Should You Use Fitness trackers and activity monitors? or you are looking for the best budget fitness trackers, Are those fitness trackers and activity monitors Effective and worth your money? If Yes, Which One Is The Best One?
We Have Answers For All Your Queries in Our Complete Buying Guide for the Activity Monitor.
So, You have finally decided to take care of your health and fitness, and are looking for the best budget fitness trackers that can take care of your daily activities and are budget-friendly.
In this busy world, you cannot put your health and fitness matters as a second priority in any case.
But now you have decided to buy fitness trackers or a fitness band that is the best fit for your needs. You are definitely confused and overwhelmed because of the plenty of choices.
Two months ago, I decided to take my fitness matters seriously after a short visit to a physician. The first step in this regard was to keep track of my daily activities, sleep quality, and other things.
When I went to Amazon for the best budget fitness trackers, I got completely confused with the plenty of fitness trackers and bands available with different options. This was the time when I decided to dive into the fitness trackers market to learn everything before buying the best option for me.
After surveying hundreds of users of activity monitors, and reading the available review about more than 40 activity monitors, clip-on, bracelets, and fitness bands. Finally, We are able to bring this detailed guide about the best budget fitness trackers with GPS available out there in the market.
What Will You Learn In This Guide
(Click on the respective Link to Jump to the Section)
- Best fitness trackers available in the market.
- How Do fitness trackers work?
- Which Activity tracker best fits your needs?
- How to use your fitness band effectively?
- Conclusion – Do fitness trackers Matter?
What do the ‘Numbers’ tell about the Activity monitors?
Let’s jump into the ‘Numbers game’ before talking about anything else.
According to a survey by MobileHealthNews, 1 in 5 Americans owns an activity tracker or a smartwatch now but surprisingly, only 1 in 10 wears them on a daily basis.
Why is that so?
According to the details, these early adopters are more tech-savvy and educated than the general population.
This means only 21% of the population uses activity monitors or any other wearable despite the fact that 80% of people know about them.
But don’t disappoint with these numbers. In 2019 21% of people started using activity monitors as compared to 16% in 2014. This is a 4% growth in 3 years and it was mainly because of the Apple Watch release in 2015.
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Similarly, Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison took a sample of 51 overweight postmenopausal women. They offered 25 out of 51 fitness trackers and the rest were offered pedometers. The women who used the activity monitors found themselves more active within a month and started spending one more hour a week as compared to the past.
Cadmus-Bertram who was leading the research concluded it as:
“Activity monitors combine the key ingredients for motivating people to reach their health goals like setting goals, self monitoring, getting frequent feedback on your progress, revising the goals as needed, social support and developing a sense of self-efficacy.” Source
Wow! Isn’t this statement itself enough to convince someone to start using activity monitors?
And what do the people believe who are using the activity monitors, clip-on, or any other fitness bands? According to the HRI/CIS wearable consumer survey:
- 56% believe that the average life expectancy will grow by 10 years because of self-monitoring.
- 46% believe that activity monitors and wearable technology will decrease obesity. AND
- 42% believe that the average person’s athletic ability will improve dramatically.
And what are the popular brands offering the best activity monitors for you? This completely depends on your needs and requirements. But according to the latest surveys, Fitbit is the leader in the activity monitors market followed by Xiaomi, Apple, Garmin, and Samsung.
For Android Phones Compatible with iPhone
Overall Best Activity Tracker for women with accurate results. Fitpolo smartwatch is one of the best activity trackers with a GPS and some other new features.
Fitpolo Smart Watch is advanced and one of the best budget fitness trackers with GPS. It is slightly thicker and comes in Pink, black grey, and green colors which looks really smart. The small screen is fully touch-enabled and has a 1.33inches TFT LCD display. The three main features of this Fitness Tracker are:
- Tracking your running through GPS,
- smart notifications,
- Call alerts and daily activity tracking.
- Step tracking is also very accurate for the device.
Also, it sets a moveable goal for you which may take a few weeks. Moreover, all-day heart tracking is also decent. It will keep tabs on your bpm all day long which is a great indicator for improving your health.
As an activity tracker, this IP68 waterproof Fitness tracker allows you to swim deep in the pool without worries. It displays your preferred bedtime along with how long you sleep. Another interesting feature is the Move Bar. The move bar builds on your home screen and it starts filling according to your inactivity. Therefore, to clear it you need to move. When it comes to sports tracking, It plays a significant role. All you need to do is press the button, choose the activity icon, and tap Run to start tracking. It will accurately track distance, calories, and time through GPS. The device offers you a multi-sports option thus giving you 9 sports modes to track your workout. ”VeryFitPro” App timely delivery you notifications when paired with your phone.
Also, you can read some full messages. You can retrieve the last three notifications anytime by scrolling down the main menu which is amazing. Lastly, the battery life is pretty impressive. It lasts for around seven days along with notifications and workout sessions with one single charge.
- Fitpolo Smart Watch offers automatic sleep detection
- It timely delivers phone alerts and notifications
- It tracks heart rate 24/7
- The device features Menstrual health tracking
- It can track the sports records having 9 sports modes
- It is compatible with both iOS and Android
Mini Smart Watch for Men and women
Best for the general use to keep you motivated and active.
Amazfit GTS 2 is light weighted. It features a black AMOLED screen. It has a polished blue body color and thus gives a more fashionable look.
Amazfit GTS 2 provides you with the most accurate sleep tracking. It offers a unique multiple sports tracking feature such as cycling and running. Moreover, it features an optical heart rate sensor measures heart rate accurately. One of the best budget fitness trackers that have built-in GPS that gives you the most precise and accurate measurement of distance traveled, steps recorded, and calories burned. Amazfit GTS 2 receives the notification of calls, texts, emails, and other apps. Also, you can’t reply r review them. Lastly, the battery life of the device can last up to 14 days on a single charge.
- It provides the most accurate heart rate measurement.
- It offers multiple sports tracking.
- It provides the most precise measurement of the sleeping track.
- The battery life is good.
- The sleeker design and body polish make it a stylish activity tracker.
If you are a loyal Fitbit customer and in search of a smartwatch cum fitness tracker, Fitbit Charge 4 is the best choice for you.
