Best fitness trackers for 2021


Fitness trackers can be a great way to help people at any fitness level to get — or stay — in shape without the extra bulk of a full-blown smartwatch. Fitness trackers can hold you accountable for your physical activity and offer health features such as heart-rate monitoring, sleep tracking or specific insight into your activity of choice. Your fitness tracking data is then shared with an app to give you a broader look at your overall fitness.

There are dozens of fitness trackers to choose from (many of which we haven’t tested yet). But we’ve rounded up five of our favorite fitness trackers based on price, form and function. Many of them require that you use a mobile app to track your progress and set up smartphone notifications. No matter your fitness or health goals, this list can help get you started on your search for a wearable device that monitors your activity and helps you achieve peak fitness. It goes without saying, however, that not even the most advanced tracker will do the work for you.

So if you’re looking for the best fitness tracker out there, read on! And let us know if your favorite was left off the list; we’ll be testing others down the line.

Read more: The best leggings in 2021 for yoga, working out and lounging

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If you’re looking for a fitness tracker that behaves a lot like a smartwatch without the extra bulk, the Fitbit Charge 4 might be the perfect fit. It checks all the boxes when it comes to health and fitness features and even goes beyond the basics with things like heart rate zone notifications during exercise and advanced sleep tracking metrics. It also has a built-in GPS tracking to follow outdoor workouts independently of your phone. If you want to keep track of your data, you’ll want to download the Fitbit app, which does a great job breaking down how much progress you’ve made and how close you are to achieving your fitness goal. This fitness tracking device can also facilitate mobile payments and the option to reply to texts and messages if you’re an Android user.

Read our Fitbit Charge 4 review.

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If you’re looking for a fitness band that’s even more discreet (and more affordable), you may also consider the Fitbit Inspire 2. You won’t get the built-in GPS or mobile payment options, but it has the essentials when it comes to health and fitness including heart rate tracking, automatic workout detection and a detailed sleep tracker analysis with Fitbit Premium (free for a year with the purchase).

It’s also the closest thing to jewelry with a screen I’ve worn so far. If you feel like dressing it up, its silicone sports bands can easily be swapped out for a leather or stainless steel mesh band (sold separately). But the biggest perk: battery life. It can go up to 10 days on a charge, whereas the Charge 4 caps out at about five days if you toggle off the GPS.

Read our Fitbit Inspire 2 first take.

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For less than $40, the Mi Band 4 is the best value fitness tracker you can buy. This fitness watch packs most of the features you’d get in a more expensive fitness tracker, like an AMOLED touchscreen that’s easy to see in sunlight, 24/7 heart rate and sleep tracking. Battery life is also second to none, as you’ll get around two and a half weeks of use before you need to charge. The one thing this cheap fitness tracker does miss out on is workout variety; it can only detect running, walking, cycling or swimming, so any other workout like pilates or yoga would need to be tracked under the generic “exercise” type.

Read more about the Xiaomi Mi Band 4.

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These $300 smart insoles can turn any old running shoe into a high-tech tracker, giving you more information about your run than any wrist-based tracker we’ve ever tested. Each insole has 16 sensors that detect the pressure you’re putting on your foot with every step you take. Together with the app and trackers, they can measure everything from step length to foot strike balance to give you real-time feedback on how to reduce injury or improve your time.

Read our Nurvv Run Insoles review.

It may be a few years old, but the cheaper Apple Watch Series 3 has everything you need in a fitness tracker. Not only does it keep tabs on your health and activity like the rest of the trackers on this list, it also gives you access to dozens of fitness apps like Strava, Nike Training Club and Apple’s own Fitness Plus, to guide you through any type of workout.

Read our Apple Watch Series 3 review.

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