month, depending on how much you use it for fitness.
Xiaomi has managed to pack in a lot of fitness based tech here including a heart rate tracker that we found to be quite accurate. There's no connected GPS though, so this isn't the best tracker for running.
It's not the most attractive fitness tracker you can buy either, but the thin design allows you to see all of your stats easily on your wrist and there's a useful app for you to download to your phone for any further data you'll want to see.
Read the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 review
9. 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.
Read the Misfit Ray review
10. 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
- Not on a budget? Check out the best fitness trackers money can buy