The Fitbit Charge 4 is one of the most divisive smartwatches and the best budget fitness trackers around. It successfully makes a statement that is the primary purpose of any watch. The watch is available in a black plastic case along with the various color band. The watch is small in size as compared to the Apple watch. The most significant features of the Fitbit Charge 4 are the built-in GPS, one of the best budget fitness trackers with a heart rate monitor, and waterproof features. It is swim-proof. With cycle tracks, and sleep tracking features, Fitbit Charge 4 works quite effectively with notifications. Notifications appear on the screen without any issue, therefore you can conveniently read, dismiss or deal with them.
- Fitbit Charge 4 has a built-in GPS to keep track of your workouts without using your phone.
- It has water-resistant capabilities (swim-proof).
- Battery life is good because of the monochrome screen and OLED display.
- It comes with an optical heart rate sensor and steps thus allowing to measure the daily activities.
- It allows you to sleep track.
- It turns off notifications while you’re sleeping.
- It does not store music.
Best for Samsung and Android lovers. If you are looking for an Android smartwatch cum activity tracker, Samsung Gear Fit 2 is the best choice for you.
Samsung Gear Fit 2 features a new textured strap which gives it a sportier look. It has a 1.84-inch curved super AMOLED display pixel resolution of 431×216. The screen of the Samsung gear fit 2 is made with Gorilla Glass 3 making it scratch-proof and crack-proof. The strap consists of a water-resistant elastomer that can take it down the water depth of 1.5 meters for around 30 minutes. It comes with two different wrists. Small size for 125-170mm wrist whereas the large size for the 155-210mm wrist.
Samsung Gear Fit 2 has a great tracking feature. It can auto-detect and track steps, calories, and sleep. Whether you are doing squats, yoga, riding a bike, or using a rowing machine, it will log accordingly. It comes with an inbuilt GPS, heart rate monitor, barometer, gyroscope, and accelerator.
Coming towards some of the important features, Samsung Gear Fit 2 has 512MB of ram and 4GB of storage. It is all powered by Samsung 1GHz dual-core processor. The interface is vertical which makes it quite easier to use and read. It delivers your notifications including text, calls, emails, apps, and calendar. You can also resize the font to make it more readable. Lastly, the battery life of the Samsung Gear Fit 2 lasts up to 4-5 days which is simply amazing for the features it offers.
- An appealing slim design with an AMOLED display.
- It offers you excellent notification support.
- It can be effectively used to track heart rate with lots of fitness metrics.
- It has a built-in GPS and is capable of playing music to Bluetooth headsets.
- The display may lose visibility in direct sunlight.
- It is compatible with only Android.
- During intensive exercise, heart rate tracking may give you slightly inaccurate measurements.
Health and Fitness Smartwatch
Best for short activity tracking and sleep tracking, the Fitbit Versa 2 is an old version of the Fitbit Versa 3 with a new sleek design.
Fitbit Versa 2 is one of the best budget fitness trackers and its connectivity technology is WiFi, NFC, and GPS. It is a lightweight fitness watch, with an AMOLED display that measures 1.59 x 1.59 x 0.49 inches and weighs 0.71ounces. It offers you waterproof features and resistance up to 50m. Fitbit Versa 2 is nicely designed as the new infinity band is easy to wear. It can effectively count your steps, measure distance while walking and approximate calories burned. It can track activities such as cycling, swimming, yoga, and dancing.
Fitbit Versa 2 move is a nice activity feature in that it will track your heart rate better with pure pulse 2.0. It will alert you if you are sitting constantly for an hour. In the case of applications, it is limited to calls, music and texts. It offers you sleep tracking where you can even edit the sleep awake times in the Fitbit App. It enables you to set alarms and movement alerts. Though the vibrations made on every alert are so strong. The most prominent feature of the smartwatch is its battery life which lasts up to six days.
- Fitbit Versa 2 is an all-day activity tracker as the battery lasts up to 6 days.
- It has a discreet look with changeable wristbands.
- It effectively tracks steps, distance, and calories.
- It automatically tracks sleep and tag active durations.
- It is water-resistant to 50m
GPS Fitness watch
Best for Advanced users, the Polar Ignite is one of the best budget fitness trackers which gives you recommendations about your health and fitness.
Polar Ignite is an advanced waterproof one of the best budget fitness trackers that includes heart rate and sleep tracking integrated with GPS. It offers you a durable feel of a sports watch with the addition of a touch screen. It comes with a plastic wristband and is available in various brighter colors. Polar Ignite offers you standard activity tracking features. It can track steps, active time, and burnt calories along with sleep tracking. During training, wear Polar Ignite on the top of the wrist tightly to get accurate heart rate data. It also guides you through exercising animations and provides step-by-step workout tips for your fitness and will take your training to the next level.
It has an inbuilt optical heart rate sensor which gives you an accurate measurement of training intensity. Polar Ignite supports display notifications from your iPhone or any other compatible Android phone. You can view your messages, emails, and third-party notifications on the display screen. As far as the battery life of Polar Ignite is concerned, you can get up to 17 hours in GPS mode with heart rate-based training and the battery life can be approximately 5 days of standby time and regular smartwatch mode. Overall, Polar Ignite is one of the best fitness trackers.
- Polar Ignite features a color display.
- It has an inbuilt optical heart rate sensor.
- It can effectively measure steps, active time, burnt calories, and sleeping tracking along with data analysis and presentation.
- It is waterproof down to 30 meters.
- Compatible with both iPhone and Android Phones.
- It is pretty small and light in weight.
- It is always not on display, the display shut off when you are inactive.
- It’s a lot harder to read in direct sunlight in this type of display.
Best for the Swimmers who are also Fitbit fans. With a larger battery and waterproof design, it is one of the best options for swimming and casual activity tracking.
Fitbit Charge 3 is among the budget-friendly activity and fitness trackers that lack GPS. but you can connect it with a smartphone GPS for distance and pace. A slimmer design and has a larger touch-enabled grey OLED screen. You can choose to watch faces from the Fitbit App. It gives accurate Heart rate tracking, steps count, calories burned, per hour of activity, active minutes, and sleep monitor.
