Looking for a Christmas present? We’ve found all the fitness trackers to suit your needs, with affordable to advanced options from Fitbit, Garmin and more.
They may have started out as humble step counters, but fitness trackers have evolved into pretty damn smart devices in recent years.
No longer just targeted towards pros, fitness trackers now have a lot to offer to real, everyday people. They can automatically track everything from your heart rate to the exact type of exercise you’re doing, all while displaying your important phone notifications and looking cute on your wrist. They still keep stats simple enough to understand though, so that you can better understand how to reach all your health goals – as achievable or aspirational as they may be!
No matter how big your budget is, we’ve found the top-rated trackers starting from $56.95 – so there’s something for everyone. Invest in one for yourself, or buy one for a friend or family member for Christmas – they make a neat gift.
Garmin have been making fitness trackers for quite a few years now, so they’re a trusted brand that always rates highly. The vivosmart 4 is a slim and stylish tracker for those who don’t want an obvious, bulky device hanging out on their wrist. Some of its top features include advanced sleep monitoring, a Pulse Ox² sensor to measure blood oxygen saturation, phone notifications and a seven-day battery life.
It can monitor your heart rate, stress and energy levels, steps, calories burned, intensity minutes and automatically track exercises like walking, cycling and swimming (did we mention it’s waterproof?). It’s available in five chic colours to suit your style.
Buy the Garmin vívosmart 4 here
Another long-term player in the health game, Fitbit is probably the first brand you think of when you think of fitness trackers, and the Inspire 2 is one of their cheapest models. It was only released in August of 2020, so it’s jam-packed with the latest features – including a 10-day battery life. Designed for everyday use by everyday people (who aren’t necessarily the biggest gym junkies), it’s a great option for people who are new to fitness tracking or who want an achievable way to get fitter.
Among other things, it can track steps, calories, sleep, Active Zone Minutes, food and hydration, menstrual cycles, and more than 20 types of exercise. It also can show you phone notifications, walk you through guided breathing meditations, and it’s waterproof so you can wear it in the shower or while swimming. It’s available in three band colours and has a very low profile, minimal design.
Buy the Fitbit Inspire 2 here
French brand Withings sell plenty of stylish smartwatch and activity tracker hybrids, and their traditional fitness tracker – the Pulse HR – doesn’t disappoint either. As the name suggests, it features heart rate monitoring, which is combined with automatic tracking of more than ten activities including walking, running and swimming.
It also measures calories burned, tracks your sleep cycle, shows your phone notifications, and lasts up to a whopping 20 days on a single charge. It’s water-resistant to 50 metres and the design is a simple black band that won’t clash with any of your outfits.
Buy the Withings Pulse HR here
The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 may be the cheapest option on this list, but make no mistake: it still packs a punch. With a large colour AMOLED display, 14-day battery life and blood oxygen tracker, it has features to rival the pricier brands.
Its capabilities include 11 sports modes, 24-hour heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, 50 metre water resistance, menstrual tracking, and stress monitoring. It even has a remote camera function that allows you to use the band to take a photo with your phone, which is pretty neat.
Buy the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 here
With a large AMOLED colour touchscreen, the Huawei Band 4 Pro brings you all your health stats in HD. It measures blood oxygen saturation, heart rate, sleep quality, GPS data, and indoor and outdoor sports including running, cycling, walking, and swimming. You can also use it to check phone notifications, control music, and remotely take a photo on your phone.
The battery life will last you a very decent six days, it comes in three colours – pink, red and black – and has a customisable watch face so you can really make it your own.
Buy the Huawei Band 4 Pro here
The Charge 4 isn’t the newest Fitbit model, but with its advanced features and controls, it’s still a favourite. The built-in GPS allows your to see a map of your outdoor workout, along with your pace and distance; and the 24/7 heart rate monitor can help you to track calorie burn and optimise workouts.
Other features include Active Zone Minutes, sleep tracking, reminders to move, guided breathing sessions, automatic exercise recognition, and everyday apps including phone notifications, Fitbit Pay, and Spotify controlling. It comes in four colours with a large and easy-to-read screen and a seven-day battery life.
Buy the Fitbit Charge 4 here
Like the idea of a fitness tracker, but not too keen on the classic band design of most models? The Withings Move Hybrid Smartwatch offers you a classic analogue watch style with all the activity tracking features you desire in one neat and very attractive package.
To keep things simple, it directs all your stats (aside from step count) straight to the free Health Mate app – yep, no tapping through your tiny watch screen to try to see your activity. It automatically tracks sleep and activities including walking, running, swimming and cycling. And since it’s not digital, the battery life is the longest on the market: up to 18 months. You can choose from three chic designs to compliment your style.
Buy the Withings Move here
With a one year battery life and a sporty fitness band design, the Garmin vívofit 4 gives the Withings Move a run for its money. It features a customisable always-on colour display, and tracks your activity 24/7. Use it to track steps, distance, calories burned, sleep quality, and to automatically detect activity types.
It’s safe for the shower or pool, has personalised activity tracking plus motivation, and has a Toe-to-Toe feature that allows you to challenge other Garmin users to a step competition by wirelessly connecting! The design is basic and the features aren’t as advanced as newer releases, but that makes it a great, non-intimidating option for fitness beginners or people who want to keep things simple.
Buy the Garmin vívofit 4 Large here for $77, or buy the Garmin vívofit 4 Small/Medium here for $149
Another excellent affordable option, the realme Band has a large colour screen which is easy and intuitive to use. It has a built-in high precision PPG optical heart rate sensor that accurately measures your real-time heart rate every five minutes, and supports nine sports modes including walking, running, yoga and more (it even has a dedicated cricket mode, if that’s your thing!).
It can also show your smartphone notifications and monitor your sleep quality. With direct USB charge, you can plug the tracker straight into your laptop without need for any extra cables to lose.
Buy the realme Band here
Are cheap fitness trackers any good?
While the more expensive models may have fancier features and sleeker designs, you can find stylish and functional models for cheaper that will get the job done too. Our cheapest recommendations on this list are highly rated despite their low price tags. On Amazon, The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 has a 4.6/5 star rating from more than 7,000 reviews, and the realme Band has a 3.7/5 star rating from more than 700 reviews.
Should I get a fitness tracker or a smart watch?
It all depends on what you want to get out of your device. A fitness tracker will generally be more focused on your health statistics, while a smart watch is more focused on helping you access your favourite phone apps on the go from a smaller, more handy interface.
That said, there are some fitness trackers that err into smart watch territory, and vice versa! The Fitbit Versa 3 still focuses heavily on your health and fitness stats, but it also allows you to send quick messages, make calls, control your music and more. Similarly, the Apple Watch Series 6 is designed to work seamlessly as an extension of your iPhone, but it also contains features including a heart rate monitor, sleep tracker, “Activity Ring” motivators, and even a blood oxygen level tracker to keep your health and fitness in check.
Which Fitbit is easiest to use?
If you’re interested in a Fitbit that keeps things simple (and affordable, in the realm of Fitbits), we’d recommend the Fitbit Inspire 2. It’s one of the brand’s most recent releases, so it has the best battery life and helpful, intuitive features, while staying basic enough for just about anyone to use. You can check out our review of the Fitbit Inspire 2 here.
Looking for more advice? Pair your fitness tracker with a smart scale for the ultimate holistic view of your health. Plus, we tried the internet’s most popular wearable weights, and we’re converted.
All products featured in this article are selected by our editors, who don’t play favourites. If you buy something, we may get a cut of the sale.