The Fitbit Charge 3 tracker offers 15 exercise modes like running, cycling, and swimming with accurate stats during the workout. It will notify you about the calls, texts, and reminders from your phone, compatible with the smartphone. It has a default pattern of lights and vibrations to let you differentiate between calls, texts, and alarms.
Fitbit charge 3 has a simple design. The Fitbit charge 3 offers you waterproof features and thus can be worn up to 50m which also includes seawater. Swimming can effectively auto-track with the duration and laps. Though it may not offer you music support. The battery life of the Fitbit charge 3 is seven days. It can be extended if you turn off the notifications.
- Fitbit charge 3 is super easy to wear all the time as it is very light and comfortable. Also, it looks quite casual on your wrist.
- You can get it at a very reasonable price with some color choices.
- It is water-resistant and can be submerged up to 50 feet.
- It gives you a notification alert when the battery is low.
- It is a swim and exercises friendly activity tracker.
- It has no GPS
- The battery life is mediocre.
- No music options.
Best for the runners and professional athletes. If you are a professional runner, the Garmin Forerunner 230 is the best pick for you along with its additional features.
Garmin Forerunner 235 is a standard running watch that has a built-in heart rate monitor. which you will likely find. This activity tracker watch is made from durable plastic which is super light and waterproof to 50m. The watch comes with a rubber sports strap that is sweat-resistant and specifically designed for sports. The watch features a 215×180 pixels low-resolution screen. The battery life of the watch is quite impressive. It can last around a month and offers 16 hours of GPS tracking consider one of the best budget fitness trackers. While talking about stats and features, Garmin Forerunner 235 fulfills the requirements of the intermediate runner and can accurately track distance, speed, and pace through GPS.
It is a perfect activity tracker for runners who want to pinpoint heart rate accuracy and can be paired with a chest strap. When it comes to sports tracking, Garmin operates at a more basic end of the spectrum and is thus included in the best names. In your daily activity, it can accurately track your steps, distance walked (without GPS) and calories torched along with showing your progress towards daily goals. Another interesting feature of the Garmin Forerunner 235 is the Move Bar. While you are sitting, the move bar fills, and in order to clear it, you need to move.
- Garmin Forerunner 235 has great battery life.
- It timely delivers you notifications including texts, emails, calendars, and reminders.
- It offers you a music control feature when synced with a smartphone hence you can easily skip and select tracks on your smartphone.
- It is compact and comfortable to wear as a GPS running watch.
- It accurately tracks distance, heart rate, pace, time, calories, and sleeping patterns.
- The LCD screen of the Garmin Forerunner is very dull that reading in darkness is simply impossible.
- It lacks fun features.
Health & Fitness Smartwatch
Best for fitness lovers who want to stay fit while working outs. Like other budget-friendly fitness trackers, the Fitbit Sense activity tracker offers GPS tracking, heart rate monitoring, and Bluetooth connectivity.
Fitbit Sense offers you pretty most of the features that you can expect from high-end fitness trackers. It gives you the distance you ran, walked, cycled, or swam along with calories burnt. The device is waterproof up to 50 meters as it offers swimming tracking as well. Furthermore, it lets you track your daily readiness and provides you with an accurate reading. You can find out your stress level. The watch has a touch screen, and the watch stores, and plays music. Fitbit sense is compatible with Alexa and googles assistant.
Fitbit Sense Spark features a heart rate monitor which monitors the heart rate by using LED light along with measuring the changes in your blood flow. The device offers you multiple heart rate training zones which mainly include sprint, fat burn, speed, endure, etc. that can be selected according to your preference. The GPS of the Fitbit Sense fitness tracker works with outdoor activities such as running or cycling whereas seeing the outdoor activities on the Fitbit app. The battery life of Fitbit Sense lasts up to 5 days depending on your usage.
- Fitbit sense is one of the best budget fitness trackers with built-in GPS.
- It can easily pair with Bluetooth Smart sensors.
- The slim design offers multi-sport functionality.
- It has a built-in heart rate monitor and On wrist skin temperature sensor.
- You can also track your blood oxygen level.
Best for General Use and the Big Community of fitness Wearers make it more productive in terms of motivation.
- Featured rich activity tracker with most of the features in modern trackers.
- Reliable heart rate monitor with resting heart rate monitoring and 24/7 monitoring.
- Compatible with all platforms like Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.
- Supports third-party apps
- Big Fitness community to go social and compete with others by accepting challenges and getting Badges.
- 5 ATM water-resistant, so can easily use in the shower or when swimming.
- A little slim and light as compared to other trackers.
- Always accurate in extreme workouts.
- 1 day of battery life.
AmazaFit bip 3 is among the best brands for activity monitors as well as the best activity tracker with most of the features available in modern fitness trackers these days. Most importantly its battery life of up to 14 days. With continuous SpO2 and heart rate monitoring 24/7, provides very accurate results and helps you stay fit. The Amazafit bip 3 not only tops the competition with its features but it’s easy to use companion app available for all platforms and its strong social community helps you stay social, motivated, and in the competition.
On the other hand, Amazfit bip 3 is the best budget fitness tracker lacking the GPS, and its sleep tracking is of the best quality and accuracy. Similarly, it is waterproof so you can use it in showers or while swimming as it is water-resistant (up to 5 ATMs).
If you are a casual user and you need something for all-day activity tracking. Amazafit bip 3 is the best activity tracker for you. It is available in black, teal, tangerine, plum, and blue colors. Additionally, the screen matches the color of the band making it part of the band.
Best for intense activity tracking and helps you stay connected with the smart notifications feature.
- Featured rich activity tracker with most of the features in modern trackers.
- Accurately measures intense activities like intense workouts as well as routine activities.
- Completely waterproof fitness tracker and can be used in showers and swimming.
- Supports Android and iOS Platforms and third-party Apps like MyFitnessPal.
- Online Community to connect with others and compete.
- Requires a proprietary charge for charging.
- Companion App is a little complicated and less accurate as compared to Fitbit and Jawbone apps.
- Online Community is not as active as Fitbit.
- Does not support Windows Phone.
The Garmin Vivosmart HR is one of the best budget fitness trackers, and also features the GPS, which provides more accurate results for distance traveled, steps count, and other activities for those who are involved in intense workouts and exercise on regular basis. The featured rich fitness band stands tall in the competition and beats others like Fitbit Charge HR and Jawbone Up3 by its waterproof design and touchscreen with smart notifications feature. The optical heart rate monitor allows 24/7 heart rate monitoring as well.
On the other hand, the companion app for Garmin Vivosmart HR is not featured rich and is a little complicated to use as compared to Fitbit Charge HR. Similarly, its social community is not as active as Fitbit.
If you are looking for a tracker that can track your intense activities and lets you have an eye on notifications without touching your phone, Garmin Vivosmart HR is one of the best budget fitness and activity trackers with GPS for you. Not only the Garmin Vivosmart HR provides all the features of any modern activity tracker, but it also shows you weather details and allows you to control the music player and camera remotely.
Honor Band 5 is a feature-rich activity tracker and smart watch with Huawei Health app support
- Equipped with all the modern sensors being used in activity monitors more than any other activity tracker.
- Easy to use and works impressively with Huawei Health App.
- You can participate in ‘guided workouts’ designed by fitness professionals.
- Compatible with CONNECTED GPS device.
- Touchscreen AMOLED displays.
- compatible with Android 5.0 and above
- 24/7 Heart rate monitoring
- waterproofed, so can be used in showers or while swimming.
- cheap as compared to other top activity monitors.
Honor Band 5 is a lot more improved activity tracker and smartwatch. It is equipped with all the sensors, actually more than any other fitness tracker, and supports most of the activities to track. Honor Band 5 is among the best budget fitness trackers with GPS connectivity as well as, easily competes with any other GPS-running watch in the competition. This makes it perfect for runners, Golf Players, and other sport tracking activities.
Similarly, the heart rate monitoring of the Honor Band 5 is also very accurate. Its sleep tracker is also featured rich and provides details like deep or light sleep and measures resting heart rate accurately as well.
On the other hand, despite improvements compared to the first model, Honor band 5 still needs to work in different areas like Battery Life. As one of the cheap fitness trackers, The Band provides good battery life. as well as step tracking is also good enough.
If you are looking for an activity tracker with smart notifications and other smartwatch features, you can go for Band 5. You will enjoy its impressive Health App, and accurate fitness tracking but for some extra bucks as compared to other activity monitors.
The minimalist design Xiaomi Mi Band 6 is the best affordable fitness and activity tracker that tracks your sleep activity and heart rate accurately with a complex mechanism.
- It features a color AMOLED touch display and is comfortable to wear.
- Advanced and accurate activity tracking.
- Tracks the sleep with light vs deep and uses multiple sensors to track accurate results.
- Longer Battery Life of up to 20 days with one charging.
- Download the “MI wear app”.You can get notifications, and msgs from various apps, and connect via Bluetooth(Android 4.4 or iOS 9 phones)
- The waterproof watch runs accurately at 5ATM.
- It has no built-in GPS.
If you are looking for the best budget fitness trackers without GPS that can add some style to your fashionable outfit at an affordable price along with accurate activity tracking and can advise you about 30 different activities, the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 should be your first choice.
If you are planning to work on your sleep disorders and need an activity tracker for the purpose, the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 can be your first choice as it tracks your sleep very accurate with details of deep vs light sleep using its complex algorithm which lacks in most of the other activity trackers. It uses your bpm, body temperature, respiration rate, and galvanic skin response along with other things to track your sleep quality.
Xiaomi Mi Band 6 has some important features like SpO2 Sensor, real-time 24/7 heart rate monitoring and you can see the heart rate graph on the app. Similarly, the Xiaomi Mi Band 6 is also waterproofed and functions well 5ATM water-resistant so you can wear it in showers or when swimming.
When talking about the companion app of the “MI wear app”, you will find it one of the best apps in the competition. It provides all the necessary details along with charts and graphs which are easier to read and understand.
Fitbit Inspire 2– best budget Fitness tracker
The tracker is among the best budget fitness trackers available on the market. The elegant design and Fitbit Community make it the NO. 1 choice for tracker lovers.
If you don’t like to wear expensive watches or jewelry on your wrists and prefer simple designs over more complex ones, the Fitbit Inspire 2 is one of the best budget fitness trackers for you but it lacks built-in GPS.
Like other activity trackers, the Fitbit inspire 2 will work perfectly. Despite its simple and elegant design, the Fitbit One is a featured rich activity monitor and does all the activity tracking jobs, you expect from other activity monitors like alerts, time display, step count, calories burned, floors climbed, swimming, and distance traveled.
The trackers are also more convenient in the situation where you are involved in different team activities and wearing a wristband can be dangerous and not allowed. The tracker will do its job perfectly in such situations. Like other best activity monitors, the Fitbit Inspire 2 has 24/7 continuous heart rate monitoring, and sleep tracking. Another cool feature of the Fitbit Inspire 2 is its battery life. It remains charged for almost 2 weeks as compared to other fitness trackers which have an average battery life of one week at the maximum.
- Featured rich, inexpensive and stylish
- Silent Alarm Feature
- Compatible with both iOS and Android
- Long Battery Life of 2 weeks.
- 24/7 Continuous heart rate monitoring
- Active zone minutes
You can still enjoy the Fitbit community with Fitbit One and its companion app which is also one of the best activity monitors companion apps in the competition. For the price tag of just $75, the Fitbit Inspire 2 is one of the best budget fitness trackers.
The Fitbit Versa 3 is the best attempt by Fitbit in the fitness arena. It does impress many, it is one of the promising budget-friendly fitness trackers that give accurate workout data for running, biking, and hiking with built-in GPS. The Fitbit app is also the best fitness tracker app that records health data in a much better way as compared to others. As compared to other fitness smartwatches, It is among the best fitness trackers with a heart rate monitor that tracks your heart rate accurately 24/7 with Fitbit’s advanced heart rate technology. Fitbit Versa 3 is the best fitness tracker with an oxygen monitor that also tracks your blood oxygen level, and a wearable sleep tracker as well.
On the other hand, you can control your smart home devices by speaking to your watch by using Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. The fitness smartwatch is more expensive as compared to other activity trackers like Fitbit Charge HR and Garmin Vivosmart HR but the Fitbit versa 3 is durable and has more features.
If you are looking for a complete package for your fitness tracking, the Fitbit Versa 3 is among the best budget fitness trackers with GPS along with the Fitbit app is the best choice for you.
Hybrid Smartwatch & Activity Tracker
The Withings Scan Watch Hybrid smartwatch is one of the elegant wristwatches. The Withing Scan watch is a good choice for continuous Heart rate monitoring, sleep, and SpO2 Level (oxygen saturation level) in 30 sec through wrist-based oximetry. It is among the best budget fitness trackers connected with GPS and can assess fitness level using VO2max estimation. A battery lasts up to 30 days, water-resistant up to 50mm.
Smart notifications such as calls, and Text from your smartphone. It has a stainless steel case that is durable, with a silent vibrating alarm. You will find the tracker useful, and capable of what it does.
Fitness and Wellness Tracker
Fitbit Luxe is among the best budget fitness trackers with GPS which add more value by adding fitness tracking features to keep you fit and stay organized. It is for Gym addicts and sports enthusiasts and for general and more formal users to keep an eye on their activities, 24/7 Heart rate monitoring, and sleep tracking. Wi-Fi scale, blood Oxygen monitoring or SpO2 monitor, sleep system, and stress management features make the FitBit Luxe very much acceptable. This watch is waterproof, meaning that you can wear it even when you are taking a shower or swimming.
The Fitbit Luxe with FitBit App adds more value to this stylish activity tracker. The calories burned, food lodging, and other functionalities are managed by Fitbit App and the bright color display on your watch gives you an idea of tracking your routine activity.
The Fitbit Luxe has 5 days battery life.
The One plus Watch is among the best budget fitness trackers with GPS. Although it is the best activity tracker for professional athletes and gym-goers as it has over 110 workout types. The fitness watch adds value for health-conscious people through stress monitoring and Heart rate monitoring. As compared to conventional activity trackers which not only measure your routine activity and report it through a companion app, The One Plus uses a One plus health App to help understand your fitness needs and educates you in a fun way.
So if you are looking for an activity tracker, which is focused on workouts, can guide you, and is not heavy in your pocket, you can try it. Some more exciting features like blood oxygen monitoring and other high-intensity training measurements. You can get updates of 25 hours of continuous exercise with GPS. On the other hand, it tracks sleep and other activities, so it is for everyone.
Overall, The One Plus is only available in midnight black color. It comes with a charging dock and has 5.0 Bluetooth. The battery life is 2 weeks which is pretty awesome and having 4GB of music storage.
The Garmin vivofit 4 is one of the best budget fitness trackers that gathers a lot of different good ideas in one place. Features are always displayed in color. It has 1-year battery life, no need for charging. The core features like activity tracking, calorie burned and sleep monitoring is much more accurate. The smart notifications feature, adds more value to you for the price you pay. Although Garmin vivofit 4 is safe for swimming, it cannot monitor Heart rate. Compatible with Android and iPhone.The Garmin vivofit 4 adds more value in gyms where you work out or in exercises to track your activity. The tracker comes with all the modern sensors for activity monitors.
Galaxy Watch 4 is among the best fitness trackers and a sleep monitor under $300 which does a job freakily awesome. Having a waterproof disc with black LED progress. The well-designed smartwatch comes with a 6-month internal battery that is replaceable. It automatically tracks steps, sleep, distance, calories, and silent alarms, it also comes with an LED display for basic notifications. The Samsung Health monitor app of the Watch 4 is also well-organized and clean looking for both iOS and Android Phonewater-resistant up to 30m but not suitable for showering and swimming.
If you are looking for the best budget waterproofed fitness trackers with GPS, Samsung is one that must be on your consideration list.
Moreover, it supports heart rate monitoring. Wirelessly syncs with a paired smartphone. ECG and SpO2 monitoring are also available on the watch.
If you are in love with Fitbit activity monitors, looking for the best budget fitness trackers without GPS and heart rate monitoring are not your preferences; the Fitbit Alta is the latest Fitbit tracker on the market by Fitbit for you. So basically the Fitbit Alta is the mini version of Fitbit Charge HR and without a heart rate monitor for $99 which makes it the best activity tracker under $100. You still get all the features of Fitbit Charge HR like steps count, calorie burned, sleep monitoring, and other features.
As we have emphasized and focused on the importance of app and social connectivity for activity monitors, the Fitbit Alta tops the competition, especially for its under $100 price tag with the best activity tracker companion app and a large social community. If you are more of a casual user and do not focus more on hard-core gym activities, Fitbit Alta is best for you.
- Section 2: How Do Activity Monitors Work?
One of the most important questions is How do the activity monitors, clip-on, activity bands, and other fitness wearables work? How do they count the steps and how do they track the quality of sleep. Let me discuss this in detail.
Activity Monitors are all about Sensors
Activity monitors are nothing but a pack of different sensors to do their job. Different activity trackers use a different number of sensors to track the activity accurately. While most activity trackers have three to four sensors, Microsoft Band comes with 10 sensors as advertised by the company. The latest models of different fitness trackers offer different functionalities thus the number of sensors varies as well.
Most activity monitors have these main sensors.
- Optical Heart Rate Monitors
- Bio-impedance sensors
- Ambient light Sensors
- Galvanic Skin Response Sensor
- UV Sensors
1. Accelerometers track your movement
Accelerometers are part of almost all activity monitors and use to track motion. If you were wondering about how does the activity monitors count steps? The simple answer is with Accelerometers.
measure the acceleration in different coordinates depending on the type of Accelerometer. If the accelerometer used in the tracker is two-axis, it will be less accurate as compared to the three-axis accelerometers. Along with Accelerometers, gyroscopes and altimeters also help to measure the altitude, orientation, and rotation to accurately count the steps in different conditions like when climbing mountains or while walking in a park.
This data is converted into steps and then on the basis of steps count, calories are calculated. You can understand there is some sort of guesswork involved in this whole process.
Ever Wondered Why Different activity Trackers Come With Different Results?
Every activity tracker processes the data using its own algorithm.
Let’s take the example of Step counting. When counting the steps, one activity tracker can ignore a slight movement whereas another fitness tracker can consider it as one step. The Threshold for defining the step varies from brand to brand thus the accuracy varies as well.
For Example, 0.25 miles are 540 steps for a Jawbone UP, 538 steps for FitBit One, and 552 steps for Nike Fuelband.
2. Optical Heart Rate Monitors measure your heart rate
The Optical Heart Rate Monitors use light to measure your heart rate. All the fitness bands which support heart rate monitoring have an optical heart rate monitor on their back which is intact with your skin to measure the pulse rate. The LED shines a light on your wrist and illuminates the capillaries which help sensors to measure the blood pumping rate which in turn tells us the heart rate.
The optical heart rate monitors are less accurate than the Bio-Impedance sensors but help us get the heart rate, especially when doing an exercise or working out.
3. Bio-Impedance Sensors measure your heart rate in a more complex but accurate way and help in tracking sleep quality as well.
Some fitness bands and trackers use Bio-Impedance sensors instead of heart rate monitors to measure the heart rate. Jawbone UP3 is one of them. The Bio-Impedance sensors measure heart rate, galvanic skin response, and respiration rate and are more accurate than the normal optical heart rate monitors. The Jawbone UP3 according to the official post uses the impedance changes created by the volume of blood flowing in the Radial and Ulnar arteries.
These Bio-Impedance sensors not only measure the heart rate sensors but also tell existing respiration and hydration conditions by measuring the oxygen level in the blood. To this, it uses the four electrodes which inter-transmit an electrical impulse for the purpose.
4. GPS is a must-have in your activity tracker if you are a professional runner
As we discussed above, the Accelerometers are used to measure your step count but the bands with GPS sensors are more accurate and provide better results. GPS technology uses low-power, high-frequency radio signals from different satellites orbiting around our globe. This mechanism calculates the precise distance by getting the data of your starting and ending coordinates.
Unfortunately, the GPS sensors drain the battery too quickly but still with the improvement in technology, more and more activity monitors are offering built-in GPS.
5. Ambient light Sensors track sleep quality by combining different factors
The activities with a display screen use ambient light sensors to maintain the screen readability in different light conditions. They work the same as they work on our phones for managing the screen brightness. The Ambient light sensors are also used to check the darkness in your room.
The ambient light sensors only detect the light which is visible to the human eye for this purpose, which is then sent to the processor after converting into a digital signal to measure sleep quality and other factors.
The other sensors included in different activity monitors are thermometers to check your body temperature; UV sensors are used to detect other lightwave and their impact on your body and the Galvanic Skin Response sensors which are used to detect any change in your skin like sweat while doing exercise.
How Do activity Monitors Track Your Sleep
activity trackers and activity bands use the accelerometer to measure sleep quality? Most of the activity monitors have the ‘Sleep Mode’ which tells the tracker when enabled, that the person is now sleeping
Measuring sleep quality is a complicated process and not all activity monitors are best at it. To check sleep quality, there are a number of lab tests used for the purpose which measure brain activity, eye movement, heart rate, muscle tension, oxygen level, and breathing as well.
Some of the activity monitors claim to measure the different stages of sleep like Deep Sleep and light sleep. They use heart rate monitors, body temperature, and pulse oximetry along with accelerometers for this purpose and give more accurate results as compared to normal fitness trackers.
How the Data Is Processed
If you have used a fitness band earlier or if you have read anything about them, you will be aware of the fact that different activity monitors give different results in the same conditions. Many bloggers did the tests by wearing multiple trackers at the same time and they got different results.
The Data Accuracy of the activity monitors depends on two factors.
- Number and quality of Sensors Being used in the activity tracker you are using AND
- The algorithm is used to process the raw data into information.
We have discussed the different Sensors and their usage in measuring the activities above. Now we will look at the algorithms used to process data.
Once the band or tracker you are using has collected your activity data, it now starts processing it to give you results. Every brand uses its own algorithm to process the data and bring the results in front of you. Because the way of processing data is different for every brand and usually brands do not share their algorithms, it is the main reason; we see different results on different activity trackers.
Let’s take the example of Step counting. When counting the steps, one activity tracker can ignore a slight movement whereas other activity monitors can consider it as one step. The Threshold for defining the step varies from brand to brand thus the accuracy varies as well.
Similarly, when it comes to talking about calories, different trackers ask for more details from the person using the tracker. Like, Your Age, Gender, height and weight all matter in this regards along with the steps count for calculating the calories burned. Along with steps count, your heart rate and the perspiration rate also matter.
The more accurately the algorithm takes all this information and processes it, the more accurate the results of the activity tracker are. Some companies like MotionX have spent more than $50 million to design more advanced and accurate algorithms. According to the estimates, existing trackers and bands can show different results with a 20% average deviation.
Section 3: How to choose the Best Activity tracker which fits your needs?
With more and more choices to choose from, it has become more complicated to choose the best activity tracker for your needs. Earlier most activity trackers were only used to count steps and sleep monitoring. Whereas for running and other activities, there were other watches but with the advancements in technology, more and more activity monitors are offering a lot of features in one band.
You can now count your steps and measure the calories burnt along with sleep monitoring and heart rate monitoring. You can use the same tracker for swimming and other hyper activities like climbing and running with most of the modern fitness bands available on the market.
One of the other most important factors in this regard is the App to use with the activity tracker. As we discussed above, every activity tracker has its own algorithm, similarly, every brand has its own app and most brands support third-party featured rich apps as well.
Activity Trackers Are Best For General Use!
If you are a professional athlete like a runner or swimmer and thinking of buying an activity tracker or a fitness band to get a detailed breakdown of your activities, you will be disappointed.
While activity trackers can give you detailed information about your activities they are still not the best use for measuring the advanced metrics required for different sports.
Key Factors To Find The Best Activity Tracker For Your Needs:
1) Ask Yourself the Question. Why Do You need an activity tracker or band?
Before you go and buy a fitness tracker, you should completely understand your own requirements. Why do you need one is an important question to ask yourself. The more you are clear about your requirements, the more easily you will be able to select the best activity tracker for yourself.
Angela McIntyre, the research director at Gartner, sums it up very beautifully:
“activity monitors are motivational to people for getting more exercise and living a healthier lifestyle. If there is a particular activity you like, like swimming, make sure the activity tracker and the software are designed for it. People who have a favorite activity that is less common, such as jumping rope, may want to check that the activity is recognized by the software.”
So if you are just starting and planning on adding some dedicated time for regular exercise in your routine, a basic tracker that can count steps and measure calories burnt is a good starting point for you. But if you are already spending a good time in exercise and workouts of different nature, you should go for more advanced trackers to fulfill your needs.
Read More: Best Tennis Gadgets to Improve your Game
2) What Type Do You Prefer? Wristband Vs Clip-on
Activity monitors are available in different sizes, styles, and shapes. It depends on you how you prefer to wear it. Depending on the choice, if you feel comfortable wearing it on your hand you can go for a wristband. But if you don’t find it convenient for yourself to wear the band all day or all night you can prefer a clip-on which you can clip to your belt, clothes, or shoes.
It completely depends on you to choose between the two options. Most modern trackers come with a screen to show you your activity at runtime. So it is important for you to wear your tracker in a way you can easily note the readings when required.
3) What Features Do You Need?
Once you have clearly understood your needs, you can easily decide which features you will be needing in the activity tracker which is the best fit for you. Almost all the fitness trackers come with built-in features for step count and measuring calories burnt. Sleep monitoring and distance calculation are also now standard features of fitness bands.
a) Water-resistant fitness trackers will help you take a shower and swim without taking them off.
If you have been involved in water-related activities, you should prefer waterproof fitness trackers. You should know the difference between waterproof and splash-proof trackers. While waterproof activity monitors work fine if you take a shower or you do swimming, splash-proof trackers will only save it from light water contact like sweat.
While waterproof fitness trackers work fine in the water and will give you some readings of your swimming activity, not all waterproof trackers will give you accurate results. So if you are looking for an activity tracker for your swimming needs, you should make sure to read the specifications of the band first.
b) Heart Rate Monitoring is critical especially if you are 35+.
Optical heart rate monitors are becoming more and more common among activity monitors. With the advancements in technology, these optical heart rate monitors to track the heart rate with a lot of accuracy. For instance, the optical rate monitoring technology used in the Apple Watch gives results as accurate as of the ECG. But again not all sensors are made equal.
Most of the activity trackers, having optical heart rate monitors, become useless with little contact with water or sweat on the skin. So if you are looking for a tracker for your swimming activities, the old chest-strap heart rate monitors are still your best choice, which use electrical impulses to measure your heart rate.
c) GPS is a must-have for runners but it eats battery very fast.
If you are a runner, cyclist, or hiker, you should prefer the fitness tracker with built-in GPS. While there are a lot of GPS smartwatches available on the market, most of them lack the heart rate monitoring and other key features of the activity trackers which can be really handy for you.
The GPS-enabled devices pinpoint your exact location, measure your speed, and tell more accurate results as compared to the accelerometers. On the other hand, because GPS uses satellites for communication, it can be slow in responding to some conditions and can drain the battery of your tracker more quickly.
d) With Screen or Without Screen
There are activity monitors in the market with a screen and without the screen. It is completely your choice i.e. what you prefer. Most of the activity trackers which have screens show some very basic information like steps count and time etc. Still, you will be relying on your smartphone and the app for detailed information and data analysis.
e) Long Battery Life means you can collect more data without breaks
If you have used feature phones, you know how poor the smartphones in the battery area are. The same is the problem with smartwatches and activity monitors. Most smartwatches need to be charged at the end of the day which means you need to take them off. On the other hand, most activity trackers have a battery life of at least 7 to 8 days which means they can keep tracking your activity 24/7 and give you more accurate results.
f) Silent Alarms with vibration only wake you Up!
Some of the activity monitors and clip-on offer the alarm feature. This can be very handy in cases when you share your bed with your spouse but you don’t share the wake-up time with him/her. In such cases, your wristband starts vibrating and only you wake up instead of your whole family.
g) Sleep Tracking can help you work on your sleep disorders.
We have discussed earlier how the activity trackers track your sleep. Although many modern trackers use different algorithms to track your sleep, they are still mostly dependent on your movements in sleep. But If you are working on sleep disorders, you should choose the activity trackers which not only use accelerometers for sleep tracking but also use the optical heart rate monitor to check other important factors like oxygen level.
4) Data Syncing And Compatibility
The activity monitors to track your activity, collect the data and then send this data to your smartphone. That is why it is important to make sure that the fitness tracker, you are going to buy, is compatible with your phone or not. Most of the trackers work fine with iOS and Android OS but many of them do not work with the Windows Phone.
Similarly, some activity trackers transmit data automatically to the phone once paired whereas some require pairing again and again. You should choose the tracker with these things in your mind as well.
5) Companion App is Feature Rich or Not
The most important part of the data that has been collected is to analyze and present it. This job is done by the companion apps for activity monitors that are installed on your Smartphone. You should take care of several things before choosing the brand from the app perspective. The companion app should display details clearly, should be simple in design, and should allow you to sync with other third-party apps like MyFitnessPal. Similarly, the sharing feature of the apps is also very important to share, compare and compete with your friends and family. This plays a vital role in motivating you.
Most of the fitness apps also allow you to lodge details like food intake and other nutritional details. Similarly, some apps let you distinguish between the workouts to calculate the data more accurately.
One of the main factors to focus on from the app perspective is the different features of different apps for iOS and Android. Like there are more features on the iOS app of a brand as compared to Android, which is frustrating. If downloading and using the app without the tracker is difficult, you can still go to Apple AppStore and Android Play Store to read reviews and comments about the app.
Talking, in general, every fitness tracker has its own features and lacks. That is why it is most important to understand your needs and then decide on the device accordingly.
6) Check the Strap or Band Size
Most of the activity trackers and bands come in different strap (band) sizes so one can adjust the band or tracker to his/her wrist perfectly. It is important for the wrist tracker to be in contact with your wrist all the time especially if your tracker comes with a heart rate monitor.
Almost all the good brands provide sizing guides so you can find the right size for you by measuring your wrist circumference. Like you can check Microsoft Band 2 Sizing guide, Fitbit Charge HR sizing guide, and Garmin Vivosmart HR sizing guide on the respective links.
Remember, each model of the same brand can have different size requirements like Microsoft Band and Microsoft Band 2 have different sizing requirements.
Section 4: How to use your fitness band effectively?
So, you have either bought a fitness tracker that fits your needs or you have decided on the best one for you. Great Job!
But Hye…! It’s still the ‘Job half done!
As we discussed in the beginning, only 1 out of 10 people use the activity monitors on the regular basis after some period.
Why is that So?
1) Human nature of ditching ‘old things’ which were quite appealing some days ago?
2) No Motivation? Lack of Goals, or losing faith after expecting a lot from yourself and the fitness tracker you have.
The most important thing is to use your fitness tracker on the regular basis and get the most of it. And we will be discussing in the next lines how you can use your fitness tracker effectively.
Be Realistic – Fitness Tracker will not do the magic for you:
Like any other tool or device, the fitness tracker does nothing itself. It will never do magic to make you fit but it is you who can bring the change by using the tracker properly and regularly. That is why it is most important to set some realistic expectations from your tracker. As we have already discussed, activity monitors are still not accurate, so it can be a frustrating factor but on the other hand, fitness bands can be the biggest motivation you have.
This is the same as you buying a trade mill to lose weight and stay active, but unless you use it properly, you are not going to get anything from it. So the most important factor is to bring change in yourself and stay focused and consistent.
Wear it Always to get more accurate results:
Although this is certain that you will be wearing your band most of the time but it is very important to wear it always, no matter what you are doing. Definitely, your tracker will never count the steps if you have taken it off your wrist and this will result in false results at the end of the day.
That is why it is very important to buy a fitness tracker which is comfortable for you and its size is according to your needs. Most modern fitness bands and activity monitors are designed considering that you will be wearing them 24/7.
Similarly, taking your tracker off your wrist can result in forgetting to wear it again for a certain period of time. Suppose you put your tracker on charging and go for a bath and then you go to the office for getting your tracker at all. Now coming back and picking the tracker is not something you will be willing to do but this will result in wrong numbers and you will start finding it troublesome when analyzing the data.
So it is very important to wear your tracker always and whenever you take it off put it near to other important stuff like your Car Keys and your phone.
Set The Small Targets and Goals which are achievable:
This happens with every one of us and always. We are pumped and start doing workouts and exercise without a proper plan. And after some time, all our motivation fades away and we are back to our routine.
But activity monitors can help us in this regard. Being more active a day is easier said than done because the standard step goal is 10,000 steps in almost all the trackers but we take only 5000 or fewer steps per day. If you think, you will double your steps in a day or two, it is unrealistic. Instead, you should try to achieve this ultimate goal of taking 10000 steps on the daily basis gradually.
First, you should start observing your daily habits by wearing the band for a day or two, then you should find ways when you can walk more like using stairs instead of an elevator, parking your car away from your office, and going on foot for shopping in the neighborhood instead of using the car. This will help you achieve your targets and goals the whole day instead of doing the whole activity or workout in a given period of time.
Similarly, do some research by reading about fitness levels for different people of different ages, gender, and weight! Find what is appropriate for you, then break this ultimate goal into further small goals and try achieving them in a month or two.
This slow and steady approach will help you change your old habits a lot.
Go Social and Connect With Others:
You can start with a lot of enthusiasm and energy for a week or a month after you buy your fitness tracker. But soon you will get tired of the routine and you will need some motivation to carry on. This is where you need your friends or family members to join you. Ask your close friend or a family member to start participating with you using the tracker and you will find the differences.
You both can set daily challenges to compete and use it as a motivation to remain active for a longer period of time. You can also join social communities and find the people like you and start competing with them to achieve your goals.
Keep Logging Details in the App on a Daily Basis:
We do different types of activities on daily basis. Going to a washroom, crossing the road, and taking a long walk in the park for an hour or so are all different activities that need a different amount of energy. The fitness trackers will count them all as steps and you will have to keep your activity data more up to date by inputting different information. You can use third-party apps like MyFitnessPal and MapMyFitness to get an accurate picture of your steps at the end of the day.
Similarly, the best fitness trackers will keep a log of how many calories you are burning but what about the calories you are taking? You should start logging your food intake details in the app as well to get the complete picture and analyze the data in the correct way.
Section 5: Conclusion: Do Activity trackers worth your money?
Do activity monitors worth it? In Short, Yes! With reasonable expectations, you can take a lot of advantage of the activity and fitness trackers.
The advancements in the latest technologies and the growing use of smartphones will eventually lead to more robust, featured rich and accurate activity and fitness trackers. Similarly, we will be seeing the growth in the usage of activity monitors with technological advancements.
Right now, we can see there is very little difference between fitness trackers, GPS running watches, and a smartwatch. Most activity monitors are now offering all these features. Although the technology used today is still not accurate but still, fitness trackers are one of the most important motivational tools to keep you on track and check on your daily activities.
Depending on your requirements, if you only need to get information or more accurate advice than just simple guesswork, activity and fitness trackers are the best fit for you. On the other hand, if you are a professional athlete and your requirements are more complicated, you should go for the dedicated watches or straps available on the market.
You can also use your Smartphone for getting details of your daily activities. The Apple Health App and Google Fit on Android do a very sophisticated job and give you very detailed results in this regard. Or you can prefer a smartwatch if you want the features of your phone on your wrist. But what makes fitness trackers more appropriate is their battery life which is normally 5 to 7 days as compared to the 18 to 20 hours battery life of smartwatches.
In the end, what is most important is to stay active and keep a check on your health and fitness to improve your quality of life. And the best budget fitness trackers with GPS can be a useful motivation tool for you to keep running walking or doing what you like the most.
Have a look at this infographic to get more details about the statistics related to activity monitors.